Monday, March 01, 2010


I was very honoured today to receive an email from a publishing company, they are in the process of publishing a book by Brig Gen Dick Lord, and asked myself and a few others to give a quote for his forthcoming book.  The book is basically an Autobiography and describes some of the rescue missions that happened whilst he was serving in the SAAF.

On reading the part about the Oceanos rescue mission, only almost 20 years later did it hit home as to what happened while we were sitting on board the Oceanos.  So much credit has been given to the TFC crew who coordinated the rescue on board, so much has been written and was in the news, but so little was said about those who risked their lives to save the almost 600 people on board the Oceanos.

It was incredible to read the story, however I am not going to say too much more here until I have permission from the author and publishers.  But one thing is for sure that my copy will be on order shortly.

Final word, while reading the account of the Oceanos rescue, all the people involved suddenly became personal now, because now I had an idea of exactly what they were doing while I was sitting on deck on the listing ship, and suddenly messages from my guest book became clear, now I know where you all fit it.  I realise that not only do I owe my life to Moss and the team on board the Oceanos, but without those out there coordinating the rescue mission, getting the choppers to come and fetch us I would not be here today, so I thank you.  I have so much more to say on this but will leave it for another post!

Here are some of the extracts from my guest book:

Date 2008-07-06 09:02:14

Hi there. Just thought I would let you know I was the radio operator on watch at Port Elizabeth Radio (ZSQ) and was the one who received the SOS message from Oceanos. I had to query the position given as it put the ship around Graaf Reinet. The ship operator eventually said they were about 6 miles from Coffee Bay so I corrected their position and rebroadcast the message in both Morse Code and R/T channels. I Also passed it onto Port Control East London and Port Elizabeth and the SA Navy in Simonstown. That got the show on the road, resulting in all aboard being saved. The reason she used Morse and not satellite comms was because she was listing so much they could not get their satellite antenna to train onto the satellite system.



David van der Sandt

Date 2008-05-31 03:07:24

What a pleasant supprise to come across such a comprehensive history of the sinking of the Oceanos. I was one of the SANDF medics that flew up from Port Elizabeth to assist. I still a life jacket that my medical team signed. Please forward me an e mail adress so i can send you some pic's


Two different David's by the way!

06:00am I received a call from my Officer in command Captain Green from SAS Simonsberg requesting my students to respond on a rescue mission.

At the time I was working for the SA Navy as Marine disaster management instructor.

I had a full team on call and on that day to do their final practical exam to qualify as a disaster rescue team member. It sure does feel good to read this sort of stories and to know that the training provided by the marine fire training school at that time and the instructors involved paid off and was very successful.

At the time I was the instructor I was Petty Officer Van Wyk.

Thank you for stories like yours and I am glad you came out your ordeal in good health.

This story of yours is my reward for many years of hard work myself and the other instructors at the maritime fire training school in Simons town provided.
Best regards and wishes to you and your family.

G.M Van Wyk (Theo)

I would love to get some emails from the guys who flew the choppers and others that were involved in the rescue operation to put them up on the blog.

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