The Albatross Crisis was a hostage situation/hijack that took place on board the passenger ferry, Albatross 4. 20 hijackers, 30 gunmen, and 50 reserve shooters attempted to ram the ferry into the cliffs of Dover and blow it up. The passengers revolted and managed to abandon ship with the crew. One of the bombs then detonated prematurely, sending the ferry to the bottom of the English Channel in just 5 minutes. All but one of the hijackers and gunmen went down with the ferry. The only surviving terrorist carried with her a wolf named Kate. Both were rescued and both live to this day.
Albatross 4 was a 357-foot long car and passenger ferry operating on the route from Calais, France to Dover, UK. The ship had 3 passenger decks and a single car deck, where cars could park to be transferred to their destination. The Upper Deck had a dining room where passengers would eat their meals. It was also right next to the ship's 6 lifeboats, each of which could carry 100 people. The Middle Deck had an entertainment facility for pre-adults surrounded by a windowed promenade, with a sunbathing area on the aft end. The windows on this deck could be opened and closed. The Lower Deck also had a promenade, but it was mainly used for adult entertainment, including a bar where passengers could drink and chat with each other. It also had a stage, where concerts and comedy shows could be performed. It also served as a passenger registration area for passengers to present their tickets to the pursers. The ship was capable of carrying 450 passengers as well as its its crew of 150. It could sail at up to 16 knots, making the trip between Dover and Calais around 2 hours on average.
This was the ship Kate unwillingly embarked on. Earlier, she had married an omega named Humphrey. They had recently mated and Kate now found that she was pregnant. She was on her way to notify her parents and husband when she was shot with a tranquilizer dart by a hunter. He had been ordered to transfer a pregnant wolf to a zoo in London, UK. Their wolves were aging and one had already passed away. Kate was placed in a cage and flown to France.
The next day, Kate's family found out about the incident and went after the hunters, catching rides on Human transportation to France.
Unknown to them, a group of men had been planning an attack on Dover that would prevent the construction of a United Nations Facility, which was to be located on the cliffs of Dover. The leaders of this group planned to hijack a ferry and ram it into the cliff under the building. Once there, explosives placed on board would be detonated, destroying the facility. The plans were approved and recruitment began.
Months of recruitment yielded only 100 total attackers. The only woman in the group was Danielle Guerrero, a secretary who was fired for an affair with her boss. She was now tasked with leading 49 men in a bomb squad, tasked with planting the bombs. 30 others would gather in one of the passenger areas, whichever had the most passengers. The remaining 20 would force their way into the bridge, take over the ship, and drive it to their planned target.
The Crisis Begins
At 8:00 AM, Albatross departed from Dover on route to Calais, where the hunters and attackers were waiting. Albatross' sister ship, Coromuel, was now departing from Calais on route to Dover. The two ships passed each other around 9:00, and at 10:00 reached their destinations. At this time, Albatross' captain, Rebecca Stanley, was conversing with her husband and the Coromuel's captain, Herald Stanley. They bid each other farewell, and proceeded with unloading. Kate had been unconscious during the journey to Calais and was now waking up. She then attempted to escape, but was shocked with a taser by a hunter who was acting as a guard. They made preparations to load their cargo aboard the ferry.
Around 10:15, Danielle was stopped by a man. He informed her about Kate and where to find her before asking her to get her off the ship. Danielle promised, but soon forgot about it.
Loading was scheduled to commence at 10:30, but one of the cars from the previous crossing had leaked oil on to the car deck, and had to be cleaned. Coromuel's next crossing was also delayed due to a fire in the engine room.
At 11:00 AM, loading finally began. Kate was still in the same cage, but had been loaded onto a white van. This van was the first vehicle to roll onto the Albatross that crossing. Danielle's black street car rolled on next, followed by a British police car. The other attackers boarded around this time. Coromuel was still in port as well. The fire had gotten worse and was starting to spread into the fuel tanks. Spare fuel was pumped out and firefighters called on board. This incident was broadcasted on the local news.
