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Chapter 100
Mr. Okamoto, in his letter to me, recalled theinterrogation as having been "difficult and memorable. "Heremembered Piscine Molitor Patel as being "very thin, verytough, very bright."His report, in its essential part, ran as follows:
Sole survivor could shed no light on reasons for sinkingof Tsimtsum. Ship appears to have sunk very quickly, whichwould indicate a major hull breach. Important quantity ofdebris would support this theory. But precise reason ofbreach impossible to determine. No major weatherdisturbance reported that day in quadrant. Survivor'sassessment of weather impressionistic and unreliable. Atmost, weather a contributing factor. Cause was perhapsinternal to ship. Survivor believes he heard an explosion,hinting at a major engine problem, possibly the explosion ofa boiler, but this is speculation. Ship twenty-nine years old(Erlandson and Shank Shipyards, Malm?, 1948), refitted in1970. Stress of weather combined with structural fatigue apossibility, but conjecture. No other ship mishap reported inarea on that day, so ship-ship collision u............
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