A true story by a Bristol seafarer.

 

On one particular ship that Richard sailed the Master was very old fashioned. He insisted that the radar was for sissies.

 

One night Richard was up on the bridge, the International Ice Patrol broadcast the news that all known icebergs were 40 degrees west of the ship’s position. 

 

The Master left night orders for the radar to be switched on at 4am in the morning.

 

Just by chance Richard switched it on at 1 am. He tracked an echo on the heading marker at 20 miles and watched it get closer, 15 miles, 12 miles, 10 miles and when, changing to lower range, it appeared 3 miles ahead he called the Master who came to the bridge.

 

Richard reported that there was something lying dead in the water, directly ahead and thought it was a broken down ship because the radar image was very sharp.

 

The Master told Rich to sound the ship’s whistle, and after a while they heard the sound of a faint whistle returning.

 

Blowing again, three times in all, they realised it was an echo.

 

Switching on the search light there appeared an enormous iceberg, so tall it wouldn't have passed beneath the Bristol suspension bridge.

 

Obviously we missed it, Richard said, but with 2,000 tons of molten phosphorus aboard if we’d hit the iceberg and the tanks had ruptured we would have covered the North Atlantic with a cloud of phosphorous. 

 

A shaky night.

 

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(Document origin:-  www.balmaha.net/mnavy/L/a_true_story.htm)