Sergey Tyumentstev  Lives in Vladivostok Russia

I was very delighted and surprised to receive mail and photos from Sergey who was a crew member of the Russian tug Iribis.  Iribis was to tow Britanis (then called Belofin 1) from Florida to India but of course she never finished her journey.  Sergey actually watched her sinking.  I have left his story in his own words as I think they are very moving and he should be proud of how well he can express himself in English.

"My name is Sergey, I from Russia the city of Vladivostok. It will be possible to you interestingly: I a member of a crew of an ocean salvage tug "Iribis" which towed in "last voyage" Britanis. I have a number of photos of this voyage, and as video recording of all route, from a berthing wall up to a place of destruction.

"Sorry for my English."


One of the photos Sergey sent depicts him on the stern of the IRIBIS as she towed the BELOFIN-1 under the Tampa Bay Bridge.




As the tug and her tow approached the West Coast of South Africa, the tug�s crew daily on-board inspections of BELOFIN-1 discovered additional and serious leaks that could not be stopped. Progressive flooding resulted, and the vessel took on an alarming port list. The tug was forced to drop the tow, her crew helpless to do more than witness her sinking.



I asked Sergey if this was Iribis ......

"Yes, this is my ship in your photo of Britanis sinking. I think, that this photographer was onboard a tow from Cape Town".


His final words......

"You know, to me was very sick to look as "Britanis" left under water, our crew very long struggled for its life, but that weather put to us has not allowed to rescue it! During towage we made daily surveys "Britanis", to me the internal beauty, grand pianos, pictures with the image of all twelve constellations of the zodiac were especially remembered. I was in delight.

"I often show video recording that towage to the friends, after viewing - grief and silence. In a word it is very a pity, that so has occurred."



Bill Lee has written A Sea Farers Salute inspired by Sergey's story