An elderly Swedish couple were rescued on Wednesday from their dismasted yacht 125 nautical miles (231km) north-east of the Cook Islands.
The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) detected a beacon alert from the 11.2m (37 foot) Blue Horizon at around 5.15pm yesterday (5 August), with satellite phone contact also established with the yacht via the Swedish Joint Rescue Coordination Centre.
RCCNZ Search and Rescue Mission Controller Neville Blakemore said the Swedish couple aboard the yacht – a 69-year-old woman and 70-old-man – feared the broken mast would hole the hull.
An aircraft was dispatched from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Pape’ete in Tahiti to over fly the yacht. It confirmed that the nearest rescue vessel was the tanker Stena Paris, around 150 nautical miles (280km), or 10 hours sailing, away.
'The tanker was diverted to rescue the couple and they were successfully taken aboard, uninjured, at round 9 this morning,' he said.
'Weather conditions were not great, with swells of around 4m, so it was excellent work by the master and crew of the Stena Paris to get the couple aboard without incident. This is a good example of RCCNZ working with a number of overseas agencies to ensure a successful rescue.'
The Stena Paris is now continuing its voyage to Pape’ete.
The yacht has been abandoned, with a warning to shipping issued.