Monday, November 24, 2008
A cruise ship docked 24 hours late in Australia Sunday after taking a detour to rescue four people from a sunken yacht. The Pacific Sun, a P&O vessel, received a distress signal from the Sambaluka, which had struck a reef in the Coral Sea, the Brisbane Times reported. The ship was on the way back to Brisbane after a 7-day cruise to New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands and Vanuatu. Capt. Justin Lawes said this was his third rescue but his first while in command. One of his main concerns was how accurately his charts described the area."There's always an element of risk and danger involved in any rescue operation," he said. "We were using charts last surveyed in 1974, but some waters around Australia haven't been surveyed since Captain Cook's time." Mark Iaconetti of New Zealand , captain of the Sambaluka, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. the reef he hit did not appear on the charts he was using. He and the others on the yacht, another New Zealander and a French couple, were able to survive because a French rescue plane dropped a life raft.