September 26, 2019 / 9:24 AM / 23 days ago

P&O cruiseship rescues three men from life raft in Pacific Ocean

MELBOURNE, Sept 26 (Reuters) - A P&O cruise ship has rescued three men from a life raft in the Pacific Ocean near the French protectorate of New Caledonia after it received a rescue request from marine authorities in the capital Noumea, the company said on Thursday.

The three men had been sailing in a yacht that took on water and began listing, forcing them to abandon ship and take to their safety vessel, before they were eventually picked up by the Pacific Dawn cruise liner, P&O Cruises Australia said.

“Captain Alan Dockeray and his fantastic crew honoured the first law of the sea by going to the aid of other seafarers in peril on the ocean,” it said in a post on social media.

A thick rope, drifting in the ocean, had wrecked the yacht’s engine and ripped a hole in the hull of the boat, according to sailor Ben Johnson, in an interview by The Australian newspaper.

“It was just panic stations,” Johnson said. “We had manual pumps, bilge pumps going non-stop.

“I just quickly got on the phone and contacted everybody I could get hold of at that time in the morning. Thankfully, I got hold of my wife.”

Mr Johnson told The Australian that his wife contacted an agent in New Caledonia who alerted P&O.

P&O said the cruiseliner, which is built to carry some 2,000 people, will dock in Brisbane on Saturday. (Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Alison Williams)

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