1 May


"If you’re a seafarer, you believe in miracles.”

1 May, 2018

Stan, from the Wirral, will never forget the day of his friend Douglas Wardrop’s dramatic ordeal. “We were bound for Japan with a cargo of soya beans on the British Monarch,” said Stan. “Four days out from Panama, it was a beautiful morning and I was enjoying my breakfast. Dougie usually had his at the same time but there was no sign of him, I searched the vessel but couldn’t find him.”

Stan decided to check the engine room, before asking second engineer, Victoria Drummond – Britain’s first female marine engineer – if she had seen the missing second officer, she hadn’t.

“Eventually, I had to tell the Captain that Douglas was missing. He called the crew together and we all searched the vessel, we even went through the soya beans.”

The last reported sighting of Douglas was four am, when he handed over watch duties to the mate.

“It was now nine am, five hours in shark and barracuda infested waters – some hope for Doug, but if you’re a seafarer, you believe in miracles.”

The British Monarch steamed back along their original track, but at midday, there had still been no sighting of Douglas.

“The mate and Captain thought the wind and current might have altered our course slightly so we altered six degrees to starboard and steamed on for an hour. Suddenly the third mate shouted ‘man swimming on the starboard side’ – you could see a little hand waving about in the water.

“Had the Captain and mate not altered the course what a different story it might have been.”

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