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6 Disasters

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USCG photo

December 21, 1964

The 455-foot American freighter, S.S. Smith Voyager, lists 35 degrees to starboard in the North Atlantic Ocean, 780 miles east southeast of Bermuda on Dec. 21, 1964, in gale-wind tossed waters. On the previous day, the freighter radioed that her cargo had shifted heavily to starboard and requested all ships to standby for possible assistance. The vessel was carrying a cargo of winter wheat from Houston, Texas, to India. On Dec. 20, part of her crew of 42 abandoned ship. The 533-foot German freighter M.V. Mathilde Bolton, rescued 34 survivors and recovered four bodies. The master and three other crewmen remained on the listing freighter. Search and rescue aircraft from the U.S. Coast Guard air stations at Bermuda and Elizabeth City, N.C. and the Air Force's 55th Air Rescue Suadron flew rescue missions to the scene to drop survival equipment. The 311-foot Coast Guard Cutter Rockaway, on ocean station Echo, 240 miles to the north of the distressed vessel, and the 327-foot Coast Guard Cutter Spencer, on search and rescue standby duty in Bermuda, proceeded to the scene. Coast Guardsmen in a 26-foot monomoy pulling boat from the Rockaway rescued the captain and the three remaining crewmen from the storm-lashed freighter in 15-18 foot seas and 30-knot winds at dusk, Dece. 21. The Rockaway remained on the scene until the arrival of the Spencer on Dec. 22. The four survivors were then transferred to the Spencer to permit the Rockaway to resume its ocean station patrol duties.
The Spencer remained at the scene until Christmas day, when the 130-foot British salvage tug Marinia took the still listing freighter in tow for Bermuda.
The vessel sank while under tow 700 miles east southeast of Bermuda in 15,000 feet of water on Dec. 27. The 165 foot Coast Guard Cutter Aurora removed the 34 survivors from the Mathilde Bolten off Puerto Rico on Dec. 23. (Photo taken by Warrant Officer James A. Shepard, USCG, of the USCGC Rockaway. (USCG jcg)

USCG photo

December 21, 1964

A 26-foot monomoy pulling boat from the U.S.Coast Guard Cutter Rockaway is being rowed by 10 Coast Guardsmen after rescuing the master and three crewmen.......The boat officer for the Rockaway's pulling boat was Lieutenant John J. Cadigan, USCG, of Hyde Park, MA. Photo taken by ENC Howard J. Singley, USCG, of the USCGC Rockaway. (USCG jcg)

LT Cadigan was awarded the Coast Guard Medal for his outstanding efforts.

CADIGAN, John Joseph, Lieutenant Commander, USCG
Date of Action: 21 December 1964
Date of Award: 14 December 1965

For heroic conduct on December 21, 1964 while serving as boat officer of the pulling boat of the USCGC ROCKAWAY [WHEC-377] engaged in rescuing four persons from the SS SMITH VOYAGER, foundering in 20-foot seas, approximately 900 miles southeast of Bermuda. When the distressed ship radioed for help, the ROCKAWAY immediately responded. Upon arrival on scene, shortly before sunset, a boat was launched by the crew of the ROCKAWAY with Lieutenant Commander CADIGAN (then Lieutenant) in charge of a volunteer boat crew. With his expert skill, the boat was successfully maneuvered through 20 foot seas to a position approximately 25 feet from the derelict, whose main deck was now awash. The four survivors were then directed to jump into the water and, while grasping lines, were towed approximately 125 feet away from the ship, and assisted into the boat. This method of recovery was necessary since the SS SMITH VOYAGER was constantly drifting down on the small boat. After an hour and twenty minutes of continuous, extreme physical exertion, the boat was hoisted aboard the ROCKAWAY. Lieutenant Commander CADIGAN displayed outstanding courage, skill, and initiative during this rescue operation. His unselfish actions, perseverance, and unwavering devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Coast Guard.

USCG photo

December 25, 1964

Still listing 35 degrees awaiting salvage tug. (Photo taken by SN/RD Gilbert F. Thomas, USCG, of the USCGC SPENCER.



OCTOBER 13, 1965

The 360-foot Swedish freighter ORION labors in heavy seas 430 miles northwest of Achill Head, Ireland, after radioing an urgent message on October 13, 1965 that she had three cracks in her decks. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter NORTHWIND stoodby the freighter and her 30 crewmen for more than 12 hours until the seas abated.
Four days later the ORION again radioed for assistance when she was in heavy seas 680 miles northeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland. The Cutter Northwind, 1 269-foot icebreaker, again stoody the freighter and escorted it to the safety of sheltered waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The freighter was en route Toledo, Ohio from Leppaluoto, Finland with a cargo of wood pulp. (USCG)


JANUARY 12, 1966

Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Cutter ANDROSCOGGIN, Captain Emerson Hayes Jr, views the abandoned Greek freighter LAMPSIS on January 12, 1966, after gale-force winds and heavy seas cracked the 441-foot freighter's bulkhead between the boiler room and number three hold, 700 miles east of Bermuda in the North Atlantic ocean.
The Cutter rescued all 30 crewmen from the freighter, which was en route to Philadelphia from Casablanca with a cargo of manganese ore. The LAMPSIS sank later that night. (USCG)


Crewmen of the Greek freighter LAMPSIS and Coast Guardsmen view the abandoned freighter from the decks of the Coast Guard Cutter ANDROSCOGGIN on January 12, 1966, 700 miles east of Bermuda in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Two days earlier, gale-force winds and heavy seas cracked the freighter's bulkhead between the boiler room and number three hold. The LAMPSIS was en route to Philadelphia from Casablanca with a cargo of manganese ore.
On January 11, a repair party from the cutter boarded the LAMPSIS to attempt to control the flooding. The next morning the ANDROSCOGGIN removed the 30 crewmen from the freighter in the cutter's lifeboats. (USCG)

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