The Orcades master, Captain P.C. Reed, today sent out a distress signal as 60 mph winds and 30 ft waves buffeted the liner.
Captain Reed radioed he was trying to effect repairs to the steering gear and that he was using the engines to hold the vessel in position.
He reported the Orcades 'pooped' a huge sea over the stern, flooding the steering gear compartment. Two Fremantle - based ocean-going tugs and a tug in Bunbury are standing by to race to the Orcades if needed. With 1340 passengers and 637 crew aboard, the Orcades is reported to be hove to 23 miles north west of Cape Naturaliste.
The Regional Comptroller of the Department of Shipping R. Elliot, has alerted the R.A.A.F., Navy, DCA and the Police Department to stand by in case their services are required.
First word of the liner's distress was received at the company office in Perth early today. In his first message the ship's master mentioned the assistance of six tugs, but this request was later withdrawn.
A spokesman for P & O said a late message from the ship said the liner's engineers would be able to rectify the trouble in the vessel's steering and the liner's engines were not affected.
A big Fremantle tug had been alerted as a precautionary measure. The Orcades left Fremantle at 5pm on Monday for Adelaide. She is on her way from Britain via South Africa, Fremantle, Adelaide, and Melbourne, and is due in Sydney on Sunday at 6pm.
(Mum has written - 'Finally arrived on 30th - two days late.')