Kingston Almandine 1972 Severe Storm Damage


Here is a true story that will make your hair stand on end,

it as late November 1972 outward bound for Iceland

Skipper Charlie Andrew (checkbook charlie ) nickname ,,

me Mate and only other member of crew i remember to

date,is Dave Woods i think he was Fourth Hand at the time,

we had been ordered to go into Midvag in Faeroe,

to get our fish hold filled with Ice as at that time the Hull Ice Factory,

were on strike hence no Ice on board.

so we arrived into Midvag,late evening.

loaded up our Ice and then we prepared to sail for Iceland,

before going off watch the old man (skipper ) had asked me to pass,

on the sever weather report that we had received that night,

gales possible storm force 10 in the offing,

well as all fishermen know that is something that all our

great fishing vessels could handle also with due care,

so we did not think any thing the worse of that forecast as like plenty before we carried on.

we departed around 0100hrs from Midvag i had relieved the skipper.

and took the watch to clear the headlands,

then passed on the watch to Bosun who in turn passed on to the Third Hand

the following day the weather started to get a bit lousey,

and through into the night the skipper passed on again a sever weather warning for our area,

and all watch keeper had been made aware but as it always so happens,

and with such great force in the early hours just at breakfast time ,

this sea smashed into out vessel and caved in half the bridge on the port side,

and clearing away 5 of the bridge window,and navigating Pole compass,

and breaking of the starboard Bridge door were two of the watch keepers Third hand

and spare hand were thrown out of at the same time smashing the two radars

and loads of other electrical equipment that was all used for navigating the vessel

this was the scene that myself and the skipper arrive to

after struggling up from the after cabin below deck area

were we use to eat our meals, as we struggled over the cat walk in engine room

to the storms doors dividing the lower bridge area,

when we opened the door up, we were greeted with a wave of water

on venturing up the stairway towards the bridge top we passed the skippers

living quarters and i can still hear and see his face to this day

Charlie sings out oh no look at the state of my cabin its in a right mess

never ever will forget that in view of what we were about to come across,

and what was to take place.

So we eventually arrived on the bridge to this horrific scene of disaster,

electrical wires burning a huge amount of water in and around the bridge

no bridge window port to midships, and also

no men on the bridge, fortunately some of the other crew had also

arrived on the bridge so we immediately began to organize,

ourselves a man to take the wheel and two men to look,

for the missing men, but more importantly to see what was out side ,

that had caused this damage and again good luck was again on our side,

as it was starting to break daylight and we could see more clearly,

and when we seen the seas that were rolling along out side we new we were,

in trouble,

over the next 4 days we battled through this very sever storm,

we had taken the wooden gratings out of the after liver house,

to blank up as best we could the missing bridge windows,

it was about 18hrs after the initial hit that we realized we had no communicating no radars no

means of internal navigational aids to help so we had to rely on the direction of wind at time,

as we also had no compasses to steer by also at that time.

we heard a whimpering coming from out of the wireless room and

one of the spare hands happened to say were is the Sparky

he was only 19 first trip sparky to sea and had been locked in his cabin,

at the time he did not receive to much sympathy as we all had a lot,

more on our minds and that was to survive this storm one of the worse,

that i have been involved in over mt 50 years at sea, and we have seen a few,

so to shorten the story some what, the weather debated some what,

and skipper decides lets head back to the Faroe Islands,

and get some help at that time we did not relise how badly damaged she had been,

so on the third day night time charlie and i had been having cat naps on the bridge

and that third morning charlie had gone to bed tea time arrive and he says to me,

go and get a proper nap of at that time i jumped for joy, short lived am afriad,

just as am taking me sea boots of to climb into me bunk one of the spare hands,

arrived shouting the old man wants you on the bridge, so no more ado the boots back on

and away to bridge to be greeted by the skipper looking out one of the windows left in

he said he had seen a red white red light in the distant, and thought it maybe,

some vessel doing underwater operations with only seeing this Red White Red Lights,

so we kept heading for them and he informed me to get out the emergency radoi and

transmit a distress call so me and Dave Woods went out on to the veranda,

with a bucket to get some water into so we could earth the transmitter,

and we cranked it up and i commenced to call out our distress call

Mayday Mayday Mayday this is the Kingston Almindine we are in need off,

assistance and so repeated this several times and proceeded back into the

bridge were charlie was still directing us in towards these lights,

now we could all see these Red white red lights but it was pretty dark and weather was still maybe a force

8 or 9 with snow falling but you could still see them so he asked me,

to repeat the mayday message again of which we did, still nothing towards,

happened still heading for these light, so then he asked me,

to fire of some schermully rockets in the direction of these lights

so me and Dave again ventures out on to the port veranda and on getting out there,

all of a sudden i could hear this niose i shot passed Dave and i then threw,

the spare hand of the wheel and started to yank the steering wheel hard to starboard,

skippers sings out vwhats wrong i said shouting go and listen out there,

as it turned out he also heard it so we navigated away from those light s,

for some considerable distance and then the skipper says we shall,

wait till daylight, so we dodged around till daylight,

then we got the biggest surprise of our lives, coming towards us was a Fishery protection vessel,

and a Grimsby fishing vessel the Gillingham one of the football class,

they had been laid a back of the wedge the two islands ot the NE corner of the Faroe Isles,

were they had been taking shelter and they both heard our mayday distress call from that night,

they escorted us into Klaksvik, were we recieved a healthy reception,

and that is were we first had a sight at the damage that had been caused,

also unfortunetly the two lads who had been swept out of the bridge had some how been swept aft to the starboard lifeboat,

and were both stuck underneath, receiving broken bone damage,and were put ashore,

along with three other crew members who had enough,so we stayed in Klaksvik for to carry out repairs,

to bridge and superstructure along with the rewiring and installing of various equipment that had been smashed ,

we sailed with 5 Faeroe,es fisherman, returned to Iceland completed our Voyage,

and come home to settle in debt,

we later found out that we had been reported missing in the hull daily mail,

and we found out that those light we had seen and very near run into were the beacon lights on top of the mountains,

at the Northern entrance to Straight fjord all fisherman who sailed north will have used that short cut route at some time in their sea career,

so we not only survived from being sunk in that storm, but also from running aground,

i just Ho[e that maybe Dave Woods or one of the other crew who were on board remembers this incident and can verify all that i have disclosed,

as i know me old Captain Charlie Andrews has sadly passed on like no doubt a few others,

may they all rest in peace,, just some of the hardships we had to endure along the way,,....

Bill Collins Mate Kingston Almandine 1972

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