The Frenchman drifting across the Atlantic Ocean in a large barrel narrowly avoided being hit by a huge cargo ship at the last minute after he set off a distress flare to make it change course.
Jean-Jacques Savin, a pensioner from the Arcachon Bay area in southwestern France, near Bordeaux, in the Aquitaine region, who is currently crossing the Atlantic aboard a barrel that has no way of manoeuvring to avoid a collision says he only narrowly avoided a collision with a huge freighter that passed a few meters from him.
After the near miss he took to Facebook to share the incident that happened last Tuesday, at about eleven o’clock.
He said he was looking through the window of the barrel and he saw a cargo ship about 1.5 kilometres away.
He said: “I went out to assess the situation and I see the hull, looking starboard, and I guess it will pass, but it’s only just… I radioed the ship but no one responded… The barrel is advancing at a good pace, so I let down my floating anchor.”
He added: “The ship is less than 1 kilometre away, I can see it very well and I can see that it is changing course and heading straight for me. Still no one answering the radio, so I call Audrey Boutes / Garonnaises cooperage (the cooperage which manufactured the boat) to inform her of the impending collision… I see the beast advancing, bobbing up and down with its mouth wide open…
“Fortunately, I had three distress flares under my pillow. It is now 400 metres or less away and I decide to fire a rocket and then I hear its siren sounding continuously, I’m on the highest step with my arms crossed to make it clear that I’m not manoeuvring. Finally, they call me on the radio, and I explain that I have no engine, no sail, and that I’m only going by the winds and currents. No problem comes the reply… And then I see the freighter turn away and pass me by, a few metres from me.”
Jean-Jacques, 72, is currently crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a large barrel measuring 3 metres long and 2.10 metres wide. He aims to reach the Caribbean islands, having left the Canary Islands, in about four months. After Over 60 days at sea, he is currently in the middle of the Atlantic.