Sea-Fever blog


High School Tall Ship Concordia Sinks Off Brazil by Peter A. Mello
February 19, 2010, 12:13 pm
Filed under: Education, Experience, life, sail training, tall ships | Tags: , , ,

I will continue to update this post with articles about the sinking of the Concordia. There’s a lot of duplicate content out there so I’ll do my best to curate the best, most relevant. While I am a huge fan of the Class Afloat program you may see posts with different opinions since I think examining this incident from different perspectives can be valuable and instructive. Thanks for visiting and please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment below.

Why I created this long post about Concordia sinking Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 24, 2010

Update March 24, 2010

Student Survival Story from High School Tall Ship Concordia Sinking (video) Sea-Fever blog – March 24, 2010

Update March 15, 2010

Sinking of ship and skiing out of bounds not similar Calgary Herald March 15. 2010

Class Afloat plans to sail again Calgary Herald March 12, 2010

Safety board interviews Concordia captain, officers The Chronicle Herald March 12, 2010

Students granted free use of town recreation facilities SouthshoreNow March 8, 2010

GME EPIRB credited for saving all 64 in schoolship sinking SailWorld.com March 8, 2010

Survivor talks of shipwreck experience Battle Creek Enquirer March 4, 2010

Canadian TSB Investigates The Sinking Of Concordia Off The Coast Of Brazil The Gov Monitor March 3, 2010

Bearspaw student reflects on shipwreck experience Cochrane Eagle March 3, 2010

Crew waited 40 hours for rescue: Concordia officer Toronto Sun – March 3, 2010

Tall ship passed stability testing, owners say Globe and Mail March 2, 2010

Class Afloat Sails On Southshore Now – March 1, 2010

BC Man Helped Others Off Sinking Ship WoodTV8 – Feb. 28, 2010

Buoyed by Coverage Calgary Herald – Feb. 28, 2010

Update Feb. 27, 2010 11:00 EST

Young heroes surfaced in high seas ordeal – Emergency training aboard tall ship helped produce maritime miracle Calgary Herald – Feb. 27, 2010

Ship Sinks, West Michigan Man Helps Passengers Evacuate FOX17 – Feb 26, 2010

Update Feb. 26, 2010 8:00 PM EST

Class Afloat to celebrate safe return – Reception planned to reunite students, staff who survived sinking of SV Concordia Chronicle Herald – Feb. 26, 2010

Safety, preparation go together EMC South Ottawa – Feb. 26, 2010 *must read!

Back on land, but not for good TVNZ – Feb. 26, 2010

Local teenager’s sailing trip abroad ends in open water NC Advertiser – Feb. 26, 2010

Sailing days over, says wreck survivor CBCNews – Feb. 26, 2010

Update Feb. 25, 2010 10:00 PM EST

Interview with Tall Ship Concordia Captain Bill Curry on Sinking Sea-Fever blog Feb. 25, 2010

Update Feb. 25, 2010 noon EST

Whitehorse girl home from tall-ship ordeal CBCNews Feb. 25, 2010

How to be prepared when disaster strikes The Globe and Mail – Feb. 25, 2010

Tall ship crew well-prepared for emergency, says survivor from Gatineau Ottawa Citizen – Feb. 25, 2010

The Sailing Yacht Concordia (Tall ship) due to call at Tristan da Cunha in March sinks off Brazil The Tristan Times (Brazil) Feb. 25, 2010

Tall ship sinking probe focuses on response time TheStar.com – Feb. 24, 2010

Cowichan Bay student at home after shipwreck off Brazil Times Colonist – Feb. 24, 2010

Agency investigating sinking of Concordia to interview ship’s captain this week MetroNews Vancouver – Feb. 24, 2010

Captain of sunken ship to face questions The Edmonton Sun – Feb. 24. 2010

Update Feb. 24, 2010 noon EST

Local native has ties to sunken SV Concordia Standard Freeholder Feb. 24, 2010

Local teen survived tall ship disaster Northumberland Today – Feb. 24. 2010

Class Afloat Ponders the Future The Chronicle Herald – Feb. 24, 2010

Survivors tell tales of 40-hour ordeal at sea The Windsor Star – Feb. 21 2010

NZ student on way home after boat capsized Otago Daily Times – Feb. 24, 2010

West Van teen survives 38-hour life raft ordeal North Shore News – Feb. 24, 2010

Class Afloat prof recounts shipwreck MetroNews.ca – Feb. 23, 2010

Grandmother relieved after hearing from granddaughter who was aboard SV Concordia The News (Pictou) Feb. 23, 2010

