Following on from my blog of 29.01.2022, here is a photo of the ‘Kaptajn Neilsen’ dredge before the disaster of September 18, 1964:
After the disaster, and her righting and refloating following patching and essential work in Cairncross Dry Dock, she departed Brisbane under tow by the powerful Dutch salvage tug ‘Tasman Zee’ for repairs in Holland, after which she was put back into service by her owners.
The ‘Good Neighbour’ Tues 1 February 1966 further reported:
Diver Joe Wins George Medal
Diver Joe Engwirda, from Sittard, the Netherlands, who rescued ten Danish seamen from a sunken, capsized dredge off the Queensland coast received the George Medal from the Governor of Queensland, Sir Henry Abel Smith, at an investiture at Government House, Brisbane, last month.
The George Medal, one of the highest decorations in the British Commonwealth for civilian bravery, was also awarded to two other men concerned in the rescue of the Danish seamen. They were Constable Ivan James Adams of the Queensland Police diving squad, and Erik Viktor Poulsen, 22, of Copenhagen, a member of the crew of the dredge. Seven other Australians who helped in the rescue work also received awards.
Said Joe of his George Medal: “I am surprised at receiving the award. Naturally, I am delighted, and am pleased that those who worked alongside me have also been honoured”.
The dredge, the 3,000-ton “Kaptajn Nielsen”, capsized suddenly when fully laden as its suction equipment was being lifted. Fifteen of the crew of 24 survived.
After the sinking, Erik Poulsen dived down to escape through a hatch, rested on the upturned hull which was awash, and then swam four miles across Moreton Bay to Moreton Island to raise the alarm three and a half hours after the disaster. Joe, awakened by police at his Brisbane home, took Constable Adams with him in his 16-foot speedboat 25 miles down-river to the scene. Joe, who concentrated on the crew’s quarters in the bow, rescued ten. The rescue of two of these was accomplished with help from Constable Adams.
Trevor Jackson, master of the Brisbane dive boat ‘Esperance Star’, discovered the ship’s wheelhouse on the seabed in 13 metres of water off Tangalooma in 2001. He surmised that when the dredge rolled over, the wheelhouse was sheared off in the shallow water. Looking at the photo at the top of this page, you can see that the tall bridge would have been included in the shear.
Since that time, many dive boats have visited the wreckage. You may have a virtual dive there too if you click on the link below: