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Quick action saved everyone’s life

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 4, 2011) – Those on board a supply ship that sank on New Year’s eve night in Marshall Islands are crediting the captain for their survival.

17 people, including crew, construction workers and a mother and her ten year old son were in the water in winter conditions for 12 hours on a makeshift raft.

The vessel is a landing craft with bow doors that open to allow cargo to be driven out.

It was this area that started to leak and the crew could not pump out water fast enough.

Our Correspondent in Marshall Islands, Giff Johnson, has more on the efforts to save the vessel:

"They saw that they were starting to go down and even considered trying to start one of the bulldozers that was on and bulldozing off a lot of the construction materials to lighten up the vessel. But things were apparently moving so quickly, remember this was four in the morning, so it was complete pitch darkness in the middle of the ocean and the captain made the decision that he had to get people off the boat as it was starting to go down and that’s what they did."

The Shipping Corporation has been lobbying the government for funds to be able to put its vessels into dry dock for crucial maintenance.

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