Pleasure yacht sinks off Oman, all rescued

Princess Melissa - a sad end to a pleasure cruise
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Ten passenger sailors on a leisure cruise have been rescued by a British Navy ship and handed over to the Royal Oman Police (ROP) Coast Guard when their 34 metre yacht sank off Ras Al Hadd coast in Sur in the wee hours of yesterday.

The yacht was on its way to Mombassa, Kenya, from Muscat when it sank after being caught in bad weather at around 1am.

According to Francis Joseph, general manager of Arabian Shipping, the local agent of the yacht, there were seven Indian and three Kenyan pleasure cruisers on board.

'They came from Sharjah, docked in Muscat last week and were on their way to Mombassa,' he told the Times of Oman. 'After their pleasure yacht was caught in trouble in the waters of Ras Al Hadd, they sent an SOS. Responding to the SOS, the British Navy ship came to their rescue. Later, they were handed over to ROP.'

Princess Melissa, the 34-metre-long yacht, was owned by a Kenyan company and skippered by Captain Debashish Maity. 'The passengers are safe and unhurt. We are doing our best to arrange their return trip,' Francis added.

Captain Maity, who dramatically escaped along with his passengers from the sinking yacht, said they were staring death in the face. 'We thought we weren’t going to make it. It was very scary. Everyone was scared. The weather was too bad.

'I was not able to control the yacht even though I tried my best, and there was water ingress. I managed to send the SOS and thanks to the Almighty, a ship came to our rescue.

'We lost all our belongings except our passports. Royal Oman Police also helped us. They gave us first aid.'

The passengers will be transported back to their home countries. The local agents are now providing them with food and clothes.