November 2, 2000
The crew of Royal Caribbean International's Splendour of the Seas will be honored tonight, Thursday, for its heroic efforts in rescuing 11 crew members of a sunken cargo ship in stormy seas.
The crew will receive the New York Council Navy League's AMVER Award (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System) at the League's annual black-tie anniversary dinner in New York. Splendour of the Seas is the first cruise ship to receive this award, presented only in those years when a rescue at sea of appropriate significance takes place. The captain of Splendour of the Seas, Tor Isak Olsen, will accept the award.
The award salutes a rescue effort on December 16, 1999, after the 250-foot cargo ship, Capricorn, was overtaken by a storm approximately 90 miles northwest of Aruba. Its 12-man crew was forced to abandon Capricorn as it sank in 30-knot winds and 10-foot seas. At approximately 1 a.m., the crew of Splendour of the Seas, sailing in the area, saw flares shooting over the horizon and immediately sailed in their direction. Within 30 minutes, Splendour came upon two life rafts holding 11 members of the Capricorn crew.
Splendour was joined in its search-and-rescue efforts by the 850-foot Norwegian tanker Nord Horn and the Dutch naval ship Van Spejk. All three ships remained in the area for an additional seven hours searching for the Capricorn captain, whose body was discovered by the crew of Van Spejk.
"The efforts of the Splendour crew to get those people out of the rafts was no easy feat in that type of weather and heavy seas," said Rick Kenney, U.S. Coast Guard maritime relations officer.