AskUs Fact List

AskUs: Why it’s almost impossible to rescue someone who’s fallen overboard from a cruise ship

Comments (3)
  1. Andrew says:

    Facedown on your back?

  2. Qway Adams says:

    I’m a sailor and It is very true that once you’re overboard, no matter whether its a cruise or merchant ship, you’re pretty much done. Any running vessel, big enough will suck you into its propeller’s blades to getting minced. I like how you said it, getting minced. The height of the fall will leave you crippled, you will be in panic, very few seconds to act before propellers chop you up. Even if you’re lucky and the water current pushed you away, very unlikely, without the proper gear, nobody can survive long enough to be rescued. All the safety precautions kept on any ship are for certain scenarios. There are some scenarios, which make these safety measures look pointless.
    I actually have been part of a rescue. One night, near the Strait of Hormuz, en route from Bandar Abbas, Iran to Sharjah, UAE, me and my captain had just finished dinner and were on a walk to the forward mast before our night watch. We both heard a loud scream, it was more like a shout out. We both at first thought, it might be one of those oil selling boats. But the shout came again and we realised that somebody is drowning. It was around 7:30, all dark outside. I immediately rushed to the bridge and turned the ship around. All of our crew was out on forward and aft with their searchlights on, trying to find the needle in the hay. I was the one steering, I totally had to rely on instincts. We stopped the engines twice to make it real quiet to us to hear the drowning person’s screams. Anyone who has enough knowledge of the waters, knows how quiet the sea can be, once you shut down your machinery. Finally after like 20 minutes of all kinds of Bulls**t, our chief officer located him on his searchlight. I had to do the steering to be as close to him as we possibly can. I had to steer almost 100 m long ship, and I killed the engines about 40 m from him. Any more closer and he could have been sucked into our propeller. We then literally shouted at him to try to get as close as he can get to the ship. Fortunately, We had loaded 90% of our capacity and the freeboard was just 1.7~8 m, which is almost 6 feet. He was visually good at swimming, he swam to about 20 m from us and we already had our lifebuoy in water. He got to it and held on to it and got in the second lifebuoy we threw at him. We had our ladder down, we pulled him close and he took the steps up the ladder. I was the guy who gave him a hand and pulled him to our deck. He literally collapsed into my arms after taking the first step on the ship. We took him in, kept him warm, gave him a little whisky. He was travelling in a small boat and his boat collapsed. They were initially 4 in total but he saw no signs of others. He said he was swimming for more than an hour and had almost given up the hopes until he saw the lights of our ship. He was a smuggler who travel at nights from Oman to Iran. We gave him to Iranian coast guard. They thanked us for the rescue. None of the other 3 were found. It was the most adrenaline pumping 2 hours of my life. Can’t forget his words, “Kishti, ummeed” means, “Ship, hope”
    The chances of him being rescued were almost none. Had the captain and me avoided the walk on the deck, nobody would’ve heard his shouts. No doubt it is one of the busiest sea lanes in the world but nobody can hear anything once your in the sound proof Bridge.

    1. Admin says:

      OMG!! Great Story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Leave a Reply to Qway Adams Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *