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NORWEGIAN SHIP MASTER NARRATES WAR ORDEALS
How a cargo of 3700 tons of phosphate loaded at Christmas Island and destined for Australia went to the bottom on a Jap torpedo striking the Norwegian ship Eidsvold, was narrated by Captain S. Fridvold, master of the Norwegian motor vessel Skagerak, now loading sugar for a southern port. Christmas Iiland, explained Captain FridroM, is 2S0 miles south of Java and the Eidsvold had put ii there with the intentioa el lifting 7800 tons of phosphate for this eonntry. When the had loaded 3700 tons, she was ordered from the wharf to the roadstead and while there was attacked and sunk, breaking in two before she finally retted on the sea bed.
Skagerak, sister ship to the EkW irald, b owned by Olaf Dltlev— Simon- ?en junior, of Oslo, Norway. She is now loading 8000 tons of sugar. Skagerak has been on the Austra lian coast for some years, plying be tween this land and the Middle East and Mediterranean. Bhe has even been used as a troop carrier on oc casions, but mostly she was laden with supplies and war materials. Torpedoing of the Eidsvold took plsce hi January, 1942, The Jap under water mlssle struck amldihlps and almost bisected the vessel Immediately. As It was, the fore and aft section* were only held together by the super structure, the whole body of the ship having been cut In two by the force of the explosion. The ship was abandoned at 6.1S p.m. and it was noticed, as darkness 'ell. that Eidsvold was still afloat, having drifted a little. Next morn Ing, after the whole complement of 35 had been landed on Christmas Is land, it was observed that Eidsvold had settled on the sea bed In six fathoma of water, having subsided keel on, but with a certain list. The aft portion was about 70 yards from the fore. Tbe bridge' then was clear of water. For 16 days. Captain Fridvold and his crew. lived on Christmas Island. where they were billeted out with the residents. During this time they re ceived every possible kindness from
the English folk settled on the lslan At the end of that period they we;, told that a ship would shortly arrl. for them and were told to be In read: ness by 6 ajn. one day. Waiting on the whan for the ves sel they found that their transport from Christmas Island was thp British cruiser Durban and In thi - they were moved to Batavia, when they experienced Jap bombing dill They were waiting in Batavia when Singapore fell on February IS, 1942 Five days later the crew of the Eidsvold embarked on the Burnt Philp steamer Marella for Sydney Th* New South Wales capital \vb.- not reached until March 21, 1942. When they were proceeding across the Indian Ocean they met Skagerak and recognised thr vessel, though at the time Cap tain Fridvold was not aware that she was to be ,hls next ship. On the voyage to Australia, call were made at Fremont] e and McV bourne. Under instructions from the Con sul-General for Norway in Sydnc, Captain Fridvold took charge ol Skagerak on July 1, 1942. and he hs since been engaged in much work ?? convoys. On many occasions, he sale: other ships In the convoy had been attacked, but Skagerak came through the Pacific war unscathed. The veaael while In convoy hae been anchored off Townsville, but th- present is her first visit to the port Captain Fridvold concluded.