21 Apr 2014

And Then Some History….

With the horrific sinking of the South Korean ferry and the recent sinking of the Concordia, with such sad loss of life, I’m unfortunately of an age to remember a marine adventure that gripped this country and the US back in 1951-2. This is, for sure, the first thing I remember being absolutely riveted to on the wireless, along with the entire population, other than ‘Journey Into Space’ and ‘Life With The Lions’. It was, on reflection a ‘growing-up a little bit’ moment for me.

In truth, we shouldn’t compare the alleged actions of the Captains of the two recent disasters, as we don’t know the full stories, with the actions of a Master and Chief Mate during those far off 14 days of 1951-2 .


Anyone out there remember the ‘Flying Enterprise’, her Captain
Henrik Kurt Carlsen and Chief Mate Kenneth Dancy of the tug, ‘Turmoil’?


Man, that was some adventure was it not?

It all kicked off about 400 KM from Falmouth with the ‘Flying Enterprise’ being hit by a hurricane force storm. An SOS was sent out and Captain Carlsen got his crew and passengers off as vessels arrived to lend assistance.

Captain Carlsen remained with his ship, even though it was  was listing heavily to port and showing signs of breaking-up, to await the arrival of tugs.

Apparently Captain Carlsen spent his time, apart from staying alive, maintaining the ships log and drawing up details of any salvage agreement that would be required before tugs arrived and attempted to get a line on his ship.

When the tug ‘Turmoil’ rolled up the weather was too bad to get a line attached but later the Mate of the ‘Turmoil’, Kenneth Dancy, got aboard and the two of them managed to get a tow-line secured and a slow tow to Falmouth got crawling along.

Sadly, with only some 40 KM to run, the weather became extreme again, the tow parted, the ship listed yet further and the two guys were finally persuaded to leave the doomed ship.
{I well remember the news reporting that the two guys were repeatedly begged to leave the vessel and the two guys repeatedly refused.}

To give you some idea of the state of the ship when they finally left her – she was flat-out and they were able to walk along the funnel and jump into the sea to be picked up.

So, even though we don’t know  the full details of the recent tragedies, what little we do know would seem to suggest that a Masters duty to his passengers, crew and vessel have ‘moved on’ somewhat from those old days.

Quote;  Stephen King.

“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

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