In rough seas off the north cost of Tasmania tonight (4.8.63) the Norwegian ship - PORTHOS - nearing the Tamar Heads following a fire in the crews quarters which caused death and injury.
Jetty (after aerial shot ship)
17 1/2 ft
ship after tug
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Background: In rough seas off the north cost of Tasmania tonight (4.8.63) the Norwegian ship - PORTHOS - nearing the Tamar Heads following a fire in the crews quarters which caused death and injury. The fire began early this morning when the PORTHOS was near Swan Island off the north eastern tip of Tasmania. Reports reaching Tasmania say three crewmen are dead and several more injured. The blackened port holes show where the fire swept through the crews quarters.
The tug Westamar left George Town at midday to go to the aid of the Porthos. Two doctors were taken on the tug. Extra medical supplies were also loaded. The Porthos radioed this morning that the fire had damaged the steering gear. It was thought at midday that the Porthos would have to be towed to port. However, emergency steering gear was rigged on the Porthos and she set out for the Tamar under her own power. About two hours ago the tug Westamar and the Porthos met near Waterhouse Island. One of the doctors was transferred to the damaged ship to care for the injured crewmen. In spite of the stormy seas the Porthos is expected to arrive at the Tamar Head in about an hour. Meanwhile in Launceston the staff of the Launceston General Hospital is standing by ready to treat any of the crewmen who may need hospital treatment.
The Porthos, of six thousand tons, was due to arrive in Hobart this afternoon with a cargo of phosphates from Christmas Island in the Indian ocean. The cameraman who took this film said the crewmen on the cabin top near the stern appeared to be steering the Porthos with emergency gear. The names of the dead seamen are not yet known.