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July 24, 2016

A moment of horror at open sea

BY: Agnes Lisik



Last night I was left astonished with such beautiful scenery – just like from a romantic movie – a giant red moon rising over Malta’s shadow, welcomed by fireworks on both edges of the island. The Ranger at night can be like a 5 Million-Star Hotel: a view of the Milky Way and falling stars at sea is breathtaking. Was it calm before the storm?

I was woken up at 6am by waves hitting the hull and the boat rocking—the weather had changed. I went up to the bridge to see the sunrise and have a chat with the captain on guard. It was cloudy, the sea got choppy, the wind was blowing 12-20knots. That was my last day aboard and I felt seasick for the first time, Biodramina pills came in handy. We waited with ROV immersion until the afternoon when the conditions improved.

The manoeuvre was about to finish and the ROV was near the surface when all of a sudden a loud noise and shouts from the crew rushed everybody else onto the deck: the steel cable supporting the ROV had snapped! Luckily, nobody got hurt in this serious accident. But the submarine robot weighting 100kg was being dragged down by a 50kg ballast in free fall into the 800m depth! The crew kept a cool head and the while the captain gave clear orders. Only by tension on their usually smiling faces could you tell that an emergency was going on. The only way to retrieve the ROV was to delicately pull the fragile fibre optic umbilical cable connected with the camera. After heavy effort the ROV finally landed safely on the deck. The stress was over but it served as a reminder that you must always keep alert at the sea. Everybody was exhausted but relieved and sat at the table to enjoy another delicious meal prepared by Cris.