In a statement released today, the Directorate-General for Natural Resources, Security and Maritime Services (DGRM) reports that "the first episode took place on the west coast of the United States, on November 10, at around 2:00am local time, in which the bulk carrier 'Nordrubicon', flying the Portuguese flag, was asked by the US Coast Guard to provide assistance and participate in search and rescue operations to a vessel in difficulty in the vicinity."

DGRM states that it was "a fire situation on board, with the Portuguese flag ship having first rescued three people, who were already on board the life raft" and then four more people later, who had abandoned the vessel.

"All the seven occupants, who made up the crew of the vessel in difficulty, were safely collected on board the ship 'Nordrubicon'", says the statement.

The second episode took place in the afternoon, also of November 10, to the south of Portugal, about 50 miles south of Vila Real de Santo António, with the Portuguese flag ship 'Perseus' detecting a small wooden vessel with 37 people on board and giving the alert to the Portuguese authorities.

DGRM indicates that "the Portuguese flag vessel provided the necessary assistance until the arrival of the Portuguese navy" and the 37 people were rescued and taken safely to the Port of Portimão.

In both cases, the two ships with the Madeira International Shipping Register were the closest to the vessels that needed assistance.

"As it was their duty, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, they provided the necessary assistance and all 44 people were safely rescued", says the DGRM, adding that they "have already addressed thanks to the two ship owners, praising the effort and excellent collaborations with the competent authorities for relief at sea".