02/15/2017 - 10:16
Coen H. Verbeek
I sailed my last trip in the merchant marines as a seaman a/b from July 1968 till December 1968 on the ss.Kalydon.We left Rotterdam without being told where we were going, although we expected to be send to Singapore,which would be our home port, from where we would transport fuels for the American war efforts in South- Vietnam.We arrived in Singapore late August or early September and from then until early December we were going back and forth between Singapore (Pulau Bukom)and various South Vietnamese ports.Our first trip was to Saigon ,and on our trip up the Mekong River we were attacked by machine guns and rockets but were not hit fortunately,with our tanks filled into the fill-pipes with highly flammable (explosive)aviation fuels.We were being paid double wages every time we entered Vietnamese waters, and we really earned those wages because over the next three months we were attacked several more times.In early December we were attacked very seriously with heavy weapon!
s in a small port somewhere north of Saigon where we were pumping fuel inland to Pleiku where heavy fighting was going on.We were attacked at 1.00 am, so pitch dark ,and we had both anchors out till almost full lenght,so it took us a long time to wheel them in, with the helicopter gun ships firing almost continuously over our heads.The company decided after that attack to send us on an Rand R trip to the Persian Gulf to get our nerves back.On the way to the Gulf we stopped in Singapore,Colombo and Bombay. Our Captain was a cheapskate,always trying to do everything cheaply,and when we approached Butcher Island in the Bombay harbor,just a pumping station on a small island, we were too early and there was no one on the dock yet to take our lines and the captain stopped too late, after refusing a tugboat`s help, and we bumped into the dock.The captain ordered me too jump of the deck onto the dock to tie our lines. I refused at first,but after he threatened to sent me home if I !
kept refusing,I reluctantly jumped and ended up breaking one h!
and badly bruising the other.
Cheapskate refused for 8 hours to call for a doctor,but finally relented and I ended up in a hospital that night.To make a long story short,I befriended one of my nurses,married her in Bombay 9 months later and brought her to Holland with me,where we lived for five years before we emigrated to the USA,where we still live.