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Ocean Accident - Uean Te Raoi (4)

Posted by Amota Eromanga on October 14, 2012 at 3:20 AM

IN HONOUR & REMEMBRANCE OF THOSE WHO SURVIVED AND THOSE WHO DIED!

After righting the ferry

After the ferry had been restored, the next big job was bailing water out of the hull. Everyone was asked to move to the outrigger section of the ferry and to push it downward from there. But now, nobody seemed to listen. Passengers did not want to move nor did what was being asked. This happened certainly not because they didn’t want to or disagreed, but they were indeed tired and feeling weak. Despite these reactions, people finally located themselves at the outrigger and began pushing.

As the hull rose, bailing out water began. After several attempts, the men had to stop. Big holes and cracks were seen along the sides of the hull letting water ran in so fast. Nothing could be done but just to leave it like that – half floating.

ocean accidentIt would be dark soon, so the captain seized any attempts and asked everyone to look for their places for the night. As we did so, we noticed that the condition was hazardous and very uncomfortable. Broken glasses from the captain’s wheel house, holes in the floor and sharp broken woods were around us. We complained to the captain about the risky condition and asked if the ferry could be turned upside down again.

The captain agreed so he asked the crew and passengers for help. This time nobody intended to move. They were tired and weak. As a result, few men did the work alone – three on one rope and two on the other rope. They pulled again and again until they realized that more hands were needed. The captain finally agreed to suspend the work. Darkness was coming shortly – less than an hour.

I looked for a place somewhere at the outrigger section. The officer from the KIRI-EU and a man and his child were beside me. The man put his child inside the cooler box to protect him from the cold.

That night, we could see the light of Tarawa island in the distance. It was an indication of drifting back towards Tarawa instead of coming closer to Maiana. At first some passengers thought the light was coming from the ship but others confirmed that it was actually from the island.

Food was not the problem as passengers brought plenty of food on this trip. Foods stored in plastic packages were still fresh while others were soaked. The problem was the drink. Even though some passengers brought fresh water, it was enough for the children only. We had no choice but to eat little food. The rain fell that night but it was just a light shower. Everyone opened their mouths to the rain but they only caught raindrops. A bucket left to collect rain was also empty.

Next part : Ocean Accident – Uean Te Raoi (5)

Categories: True Stories

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