Four passengers were rescued from a container ship in distress off the coast of Newfoundland, about 60 kilometres south of Portugal Cove South, on Sunday.

Joint rescue co-ordination centre spokesman Maj. Martell Thompson says the ship is now at anchor with a Canadian Coast Guard vessel standing by, but requires no further assistance from the joint rescue co-ordination centre.

Thompson says the centre received a call around 11:30 a.m. local time Sunday that the vessel was having issues with its hull.

Two Cormorant helicopters from Gander, N.L., and a Hercules aircraft from Greenwood, N.S., were dispatched.

The passengers — who were en route from Antwerp, Belgium, to Newark, New Jersey — were hoisted from the MSC Monterey by helicopter.

The two men and two women were taken to an RCMP casualty reception point in Portugal Cove South. No one was injured.

The 20 crew members remained on the ship to resolve the issue.

Thompson says the case has been handed over to Transport Canada.

Transport Canada is monitoring the container ship and working with the captain to ensure the safety of the crew and prevent possible pollution.

With files from The Canadian Press