Crew of the R/V Atlantis with life boats. Photo: Lisa Robbins

Wicked Weather, Sinking Ship, and A Lifeboat Rescue: A Harrowing Night in the Davis Strait

September 22, 2015 – Post from Lisa Robbins on the R/V Atlantis

Yesterday was an exciting day for the crew and scientists aboard the R/V Atlantis. Just before 2pm our captain and his crew received a “mayday” and EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) signal from a fishing ship, Atlantic Charger, sinking about 100miles away from us in the Labrador Sea. Nine of its fishermen deployed 5 lifeboats and waited while a number of ships came to its rescue, including the R/V Atlantis.  About 10 hours after the distress call in seas reaching 20′ or more and gale force winds (about 40 knots) – at about 11 PM (local), the Atlantis arrived on scene. Two other ships had just arrived on scene also, but had not yet picked up the fishermen.  The captains of the ships assessed that all of the crew were OK -The fishermen were all wearing survival suits and could endure the very chilly 3°C water and the rafts gave them some protection from the howling winds, All of the ships then coordinated the safe retrieval of the fishermen in the high seas and winds. The men were transferred onto one of the ships and the Atlantis retrieved 3 life rafts, seen in the photo below, with the Atlantis crew members that were on duty.  After the successful retrieval of men and rafts, we turned around and headed back for the scientific stations that were left!

Crew of the R/V Atlantis with life boats. Photo: Lisa Robbins
Crew of the R/V Atlantis with life boats. Photo: Lisa Robbins

Link to the CBC article on the sinking of the Atlantic Charger:

CBC Article on the Atlantic Charger

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