Aussie couple saved by 'luxurious' cruise ship after abandoning boat

The 'rare' style of rescue unfolded around midnight off Australia's coast thanks to a nearby cruise liner.

Two people have been rescued by a cruise ship in waters near Wilsons Promontory on the southeast tip of mainland Australia after they were forced to abandon ship.

Police said a dive boat had departed from Queenscliff on the western end of Port Phillip Bay before running out of fuel near Skull Rock in Bass Strait.

Water Police Squad inspector James Dalton said the pair's vessel was taking on water before the man and woman contacted authorities and escaped in an attached dinghy.

The midnight rescue unfolded thanks to the nearby cruise ship.
The midnight rescue unfolded thanks to the nearby cruise ship. Source: Victoria Police

"They got in contact with us and they were taking on some water, they had no bilge pump," Inspector Dalton told ABC Radio Melbourne.

Police Air Wing sent a helicopter and a ship from Paynesville, about 130 nautical miles away, but there was another ship closer to the pair.

"Luckily for them there was a luxurious cruise ship close by," Insp Dalton said.

The helicopter then guided the cruise ship towards the pair's emergency beacon, and the ship sent a rescue boat to retrieve them about midnight on Monday.

"It is rare, but we certainly do use other vessels when they're closer," Insp Dalton said.

He said the pair was lucky and police would be talking to the captain and deckhand when they returned to Melbourne on the cruise ship on Tuesday morning.

"Make sure you've got bilge pumps and all your safety equipment, particularly out there - it's very, very dangerous,'' Insp Dalton said.

"They couldn't even anchor, because the water is nearly 100 metres deep."

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