Two Spanish survivors from the Norwegian tanker, "Berge Istra," the biggest ship ever lost at sea, arrived at the Kadena Airbase in Okinawa on Wednesday (21 January).
GV US Airforce aircraft taxiing in (2 shots)
SV Man carried out on stretcher into ambulance (2 shots)
SV PAN Another survivor coming out of aircraft
GV PAN Ambulance leaving
SV Newsmen gather round
SV Man speaks through an interpreter
SCU Survivor explaining what happened
CU Journalists taking notes (2 shots)
SV Two survivors embracing
GV PAN FROM Crowd TO survivors with interpreters
Initials BB/0135 DE/PN/BB/0155
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Background: Two Spanish survivors from the Norwegian tanker, "Berge Istra," the biggest ship ever lost at sea, arrived at the Kadena Airbase in Okinawa on Wednesday (21 January).
The two men, Imeldo Barreto Leon and Epifanio Pardomo Lopez, are the only survivors from the tanker crew of 32. They drifted for twenty days in a life raft.
The 227, 556-ton Norwegian ore and oil carrier was wracked by three explosions before it sank in the western Pacific Ocean. The sinking of the vessel transporting 188,000 tons of iron ore from Brazil to Japan, could amount to the heaviest maritime loss ever carried by Lloyd's insurers of London.
Both the crewmen are from the Canary Islands. They were picked up by a Japanese fishing boat on Sunday (18 January) and taken to Palau Island in the United States Pacific Trust Territories. They were transported from there to Okinawa.
At a news conference, the two seamen said they were in a group of four scraping paint at the bow of the tanker on 30 December, 1975 when the first of three explosions occurred.
Speaking through an interpreter, they told journalists how two more explosions shook the ship, sinking it within about three minutes.
Escaping from the whirlpool as the ship went down, they scrambled into the life raft. It contained rations and water for ten days and when it was finished they depended on what they could catch.
Twice they spotted boats as they drifted, but it was not until Sunday that they were seen by a Japanese fishing boat and picked up near the Philippine island of Mindanao.