Skip To Content
- Blog -
Topic Search

HAL’s Zuiderdam and Zaandam Rescue Crew of Sinking and Stranded Boats

On two recent cruises, both Zuiderdam and Zaandam were called upon to assist vessels in need of assistance.

At 2:10 a.m. Jan. 3, 2015, while en route to Oranjestad, Aruba, Zuiderdam answered a distress call from the Bahamian inter-island vessel Excalibur that was sinking with eight crewmembers onboard. Zuiderdam was approximately 15 miles away and the closest ship in the area.

The eight crew members of Excalibur were taken onboard after their boat started to sink.

The eight crew members of Excalibur were taken onboard after their boat started to sink.

“Congratulations to the officers and crew onboard Zuiderdam for their quick response that saved the lives of eight people,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We are proud to be able to come to the rescue when called upon, and it’s even more gratifying when everything goes as smoothly as this operation did.”

Zuiderdam altered course and was able to successfully execute a nighttime rescue of all eight crewmembers at 3:01 a.m. The ship brought them onboard and provided food and accommodations. The rescued crewmembers debarked in Aruba Jan. 5.

In addition, on Jan. 4 ms Zaandam came to the aid of seven crewmembers from the sailing yacht Polonus that were staying at the Arctowski Polish research station at King George Island in Antarctica. The crew, all Polish nationals, were stranded after their yacht went aground. They are being taken to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and will disembark Jan. 11.

Zaandam crew members will sail to Buenos Aires with the ship after their yacht ran aground.

Zaandam crew members will sail to Buenos Aires with the ship after their yacht ran aground.

Kudos to the team members on both ships for successfully completing two rescue operations! Holland America Line is always honored to come to the rescue, like Statendam did for the Baranof Wind in Alaska back in 2013.

  • Stephanie Chazalon

    Well done to the crews of both ships. The continual rescue and emergency training done by crews on the ships certainly pays off. Congratulations on successful rescue operations.

  • Pat French

    Would expect nothing less from an excellent shipping line . They fulfilled
    My Alaskan cruise dream in 2010 . Awesome staff awesome ship . Thank you hoping I can do the trip again .

  • Terry Jones

    Right place at the right time…typical of HL. Well done to all.

  • emil allgauer

    Hal best cruise line ever

  • emil allgauer

    Best cruise line by far ,emil allgauer

  • Robert Pressrich

    How wonderful to read such good news. I’m sure those rescued were more than happy to be on beautiful Holland America cruise ship, too. Congratulations to the crews of the two “Z” dam ships.

  • Kathi M

    I was on a Hawaiian cruise ( think it was the Statendam, but after so many years, I could be wrong) around 11 years ago when we had to alter course to save 3 crew on a sinking sail boat. It took us the better part of one day to reach their location, and we were in fairly significant swells, so the Captain cautioned the guests to find a location and sit as the stablizers were no longer being used. (I chose to sit in the Crow’s nest, with a margarita as my mother raised a smart child.) We watched the rescue, and sinking of the sailboat before sailing on to Hawaii. We understandably had to give up our port stop on Molokai, which was the sole reason I had booked this cruise (it was a brand new port of call at the time) so that was disappointing, but it was great to save the three men aboard and they were grateful and also it was great to see how professional the rescue was. A great cheer went up as the third sailor climbed aboard, and they later told us it was up to us, or a freighter, so they were happy to be saved on the luxurious ship!

  • Jacquie Howell

    Congratulations to all the crew. After many sailings with HAL, we know it is fun for the guests, however, the crew is very serious about our safety and all on the sea. Great proof. Thanks

  • Inez Siegers


  • Sally Hall

    Good on you HAL, you are my ONLY cruise shipping
    line and now a rescuer as well

  • Craig Peterson

    well Don Holland America. Well done indeed

  • Marj Gordon

    Congratulations to the officers and crews of Zuiderdam and Zaandam on their successful rescue operations!
    We “Mariners” know that the officers, staff, and crews of HAL ships are the best!

  • Edna Willis Harper

    WE were on the Eurodam when 2 Frenchmen were on a disabled Sailing Vessel. We brought them aboard till the next stop in the Cruise.

    We Love Holland America Ships. All of them..

