At 2:10 a.m. Jan. 3, 2015, while en route to Oranjestad, Aruba, Holland America Line’s ms Zuiderdam answered a distress call from the Bahamian inter-island vessel Excalibur that was sinking with eight crewmembers onboard. Zuiderdam was approximately 15 miles away and the closest ship in the area.
Zuiderdam altered course and was able to successfully execute a nighttime rescue of all eight crewmembers at 3:01 a.m. The ship brought them onboard and provided food and accommodations. The rescued crewmembers debarked in Aruba on Jan. 5.
“Congratulations to the officers and crew onboard Zuiderdam for their quick response that saved the lives of eight people,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We are proud to be able to come to the rescue when called upon, and it’s even more gratifying when everything goes as smoothly as this operation did.”
Zuiderdam currently is in the middle of a 10-night Panama Canal cruise roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that departed Jan. 2 with calls at Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Oranjestad, Aruba: Willemstad, Curaçao; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica in addition to a partial Panama Canal transit.
In addition, on Jan. 4 ms Zaandam came to the aid of seven crewmembers from the sailing yacht Polonus that were staying at the Arctowski Polish research station at King George Island in Antarctica. The crew, all Polish nationals, were stranded after their yacht went aground. They are being taken to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and will disembark Jan. 11.