Park Victory VI

S/S Park Victory VI

16.5.1945 – 24.12.1947

Rescue

During their brave rescue action the men from Utö stood up both to the sea and the weather. From the storming sea, in icy conditions, putting their own life in danger, they rescued 38 out of 48 of the crew on S/S Park Victory, and also their own pilot.

On shore the other islanders and the fort made themselves ready to take care of the shipwrecked men. These were given care, warmth and food. The fort dressed the crew in Finnish soldier uniforms.

At dawn captain Zepp had only to realize the loss of part of his crew and the place where the ship had sunk. Because of the losses it was not possible to enjoy the saving. The atmosphere was doubtlessly severe, but thankful.

The rescued men were taken to Turku and the crew were quarted in the city youth hostel. They were taken care of by the local Red Cross district. Representing the shipping company, Nils Wikeström took care of the officers in command.

The maritime declaration was given quickly. The law-court stated that both the captain and the pilot had accted correctly.

From Turku the whole crew was taken to Stockholm on board the passenger ferry ”Wellamo” and therefrom they had a flight to New York. After the arrival the crew was dismissed. Captain Zepp was taken into custody by the naval guard for having caused the loss of a ship belonging to the state and for the death of ten persons. Zepp did not lose his captain’s book. In February already he surveyed the rebuilding of S/S Florence Luckenbach at the Todd shipyard in New York. In April he was on board his ship in Alexandria on the way to Australia. He was aquitted of all accusations in 1951.

As a thank for their self-sacrificing rescue work the people of Utö received parcels from the United States. They contained foodstuffs that Finland was short of and were on the card. An auction was arranged on Utö where the foodstuffs were sold to a large audience. The money received was used for the making in Turku of a candle holder with ten branches, on which the names of the ten victims are engraved.

The victims of the S/S Park Victory loss were blessed to the sea in 1948. At the same time the candle holder was lit for the first time. At the end of the blessing act a choir of islanders from Utö sang the hymn ”Nearer, my God, to Three” in English. Present were also representatives of the US embassy.

text, material and editing Jouko Moisala / layout Maarit Nissilä