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The ship broke in two on a giant wave


The winter storms had raged more violently than usual in the northern Atlantic. When Kurt Carlsen sailed into the Channel the problems had already begun. Tugboats from France, Holland and England had already dealt with the first disabled vessels, but there were more yet to come, and the weather was getting wilder and more vicious. The Day before Christmas Eve, Carlsen received new orders from Isbrandtsen. ”For the sake of America” was one of the the things it said. The orders were clear. Kurt Carlsen was to leave Hamburg immediately and head for Baltimore with his cargo. Even though there was space for another 1200 tons in the middle hold which mostly contained mail, Carlsen ordered the ship to sail at once. ”I was very sorry to have to cancel Christmas with my parents and siblings. They had been looking forward to the visit and had bought presents, but this cargo was, apparently, special.” Carlsen’s gaze dwells on the tree in the cosy living room in Woodbridge as he stops the projector and talks about that Christmas in 1951. The Christmas that was to become the worst in his life. With a terrifying crash the hull in front of the deckhouse split open. Through a two inch wide, four meter deep gash, water gushed into the cargo hold and continued to the engine room. The ship listed more minute by minute. The engines stopped. Our position was 49˚38’N – 004˚23’W.


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