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Park Victory Tavla V

S/S Park Victory

16.5.1945 – 24.12.1947 V

Destruction

S/S Park Victory anchored to the west of Lillharun. The weather was calm and the sky was bright. On Christmas Eve it became dark early. The enlightened big cargo ship outside Utö was an impressive sight. (1. on the chart)

Nevertheless, from southwest approached a deep low-pressure. This was to bring with it increasing winds and snowstorm. At 6 pm the wind was from south, with a speed of already 5 beauforts. The visibility was only 70 m. In between it got clearer, and at 9.30 pm the sight was between 0,5 and 6 km. The wind had turned more towards west and its velocity was at this point 6 beauforts.

The pilot Nestor Lindström, who already was in bed to be ready for the departure towards Helsinki early in the morning at 3 am, went up to the bridge around 10 pm. He wanted them to change their anchoring place. This was made and the ship was brought closer to Utö. (2. on the chart)

The wind was increasing and because of this, Lindström went to the bridge once again around midnight. The pilot felt in his old bones that the ship was moving in an unusual way in the storm, the speed of which at this time was about 9 beauforts. He wanted also the second anchor to be cast. The first mate took care of this. At the same time, the main engine of the ship was started, and with its help and with helm commands they tried to keep the stem up against the rough sea. The second mate, having the watch, reported that the co-ordinates to Utö had changed. The anchors of the ship were sliding!

S/S Park Victory touched the bottom for the first time at the stem shortly after midnight. A leakage in the first cargo space was observed but the engine room informed that they could get along with it. The ship was adrift in the wind. The third mate took his stand in the stern to keep an eye on the sea and informed the bridge of sea foam that might turn up.

Sea foam was approaching in an alarming way, and on board the ship it was already decided to take full engine straight forward. Too late! S/S Park Victory run sideways on a sunken rock that was so deep (9 m) that it did not cause any foam on the surface.

(3. on the chart)

The largest leakage was caused amid-ships, just at the engine room. The engine room had to be abandoned, the engines were stopped and the lighting went out. The crew got the order: ”Abandon ship!”

During the rescuing, in heavy snow storm, they managed to get three lifeboats out on the rough sea. The light from the lighthouse was seen every now and then, and they tried to row in its direction. Already at the first touch of bottom a report of this was sent to Helsinki.

When the ship was abandoned, a rescue action was started from Utö. The rescuers had at their disposal three vessels: a pilot boat, the sea rescue boat Merikokko, and the army motorboat SP39.

The people of Utö rescued 38 seamen and their own pilot from the rough sea. The last 15 of these men were saved only in the morning, from a rock on to which they had jumped when their lifeboat hit it. The other ones were adrift on the boat and were saved earlier in the night.

text, material and editing Jouko Moisala / layout Maarit Nissilä