The VLCC (very large crude carrier) DS Crown that changed names in Halifax last week and sailed for Falmouth, UK on July 7 was the nearest ship to another vessel in distress.
The container ship MSC Flaminia a post-Panamax vessel of 6,732 TEU capacity experienced an explosion in one of the container stacks. The ensuing fire caused the crew to abandon ship in mid-Atlantic, reportedly 1,000 miles from any coast based helicopters, and thus well beyond range.
Of the 25 crew aboard the ship, one is reported missing and four are injured. They have been (or will be) transferred to MSC Stella which will land them in the Azores.
Other details are scant at this time, but it would seem unlikely that sufficient fire fighting resources could be found in time to save the container ship.
One can only imagine the difficulty in assisting small boats from the VLCC with its immense freeboard. The liferaft and lifeboat used by the MSC Flaminia crew would be smaller than the two pleasure craft shown in the following picture. It was also reported that there were 1 meter high seas and significant wind at the time of abandoning ship. The ony advantage would be that the giant ship could create a very good lee (wind break) for rescue operations.