Incident Photo of The Week – Tall Ship Capsizes, Students Rescued At Sea gCaptain – Feb. 23, 2010

Update Feb. 23, 2010 11:00 PM EST

Brazilian navy faults Canadian ship for sinking The Montreal Gazette – Feb. 23, 2010

Could the Brig Prince William Replace the Barkentine Concordia Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 23, 2010

The Story Behind the Story Lloyd’s List Feb. 24, 2010

Two MOL-owned Woodchip Carriers Rescue Shipwrecked Students PRLog – Feb. 23, 2010

Probe to shed light on sinking of S.V. Concordia The Globe and Mail Feb. 23, 2010

Update Feb.23, 2010 6:00 PM EST

Lost-at-sea student describes 41 hours on life raft Peace Arch News – Feb. 23, 2010

Trenton teacher survives ship sinking Trentonian – Feb.23, 2010

N.S. teacher stays calm on rough seas – The Chronicle Herald – Feb. 22, 2010

Emotional bonds forged during 40 hours adrift at sea Calgary Herald – Feb. 23, 2010

Unanswered questions about the sinking Globe and Mail – Feb. 23, 2010

Update Feb. 23, 2010 10:00 AM EST

Concordia Liferafts via AMVER blog courtesy of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd

Concordia Rescue Photos via AMVER Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 23, 2010

Exclusive photos of the Concordia rescue – AMVER blog – Feb. 23, 2010

Dead calm to screaming winds – South Atlantic weather changes in seconds, says Brazilian sailor The Chronicle Herald Feb. 23, 2010

‘I didn’t think we would be rescued': British teenager reveals how she spent two days in a lifeboat in middle of Atlantic after tall ship capsized – DailyMail – Feb. 23, 2010

Tall Ship Teens Saved After Two Days In Ocean SkyNews – Feb. 23, 2010

Concordia’s Voyage and Sinking (Graphic from The Globe and Mail) Sea-Fever blog Feb. 23, 2010

Raising children entails exposing them to risk – Vancouver Sun Feb. 23, 2010

Update Feb. 22, 2010 10:00 PM EST

First-hand account of the sinking of the Concordia Globe and Mail Feb. 22, 2010

Former Acadia prof recounts sinking of SV Concordia The Chronicle Herald – Feb. 22, 2010

Calgary teen watched ship go down CBCNews – Feb. 22, 2010

Two rainy nights singing Disney: How Class Afloat survived at sea National Post – Feb. 22, 2010

Burlington teen recounts shipwreck ordeal TheStar.com – Feb. 22, 2010

Islander safe after ship sinks off Brazil The Guardian – Feb. 22, 2010

Teen home after 41 hours on a life raft Peace Arch News – Feb. 22, 2010

Rescued teens reunited with families at Pearson (+video) TheStar.com – Feb. 22, 2010

Concordia, AMVER, EPIRBs and At Sea Rescues Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 22, 2010

more about “Students Survive Two Days at Sea – CB…”, posted with vodpod

Update Feb. 22, 2010 Noon EST

Interview with Ben Strong of the United States AMVER unit regarding epirbs and at sea rescues.

AMVER (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System) website | blog | Twitter | iPhone App

Update Feb. 22, 2010 9:00 AM EST

School awaits investigation into ship sinking CBCNews Feb. 22, 2010

Students who survived ship sinking arrive back home CTVEdmonton Feb. 22, 2010

Parents of rescued students say full tale of ordeal yet to be told Calgary Herald – Feb. 22, 2010

Students who survived ship sinking arrive at Pearson TheStar.com – Feb. 22, 2010

Rescue light in sky ‘best feeling in world’ for shipwrecked group Vancouver Sun – Feb. 22, 2010

British teenager saved after drifting for two days in Atlantic on a lifeboat London Evening Standard – Feb. 22, 2010

Update Feb. 21, 2010 10:00 PM EST

Message from Class Afloat About Returning Concordia Students – Feb. 21, 2010

Class Afloat program classes to continue Calgary Sun – Feb. 21. 2010

Concordia Timeline: From Abandon Ship to RescueSea-Fever blog via Calgary Herald – Feb. 21. 2010

Shipwrecked teens to reunite with families in Toronto – Toronto Sun – Feb. 21, 2010

Update Feb. 21, 2010 8:00 PM EST

Survivor tells sister of ship ordeal The National – Feb. 21, 2010

Uncertainty over whether sea school program will continue after ‘miracle at sea’ Calgary Herald – Feb. 21, 2010

High school on the open seas – Globe and Mail – Feb. 21, 2010

Update Feb. 21, 2010 3:00 PM EST

Brazil defends its search efforts in shipwreck - The Washington Post – Feb. 21, 2010

