Rotterdam Rescues Refugees Off the Coast of Florida
Holland America Line’s Rotterdam was sailing towards Fort Lauderdale, Florida on the evening of November 9 AM when they came across a refugee boat in need of immediate assistance. The ship was able to maneuver to the craft and notify the U.S. Coast Guard. Thirteen people were taken aboard the Rotterdam for wellness checks conducted by the ship’s medical team, along with supplying the refugees with food, accommodations and support. Later in the evening, they were transferred to a U.S. Coast Guard facility for continued assistance.
Lieutenant Commander Ryan Wester, Commanding Officer of the William Flores, sent a message to Rotterdam Captain, Bas Van Dreumel, thanking him for the help:”Your efforts by Elbow Cay, Bahamas, undoubtedly saved the lives of 13 mariners tonight. With Hurricane Nicole bearing down on the east coast of Florida, maritime conditions this evening were especially unforgivable. By your swift action and sound seamanship, 13 individuals can call themselves survivors tonight.”
Rotterdam was originally scheduled to depart from Fort Lauderdale at the time of rescue, but was instead at sea waiting out Tropical Storm Nicole.