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By A. Bertram Chandler

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He and another man ran with it to the post indicated by the Chief Officer. Then the self-tensioning winch, whining, took the weight. Belatedly Grimes thought that he had better stop the engines, had better go astern before the ship’s stem crashed through the wharf stringer. But the order had been anticipated. A good lad, Viccini ... he thought. But he’d better not make a habit of this sort of thing. Now Sonya Winneck’s bows were being pulled downriver against the countercurrent, her stem still only a few feet from the stringer, the stern swinging in easily.

Master here,” said Grimes into the mouthpiece. “Second Officer, sir. ” The Second Mate was in the chartroom, plotting positions on the chart. He straightened as Grimes came in, turned to speak to him. “It’s Iron Warrior, sir. One of their big bulk carriers. She’s broken down, lying in the trough, and her cargo’s shifted. ” “Not good. ” The young man stood away from the chart so that Grimes could see, indicated the other ship’s position with the point of a pencil. “Here, sir. Just twenty miles south of the Low Grenadines.

Then take your watch with you and make rounds through the accommodation. ” It was Wilcox, the Chief Officer. ” “It’s an emergency, Mr. Wilcox. A Mayday call. Iron Warrior, broken down and drifting on to the Low Grenadines. ” “I’d better start getting things ready,” replied the Mate. Grimes went back into the chartroom, to the transceiver that had been switched on as soon as the auto-alarm had been actuated by the Mayday call. “Sonya Winneck to Ocean Control, Area Five,” he said. “Ocean Control to Sonya Winneck.

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