  • Virginia Miller

    Excellent work!! God used all of you working together to bless others in dire need. Thank you!! Two more reasons to love Holland America Line!!

  • Jennifersangster

    what a fantastic job. I’m sure all were grateful for the rescue.

  • Audrey Hunt

    This makes my heart sing. I have been on a number of HAL cruises and I am not surprised that they would gladly come to the rescue of those in peril. Congratulations HAL Crew. Your are the best!!

  • Kathy Shea

    great job ….

  • edna marshall

    Well done Hal you are great, helping others when they are in need . I am proud to be part of Hal as previous passenger

  • Johan

    Holland America Line, great rescue operation of you. I am and remain proud of the HAL. On March 3, we are back on board and enjoy our cruise from Singapore to Rotterdam in 35 days.

  • Miriam Murray

    Well done Holland American. You have once again demonstrated your committment to your mission and values. Proud to be part of the HAL family.

  • Copper10-8

    Awesome job ZUDM & ZADM!

  • Richard & Lois De Boer

    We have Cruised on both the Zanndam & Zuiderdam. We experienced seeing a rescue by the crew of the ms Statendam on a cruise to Hawaii in January 2003. Three men were delivering a Sailboat to Hawaii when they encoutered a storm, lost the mast and all power. When the Statendam arrived, the mem were in a dingy and the sailboat was about to go under. Later the men told of their experience in the show lounge aboard the ship. We will always remember a comment they made. “Two ships respondeed to the SOS. the Statendam and a Japennese Fishing boat, all three were praying the Statendam would arrive first.” And it did.”

  • Lorraine Belcourt

    What a great feel-good story when most of what we hear these days is so negative! Congratulations to both of the crews on these HOLLAND AMERICA ships!The wonderful crews on HAL cruise ships are one of the reasons we always travel with Holland America!

  • Nancy Earley

    My last cruise was on HAL and my next cruise will be on HAL. So happy and proud the best cruise line does the right thing when called upon!

  • Marion Yvonne van Diggelen-Olschesky

    I am proud beyond words of Holland America Line. I have never sailed with another company because this line s like family. From the time I was four years old from the Bosfonteijn on I have traveled with these ships and always felt safe. It is no wonder then, that my ships continue to provide safe refuge to those in need at sea. Fonteijns and Dams close to my heart.

  • PatriciaB

    Wonderful post!
    Great to see Captain Peter van Maurik front and center!

  • Roy and Mary Woodburn

    This does not surprise us having just spent three weeks an board the Zuiderdam going thru the Panama . Holland America can be proud of all their employees.
    We can not wait to sail with you again.
    Kodos to all.


    As long time Mariner with Holland America Line it is always a pleasure to have good news
    like that .

  • Susan Van Allen

    Have always been impressed with the Holland America Line having had the wonderful opportunity to go on their Baltic and Transatlantic cruise in 2012. I am even more impressed after reading the article on how the two ships came to the rescue of a total of 15 seamen. Amazing and thanks for your dedication!!

  • Pampam


  • Susan Marie Petelle

    well,now it’s time to give credit to martin from shore excursions,ms zaandam,who picked up the distress call from polonus.if i ever get stranded i will send you the sos! you’ve got yourself a reputation!

    it has been a pleasure traveling with hal.

    captain p.j. has been the best captain ever!

    thank-you all so very much!


  • Schnurigirl

    That’s why we are proud to sail with Holland America Cruise Line! Always classy in every thing they do!!!

  • Mary sanchez

    Always Holland the best cruise line, congrat, Zuiderdam my favorite ship

  • Frank Kisch

    Because of these great rescues and I’ve been on the Zaandam twice once in 2002 & 2014. They have great crews even after twelve years later. Its not about having all the toys that make a great cruise ship, Its about safety and history that make Holland America so great. Years and years of sailing the world oceans on those dam good ships. Kudos to all Staff for Excellent Service. Stock Holder of Carnival Corp and I also cruise Carnival and Princess and they all have been Excellent, all eighteen ships.


    I disembarked Zaadam 12/22/14. I was really impressed with the professionalism, safety and attention to detail demonstrated by captain and crew. I thought they were great…even to the “tender captains”. I’m not a bit surprised about the manner in which the rescue took place. Congratulations on another job …. well done

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.