At 10:07 on Saturday July 14, Falmouth Coastguard received the relayed ‘Mayday’ broadcast from the German registered MSC Flaminia reporting that the crew had abandoned the vessel.
Falmouth Coastguard broadcast an alert to all vessels in the area and the nearest vessel which could provide assistance was the oil tanker DS Crown which immediately changed course to intercept the MSC Flaminia. Six other merchant vessels also proceeded to the location to help with the search and rescue operation but were more than six hours from the location.
Rescue helicopters do not have the endurance required to attend an incident of this nature because the vessel was located approximately 1,000 miles from land mid way between the UK and Canada.DS Crown arrived on scene to confirm that the MSC Flaminia was still burning and recovered 24 people from a lifeboat and a liferaft. Four crew had suffered injuries. The injured crew have been transferred to the vessel MSC Stella which will take them to the Azores. One crew member is missing.
The MSC Flaminia is a large container vessel of 75,590 gross tonnage and had 25 people on board with a crew that includes German, Polish and Filipino nationals. Weather conditions on scene were winds force 3-4 with a one metre swell.