The Ambassador Story Video

One of the first major rescues in the North Atlantic to be photographed AS IT HAPPENED.

During a fierce February 1964 storm, a British freighter’s crew struggled for their lives aboard a heavily listing vessel about to sink a thousand miles east of New York.

The US Coast Guard Cutter COOS BAY was on her way back from a weather patrol station midway between Greenland and Labrador, and was first to intercept M/V AMBASSADOR’s call for help.

COOS BAY, although several hundred miles away, was able to proceed at full speed from her location, while other vessels were struggling against heavy seas, and were barely making one or two knots.  

Meanwhile, some of the stricken ship's crew had abandoned ship in life rafts and were lost.

See this thrilling record of how the crew of COOS BAY rescued survivors when it was too rough to use the ship’s boats, and when a similar life raft attempt had failed.

Fortunately there were a number of 8mm home movie camera owners aboard who were delegated to shoot scenes of the rescue operations with the idea that this would be a good opportunity to show families and friends at home what their crew members were doing.

Now with the advent of affordable home digital editing, we have been able to re-edit this original time-worn film footage, adding a few additional scenes along with selected still photos, as well as stereo music and commentary.

Naturally, since we had to work with 36-year-old consumer grade silent film, you cannot expect the ultra-sharp resolution of modern TV, but we believe you will thoroughly enjoy this unusual and unique pictorial of Coast Guard seamanship in the rescue of the survivors of the ill-fated ship, AMBASSADOR.

Incidentally, the original footage proved to be an invaluable aid to the British Board Of Trade Admiralty Hearing in determining the cause of the disaster which took sixteen lives.

Here are a few screen shots from the video, which runs about one-half hour.


Although this video deals with the activity of those who sailed on COOS BAY in 1964, we know from our experience with a similar video of the Polar Icebreaker EASTWIND’s Last Cruise, that this can be interesting memorabilia for other personnel stationed aboard this venerable Cutter over her twenty-odd years of Coast Guard service, coupled with her exemplary life-saving reputation when under US Navy colors during WW II.

For more information, or to order:

Capt. C. W. Bailey, who was Commanding Officer of the COOS BAY and who made this film, passed away this past Spring; however as his son I will continue to offer the video to any interested parties.

Send E-mail to for current availability information.


    Now Available! Capt. Bailey's autobiography --- a fascinating story of a lifetime at sea.

Again, if you have any questions, please E-mail me at

Thank you for your interest!

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Click here to visit the web page of USCGC EASTWIND (WAGB 279)

Click here to visit the web page of the former USCGC Calypso (WPC-104), now M/V Circle Line XI, probably the oldest diesel vessel in commercial service still running on her original engines.

Web page(s) Copyright © 2001 C.W. Bailey, all rights reserved

Last modified: 11/10/2008