Swedes rescued in rough seas off Portugal

Four Swedish sailors were rescued in a dramatic high seas operation off the coast of Portugal on Saturday.

The stranded sailors, which included two men and two women, sent a distress call from their Sun Chaser sail boat which was picked up by a nearby ship, according to a statement by the US Coast Guard.

The signal was carried over the US Coast Guard-sponsored Amver-system which helps determine which nearby ships can best respond to maritime emergencies.

The rescuing ship, an 800-foot Greek tanker named Parthenon, was able to maneuver through rough weather to the troubled sailboat, about 84 miles off of Portuguese coast, while at the same time alerting rescue officials on the mainland.

“The [Swedish] sailors radioed the rescue helicopter and said they could not abandon ship in the rough weather because their lifeboat had been ripped from the sailboat and drifted away,” said the ship’s captain, Vasileiadis Lazaros, according to the US Coast Guard.

But bad weather prevented the helicopter from safely taking up the sailors, leaving the rescue operation up to the captain of the massive Greek tanker.

“I ordered the Sun Chaser to make fast to our port side amidships and had the crew lay down the pilot ladder,” said Captain Lazaros.

Shortly after lowering the ladder, the first survivor was safely on board the Parthenon, and within three hours all four had been rescued.

The four stranded Swedes were later taken ashore in Portugal where they were met by Portuguese officials.


Norwegian authorities tow stray cargo ship to safety

Norwegian maritime authorities said late Wednesday that they had begun towing a Dutch cargo ship that was drifting dangerously towards the coast after the crew were forced to abandon it.

Norwegian authorities tow stray cargo ship to safety
JRRC South Norway / AFP

The 12-man crew of the “Eemslift Hendrika” was rescued Monday in a challenging two-stage operation after they issued a distress call while steaming from Bremerhaven in Germany to the Norwegian port of Kolvereid.

The cargo ship was carrying several smaller vessels, and began to list after high winds and huge waves displaced some of its cargo.

The “Eemslift Hendrika” also suffered an engine failure and started drifting towards the Norwegian coastline.

WATCH: Norwegian Rescue services evacuated crew from ship adrift at sea 

Eight of its crew members were airlifted by helicopter from the cargo ship’s deck by Norwegian rescue services but the last four had to jump into
the water to be plucked from the sea.

Video images showed strong waves rocking the ship as it listed to the starboard (right) side.

Towing operations were due to have begun Thursday, but the ship deviated from its predicted trajectory and drifted even closer towards the coast,
prompting maritime authorities to rush into action.

“The tow is now attached,” the Norwegian Coastal Administration(Kystverket) said on its website late Wednesday. “The risk of grounding has
been averted.”

On Thursday, the “Eemslift Hendrika” was being towed slowly towards the Norwegian port of Alesund and Kystverket said “no particular challenges” had been encountered overnight.