Divers rescued as Socorro liveaboard grounds

Socorro Vortex liveaboard stranded on island
Run aground: the Socorro Vortex (SPA Informa)

Twenty-five divers and crew of the Socorro Vortex had to take to the life-rafts after the liveaboard ran aground near Socorro island in the eastern Pacific.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Monday (9 May) as the vessel arrived from Roca Partida, another of Mexico’s remote Revillagigedo islands about 110km away. 

Personnel from the local Naval Station for Search, Rescue & Maritime Surveillance (ENSAR) responded to an emergency call and picked up the 14 guests and 11 crew.

Two British divers were reported to be among the guests, along with seven Americans, three Belgians, one Irish and one New Zealander. The crew consisted of eight Mexicans, one Brit and two Italians. All were taken to the naval base for medical checks but only minor injuries were reported.

Rescued divers arrive at navel base
Guests and crew arrive at the naval base (Mexican Navy)

“We arranged for air transfer from Socorro to Cabo San Lucas,” reported Michael Ann Boyer, CEO of the boat’s operator Pacific Fleet. Most of the guests’ personal possessions had been left behind during the evacuation of the boat. “All food, accommodation and flights back home were arranged, as well as any additional assistance that they needed.

“We are very proud of our team for the way they handled the whole situation.”

Boyer said the company was working with experts to assess the extent of the damage and possible salvage of the Socorro Vortex, and would then decide how to fulfil its schedule in the coming months. 

The 43m Socorro Vortex joined the since-rebranded Pelagic Fleet in 2019. Now more than 40 years old, the vessel was previously a Canadian Coast Guard boat called James Sinclair, but after a major refit was claimed to be the fastest liveaboard serving Socorro and Guadalupe.

Pacific Fleet also operates the Solmar V and the SPOC (Self Propelled Ocean Cage) used for great white shark diving in Guadalupe. 

natural bridge feature on Loop Head peninsula
Bridges of Ross (Gordon Hatton)

Meanwhile an eastern European cave diver living in the west of Ireland has gone missing south of Kilkee in Co Clare. His car was found at the Bridges of Ross site on the Loop Head peninsula on 8 May, but it is thought that it might have been parked there as many as five days earlier. He is believed to be experienced but to have gone exploring local sea caves alone. 

Irish Coast Guard, Garda and Kilkee Sub Aqua Club volunteers have been conducting shoreline searches of the area and a search and rescue helicopter has also been deployed.

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