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Northern Sea Shipping Company ship

NICOLAJJ BAUMAN - Николай Бауман

in 1957 was in collision with Dutch coaster CORALE


Collision in the Scheldt

Loss of the CORALE


5th November 1957


The Coaster CORALE ( 25 year old Captain Moonen of Utrecht ) sunk after collision off the Vlissingen promenade. Just 50 metres off the promenade, Tuesday morning, around 5.30am, the Dutch coaster CORALE disappeared beneath the waves. A bitter south wind, swelling seas and driving rain all combined to make visibility very poor. The Russian cargo ship NICOLAI BAUMAN (from Archangel; 1780 brt) bore down on the starboard, and hit the CORALE very hard. The CORALE was being accompanied by the Vlissingen (Flushing) Pilot boat. A minute after the collision, the Pilot boat was alongside the listing ship. They managed to get all 10 crew off unharmed. But as the last man was jumping the ship  disappeared by the bow into the Westerschelde.


The CORALE, property of Mr A. Couperus from Hilversum, arrived in the early night with a cargo of furnace slack, from Partington (United Kingdom) for Wielingen and Ghent. Having unloaded at Antwerp, his next voyage was to take him from Antwerp to Wismar ( E Germany ); the strong south winds had forced the CORALE over to the North coast. Suddenly, without warning, the NIKOLAI BAUMAN came out of the darkness and collided with a crack against the bows of the CORALE. There was another ship which was obscuring a clear view from both ships, the DONGEDIJK of the Netherlands America Line. It was from behind the DONGEDIJK that the NIKOLAI BAUMAN appeared, and there was no way that either ship could have avoided this accident.


However, the captain of the CORALE had shouted, “hard a port” 19 year old helmsman Evert Nuisker. The captain of the Russian boat, 48 year old Pavel Mironov (of Archangel), gave three blasts on the ship’s horn, but the NICOLAI BAUMAN rammed almost full strength into the coaster.


Immediately the NIKOLAI BAUMAN pulled back, and the CORALE attempted to head to the shore. The Pilot boat came alongside the CORALE, but Evert Nuisker had to wake up five of the crew. The situation became more precarious at each passing second and most of the crew were off very quickly. In a short time eight men had jumped, but the captain and the 40 year old machine man Zijlstra, from Amsterdam, were still on board, as the waves were rising and falling so heavily, they feared falling into the water between the ship and the boat. The ship was digging in to the waves by the nose, waves beating over her. But they took the risk, finally, and as they landed on the deck of the boat the still turning propeller disappeared past them into the depths. All that could be seen was the steady stream of bubbles and the stirring of the sea by the propeller.


They were all brought back safely, and as they sat down at the offices of FA Müller & Co, with hands wrapped around a cup of coffee, they were told that they would be placed in Vlissings Hotel. They had lost all their personal possessions, and in Vlissingen, they had to be fitted out with new clothes.


In the morning, Mr A. Couperus, sent a request to The District Court in Middelburg to restrain the NIKOLAI BAUMAN in port and place a bail figure of 1,750,000g on the Russian ship. By Noon, two bailiffs took a boat to the NIKOLAI BAUMAN to hold the ship. It was not as simple as that. The small, but firm Captain Mironiv wanted firstly to discuss the matter with its agent from Rotterdam and a member of the Russian Embassy in the Netherlands. He said that this is a matter for the Russian Government and that he could not abide by any decision or action by the Netherlands authorities. Hours of debate passed and the Leningrad born Captain, who had been 18 years as a Captain without one single collision until now, was steadfast in his claim of not being responsible.


He wanted to keep his course for Northern States Shipline to Archangel, at all speed, and he would take the matter up there, and for the Russian Embassy to deal with it. It was in the afternoon that the officials arrived from the Russian Embassy in the Netherlands, together with an interpreter; it took until night for an agreement to be met, where the amount of compensation to be paid was lowered considerably. The NIKOLAI BAUMAN was allowed to lift anchor and sail for Rotterdam. Clearly Mr Couperus was unhappy that his ship, that he had only bought the year before, was now lost so suddenly.



Built 1949 by G J vd Werff, Westerbroek; Yard Nr 257

as the UTRECHT

For De Vem-Ijmuiden

172.6 ft x 28.4 ft x 9.6 ft; 499 brt, 740 dwt; 10 knots

1951  Mij. Neerlandia-Den Haag; Renamed SPOLANDA

1956  A Couperus, Hilversum; Renamed CORALE.






Raymond Forward