Shipwrecked students drifted in rafts for 24 hours – News3 New Zealand – Feb. 21, 2010

Survivors of Canadian ship sinking prepare for return home from Brazil The Canadian Press – Feb. 21, 2010

Update Feb. 21, 2010 12:00 EST

Survival Stories: Pride of Baltimore Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 21, 2010

Update Feb. 21, 2010 9:00 AM EST

Concordia, sailing ships and microbursts Sea-Fever blog – Feb. 21, 2010

Domino effect of bad luck led to sinking The Globe and Mail Feb. 21, 2010

Survivors tell tales of 40-hour ordeal at sea – Vancouver Sun – Feb. 21, 2010

Ship’s survivors recall scramble to safety The Globe and Mail – Feb. 21, 2010

Class Afloat attracted only top students Calgary Herald – Feb. 20, 2010

Update Feb. 20, 2010 10:00 PM EST

Shipwrecked Students Feared Remote Death at Sea New York Times Feb. 20, 2010

64 People from Shipwrecked Canadian Sailboat Concordia Arrived Safe in Rio Latin American Herald Tribune Feb. 20, 2010

Update Feb. 20, 2010 8:00 PM EST

“It was like the Titanic” Passengers drifted for 30 hours before rescue TheStar.com Feb. 20, 2010

Update Feb. 20, 2010 5:30 PM EST

We’ve made it! British teenagers survive 40-hour ordeal after ship is sunk by towering waves Mail Online Feb. 20, 2010

Update Feb. 20, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Ship sinking was like the Titanic, student tells dad The Star.com Feb. 20, 2010

Survivors say Canadian tall ship sank in minutes (video/audio)  CTV Edmonton – Feb. 20, 2010

Captain of floating university: Sudden ‘microburst’ knocked ship onto side off Brazilian coast The Canadian Press – Feb. 20, 2010

Scorza AFP Getty images

Rescued Canadians dock in Rio – The Globe and Mail – Feb. 20, 2010

Rescued students arrive in Rio - CBC News – Feb. 20, 2010

Training helped save students as Canadian ship sank: teacher The Star.com – Feb. 20, 2010

‘Absolute nightmare’ ends well for students Edmonton Journal – Feb. 20, 2010

Canadian agency won’t play big role in probe The Chronicle Herald – Feb 20, 2010

Updated  Feb. 19, 2010 – 11:00 PM EST

Students safe after capsizing of N.S.-based ship CBC – Feb. 19, 2010

Canadian School Ship Sinks Off Brazil; All Rescued NPR – Feb. 19, 2010

Updated Feb. 19, 2010 – 10:00 PM EST There is still so little information available about what happened but the following story at least let’s us know that some communication has occurred with the captains of both the Concordia and the rescuing ship and that there are no serious injuries. The rest at this point is all speculation and conjecture. One thing that we do know for sure is that going to sea has always been and will always be fraught with risk and that’s one of the reasons why the experience can be so powerful.

Nova Scotia school ship sinks off Brazil; all safe but parents want answers The Canadian Press – Feb. 19, 2010

——————————————-

Very sad news today about the sinking of the high school tall ship Concordia sinking off the coast of Brazil in heavy weather. Thankfully all students and crew were rescued.

This story is still developing so not a lot of details are available; however, here are a few news reports.

Students rescued from sinking ship – CBC News Feb. 19, 2010

Canadian students ‘safe’ after boat capsizes off Brazil – TheStar.com Feb. 19, 2010

64 rescued after ‘catastrophic problems’ strike Canadian ship off Brazil – The Gazette – Feb. 19, 2010

I’ve posted about Concordia’s amazing program in the past and know the former owner and several of the captains and crew from my American Sail Training Association days. If you are not familiar with the Concordia or Class Afloat, please take a few minutes to watch this video about their amazing life forming programs for young students.

During a time when so many sail training vessels and tall ships are experiencing challenges, this is even more sad news. Concordia was a wonderful ship that did great work over the years and she will be sorely missed.

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12 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thanks for the great blog and keeping everyone informed. I have now worked with Class Afloat for 8 years and want to assure everyone that the students are all doing really well. They are a tight crew, who have rebounded remarkably well. They are together, here at our academy in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia where they continue their schooling and journey together. These are remarkable young people and their stories are even more heroic than anyone can imagine. I’m very proud to be involved with this program and with the quality of youth that we consistently encounter on the program. Thanks again,

Comment by bio12blog

Thank you, Peter, for keeping this up.

