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Rescue from container ship off Newfoundland was an adventure, Swiss tourist says

What began as cheap way to get across the Atlantic for Richard Kummrow ended in an adventure he says he will never forget.

Kummrow said he, his wife and another couple were travellers from Europe en route to the United States trying to save a buck when they booked passage aboard a container ship that later ran into trouble south of Newfoundland.

The captain of the MSC Monterey – which left Le Havre, France, on Dec. 20 – issued a distress call Sunday morning after a crack was discovered on the ship's hull. Kummrow said the crack was roughly a metre-long and about eight metres above water.

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"There was no immediate question of water coming in," he said.

He said he and the other Swiss tourists were rescued by a search-and-rescue helicopter and brought to Portugal Cove South, about 135 kilometres south of St. John's, while the other 20 crew members stayed aboard the ship.

Despite the harrowing experience, he said he wasn't nervous.

"I loved it," he said. "My wife loved it almost as much."

Kummrow said he and his wife, both of whom are in their mid-60s, have continued their journey to New Jersey.

He said his brief time in Newfoundland has convinced him to return to the province.

Transport Canada said the ship has been ordered to stay at an anchorage just east of Little Colinet Island, which is in eastern Newfoundland's St. Mary's Bay.

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"Transport Canada has restricted the vessel's movements to its current anchorage until the department is satisfied that the necessary repairs to the hull have been performed," the department said Monday in a statement.

"There is no immediate threat to the safety of the crew or the environment."

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