I joined the Zaphon in wallsend on Tyne. On maiden voyage. Galley boy. Head cook John Roberts. I worked with him again at Clatterbridge hospital. Second cook was Billy Weir, no relation.
Went through Hurricane Inga in 69, heavy with cargo .. the main deck disappeared under a white foaming sea for much of the time... we had to turn head to wind and the forward deck walkway got uprooted and was flailing about damaging the hatch covers. It took a bit of securing with wire hawsers to hold it down until a proper repair could be made.
After Inga still miles from land, steaming at 18 knots we were drying out the lifeboat sails by the expedient method of hoisting them up the mast and letting them flap... A plane descended from nowhere and \\\\\\\'bombed\\\\\\\' us. The bomb hit the ocean just by the ship and exploded into a large inflatable dinghy. As the plane zoomed off we thought the bright orange flapping sails might have attracted him. Someone must have later found an abandoned floating life-raft and wondered what happened to the crew..
Called up a drifter one night, with the Aldis lamp, off the coast of Brazil.. [red light over a white light] to find out where his nets were... \\\\\\\'I was always good at identifying passing ships\\\\\\\', turned out to be the USS Enterprise !!!
Creedence Clearwater Revival music was blasting around the ship in the Buenos Aires refinery berth one night, when the first mate grabbed a cigar out of the mouth of a stupid Argentinian visitor, who proudly arriving at the top of the gang plank .. the shower of sparks was quite spectacular as it hit the deck .. why I am still here to tell these stories I am not quite sure, but perhaps the gas oil was not feeling volatile that day!
Out at sea I found an exhausted fruit bat clinging to a deck head and took it into my cabin while we got back to land.. it became quite tame as I fed it bits from the galley, but I never liked being called Batman from then until I left Cerinthus.
Just some of the fond memories and my best regards to anyone who shared those days.
My Great Uncle Joseph Victor Wilde was 5th Engineer on the SS San Lorenzo in 1920/21. He was born in Gateshead, Co Durham and grew up close to the Swan Hunter shipyard where she was built. His younger brother Thomas Edward, my grandfather, served his apprenticeship as a draughtsman at the shipyard.
I never knew my great uncle as after a family row he went back off to sea, settled in Australia, and had no more contact with the family.
My late father Douglas , joined the San Calisto on the 30.11.1939 as a 17 year old
O/Seaman . Briefly the story goes that for some unknown reason on the fateful day of the sinking , my father could not sleep and got up early. He then went down the alleyway to a small mess room to make a mug of tea , he was in the mess when the ship struck the mine. From the resulting explosion the hot water boiler spilled over and he was quite badly scalded . He remembered his training and ran back to his cabin to don his lifejacket. When he got there he found a huge steel beam from the bowels of the ship had forced it,s way up through the deck taking his bunk and the one above, skewering them to the deckhead. That was one lucky early morning wake up. He eventually made the lifeboat and was rescued by the Margate RNLI boat.There is a Pathe news reel of the survivors coming ashore my dad is the one wrapped in a towel. He later went on to serve in the Royal Navy for the rest of the war his nickname was Happy. Think it should have been Lucky. He died aged 83 back in 2005 , he left myself and 5 other brothers and sisters.
I served on the hygronia on deck 1969 1970 I have many great memories and some not so good a change of captain brought a change to the atmosphere on board he was not a nice man and it reflected on the feelings amongst the crew he ordered some stupid things like changing the decks from non slip green paint to acid free tar which failed miserably in hot weather especially the Persian gulf most of it came away with the first on board wave leaving port Elizabeth sa the crew didn't like the captain for many other reasons but I still have some great stories from our trips into Vietnam Thailand and India if there is any interest in would be glad to tell them!
PS. Sorry, forgot to mention - enjoyed the colour photos on your website of "Cerinthus", particularly the aerial shot!
I worked on a number of Shell Tankers, between 1951 and 1955. The Haustrum was the last.
I joined her at Newcastle on 19/2/55 and was discharged on 2/9/55. It was an enjoyable few months.
