In the evening of the 21. of october the worst tragedy in peacetime in the historiy of the coastal express took place
MS Sanct Svithun (1950) left port at Trondheim heading northbound
At 10.04 PM the emergency signal was broadcast. The ship had run a ground by the Grinna lighthouse . They messaged that emergency flares were being deployed. The ship was taking in water. Lifeboats were put out.
But in the area surrounding the Grinna lighthouse no emergency flares were observed, nor a run aground ship. Many boats partook in the search, among them the coastal express MS Ragnvald Jarl. The crew of the Sact Svithun kept repeating that they had run aground at Grinna lighthouse. Many on the ship assumed help was near by, and refused to enter the lifeboats, thinking it was safer to stay onboard.
In reality they were 18 nautical miles out of course, by a different lighthouse, Nordøyan. Far away from the emergency response, out looking for them.
By the time the first lifeboat got onto land at the Nordøyan lighthouse and got in touch with people, it was already 01.30 AM. MS Sanct Svithun had vanished in the dark ocean.
41 people lost their lives that night.
The ship was named after the guardian saint of the city of Stavanger. The second coastal express ship to be named so. The coastal steamer DS Sanct Svithun was sunk by allied bombers during the second world war. 47 souls perished.
After the tragedy at Folda no more ships were named after the guardian saint Sanct Svithun. The name Sanct Svithun is now forever linked to the worst peacetime tradegy in coastal express history.