Report of the Master of
vessel “SANTA MARINA”
Captain Spyridon Messinezos
20/10/1974 — Position Latitude 41° 58’ N - Longitude 07° 21’ E
It is 4
p.m. We note a heavy damage to the rudder. The ship does not steer anymore and
suddenly the sea seems to intensify its force. - Big billows break on “Santa
Marjna” that is falling, with heeling that starts to trouble us seriously.
We try to
repair the damage. - We try but all our attempts were useless. — The night is
coming and fearing the worse we launched the S.O.S.
Torres Radio intercepts our signal and they answer us that owing to the bad
weather increasing, only one tug is able to come to save us: the “Vincente”. -
After few hours, the weather becomes worse. At the moment of the average we
had registered rough sea force 5/6 but now the situation is different. The
part of the sea where we are now is a mess. The ship is falling towards shore
and all on board of “Santa Marina” are asking to themselves if there is
someone and above all able to dare the sea. A strong wind grants abbrivo that
is falling not less than 4 miles per hour. The situation is now drammatic,
unsustainable. We intercept a demoralizing news: the “Canguro”, 7.000 tons,
had to shelter in Corsica. We try to give courage each other praying God and
our good destiny. Our calculations are not approxximately but exact: in the
middle of such a rough sea never seen like this, with the ship weaponless,
with all of us impotent to make any operation, the only solution we see is to
finish smashed against the reefs. We make considerations and valuations. Just
so: if some one does not dare this bad weather is the end for us. The time of
the truth for us, as an ultimatum to our existence, could expire at 08.30
21/10/1974 daylight, near 6 a.m., our eyes can see with terror, big billows,
like mountains of water against us. Sea is now force 10 from West according to
the Marseille weather Report and this news demoralize us completely. As a
Captain of a ship i think that none is so foolish and incoscient to venture
himself in this terrible storm to save us. I put myself in the place of the
succourer and I must admit that there is someone coming to save us not only
risks his incolumity, that is his life and the one of the other men, but has
also few possibilities to approach us in order to make the necessary manoeuvre
to hook us. I continue to pray for my men and for me but i am sure that our
destiny is marked.
At 8 a.m.
a crew member says to have seen something. We search the infinite, but we do
not know where to look because high waves as mountains are as gigantics walls
around us? A gleam and in distance the mast of a ship that disappear to our
eyes as swallowed by the sea.
then we see the Asinara Island approaching our ship. This do not rejoice us
because this island could represent our grave. We ask ourselves without any
hope if someone of us has really seen a mast. Nobody is persuaded and the idea
of a mirage wedge in our minds. The drammaticity of the moment is exasperated
by a news intercepted by us, a big tug has loosen a lighter with two men on
board and the succour is concentrated in saving these two men. It is our
intention to close the radio to do not hear things that touch us in lontanance
that give the last stroke to our inexistent morale. Whilst the ship continues
in her foolish run against the Asinara reefs we see a tug that tries to reach
us with big difficulties. Our heart swell pf joy but we know that it is not
finished. We see the tug now on top and now on low, lifted and sunked in the
waves. We think it cannot reach us. We pray that it can reach us because,
otherwise, this Is really the end. The tug manoeuvres making us shudder. We do
not know if the men on board the tug are angels or devils. It is enough a
wrong manoeuvre and is the end for both of us, for the tug and for us. Whilst
the tug goes up again on the wave crest and our ship is sunking in the empty
created by another one that has preceded it, from the tug they launch us a
rope’s end. The ability of the tug seamen like surprise us very much. As them
and more of them we know that they are working on the edge of the blade of the
death. We think that the hook is all right but the rope’s end after a rebound
due to a wave, goes broken. And so they attempt again to hook us with other 3
rope’s end consecutives that goes broken. We see the tug now after and now
forward. It is like a dance macabre in the most unimaginable positions.
Finally another rope’s end seems that it will keep, is put in taut. We all are
praying, we think also the men in the tug are praying because it is the most
delicate moment of our salvage: it is enough a list to finish overturned. The
rope’s end resists and “Santa Marina” starts to take the direction wanted by
the Captain of the tug. Sinister, the waves broke at an half mile from the
Asinara Istand reefs, where we should have finished if the tug could not have
moment we have understood to be returned to life again, and to have passed
from death to life, for the skillness, courage end generosity of barve men. I
wish for the Captains called to live drammatic and longest moments lived by
us, to find always on their way men like the ones of the tug “Vincente” and
his Captain, Giovanni Camedda, that cannot be equalled.
arrived ashore our tears, our brotherly embrace, as used between natural, full
of affection of great ardour and human solidarity. This journal wants only
explain what happened on that terrible moments between October 2Oth and 21st.
It is nothing in comparison to what our eyes have seen.
that this explanation with serve as a just and right acknowledge to the ones
who have saved our lives.
vessel “SANTA MARINA”