He said the MS Dorian responded to an SOS from the stricken vessel after other ships in the vicinity declined to provide assistance, fearing the call was a trap set by pirates.
The incident happened in an area where pirates have often attacked commercial shipping and held their crews for ransom.
The captain of the German vessel radioed international shipping authorities in
When he was given the all clear, he set course for the ship, which he reached four hours later, the spokesman for the German shipping operator Komrowski said.
The German ship rescued four children, 11 women and 32 men as well as 28 crew from the Ile D'Anjouan despite a heavy swell. One crewmember of the passenger ship died when he was crushed between a lifeboat and the ship's hull.
The survivors were being cared for in empty containers on the deck of the 22,000-ton MS Dorian, which later resumed its journey to