By 11:30, loading was complete and the ship was ready to depart. Captain Rebecca executed the usual departure maneuvers to guide her ship out of port. Kate's family finally arrived in Calais around this time, but the ferry was out of the harbor by the time they reached the docks. They were unable to help Kate.
At 11:45, the Ferry Control Center (FCC) gave Albatross clearance to accelerate to full speed. The ship was at top speed within 10 minutes. Passengers were gathering in the Dining Room on the Upper Deck for lunch. They were looking forward to returning home. In Dover, the fire on the Coromuel was still burning, but was now under control.
At 12:00 PM, the attackers made their move. The 30 shooters in the Dining Room pulled out their weapons and shouted at the passengers to keep still. The frightened passengers followed instructions. The 20 hijackers now entered the bridge and forced the crew out. They then locked themselves in and took over the ship. The 50 bomb planters made their way down to the Car Deck. They spent the next 30 minutes there, planting the bombs. At the FCC, operators noticed that the Albatross wasn't responding to their noon checkup alert. They made repeated attempts to regain contact with the ferry to no avail. Coromuel's fire was now extinguished and the ship resumed loading.
Around 12:10, a woman on the Albatross, who had left the Dining Room a minute before the crisis began to use the restroom, returned to find the remaining passengers as hostages. She ran onto the Boat Deck and immediately called 911. The police acknowledged and began preparing to engage.
All Over The News
At 12:15, the crisis unfolding on the Albatross reached local news stations which immediately broadcasted the story to the public. They then contacted the FCC and asked permission to broadcast their live feed, to which they agreed.
At 12:30 PM, Danielle gave word to the hijackers that the bombs had been planted. The lead hijacker decided it was time to send a message to the passengers, but the transmitter was on the wrong setting, and the message was, instead, sent to the FCC, which was broadcasted on the news. The message let the world know that the ferry was rigged with explosives. The ship then turned to the East toward the new facility. With nothing to do, the bomb squad shut themselves in the entertainment areas on the Middle and Lower decks. Danielle stayed on the promenades, which were connected by staircases, and provided reconnaissance.
The Coromuel was now departing Dover and was informed of the crisis. They immediately raced to the rescue.
Over the next 30 minutes, the lone passenger and the captain provided the police with more information about the attackers. The information was used by coast guard boats stationed further west. Those ships were too far away to be of much help. Kate was still in her cage in the van on the Car Deck, worried about what would happen to her once the ship docked. She would be unaware of the situation above her until the last few minutes before the sinking.
Around 1:00 PM, a passenger, perhaps a police officer, pulled out a handgun and opened fire at the gunmen. They returned fire, but were soon overwhelmed by the passengers. For only minutes, gunfire was heard from the Boat Deck. During which, several passengers were wounded, but none dead. The gunmen, realizing that they stood no chance against the angry passengers, turned the guns on themselves. Now, with all 30 gunmen dead, there was no one to stop the passengers from leaving the ship. Based on the Black Box recovered from the ferry, it is known that the hijackers were unaware of the revolt.
Kate heard the gunshots as well, but didn't take much notice of it. She was too concerned with her fate to realize what was happening.
The revolt was recorded on video by one of the passengers, but his footage wasn't aired until months later.
As the passengers poured onto the Boat Deck, the crew were already preparing the lifeboats. Life-jackets were distributed among the passengers and put on. Captain Rebecca notified the FCC that preparations to abandon ship were being made.
Lifeboat 1 was swung out by 1:15 PM and immediately loaded to capacity. It was launched at 1:30 PM as part of a plan to signal the evacuation to the Coast Guard who were unaware of it. It involved launching one boat at a time, alternating from Starboard to Port and from fore to aft, in 15 minute intervals.
Lifeboat 2 was swung out and loaded to capacity. It was launched at 1:45 PM. Lifeboat 3 was launched at 2:00 PM half full. Lifeboat 4 was launched at 2:15 also under-filled. Danielle spotted the boat lowering down the side of the ferry. She immediately tried to notify the hijackers, but received no response. Lifeboat 5 was launched at 2:30 PM filled to capacity. The remaining passengers and crew boarded Lifeboat 6 which was launched at 2:45 PM. With all the passengers and crew evacuated, only the hijackers and bomb squad were still aboard.
