On the night of September 25 to 26, while in transit to Guyana from the Canary Islands, the Bourbon Rhode tug and its 14 crew members were hit by the hurricane Lorenzo with exceptional force, generating more than 10-metre waves and winds of over 60 knots, and sank while 1,200 miles off the coast of Martinique.
Combining maritime and air resources, rescue operations, coordinated by West Indies-Guyana Regional Operational Center of Surveillance and Rescue (CROSS) and the French Navy have been part of exceptional measures: 19 commercial vessels covered an area of nearly 200,000 km2, assisted by a Falcon from the French Navy, an aircraft from the American National Hurricane Center (NHC) and a Hercules C130 from the US Coast Guards, that conducted more than 10 search overflights. The French Navy's frigate "Ventôse" and its Panther helicopter were heavily involved, and satellite research was also carried out. According to the CROSS management, this is probably one of the largest sea rescue operations ever deployed in the mid-Atlantic.
As decided by the CROSS, search operations are continuing through an active monitoring during which the CROSS mobilize all vessels transiting in the area to implement an adapted watch.
Today, facts are dramatic: while 3 of our seafarers were rescued, we regret to date the death of 4 of our seafarers while 7 seafarers are still missing.
BOURBON is in mourning. Our thoughts and prayers today go to the memory of our colleagues. Our immediate priority is to stand by their families, to whom we give our full support during these difficult times. For all the group's employees, it is time for recollection. Across the world, on our vessels and in our offices, we have observed a minute of silence on Tuesday, October 15, to honour the memory of our seafarers. In addition, the flags of our vessels have been flown at half-mast for a month. Technical investigations are starting and we are working with all stakeholders to understand the facts and circumstances of this tragedy. Analysis and verification of these facts will take time before coming to a conclusion. Is is a requirement given the gravity of the event, it is a duty to prevent such a drama never happen again.
Our thoughts and prayers go to the seafarers of BOURBON RHODE and their families.