All three passengers aboard a sailing ship destined for Iceland were rescued early Wednesday morning after it encountered heavy seas off the coast of Newfoundland.
Marine Communications and Traffic Services St. John’s alerted Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC) Halifax of the Melita’s predicament at 6:53 p.m. Newfoundland time on Tuesday, according to JRCC Halifax spokesman Maj. Martell Thompson.
At that point, it was 435 nautical miles northeast of Gander and 400 nautical miles south of Greenland. Thompson said the American ship was traveling to Iceland.
JRCC Halifax deployed CCGS Cygnus shortly thereafter to begin a 350 nautical mile journey to reach the Melita. A Hercules aircraft from CFB Trenton was also dispatched within the hour.
A vessel closer to the sailing ship, the MV Megan C, was later identified, and JRCC Halifax requested its assistance at 8:19 p.m. The cargo ship was 90 nautical miles from the Melita.
By 3 a.m., the Hercules arrived to assist the ship. Thompson said heavy seas prevented it from rescuing passengers at that time.
The MV Megan C arrived at 7 a.m. and immediately began to take the three passengers from the Melita on board. Thompson said the third passenger was rescued within 30 minutes of the cargo ship’s arrival.
The MV Megan C is now making its way to Montreal and is expected to arrive there on July 22, according to Thompson. The JRCC Halifax spokesman said was not aware of the Melita’s current status.