At around 2:20 PM, after many failed attempts to contact the hijackers, Danielle began roaming aimlessly through the ferry, contemplating existence. At around 3:15 PM, she entered the Car Deck, and, upon reaching a white van at around 3:20 PM and leaning against it, prepared to end her life. It was here that she suddenly remembered about Kate and threw the doors open. She shot the lock off the cage and pulled Kate out.
Kate assumed she was in trouble and began struggling to break free. Thus, Danielle was forced to drag the squirming wolf up the stairs and out to a window on the Lower Deck Promenade. By then, it was 3:24 PM, and Danielle opened the window in preparation to get Kate off the ferry.
At 3:25 PM, a large explosion shook the Albatross. It was caused by one of the bombs planted in the Car Deck detonating prematurely. The blast ripped a large hole in the ship's starboard side. Almost immediately, the ship began listing to starboard as the engines automatically shut down. The ferry's momentum alone was all that was pushing it forward. Only 30 seconds in, the water lapped the Bow Deck in front of the superstructure. Danielle realized the ferry was doomed and shoved Kate out of the window. Kate grasped the open window with her paws and hung on while Danielle pulled an inflatable life raft out of the backpack the man on the dock had given her.
Around a minute into the sinking, the hijackers turned the ship hard to port, perhaps in an attempt to cause at least some damage to the shoreline community. All the turn did was increase the already severe list.
The Boat Deck was awash by the 2 minute mark. The ferry was now pointed directly at the shore, but the list was so severe that the hijackers were unable to maintain their footing on the floor and slid to the wall. This meant they couldn't straighten the ship. By this time, Danielle had gotten herself out of the window and had pulled the cord to inflate the raft. Kate was panicking to the point where she couldn't move.
3 minutes in, the water was starting to enter the partially submerged bridge. The hijackers there were trapped and went down with the ship. The bomb squad also attempted to abandon ship, but were unable to navigate the slanted passageways and drowned as the water engulfed them. By now, Danielle was sliding the raft down the side of the listing ferry, but it still took an agonizing 50 seconds to get the raft overboard.
4 minutes in, the Albatross 4 was on its side and sinking rapidly by the bow. Danielle and Kate watched the ferry swing down to a near vertical angle and plunge beneath the waves at 3:30 PM, only 5 minutes after the explosion.
The Coast Guard vessels found Lifeboat 1 at 5:47 PM. The remaining boats followed as the ships followed the trail of lifeboats until all 6 were recovered full of passengers and crew. They completed their journey to Dover. By now, news of the crisis had spread worldwide and many residents were offering care to the wounded survivors. Lilly and the rest of Kate's family searched anxiously, but found no sign of Kate that day and began to lose hope.
Kate was still in the life raft with Danielle. She was still paralyzed from the ordeal she just went through, and had no wish to relive it. When she finally recovered, it was sunset, and rescue had yet to arrive. The Coast Guard failed to detect the raft, and, thus, were unaware of the two missing survivors.
As night fell, Danielle offered Kate a fish as a token of her friendliness. Kate gave the fish back, as she didn't trust her savior. The Milky Way was visible in all its splendor and Kate watched it move across the sky until she fell asleep hours later.
The next morning, Kate woke up to find herself surrounded by sea gulls, who immediately flew away. They had mistaken her for a corpse, and were just about to feast when she woke up. She noticed there was a hole in the raft and shook Danielle awake. She immediately patched the hole and, though the raft was now lower in the water, laid back down to sleep. She had been up all night watching for rescue and fell asleep just before dawn. It was now Kate's turn to watch for rescue.
For hours Kate scanned the horizon for rescue boats, but none came. Finally, around mid-day, she gave up and was convinced help would never arrive. She began thinking about her family.
Hours later, she saw a ship sailing toward them. At first, she thought she was seeing things, but, as the ship came closer, she realized it was really a ship. She began howling to get the vessel's attention. Her efforts paid off, for the ship turned to port and lowered one of its lifeboats. The crew took the missing survivors aboard and reported their find to the Coast Guard. Kate and Danielle were the last to be rescued, at 3:35 PM.