Ocean Twelve

The seamen of the MV Ocean Cosmos inscribed their names and “Ocean Twelve” on the present they gave us when saying goodbye. It resembles a life raft because fittingly, DUCKDALBEN and the ITF had helped rescue the crew from an emotional trauma. For before they came to us, they had gone through unimaginably harrowing weeks at sea – weeks when they were in constant fear of their lives.

The troubles started when the ship was leaving Australia. An initially small leak grew much larger. Through a hole in the ship’s hull, masses of water entered the machine room via the propeller shaft. The seamen were up to their chests in water and knew every second: if the emergency pumps failed the ship would quickly go down.

The Japanese shipping company and ship’s officers nonetheless forced them to sail for a fearful 28 days, from Australia, around Africa, towards Europe.

Only when they arrived in Tenerife was the crew able to refuse sailing any further and succeeded in having divers seal the hole on the shaft. With the help of tugs the Ocean Cosmos finally reached Denmark where the cargo was discharged and the ship sent for repairs to the Blohm + Voss yards in Hamburg.

When the crew arrived in our club, they were deeply traumatised from the weeks-long fear of death that they had all endured. The DUCKDALBEN crew faced one of its greatest challenges, and from April to June 2009 provided every possible kind of help and encouragement.

It borders on a wonder that the 12 weren’t lost at sea. And their ironic reference to the film title “Ocean’s Twelve” is probably solid proof that the support provided by DUCKDALBEN and the ITF had helped them recover from their horrendous experiences on board!

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