A sailor, Vidam Perevertilov, who fell overboard survived by clinging to a “piece of sea rubbish.”
Mr Perevertilov spent 14 hours in the water after he fell off the cargo ship into the Pacific Ocean in the early hours of the morning.
The 52-year-old, who was not wearing a life jacket, credits his decision to swim towards a “black dot” several kilometres away with saving his life.
It turned out to be a fishing buoy, which he held onto until his rescue.
Mr Perevertilov is the Lithuanian chief engineer of the Silver Supporter, which was making a supply run between New Zealand’s Tauranga port and the isolated British territory of Pitcairn.
Following a shift in the engine room pumping fuel, he had felt “hot and dizzy”, said his son. He then walked out onto the deck to recover before falling.
Marat, who got details of his father’s survival tale via message chats, believes he may have fainted, as he does not remember going over.
Unaware that a man had fallen overboard, the ship sailed away.
After struggling to stay afloat until the sun rose, Mr Perevertilov noticed a black speck on the horizon and decided to swim towards it.
“It was not anchored to anything or a boat, it was just a piece of sea rubbish,” said Marat of the abandoned fishing buoy.
It took ship crew about six hours to notice that their engineer was missing, at which point the captain turned the ship around.