Photo shows the SSI Excellentin an outer rainband of Hurricane Lorenzo, taken during a NOAA43 SAR mission on 27 September 2019
An investigation is ongoing into the 2019 sinking of a tug boat registered in Luxembourg in which 11 out of 14 crew members perished.
The Bourbon Rhode sank in the Atlantic Ocean while in transit from the Canary Islands to Guyana on 26 September 2019.
The complexity of the investigation and consequences of the pandemic have delayed the publication of the safety investigation report. In an interim report published on 15 April, Luxembourg’s Administration for Technical Investigations recorded that the vessel fell foul of hurricane Lorenzo, which changed track.
The tropical storm force winds led the Bourbon Rhode to roll heavily. At 6am, the crew was alerted to flooding in the Z-drive compartment. Efforts to pump and then remove water with buckets were not successful.
The crew sent a distress alert at 7:50am. All engines and generators ceased working at 12:38pm. “The survivors reported they saw the vessel sinking shortly after they abandoned ship,” the report read.
Five crew members held onto the external lifeline of an overturned life raft. Three were rescued two days later, on 28 September. Two were washed away during the hurricane. Of the 11 who died, the bodies of four deceased were recovered during the search and rescue operations, which lasted 16 days and involved 20 vessels and 15 overflights.
An August 2020 report found that in unfavourable conditions, the watertightness of the anchor handling systems was compromised. Inspections of other handling systems in the fleet found similar safety issues. The report recommended that an additional safety barrier be put in place.
The safety investigation will be concluded with the publication of a final report.