Survey Vessel Rescues Yacht in Distress off Falklands

The Seabed Constructor (file image)

Published Mar 8, 2019 6:24 PM by The Maritime Executive

On March 6, the offshore survey vessel Seabed Constructor helped to rescue an injured sailor from a damaged yacht. The Constructor had just finished a successful mission to recover the voyage data recorder (VDR) from the wreck of the Stellar Daisy.

In late February, the Seabed Constructor departed the Daisy's wreck site and headed west towards the Falklands for a new task - an archaeological search-and-survey for a fleet of wrecked First World War warships. On March 5, at 1445 hours, her transit was interrupted by a call from rescue authorities in the Falkland Islands, who asked her to help the crew of the yacht Ti Paradise. 

The Paradise had capsized in foul weather at a position 480 nm northeast of the Falklands. She righted herself, but two of her eight crewmembers were swept over the side, including the skipper. One of the surviving six sailors - Luxembourg national Ms. Pascale Noel, 58 - had sustained head injuries and required evacuation. 

At the time of the request, the Seabed Constructor was located about 80 nm from the yacht's position. She diverted to the scene, and she arrived within sight of the yacht's masthead light by 2110. Despite a heavy swell with whitecaps and 25-30 knots of wind, her crew lowered the rescue boat at about 2200 and retrieved the victim. 

A Royal Air Force helicopter evacuated Noel to Port Stanley the following morning. The Ti Paradise and her remaining crew are now making way for the same destination under sail. 

Contract dispute

On Friday, the government of South Korea confirmed that it is working out a disagreement with the Seabed Constructor's operator, Texas-based search and survey firm Ocean Infinity. South Korea claims that Ocean Infinity has not fulfilled the full scope of its contract; Ocean Infinity claims that since it has found the Daisy and retrieved the VDR, it has completed its part of the $4.2 million agreement. 

"We have successfully completed our current Stellar Daisy work. We may return in the future to help further but now setting course for the next project. It has been a privilege to be able to help the South Korean government and families of her crew," said Ocean Infinity in a statement. 

Among other possibilities for future missions, Ocean Infinity said that it had found human remains at the Daisy's site, along with what may be work clothing. The South Korean government's last major salvage operation - the raising of the ill-fated ferry Sewol - involved an unprecedented multi-year effort to recover the vessel and all missing remains. Salvor Shanghai Salvage originally bid the contract for the Sewol at $70 million, but claimed afterwards that it had cost nearly $250 million to complete.