The historic cargo sailer “De Gallant” sank off the coast of the Bahamas early Tuesday morning. Six of the eight sailors on board have already been rescued. The search for the two missing female crew members continues.

The coast guard reported that the schooner capsized around 3:30 a.m. and sank half an hour later. Rescue seems unlikely: the water depth in this area is more than 2,000 meters. There is still no further information about the cause of the accident; the focus is currently on the search for the two missing sailors.

During the night, strong thunderstorms hit the Bahamas. The information so far indicates that extremely strong winds suddenly and unexpectedly occurred, causing the ship to capsize and requiring it to be evacuated. Six of the crew members made it into the life raft and were rescued.

The coast guard has now found a life jacket six nautical miles from the scene of the accident. Two helicopters, a plane and a ship from the US Coast Guard and a patrol ship from the Bahamas are involved in the search. The chances of finding the two missing people are considered high. Visibility on site is currently good, wind and swell are mostly moderate and the water temperature is 27 degrees Celsius.

However, isolated thunderstorms are moving across the Bahamas. The six people rescued were all wearing survival suits, which retain body heat and provide buoyancy. It is believed that the missing people also wore such suits. According to the shipping company, the two missing sailors are professional sailors who are trained and practiced in survival and rescue techniques at sea. Psychological support was activated for those affected and their relatives.

The De Gallant sails for the French Blue Schooner Company, a project founded by Guillaume Roche and Jeff Lebleu. The idea is to transport goods across the world’s oceans in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner, just like the Avontuur and other cargo sailors. The schooner De Gallant left Santa Marta in Colombia on May 11th with a cargo of coffee, cocoa and cane sugar. The cargo was destined for various European destinations.

Since November 2017, the Blue Schooner Company has owned the De Gallant, which was built in Vlaardingen (Netherlands) as a herring fishing boat and launched in 1916 under the name Jannetje Margaretha. In 1926 it was sold to a Danish shipowner and an engine was installed. She then sailed as a coaster under the name Gertrud.

In 1987, the “Sailing Ship De Gallant” foundation bought the ship and completely restored it as part of a training project for young people in Amsterdam. From 1993 the De Gallant sailed on the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the English Channel, carrying passengers and also serving as a sailing school. The De Gallant has been transporting goods across the world’s oceans for seven years. The final mission was to go from Santa Marta in Colombia via the Azores to Europe. The cargo included cocoa, coffee and sugar.

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The original for this article “Historic cargo sailor sank off the Bahamas – two crew members still missing” comes from floatmagazin.