Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess performed a daring rescue in difficult and inclement weather off the coast of Vanuatu in September this year. The five distressed people aboard the foundering boat, including the mother of a senior Vanuatu Government minister, had been drifting in the dark ocean for 48 hours prior to their rescue by the Sun Princess crew. All members of the ship’s crew showed exceptional courage as they risked their own lives to save those in need.
Sun Princess’ intrepid Captain Diago immediately responded to their distress signal, veering off course and into the open ocean in search of the lost boat. He ordered all lights to be turned off, so that his crew could spot even the slightest pin prick of light in the ink black night. After some time scanning the darkness through rain and fog, one of his crew spotted a light in the distance. Racing at a full speed of 22 knots, Captain Diago and his crew finally reached the boat after 45 minutes of searching, coming to the rescue of the missing people 50 miles north of Santo, and ending their two days of terror. Captain Diago said: “The elderly woman was overjoyed and we thanked God we found them safe because if we did not, it would take ten days to arrive in the Solomons.”
Deputy Prime Minister of Vanuatu, and minister for Tourism and Trade, Joe Natuman, along with the Minister of Climate Change, Hami Lini, boarded the Sun Princess to personally thank Captain Diago and his crew for their act of heroism. The Deputy Prime Minister presented Captain Diago with a mini tamtam as a small token of their gratitude in a small ceremony witnessed senior tourism and shipping staff. The Captain assured the minister that he was very welcome, as Natuman thanked Princess Cruises for their role not only in this rescue, but also in providing humanitarian aid after Cyclone Pam over a year ago.
Captain Diago returned the Deputy Prime Minister’s gesture by presenting him with a small token of acknowledgement, as the Director of National Disaster Management, Director of Tourism Development, and Managing Director of South Seas Shipping looked on. The Minister of Internal Affairs, whose mother had been rescued, could not be present, but expressed his heartfelt thanks for the safe return of his mother, citing the power of prayer by the people of Vanuatu for turning a tragic day into one of joy.
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Images Sourced Via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Suzumiya Haruka