Morning Colin,three ships involved Sibonga twice,Roachbank and Ruddbank.I was 3rd mate on the Sibonga on the 1st time she picked up boat people.Ted
Can you recall the master who resued those people ?
A few years later I sailed with him and an engineer (quiet chap who was into some serious weight-lifting) who were on the Sibonga (I think) at the time of the resue but sadly, cannot recall their names.
I can remember it was a big story at the time as there was some reluctance from various authorities to accept these unfortunate folks and there was a lot of uncertainty as to where they would end up.
Hi I think it was John Appleby.Healey Martin was the Master of Sibonga on the second occasion, and when she lost the charter and was stuck in Hong Kong. He was later on Tench or Pike so guess this is what you refer to...
Apart from the bald facts of the rescue (s), there were and still are a number of human interest stories that arose from that time. Children were named after the ship and after Healey and his wife Mildred. The Vietnam people from Sibonga have their own website, and many have achieved high success in various professions.
Healey was still receiving hate mail for rescuing boat people long after the rescue.
P.S. This period in maritime history caused mixed feelings among the shipping companies, and a great deal of hidden hypocrisy which is the worst kind. I could add a lot more, but suffice it to say, I felt ashamed to be a Master Mariner involved in management at that time.
Hi Ben,Hi I think it was John Appleby.
John Appleby was Skipper on the Birchbank, I sailed with him joining in Rotterdam 30.07.75 and paying off in Dubai 26.02.76 Not involved with any boat people that voyage.Hi Ben,
John Appleby was Roachbank ( I think) - don't know much about his rescue, but he was mate on the Crestbank earlier when I was 2/0.
Healey Martin as mentioned was the Sibonga master, and as he was a friend I heard it all first hand, including some stuff I would'nt like to repeat here.
Many thanks for that interesting, and uplifting contribution - It was quite heartening to read.Please excuse me for intruding, as I have never had any associatiosn with Bank Line. I want to say that it saddens me to learn about the reluctance to rescue these unfortunate people, and even more so to learn that a decent Master, carrying out a seamans duty of honour should receive anything but acknowledgement for doing so.
Danish ships carried out similar rescues off Vietnam on a number of occasions. Maersk ships alone rescued more than 10,000 Vietnamese boat people, of which 3,268 were saved on a single occasion:
Friday 2 May 1975 the M/V Clara Mærsk rescued all aboard the sinking M/V Truong Xuan. Sunday 4 May Clara Mærsk was met by the British frigate HMS Chichester, carrying doctors and medical supplies, including that needed for the urgent operation of an infant. Four seriously ill refugees were transferred to the Chichester by helicopter.
Clara Mærsk arrived at Hong Kong in the evening of May 4, and by 3 am monday morning all refugees were ashore, including three babies, born aboard the Clara Mærsk. One of the babies were later christened Clara.
Personally, I had a single encounter with Vietnamese boat people, while serving on the M/V Marchen Mærsk in the summer of 1983. They were about twenty people in a small wooden fishing boat. They were encountered adrift at midday, in sunny, calm weather. They were out of fuel and almost out of food and water. When learning that if we picked them up, we would have to discharge them in Karachi, Pakistan, they were not happy! They asked if they could have supplies instead, enabling them to proceed to Singapore on their own. We supplied them with food, fresh water, diesel, lanterns, updated maps and a some navigational aids. We also gave their engine a quick service check, and off they went. I sometimes wonder what became of them.
I have no knowledge of any opposition in Denmark against these rescue operations. To the best of my knowledge it was backed by politicians, authorities, ship-owners and the general public. Captain Anton M. Olsen of the Clara Mærsk was awarded the Knights Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II.
Though there is a somewhat mixed attitude towards certain foreigners in Denmark, the relatively huge Vietnamese community seem to be well accepted. They are indeed well integrated in society. Some have become employees of Maersk companies over the years. I know of a few officers and at least one present captain in Maersk Supply Service.
I was not aware of that part of history (the EAC association with Bank Line). I do know that by 1975, darlings or not, Maersk was a far bigger shipping company than EAC, and appeared to be more up-to-date. EAC seemed to be stuck in their ways and did not really manage to cope with the changing times.The altruistic attitude of Maersk Line is noted but it should be recalled that the Bank Line "Sibonga" that lost her charter as a result of the boat people rescue was, in fact, on charter at the time to that other Danish company, The East Asiatic Company which in the lmean time has gone the way of al;l other traditional cargo liner companies. Time was when EAC were the darlings of the Danish economy and Moller-Maersk were the parvenues. Time change.
What;s Danish for "Too Big to Fail"?
John Appleby was Master on the Clydebank when I was R/O, best Old Man I sailed with. Great to see his name mentioned.John Appleby was Skipper on the Birchbank, I sailed with him joining in Rotterdam 30.07.75 and paying off in Dubai 26.02.76 Not involved with any boat people that voyage.
Lovely post....Streambank. John Appleby. 1:5:81.
We picked up about 50 boat people. Landed them in Singapore (or better said, put them into a barge at a buoy in Singapore).
Had a whole bunch of kids with them. My wife was knitting silly wool toys and handing them out after the bath and wash frenzy.
Years later here in Nederland she met a young lady in a school who thought she recognized her, asked a few questions, told her she still had her silly toy.
When China and Wife went to John's funeral in Lewes, we stopped into a local by what we thought was John's watering hole, asked if anyone knew where Capt Appleby's funeral was. Landlady said "see all those Vietnamese kids sitting on that wall? That's the place".
John sold his Triumph TR7 for a Daimler Sovereign. You can only get six kids in a TR7, about 15 in a Daimler if you try hard enough.
Crazy, eccentric, wierd, lovely man.(==D)