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Topic - Ship distress signal

jonny taylor on 31 Jul 2011
Anybody who has been on the Oldenburg to Lundy will recognise the safety briefing: "the general alarm signal consists of seven or more short blasts on the ships whistle followed by one long blast - or, a two-tone siren".
(If you here this alarm, STAY WHERE YOU ARE, etc etc!)

We were stood on the cliffs in Pembrokeshire the other day and we heard this exact sequence, probably from one of the tankers in the bay. We decided we had better ring the coastguard. After some deliberation with his colleagues the operator concluded the ship was giving the signal to another vessel of "I don't know what you are doing". I wasn't going to keep him on the line asking any more about it, but can anyone here shed any light on this? It strikes me as pretty silly to have a "normal" signal that is the same as an emergency signal. Any thoughts!?
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