The Crew of the Stena Crystal Sky have been thanked by two American citizens for rescuing them from their stranded yacht off the west coast of Mexico.

30th Jan 2018

After receiving a distress call via the U.S. Coast Guard on 18th January, the ship’s crew set off on a 185-mile rescue mission through stormy conditions to the stranded yacht ‘Jaunt’ and its occupants Don Spitler and Elizabeth Anderson.

On the 17th day of their planned voyage from Cabo San Lucas in Mexico bound for the Cook Islands via the Marquesas, Don and Elizabeth found themselves in unexpected heavy seas and an estimated 3m swell.

The challenging conditions and resulting violent motion of the boat caused damaged to the rudder and destroyed the yacht’s auto-pilot mechanism.

The coast guard was alerted by the pair when the boat’s bilge pump capability failed and they were unable to limit water ingress.

Arriving at the scene, the Stena Crystal Sky deployed a rescue boat, commanded by Second Officer John Giffin, and ably assisted by Third Officer James Hamilton, Third Engineer Shaun Reid and AB Seaman Alejandro Flores.

Battling difficult conditions, the crew brought Don and Elizabeth safely back to the LNG carrier.

Commenting after their rescue, Don said:

“To sum up the event, we knew that we were in a difficult rescue situation and had no expectation, only hope.

“We don’t know how such a rescue could be accomplished if conditions were even worse.

“We felt for our Rescuers as they put themselves out for us.

“We knew that this was a commercial vessel, not the Coast Guard, but the skill of the Captain and Crew proved them capable of just such a rescue as well. It’s clear that the Company provides and trains their Captains, Officers and Crew to the highest level of excellence.”

Captain Andrew Whiteley praised the crew for their sterling efforts in bringing Mr Spitler and Ms Anderson to safety.

He said:

“The rescue of the couple from the ‘Jaunt’ was a team effort involving many and which displayed numerous examples of professionalism by those taking part.

“Once settled onboard and after a shower, change of clothes and a hearty meal, the couple told of the moment when they were packing up their belongings in their yacht and they looked up to see the bow-Dragons of Stena Crystal Sky approaching to pass close by as dawn broke.

“They saw the other livery features along the ship’s hull as the vessel began to turn around them to create a lee. The vessel's entire livery and appearance made quite an impression on them, and we are sure that the 'Stena' brand will now be foremost in their mind.”

Andrew Salt, Fleet Manager, Northern Marine Management, said:

“On behalf of Northern Marine Management, I would like thank Captain Whiteley and the crew for their professionalism and exceptional effort in rescuing Mr Spitler and Ms Anderson.

“Fulfilling their obligations to aid those in danger at sea, the crew displayed exceptional seamanship and their actions are a credit to themselves and to the Company.”

In Autumn 2017, the crew of sister vessel Stena Blue Sky were commended for their rescue of a North Korean fisherman stranded in the Sea of Japan.

Article 98 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) states a ship master must aid any person found at sea in danger of being lost, providing it does not pose serious danger to their own crew or passengers.


Mr Spitler and MS Anderson pictured after receiving a framed picture of the Stena Crystal Sky from the crew. On the rear of the picture is an inscription marking their ship-ride including the position from which they were rescued. Capt Andrew Whiteley pictured far right having received Mr Spitler and Ms Anderson’s former lucky Mascot which had been with them on every boat that they had owned and sailed.