SOS From NEW CONCORD - by John Davies 9V1VV
I came across your website - very interesting. I too was involved in a
rescue at sea in February 1987. I was on board the VLCC Eriskay going
north to Japan in heavy monsoon seas, somewhere south of the Straits
of Taiwan. I received an SOS on 500KHz from New Concord - a small
general cargo ship on her maiden voyage, loaded with logs. She had
taken a heavy roll and the cargo shifted making her list badly and
slowly take in water through the hatch covers. Apparently they had
been trying to bail out using pumps for 36 hours to no avail. We were very
close and within two hours we were in position upwind of her, using
our fully laden bulk to give her some lee while they abandoned ship
in an open lifeboat.
16 guys all rowing for their lives!
They came aboard exhausted and went straight to their beds in some
spare cabins. Three more guys abandoned ship in a liferaft and were
picked up some hours later by the vessel Austalian Advance. One guy
was lost when he fell in the sea.
When our 16 woke up they proceded to drink the bar dry ! They were all
Taiwanese and I visited the R/O a few years later in Taipei.
The odd thing about this rescue was that once the survivors were
safely on board we received a distress relay on Satcom A - far too
late. It was all over by then. I had relayed the SOS to the nearby
coast station at Khaohsiung and it was picked up by several vessels in
the area as well.
At dawn the next day we passed close by the wreck, full away on
passage, just as the sun was coming up in a murky sky, and saw it
sink. The logs burst upwards like torpedos and the stern lights were
still on as she sank below the waves. The captain tried taking some
photos but the light was no good.
I think this must have been one of the last distresses at sea to use
CW for communications.
The whole thing was a footnote in Lloyds List but something I will never forget.
John / 9 V 1 V V ( ex ELCF, ZCSL, 9VRQ, ZCSC, and many more )