friendly/distressed vessel

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Senior Member
Good afternoon, everybody! What does "friendly/distressed vessels" mean? Does "friendly" mean "safe" and "distressed" "wrecked"? Here is where I found them.

"The answer from the friendly vessel came back: 'Cast down your bucket where you are' The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon river. "

Waiting for your replies!
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Where is this from? What is the situation?

    "Friendly" has its usual meaning. It often means "not an enemy" or "belonging to a friendly power" in situations like this, but here it seems they were also being friendly in the ordinary sense of the word.
    "Distressed" means in difficulties. Whether their difficulties went beyond their evident lack of fresh water is not clear from the passage.
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