Lady Swaythling Trophy 2007/08
To Captain Glenn Wostenholme of the Maersk Kendal.
Shortly after midnight on 7th August 2007 the MV Pailin Maritime, a 30 year old, 3,000 ton vessel, fully laden with a cargo of logs and a crew of 24 en route from the Solomon Islands to Vietnam sent out a distress call. Her hull had cracked; she was taking in water and listing to starboard. The crew were ordered to abandon ship. Two liferafts were released and 23 crew jumped into the water, one non-swimmer would not. There was a strong southwesterly wind with a four metre sea. The Pailin sank in fifteen minutes.
Meanwhile, 190 nm to the NNE, the new container ship Maersk Kendal was on her maiden voyage from Busan to Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia. She had been monitoring distress relay messages from the Pailin during the night and at 0900, Captain Glenn Wostenholme, ordered a change of heading towards her last known position – 90 miles away – and increased to full speed ahead. Maersk Kendal arrived on scene at 1230, was designated On Scene Co-ordinator and informed that another vessel would arrive in two and a half hours. A loose life jacket was sighted early on and a search sector was established to the north and east of it. The Car Carrier Rio Imperial joined the search. Drift and leeway calculations were made and a Dead Reckoning position for the survivors calculated. At 1515 blue canvas or plastic coverings were sighted in the water. At 1648, the decision was made to increase speed and head directly towards the calculated DR position in order to cover the furthest point away before nightfall. Then at 1702, Rio Imperial reported another empty life jacket and the DR was updated to a position approximately two miles SSE of the original one. The wind was south-westerly at 24 kts and the sea state moderate to rough. Numerous large logs were sighted in the water, then a body and then orange smoke and a small rocket were sighted off Maersk Kendal’s starboard bow, less than one mile distant. The rescue boat was launched and two survivors recovered. They reported that two liferafts had been launched from the Pailin and that there were 24 in the crew. At 1852 Rio Imperial reported another liferaft to the north-east and she proceeded to recover 13 survivors. Captain Wostenholme decided to continue searching to the north-east hoping to cover the most likely area before dark. Then at 1903 Maersk Kendal sighted a second liferaft on the port bow one mile away. While manoeuvring his 299 metre long container ship alongside the liferaft they were hit by a strong squall. There was a 3.5 to 4 metre swell and it was now dark but four survivors were rescued. The search was concluded. The survivors had been adrift for nineteen hours and had drifted thirty-five miles away from the Pailin’s last reported position. Nineteen crew had been rescued.