I was senior apprentice on board mv norrisia cica 1957. What an experience! We sailed from the UK loaded with aviation fuel and other white spirits bound for Norkoping and Stockholm. At maximum draft approaching Norkoping the pilot dropped anchor to hold the ship's head whilst making a tight turn round an island. The boat overrode the anchor and it pierced the bottom plates. A huge slick of purple aviation fuel poured out and I was sent urgently to the galley to tell them to extinguish all naked flames with a similar instruction passed to all hands. We limped in to our berth and air pumps were used to strip out the remaining cargo in the damaged tank. A diver was sent down to assess the damage and we were ordered to proceed to Stockholm and then return to Barry for drydock.
As soon as we left Stockholm I was ordered by the First Mate to wash tanks and gas free the vessel utilizing the other apprentices on board. Running down the North Sea a seaman was reported missing when called for his watch. The ship was searched without success and the boat turned round onto a reciprocal course to steam back to the position where he had last been seen. Man overboard messages were also sent but there was no trace of the missing seaman.
As we neared the UK the First Mate asked me to check tank 5 port for gas and as this tank was under the midship accmmadation it had to be vented by steam extractors. I took a colleague with me and lowered the sampling tube of the explosimeter into the void. A small amount of gas was found and as the tube was pulled up the lower half became undone and fell to the bottom. I went down to retrieve it and as I reached the bottom of the ladder I looked down and saw what I thought to be the outline of a leg I gingerly extended my leg and felt something solid and knew I had found the missing man. I reported to the bridge and the bosun was sent with a recovery team to get the body which was lashed to a stretcher and placed in the ship's hospital. Everybody got a tot of rum except me.
On entering the lock at Barry the pilot misjudged the boat's speed and though we tried to check her with the fore spring this snapped like an elastic band and the bow hit the lock gate.
I paid off in Barry after giving evidence at the Coroner's Inquest.