German Cruise Ship Crew Saves Bystander Who Fell Off a Pier

Heligoland's northern pier, lower left, and south harbor, upper right (Pegasus2 / CC BY SA 3.0)

Published Jun 10, 2021 8:11 PM by The Maritime Executive

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the crew of the Hapag-Lloyd cruise ship Hanseatic Inspiration helped rescue a man who fell off a pier and into the cold North Sea waters at the island of Heligoland. 

At about 0300 hours, the crew of the 140-meter cruise ship heard screams in the water near the pier. They contacted the nearby rescue vessel Hermann Marwede of the German Maritime Search and Rescue Association (DGzRS), which was moored at the island's southern port and less than one nautical mile away. The crew of the Marwede launched their daughter craft, the rescue boat Verena, which made best speed to the site of the casualty. 

The Hanseatic Inspiration's crew lit up the scene with her spotlight, and the three responders aboard the Verena spotted a man floating in the water. They pulled him on board and found that he was already severely hypothermic. He couldn't say how long he had been in the water, which had a temperature of about 55 degrees F (13 C).

He was handed over to shoreside rescue services in the south harbor. The Hanseatic Inspiration weighed anchor shortly afterwards and continued her voyage. "If the accident had happened only a little later, the man's calls would probably have gone unheard and he would have drifted out to sea with the ebb current," said DGzRS in a statement. "He owes his salvation to the attentive crew."