When the freighter sent
its S.O.S. on Feb. 18, 1964, the vessel was already being buffeted by 80 knot winds and the seas were sweeping her listing
The Coast Guard aircraft
from Air Station Argentia, Newfoundland,
were the first on the scene, followed by the patrol vessel Coos
Bay, which got there 24-hours later. Also answering the call was the
Norwegian freighter Fruen. In what was later described as daring seamanship, these vessels managed to get lines aboard the
wallowing Ambassador and an attempt was made to tow the sinking ship to the nearest safe harbor in the Azores.
Alas the Ambassador's
condition was too grim, and she was too far out to sea to be saved. An estimated 13 of the ship's crew of 35 perished when
their life raft overturned in high seas while the freighter was sinking on February 21, three days after issuing
its emergency distress signal. Tragically the master, Captain Harry Strickland, was among the dead. He was unconscious
and could not be revived after being pulled from the water.
At the time the ship
sank it was under tow behind the 190-foot Dutch salvage tug Elbe.
The Ambassador was 442-feet
long and was about 10 years old at the time it was lost.