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Pair abandon ship in rough seas

Rough weather off the coast of Bermuda forced the crew of one sailing vessel to abandon ship this weekend.

A spokesman for the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre said that the Swedish registered Bull, en route to St Georges from Stuart, Florida, got into difficulty around 100 nautical miles to the southwest of Bermuda due to treacherous conditions, including gusts in excess of 50 knots.

“The 33ft vessel with two persons on board began to take on water and activated their EPIRB [Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon] at approx 3.45pm, with Bermuda Radio receiving the distress alert a few minutes later,” the spokesman said.

“A 10,000 ton refrigerated cargo ship was located using Satellite tracking and re-routed to assist the stricken vessel, while the US Coastguard dispatched a C-130 fixed wing aircraft equipped with life rafts that can be parachuted into the area if need be.

“Merchant vessel Crown Sapphire arrived on scene a short while later but was unable to dispatch a life boat due to strong winds and rough seas, but instructed the crew to abandon into their life raft which was then towed alongside the Merchant vessel.

“Both persons were rescued without serious injury as they scaled a cargo net onto the ship's deck to safety above.”

The incident was just one of several dealt with by Bermuda Radio this weekend caused by the harsh weather conditions.

Staff have been in contact with 53ft Swiss-registered sloop Ketupa, bound for Bermuda from Miami, which has suffered steering problems due to rudder failure and has reportedly lost her boom. The vessel and its three crew members however were yesterday still making headway on the sloop's foresail, and are expected to arrive in Bermuda sometime today.

The spokesman also noted several local incidents reported to Bermuda Radio over the weekend.

“A 31ft Mainship parted its moorings in Hamilton harbour and was rescued by on lookers as it hit the outer wall of the Royal Hamilton Dinghy Club,” the spokesman said. “EPIRB activations were also received from a vessel that sunk on its moorings in Hungry Bay, and another vessel that had previously been abandoned and was drifting around 170 nautical miles north of Bermuda.”

The weather also sparked issues on land, with Belco reporting scattered outages on Saturday caused by foliage coming into contact with overhead lines. However, a spokeswoman said the problems were resolved by around 5pm that afternoon.

The Bermuda Weather Service recorded winds reaching 34 knots (39mph) at the LF Wade International Airport on Saturday afternoon with gusts reaching 47 knots (55mph).

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Published March 10, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 09, 2014 at 11:53 pm)

Pair abandon ship in rough seas

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