17.02.2020

38 years since the death of the vessel Mechanic Tarasov

February 16, 1982 is a mournful date in the history of the Baltic Shipping Company.On this day the vessel Mechanic Tarasov sank. There were 37 seafarers on board according to the surviving crew list but only five survived. A terrible tragedy occurred in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. On that fateful day the container ship was heading to Hamburg from the port of Trois-Rivieres but received the SOS signal from the oil platform.The vessel deviated from the course and went to the rescue. However she never reached the place running into the gale.

Under such circumstanceslits mandatory to send up an SOS but captain Bylkin decided not to inform anybody except shipping company asking for help. The only Soviet vessel- refrigerator trawler KB-0244 Ivan Dvorsky- was closest to location of the wreck. Immediately she went to rescue the Mechanic Tarasov but the vessels were separated by 100 nautical miles or, given the stormy weather, 14 hours.

Here is what eyewitness of the death of Mechanic Tarasovrecall:

When the Ivan Dvorsky with great difficulty approached the distance of 2 cables to the sinking ship it was about two in the morning. The attempt to contact via radiotelephone did not succeed. Obviously portable radios sets ran out of batteries.It was evident that the MechanicTarasov could not stay afloat for a longas the ship's roll to the starboard side reached 50 degrees with a strong trim on the bow. Given the six-meter freeboard of the Ivan Dvorsky, it was impossible of launching the boat as it would be smashed to pieces right there with people. Ivan Dvorsky turned stern to the Mechanic Tarasovand began to approach him to pass the hauling lines for lifeboats. At that moment the Danish fishing vessel Sicurfari got in touch. His captain said that he had been near the Soviet ship for several hours and was ready to assist her.When the ships approached the distance of the hauling line shot from a special device, the Mechanic Tarasovbegan to rapidly go under water and the seafarers poured into icy water. The Sicurfari was the first to rush to help the Russian seafarers  and the Danes, risking their own lives, began to catch the sailors from the water. In the spotlight the crew of Ivan Dvorsky noticed one person in the water in an orange vest. With great difficulty they managed to lift an insensible body aboard the ship. Unfortunately they could not save the seafarer. Of the nine crew members picked up from the ocean by the Danes, only those who were in ice water for no more than 5 minutes were brought back to life.

Crew members of the m / v Mechanic Tarasovare buried at the Serafimovsky cemetery in St. Petersburg. Every year in February their relatives and friends come to their graves as well as those who simply knew the dead seafarers and worked with them, including representatives of the Baltic Territorial Organization of the Seafarers Union of Russia. They bring flowers and maintain the grave.

In 2014 Danish journalists shot the documentary called Save, we are drowning about the wreck of the vessel. VyacheslavKozhukhov, former second officer of the MechanicTarasovand the Sigurfari crew members share their memories of the circumstances of that tragedy, tell us how the rescueoperation was performed. Subsequently, the captain of the Sicurfari trawler Mikkyal Olsen was awarded by the Order of Friendship of Peoples for participating in the rescue operation, the rest of the crew  were awarded by medals For life Saving.

Unfortunately the movie can only be viewed in Danish, there is no English translation. However, VyacheslavKozhukhov during the interview talks about the events of that day in English. The film Save, we are drowning will undoubtedly be instructive and interesting to employees of the shipping industry, especially those who knew and remember the dead seafarers.

Adapted from the BTO SUR

 

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