By Saturday morning about 3 am the wind and rain had subsided and Momo asked to go back to her house. Saturday was one of lighter winds and gradually clearing skies with crystal clear air and unlimited visability. Aside from some lost sleep and a messy yard to clean up, we weathered the storm well. Not so far away, others were not as fortunate.
You may recognize the title of this post as international Morse code for S.O.S. - the distress call. These days a distress call may come by voice over the radio saying "Mayday Mayday Mayday" (from the French word m'aider - help me) or even by cell phone. Sometimes it doesn't come at all. This storm took a toll in Japan. We had a shipwreck occur right off our coast here in Kashima City on Friday.
The 98,000 ton ship "Giant Step" with a crew of 26 and a cargo of 190,000 tonnes of Australian iron ore, to feed the steel works here, was riding out the storm outside Kashima Port. (A line of ships can often be seen off shore of Kashima, waiting their turn to offload cargo in the port.) The heavy wind and seas sent the Giant Step aground and she broke in two sending thirteen crewmembers into the sea. Of those, three have been rescued and one man was pulled from the sea but died in hospital. Thirteen others who were on the vessel were rescued. As of this writing, sixteen have been rescued, there is one known death, and nine men are still missing.
Globally, literally hundreds of ships are lost each year. You could safely bet that at any given time, somewhere in the world a ship is sinking. The sea is unforgiving.
Also on Friday, a large fishing vessel was lost off Miyagi prefecture, 300 km or so to our north. The crew of 16 are still missing. They called for help by cell phone. Thirteen abandoned ship and three remained with her. The ship and its emergency raft have since been found capsized, but no crewmembers.
A pleasure fishing boat capsized off of Niijima, an island south of Tokyo in the Izu Island group. Eight people were rescued, but seven are missing. Seas in the area were reported to be 5 meters in height (16 feet).
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who biddest the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
Follow up post: Wreck of the Giant Step