A British couple, and their dog, along with one Belgian crewman were saved from the ocean after clinging to a life raft for hours amid 25ft waves by the Manx-registered tanker Tilda Kosan after their 49ft yacht Blue Pearl sank in a storm.
Last Thursday (April 24) the Manx-registered gas tanker was sailing from the UK to Mexico when it received a distress call via the United States coastguard.
The ship, loaded with a cargo of gas, was one of three vessels in the vicinity, about 900 miles north west of Bermuda, to respond to the distress call and divert their course to begin the search for the liferaft from the yacht, which had sunk in heavy seas and complete darkness.
The Tilda Kosan was the first ship to find the liferaft and continued with the rescue operation. After three attempts in difficult conditions, Captain Dionisio managed to get his ship alongside and rescue the stranded sailors from their liferaft.
Rescued from the liferaft were a British couple, Leonard and Lisa Rorke, of Oundle in Northamptonshire, a Belgian crewman Henri Worthlater and the couple’s terrier Dexter.
They were helped on board and the ship alerted the coastguard that the rescue was successful and that the ship would drop the rescued crew off in Bermuda.
The rescued were shivering from cold and weak. They were provided with clothes, hot soup and food and allocated cabins to rest.
The attached low-resolution group photograph shows the yacht survivors with the crew (in the centre either side of Mrs Rorke with Dexter, the dog) on the ship’s deck on top of the liferaft which saved their lives.
Mr Rorke, a computer technician, told a UK newspaper: ‘I cannot find words to adequately describe how skilful the captain was in getting alongside us.
‘We were being tossed around in the life raft and literally clinging on for our lives.
‘We really did not think we were going to live,’ said the 55-year-old. ‘It is nothing short of a miracle that we are still here and have survived.’
Dick Welsh, director of the Isle of Man Ship Registry, said: ‘We are very proud of the actions of the master and crew on board the Tilda Kosan.
‘This demonstrates the skills and bravery of ship’s crew to divert from their course to rescue stricken sailors in very difficult conditions.
‘As soon as a mayday alert is received there is never a thought other than to go to the rescue, often in extreme conditions.
‘We are delighted that there was a happy to ending to this incident and commend the captain and his crew for their rescue efforts.’
Most Manx-registered vessels never enter Manx waters.
They join the Manx Shipping Registry for ease of administration and the low registration fee.
It is meant to drum up trade for Manx businesses, including corporate service providers, lawyers and accountants.
The Tilda Kosan is a 1998 built gas tanker capable of carrying 6,387 cubic metres of liquefied gas cargo - length 99m, Gross tonnage 4693 tons. It was first registered in the Isle of Man in 2002.