70 souls saved following extraordinary rescue effort in the Azores

On 6 January 2018, 61 passengers and 9 crew were rescued from Portuguese passenger ferry, Mestre Simão. The 2013 built ferry, which carries up to 340 people in peak season, was travelling between the islands of Faial and Pico when the alarm was raised at 0930 local time signalling its distress.

The Portuguese coastguard and marine police responded to the distress call which was placed near the entrance to Pico Island’s Madalena port in the Portuguese region of the Azores. It is thought that Mestre Simão may have experienced a technical fault, however bad weather with subsequently strong waves are believed to have escalated the situation and forced the ferry to run aground on to rocks. As a result, the ferry was reported to be taking on water following significant hull damage caused by the impact.

The rescue operation lasted approximately 30 minutes and onlookers at the Madalena port captured the moment when the ferry’s emergency evacuation systems were deployed and thankfully all 70 souls rescued.

Transportation firm, Atlanticoline, owners of the Mestre Simão is partnered with Survitec, a world leader in critical safety and survival solutions. The Mestre Simão was equipped with multiple SurvitecZodiac Marine Evacuation Systems (MES); 2 x SuperSlides and 2 x EasyScape Slides. The first of which was utilised by the emergency services to assist with the safe and successful evacuation of passengers into the Survitec Venturi Self Righting 100 Man Liferaft.

"We are extremely proud that our Marine Evacuation Systems could assist the emergency services with their extraordinary rescue efforts in saving so many lives. This is why we exist as a company." says Cyril Stocker, Survitec Chief Operating Officer.

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