Concordia Rescue Photos via AMVER

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

The AMVER blog has posted several photos sent to them by program member Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd.,  managers of the Hokuetsu Delight and Crystal Pioneer. Both vessels played a lead role in rescuing the 64 students and crew of the Canadian training ship Concordia which sank off the coast of Brazil last Wednesday, February 17th.

Being that IMO has designated 2010 “The Year of the Seafarer” these photos celebrate not only the success of the rescue but also the importance of enrolling in the AMVER program and looking out for fellow mariners.

You do not need to be a large commercial ship to be part of AMVER. Many smaller vessels like Concordia and the Sea Education Association’s SSV Corwith Cramer and SSV Robert C. Seamans participate too. If you own or operate a commericial vessel, do yourself and the entire maritime community a favor and sign up today!

To learn more about what AMVER does check outConcordia, AMVER, EPIRBs and At Sea Rescues and listen to episode 36 of the Messing About In Ships podcast You can also check them out on their website,  blog Twitter and download their iPhone App. No excuses to be informed and get involved!

Concordia’s Voyage and Sinking (Graphic from The Globe and Mail)

Concordia casualty graphic from The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail has a very useful graphic explaining how a microburst might have knocked Concordia down and caused her to sink.  Good article too. How a Fist of Wind Pushed Concordia Down. (Feb. 22, 2010)

Concordia, AMVER, EPIRBs and At Sea Rescues

AMVER logoThis morning I had the good fortune to speak with Ben Strong from the US Coast Guard’s AMVER unit. (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System) AMVER is a voluntary system where commercial ships report their positions so that they can assist in at sea rescues.

Let’s face it, the oceans are vast and boats, no matter how big, are still small. If something happens out there and you need some help, there’s a good chance that the first responder will be a commercial ship. An added benefit of participating in the system is that regular position reporting will help you to be found if you encounter some kind of catastrophic event at sea.

Ben confirmed that all three vessels involved in the Concordia rescue were enrolled in the AMVER program. (Concordia, Hokuetsu Delight and Crystal Pioneer) AMVER blog post: Concordia update- Amver ships save school children in high seas rescue

Here’s my discussion with Ben about EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) and rescues at sea.

If you want to learn more about AMVER, listen to episode 36 of the Messing About In Ships podcast and check them our on their website,  blog Twitter and download their  iPhone App.

Message from Class Afloat About Returning Concordia Students

The following message appeared this evening on the Class Afloat website:

Our Students Teachers and Professional Mariners mustered together this morning for their final colors led by the Captain of the Concordia.

The whole crew arrived at the hotel last night.  According to an Alumni parent who was on scene for the evening our students were bedraggled but happy and full of energy.  First step off the bus was into the dining hall where all were well fed. From there, they moved into a large conference room that had been set up with chairs and tables. Small groups were then taken to a side room where they were first screened and quickly assessed for medical checkups and/or a chat with a trained psychologist. There were two doctors and two psychologists who attended to all.

Boxes of clothes were brought in by the Embassy that had been contributed by the Brazilian Navy and today, through the ship’s agent, additional clothes will be distributed for the trip home.

The story that is slowly emerging from our students and professional staff is of the heroic communal effort that saved all aboard.  Students, well drilled in the emergency procedures of the vessel, helped one another and the professional crew in the extraordinary evacuation.   That all were saved is a testament to the training, equipment  and professionalism of our shipboard community.

Arrival of the Canadian contingent of the crew cannot yet be confirmed by our office.  Class Afloat understands the need of the press to continue to tell this story; however, it should be clear to all concerned that when the children arrive, that reuniting with their parents must be first and foremost.

Nigel McCarthy 902-634-1895

Concordia Timeline: From Abandon Ship to Rescue

The Calgary Herald published a timeline of events from the Concordia casualty to rescue.

Wednesday, Feb. 17

2:30 p.m. – A distress signal goes out from the Concordia

9:00 p.m. – Brazilian navy receives alert.  Navy officials spend 18 hours confirming what ship sent the signal, whose flag it was under. Confirms location, attempts radio contact with the Concordia. Contacts the school — is informed the last contact with the ship did not indicate any problem.

Thursday, Feb. 18

2:30 p.m. – Brazilian navy asks air force to do a flyover of the area and alerts merchant ships in the region. Stormy seas prevail.

5:00  p.m. – Brazilian air force spots lifeboats.

9:00 p.m. – Merchant ships Crystal Pioneer and Hokuetsu Delight told to go to location. Stormy seas, bad weather continue.

Friday, Feb. 19

4:00 a.m. – Crystal Pioneer spots lifeboats — due to darkness and high seas, waits to pluck the survivors to safety.

7:00 a.m. – The relieved passengers start boarding the Crystal Pioneer and Hokuetsu Delight.

9:00 a.m. – Last lifeboat located, passengers transferred to Hokuetsu Delight.

Saturday . Feb. 20 – All 64 students, teachers and crew arrive safely in Rio de Janeiro

Sources: Nigel McCarthy and The Brazilian Navy

Survival Stories: Pride of Baltimore

It’s tough to imagine what was going through the minds of the young students of the tall ship Concordia during the 40 hours spent in life rafts riding turbulent seas after their ship, school and home capsized and sank 500 miles off the coast of Brazil last Wednesday.

On May 14, 1986, the topsail schooner Pride of Baltimore also sailed into a microburst and sank.  Tragically, she lost 4 souls. Next time you are in Baltimore you can visit the monument honoring the lives of Captain Armin Elsaesser 42;  Engineer Vincent Lazarro, 27; Carpenter Barry Duckworth, 29 and Seaman Nina Schack, 23.

To get an idea of what might have been going through the minds of the Concordia sail trainees, watch this video of  the Pride of Baltimore survivors telling their harrowing sea stories. The video quality is poor but it’s really the audio that’s more important.

Concordia, sailing ships and microbursts

Captain William Curry of the high school tall ship Concordia that sank on Wednesday reports that his ship was a victim of a weather phenomenon called a microburst. However, Concordia is not the first victim of this type of extreme weather.

On May 14, 1986, the topsail schooner Pride of Baltimore sailed into a microburst 250 nautical miles of Puerto Rico, capsized and tragically lost 4 of her crew.

On May 2, 1961, the brigantine Albatross also encountered a microburst 125 nautical miles of the Dry Tortugas and sank almost instantly taking 7 souls including 5 high school students. In 1996 Jeff Bridges starred in the Ridley Scott movie White Squall which is a fictionalized account of the Albatross story.

In order to get a better understanding of both of these incidents, pick up a copy of Captain Daniel Parrott’s book, Tall Ships Down : The Last Voyages of the Pamir, Albatross, Marques, Pride of Baltimore, and Maria Asumpta which does a great job analyzing these and several other tall ships catastrophes. You can also find it on Google Books.

Here’s a video of  Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Dan Gudgel, National Weather Service, Hanford, CA describing a microburst and it’s cause and effect. Make sure you stick with the video to the very end in order to see the incredible power and speed of these types of weather events.

Last year the Dallas Cowboys training facility was the victim of a microburst and this weather report video does also does a great job in explaining how microbursts occur.

Here’s raw video of the incident as it unfolds.

It’s not hard to imagine how a sudden powerful weather event like this could have caused a stout sailing ship like Concordia to capsize. It’s really a miracle that this didn’t happen in the middle of the night when students would not have been in above deck classes with easier and quicker access to escape the sinking ship.

High School Tall Ship Concordia Sinks Off Brazil

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

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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

Vodpod videos no longer available. 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

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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.