We sailed mainly between Curacao,and Argentina and Uruguay
After a convoy to Canada (Halifax) and US (Baltimore and Galveston) we sailed back to Scotland and off-loaded a cargo of oil. We then went to James Watt docks in Greenock and the tanks were cleaned out and fresh water loaded. We then sat off Oban for 2 days before sailing to Falmouth. We all thought this very strange. We anchored off Falmouth just as evening fell. The next morning, 6th June 1944, we set sail for France. That was when the skipper told us about the invasion we were part of. Naval personnel came on board to man the 4.7 guns. Our task was to sail between the landing beaches dishing out fresh sweet water to the invasion fleet and landing craft. I was one of the trained merchant gunners and had to do my shift manning one of the Oerliken guns. Though we were susceptible to enemy fire we were quite lucky and when the tanks were empty we would return to Southampton to reload. Unfortunately on our last trip back to Southampton we hit a mine during the return. The ship listed to port. However, little damage was done (on this occasion) and we limped into port. At that point I went home for a spot of leave.
(Incidentally, my son is typing this entry for me. At 94 my typing skills are (and never have been) good.)
I sailed on both the Isanda and the Isocardia as 3rd Engineer. This was when they had been jumboised and sold to Thai Ocean and renamed Siam and Bangkok respectively. We had Thai ex navy engineers sailing with us and had to train them to run these ships. I had an ex Thai lieutenant commander as a trainee, I wrote him a four hour check sheet to cover the whole watch, big mistake. Check list example: 0800 put on kettle and make tea, 0820 make inspection rounds of engine room, 0900 report any defects to me etc. 0825 I walked round engine room and discovered duty boiler feed pump running nearly cherry red, changed over pumps and shouted on my trainee. Asked him why he hadn't come to me about the hot pump. His answer gobsmacked me, he pointed to his check sheet and said, it written to report defects at 0900, not 0900 yet. Taught me a lesson.
I sailed for Denholm Ship Management of Glasgow on these ships.
I cannot remember whether it was the Siam or Bangkok but on these ships the Engineers cabins were aft on the main deck. A rough crossing of the bay of Biscay saw us pooped by a huge wave which ripped the aft anchor winch off the deck and caused all sorts of other damage. It was just after mid-day and we were all in the electricians cabin, the fourth from aft on the Stbd side. We heard a great crash and rushing of water, the alleyway was full from deck to deck head with water, it started to fill the cabin and all we heard was the lekky shouting save the ******* fridge. There we were up to our waists in water holding a fridge full of beer above us, definitely beer more important than us drowning.
Hope I haven't been boring.
Stood by the building in Odense and loaded in Europort and took cargo to Muscat and then left at lay up in Brunei Bay
In 1941Captain Robert Laurence Bruce of South Shields, Captain of the S.S. Cardita received the OBE in recognition of his gallantry and fine seamanship in action against an enemy submarine which they sank and for saving a significant number of merchant seamen from ships previously sunk by the submarine. Would be grateful to anyone who can add to this story.
After Shell ended her contract, she went to Houlder Bros under the name of Ore Carriers Ltd and I joined her in Los Angeles November 1975 for the first of two trips on her as 2/E. She was on spot charter then and over the next 12 months we were generally running Gulf to US West Coast. She was well built, reliable, ran well and had nice accommodation. The main problem was that she had been built as a greyhound to do 17 knots loaded from her 13,500 SHP and this was no good when oil prices rocketed.
Our last run was to carry spiked crude to the Gulf Oil refinery outside Bellingham, Washington state and we were 3 weeks discharging in dribs and drabs. Bellingham was an interesting place, it had a huge teacher training facility with lots of single ladies! After the last discharge, we went to Pusan, South Korea to finish tank cleaning and then to Kaohsiung, where we ran her up the beach - probably my worst moment in my life as a Marine Engineer was shutting her down for good. She was also my last steam ship - I went on motor vessels after her some with Houlder Bros and others with CP Ships.