WALVIS BAY – Captain of the Resplendent hake trawler Carlo Gordon that sunk on Tuesday afternoon off the Namibian coast was hailed as a selfless hero by his crew members, family and friends yesterday.
Gordon who is still missing at sea received heaps of praises for his quick thinking and selfless act that according to the crew members are the reason why they survived the tragic incident when the Hangana Seafood owned vessel sunk on Tuesday. According to international customary law, ship captains must follow principles of prudent seamanship, which means taking responsibility for the safety of others on board before their own.
However, only a few follow this principle to the end.
“We are alive because of our captain. He risked his life and although he is still missing, we will forever be grateful for his heroism,” one of the crew members told New Era yesterday.
“That man was obsessed with safety just as much as he loved the sea. Can you imagine he had a quick safety drill with us minutes after we realised the imminent danger we are facing. He showed no fear as he was guiding and commanding us to safety,” the visibly still traumatised crew member, said.
Even though they are not allowed to talk publicly about their ordeal just yet, the crew members hailed Gordon a true hero that would have gone to any length to make sure everyone is safe.
“He risked his life to make sure that we all are safe. We have heard about captains abandoning ships when disaster strikes.
But our captain made sure every men that was on the vessel was out of harm’s way.” A candle light vigil was held last night at Narraville in honour of Gordon, whose search mission was sadly called off yesterday. Simon Uirab, a patriotic Namibian yesterday also said that he was touched by the heroic deed of Gordon, saying all Namibians should support the family during this difficult time. A friend of Gordon, Neil Daniels, yesterday described the situation as a tragedy.
“I was saddened by the news and wish I could have done more to help my friend,” he said.
Confederation of the Namibian Fishing Associations chairperson, Matti Amukwa said Gordon’s bravery is unimaginable. “It is a bittersweet and shocking situation. However, we are grateful toward Gordon who showed why he was manning the vessel, like a true captain he averted a bigger tragedy,” Amukwa said.
He added that the entire industry is in solidarity with the management, staff of Hangana Seafood and most of all with the entire Gordon family and his crew during the dark cloud.
To date, the sinking of the Meob Bay fishing vessel is the worst ever maritime disaster in Namibia, whereby 19 seamen died after the trawler vessel sunk about 30 nautical miles west of Lüderitz on the south of the Namibian coastline on 7 June 2002.
The vessel had 27 crew members of which only nine were rescued when the vessel’s propeller caught a piece of drifting rope attached to an anchor on the ocean floor.
The propeller became snagged in the rope causing the vessel to take in water and sank within 28 minutes.
Meanwhile, spokesperson of the Ministry of Works and Transport, Julius Ngweda yesterday said that Gordon has joined a distinguished list of ship captains who in facing of imminent and grave danger themselves chose to be the last one of the ship if not the one to go down with the ship in order to rescue their crew.
“His family and friends will remain in our prayers,” Ngweda said in a statement yesterday.