With a scowl of disgust, Fricke turned around and ran back to the engine room to take command of the damage control effort. The expression on Zschech’s face gradually turned from fear to confusion, and then to embarrassment. “All right then, do what you can,” he murmured, long after the Chief had left the compartment.
Within a few minutes, the engineering crew had plugged the hole in the hull with a rubber sheet, shored against the water pressure with a long piece of timber. Luckily, the main pump was still working, so despite numerous leaks all along the length of the port diesel engine, the water gradually stopped rising in the engine room. By switching the air supply for the starboard diesel to the interior of the boat, Fricke was able to suck the suffocating smoke out of the boat. We all thanked heaven for our clever Chief and his brave boys in the engineering crew.