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- 4 August 1991 - 
Rescue ship to a person on the bridge of the fast sinking OCEANOS

“Where are you?”
“I don’t really know, somewhere between East London and Durban.”
“Can you give me your actual position?”
“What is your rank?”
“I’m the guitarist”

‘Recording the time as 12.05 am and date as 4 August, musician Moss Hills added calmly: “So I guess we’re going down”.’

In August 1991, excited holiday-makers boarded the Oceanos at East London for the trip of a lifetime. Despite treacherous weather, the captain ordered the ship to set sail for Durban. And so began the ill-fated voyage.

Hurricane force winds and giant rogue waves aggravated the hostile storm. Soon the ship started taking water. Panicked senior crew members scrambled into lifeboats leaving the ship’s evacuation to the on-board entertainers. At one point, a musician manned the bridge, at another, a magician.

Women and children clambered aboard lifeboats which were launched into terrifying seas, leaving their husbands behind, unsure if they would see each other again. After all the operational lifeboats had been utilised, 221 passengers and junior crew were left stranded on the rapidly sinking ship.

During this catastrophe the South African Air Force embarked on their biggest air rescue ever, with helicopter crews and Navy divers risking everything to evacuate the remaining passengers.

In Against all Odds, maritime lawyer Andrew Pike, who was part of the legal investigation into the Oceanos’ sinking, recreates the compelling drama and extraordinary heroism of the greatest maritime rescue in history.

Paperback, 242 pages.

Paul Whiley (HCG), Gary Scoular (HCS), Darren Brown (HC), Luke Dicks (HC), Frans Mostert (HC) of the South African Navy would be decorated for their brave efforts in saving the lives of 221 passengers and crew.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Stan Le Roux
One for the family

I recently purchased this book about the Oceanos rescue that occurred in 1991. It was written in an easy-read style with great flow as one moves through the topics and content covered. There was a lot of "new" information in the book that I was not aware of from other articles and pages published on the internet which I had read in the past. I felt like I was "right there" in terms of how the book evolves - definitely did not want to put the book down.

The book's content covers not only the rescue, but also the days leading up to the sinking, and then the weeks after the sinking in terms of investigations etc. Adequate background was provided to the ancillary stories to allow you to feel that you understood how this all fitted together.

The SADF and other agencies' involvement was well covered which allowed the reader to gain a more complete picture of their involvement in the rescue as well.

Overall - a great book that the whole family could read.

Frank H. Imgrund
A really informative book - exciting from start to finish

A really informative book that tells a lot about what happened behind the curtain in this shipwreck.
Thanks to the exemplary rescue teams, everyone on board was brought to safety.
It can happen so quickly in life that literally "the ground disappears from under your feet".
Exciting from start to finish.


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