The Amver participating container ship Maersk Missouri rescued an Italian yachtsman 300 miles off the coast of Halifax, Canada on Fathers Day, June 21, 2009. The sailor, Gianfranco Tortolani, was sailing in the Original Single Handed Trans-Atlantic Race from the United Kingdom to Newport, Rhode Island when his sailboat capsized and was demasted.
Gianfranco Tortolani seen from the bridge wing of the Amver participating container ship Maersk Missouri.
Tortolani, aboard the sailboat Cittia De Salerno, activated his emergency beacon which started an international rescue effort involving aircraft from Canada, the United States Coast Guard, and commercial ships.
United States Coast Guard authorities, using Amver search and rescue data, diverted the U.S. flagged container ship Maersk Missouri, which was only a few miles from the distress, to assist.
The Maersk Missouri, managed by Maersk Lines Limited of Virginia Beach, VA, quickly changed course and, despite winds in excess of 20 knots and swells of 16 feet, hoisted the yachtsman aboard the ship.
Safe and Sound
Gianfranco Tortolani being hoisted aboard the Amver participating container ship Maersk Missouri.
"We have him safely on board." was the brief email sent by the master of the Maersk Missouri to Coast Guard rescue authorities after the 67 year old sailor was rescued. The sailboat was left adrift.
Tortolani was taken to the Missouri's next port call, New Jersey, and is now on his way to Newport to celebrate the end of the race.
Are you in the race to Newport? Tell us your thoughts of the rescue.
Photo credit: all photos by the crew of the Maersk Missouri