Tall Ship Abandoned – Nine Rescued from Canadian Schooner Off Massachusetts

A crewmember leaps from the Canadian Tall Ship Liana's Ransom 58 miles east of Gloucester, Monday, March 30, 2015. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard
A crewmember leaps from the Canadian Tall Ship Liana’s Ransom 58 miles east of Gloucester, Monday, March 30, 2015. Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued all nine crewmembers from the Canadian tall ship Liana’s Ransom 58 miles east of Gloucester, Massachusetts on Monday.

As of Monday night the vessel was abandoned but being tracked by the Coast Guard.

According to the USCG, watchstanders at the Sector Boston Command Center received notification at 12:35 a.m. Monday that the vessel’s engines were disabled and its sails were wrapped around the mast.

With seas reaching nearly 10 feet, the coast guard launched two 47-foot motor lifeboat crews from Station Gloucester to tow the vessel back to Gloucester. Once on scene, the boat crews connected the tow, but the rough seas caused the tow line to break.

The lifeboats crews then directed the crew of Liana’s Ransom to don immersion suits and to prepare to abandon ship about 30 miles east of Gloucester. A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod was also diverted to assist.

The nine crewmembers were then transferred from Liana’s Ransom to the lifeboats. One man suffered a head injury while leaping from the tall ship to one of the lifeboats.

The injured crewmember was airlifted to Massachusetts General Hospital while the eight others returned to Gloucester aboard the lifeboats.

A locator beacon was left on Liana’s Ransom for tracking and the Coast Guard Cutter Ocracoke is en-route to evaluate towing the vessel to port, the Coast Guard said.

“It was fortunate for the crew of the vessel that the owner reached out to us,” said Jay Woodhead, the command duty officer at Sector Boston’s Command Center. Winds were gusting to 30 knots, making it unsafe for them to stay aboard, Woodhead said.

The 85-foot, steel hulled schooner is based out of Nova Scotia and is a replica 1700’s and early 1800’s-era pirate ship.

Last December, the vessel was dismasted during a storm off Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia. The vessel had just finished repairs and was headed to its homeport of St Maarten in the Caribbean when Monday’s incident occurred.

The vessel was built in 2005 in Texas and can carry 70 passengers.

Update: A statement from the vessel’s owner posted to Liana’s Ransom facebook page on Tuesday confirmed that everyone is safe and that they are hopeful that the towing operation will go smoothly:

Schooner Liana’s Ransom departed Nova Scotia Friday evening, 27 March 2015 bound for the Caribbean. Enroute she suffered a full power failure, and yesterday, approximately 34 miles east of Gloucester, Massachusetts, Captain Ryan Tilley, in consultation with the US Coast Guard, made the decision to evacuate the crew for their safety.

One crew member suffered a concussion during the evacuation. Arrangements have been made with Towboat USA to have the vessel towed into the nearest harbour.

My thanks to the professionalism and promp response of the US Coast Guard who had been montoring the situation for some time. Captain Ryan Tilley made the the right call in the best interests of his crew, and as a father I am very proud of the way he and his crew handled the situation.

As befits a Captain he was the last crew to depart the vessel, ensuring all water tight doors and hatches were closed before he disembarked.

Thank you to everyone for your concern! At this time we can happily report that everyone is safe and secure ashore! We are hopeful that the tow operation goes well!