By Patrick Flynn
Irish holidaymakers witnessed a dramatic rescue in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean today.
One of whom captured dramatic footage as their cruise ship changed course to assist the crew of a yacht that had adrift for a time after sustaining damage to its rudder and running out of fuel.
The incident happened at around 3pm (Irish time) today when the Royal Caribbean International cruise liner 'Navigator of the Seas' was about 3,000kms south west of Cork.
The cruise ship was travelling from Miami in the US to Ponta Delgada in the Azores.
The 12m (39ft) Norwegian registered yacht, with three persons on board, sustained damage in rough weather and was unable to steer or use its sails.
The captain of the cruise ship changed course to intercept the stricken yacht and provide assistance.
A rescue boat was dispatched from the ocean liner so that crew members could deliver diesel to the stranded sailors to allow them to use their engines and make way again.
Crew members from the cruise ship also checked to ensure that none of those on board required medical attention.
One Irish holidaymaker said: "The whole thing was watched by the ship's passengers who cheered and got a big wave back from the yacht crew when the diesel had been transferred from the Navigator's rescue boat.
"Everyone was calm and good-humoured despite the circumstances.
"The captain of the Navigator and his crew did a very professional job.”
A spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean International said: "Navigator of the Seas assisted a sailboat with three persons on board this morning.
"No medical assistance was needed. The sailboat’s rudder was partially damaged and had also ran out of fuel. The crew provided the sailboat with fuel so it could motor to Azores, Portugal.”