Distress Message Response
In the days when ships carried Radio Officers (What were they? - Look in your history books!) on hearing a Distress Message (SOS) the RO was obliged to log the message and acknowledge it immediately - note "Acknowledge" not Reply. Acknowledgement could only be briefly delayed to allow vessels apparently closer to the scene to acknowledge first. The RO also immediately advised the Master of his ship and then made such reply as the Master should order. Thus, if done properly, there was a public record of the Distress Call. As an RO I participated in several such operations, mostly I am glad to say, without the calamitous results some members have reported. The only exception was in the case of the loss of the Munchen when we were obliged to report that we would assist once we had repaired our own storm damage. Regrettably we were in any case too far away and the disaster too comprehensive for anyone to assist. It was a very great storm.