New Bedford Man Shares Experience on Cruise Ship Struck By Fishing Vessel
The U.S. Coast Guard determined that the New Bedford-based Gabby G, a 92-foot fishing boat, slammed into the midsection of the Norwegian Pearl cruise ship 41 nautical miles east of Nantucket early Saturday, as passengers were awakened by a loud boom.
New Bedford lawyer Paul Santos and his wife were in a cabin above where the collision occurred.
"It's about 2:30 in the morning when I got up because nature called. I had just made it into the restroom, when this enormous 'bang' sound broke the nighttime quiet and the cruise ship started vibrating from the core," Santos said. "Everything happened so fast and unexpectedly, and then the ship started to tilt to one side. Soon the ship over-corrected itself, causing items to fall off the tables and shelves to the floor."
Santos, who also is a WBSM fill-in host and local television show personality, thought at first that an engine had malfunctioned.
"We went out onto the balcony to see what happened, but they had an entire section roped off, preventing us to see anything," he said. "Most discouraging was the non-communication the passengers received from the captain. Not one announcement to tell us something, anything! It was so frustrating. The only announcement heard was 'Code Delta, Code Delta.'"
Santos said all the news they received on board only came from friends and relatives back home monitoring the situation.
"The staff lowered a tender ship to survey the damage. Everyone was asking them what happened and the only reply we got is, 'Everything's alright, ladies and gentlemen.'"
The cruise liner sat for a few hours, when all of the engines were suddenly turned on full throttle.
"From a dead start, the Pearl went into high gear, and started zipping across the ocean at breakneck speed," Santos said. "I assume the cruise line wanted to make up for lost time, and reached port in Bermuda at the scheduled time we were expected to arrive."
Santos described the weather conditions as foggy with heavy downpours.
A man aboard the fishing vessel sustained a head laceration and was treated on site. The Gabby G was able to sail back to New Bedford without assistance. Officials are saying that at this time, it's unclear what caused the crash.
"This definitely was the strangest thing ever to happen to us on a trip," Santos said.