The crew of the New Zealand yacht Sambaluka has been rescued by P&O cruise ship Pacific Sun from a reef between Australia and Noumea.

The crew of four — a New Zealander, two Frenchmen and an American — set off a 406 megahertz distress beacon about 6am which was picked up by the Rescue Coordination Centre in New Zealand.

Not long afterwards, the Maritime Operations Centre received a broken mayday call that the yacht had run aground on the reef and was taking on water, said rescue centre spokesman Ross Henderson.

“The crew of the yacht, since setting off their alert, they’ve basically been bailing the yacht out just to keep it afloat and have essentially stayed on board,” Henderson said.

Authorities in Noumea had dropped off a liferaft earlier this afternoon containing emergency supplies and communications equipment.

Authorities in New Zealand, Australia and New Caledonia co-ordinated the rescue of the 14m yacht, which ran aground on Chesterfield Reef, about 500 nautical miles east of the Queensland city of Mackay and 350 nautical miles west of Noumea.

The cruise liner Pacific Sun changed course on its way back to Brisbane from Vanuatu to rescue the crew, lowering rescue boats late this afternoon, NZ time. The yachties will be taken to Brisbane.

None of the four was injured, Henderson said.

The yacht is registered to a New Zealander, Rob Cole, but there is no confirmation that he is the New Zealander in the crew.

The Pacific Sun — carrying almost 2000 passengers and crew — was due to arrive in Brisbane at 6am on Saturday but her arrival and departure will now be delayed, the cruise company said.