Comment by Robert Rustchak

Thanks for putting all of this together. My daughter was scheduled to leave on the Concordia in Sept 2010 for first year (10 months) university. She will now be going for second semester only, starting in Jan 2011. This has been a 3 year dream. Losing the Concordia is like losing a friend. We have pictures of her everywhere.

Comment by UrbanMagpie

[...] schoolers had to abandon ship and await rescue from life rafts afloat in ocean. I agree with the sea-fever.org blog in that everyone may not be a fan of the Class Afloat program but I believe it is an [...]

Pingback by Canadian Class Afloat Ship Sinks – The StarboardRail

On the very same day the Concordia sank off the coast of Brazil, my 20-year old daughter was boarding a similar tall ship in Key West, Florida, along with 21 other American college students, for a six-week sail in the Caribbean, during which they will be learning to crew the boat and conducting oceanographic research. I learned about the sinking of the Concordia two days later, and have been glued to this blog since then, closely following the details of an experience that seems to have played out in an uncomfortably close parallel universe. This is a truly amazing story of survival, made possible because of the knowledge, training, and discipline of those aboard the Concordia, the power of the community they created together, and the generous assistance provided by the rescuers. I have found it to be enormously moving. Thank you, Peter.

Comment by June

Thank you Peter for putting that list of links together.
I have sailed on Concordia 5 years in a capacity of her 2nd and 1st mate. (1995-2000) I have sailed on her 125,000 Nm, so I know the ship and the program very well.
As in any case of any maritime or aviation incident I see a sudden prolifeartion of “experts” publishing opinions from the comfort of their armchairs. No-one knows today what has happened there… We WILL know – that’s what investigative commissions are for. Before that – everything is a speculation. There are, right now, 64 different stories what have happened, they must be all put together into one.

What I personally think is that ONLY top preparedness and drilling a lot – as was a solid practice on Concordia since 1992 – prevented loss of life. Like in landing a jet on Hudson river over a year ago there were hundreds of things that could go wrong in the mayhem that must have followed the knock-down. The crew of Concordia – all 64 of them are my collective hero of the incident.

As for SAR action critique – all I can say: it was ONLY 30 hours. The whole system worked as it was designed: EPIRB – Satellite – RCC – SAR Aircraft – Local merchant ships – Brazilian Navy.

The society got conditioned to expect wars without casualties, surgeries without complications, and seafaring with no risks… We have managed to reduce many of them, but from time to time we are reminded that Mother Nature is still in control. The sea teaches humility and acceptance of inevitability of certain risks. One must be well prepared to face them – as Concordia’s crew did – but expecting that one can eliminate all the risks at sea is just a folly.

Comment by Wojtek (Voytec) Wacowski

Great to have your experience with and knowledge of the vessel here. I totally agree that it’s way too early to come to any conclusions on what happened.

Man will never build a ship can’t sink or a plane that can’t crash. Life is full of risks at sea, in the air, on land, and even at home. We just have to do our best to manage the risks and live our lives. Thankfully, that’s what happened aboard Concordia.

Comment by Peter A. Mello

Voytec you just made me realize that I really am one of those demanding Americans. I kept wondering why it took so long to rescue them, but you’re right; 30 hours is nothing compared to what it COULD have been, 300 miles off South America in a storm, with NO epirb.

Comment by Kim

Kim;

You might want to listen to the brief interview with Ben Strong from the US Coast Guard’s AMVER unit that I just posted above (Feb. 22 noon) regarding what happens when an epirb goes off.

It’s still such early days in investigating and analyzing an incident like this. I’m trying to use this post to aggregate information that will hopefully serve as a resource to those who want to learn more about the incident with the ultimate goal of improving safety at sea for all mariners.

Sea-Fever also has a lot of readers who don’t go to sea for a living but still are interested in learning more. Trying to serve them too.

Finally, thanks for placing Sea-Fever so prominently on Jack Tar magazine and keep up the great work over there and at sea!
(http://jacktarmagazine.blogspot.com)

Comment by Peter A. Mello

I sailed on Concordia the summer of 2001, just for a few weeks. I’m sad to see her go, and I will always take with me the lessons I learned while sailing. I am going to grad. school right now and I was hoping to one day teach aboard Concordia. Glad to hear everyone is safe, and alive.

Comment by becca

It ofcourse is a very sad news about the sinking. The tragedy is that such ships can’t even be replaced now.

Great that everyone got out though! Must have been a tough rescue.

Velu

Comment by velu

I echo your comments about the Concordia. I was deeply saddened by the news, but it is a credit to the discipline and training on board that everyone survived. My sons both spent a year with Class Afloat. The experiences that they had will stay with them all their lives. Their growth in terms of maturity and skills was remakable.

Comment by Anne Tournay




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