Michael Kemp

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Period Tanker Job Details
1959 to 1960 Aluco deck apprentice 1st trip, I am now master of Pride of Hull
1959 to 1960 Aluco deck apprentice 1st trip
1961 to 1962 Horomya deck apprentice 1st trip
1961 Velutina deck apprentice
1961 to 1962 Volvatella senior deck apprentice Senior deck apprentice assigned the duties of ships carpenter
1962 Amastra (2) senior deck apprentice
1962 to 1963 Verena promoted acting 3rd mate uncertificated
1963 to 1964 Opalia (2) 3rd officer 1st trip
1964 Halia (1) 3rd deck officer
1964 Amastra (2) 3rd deck officer
1965 San Fernando (2) 3rd deck officer
1965 Velutina 3rd deck officer
1965 Amastra (2) extra 3rd officer homeward bound as supernumary


Tanker Date Anecdote
Aluco 11/01/2016 - 17:12

Joined Aluco as a first trip Deck apprentice on 10th October 1959 for her maiden voyage with Paul Munns, Paddy Slinger, & Richard Lawson with cargo of freshwater to Curacoa.My first watch was 12 to 4 with second officer Jim Connolly en route we conducted speed trials off Newhaven arriving Willemstad 16days later. A few days out we caught a big swell in darkness which listed us severely to starboard resulting loss of power for several minutes. The foremast lookout looked decidedly unwell once on deck! Over the next 8 months we visited Carson,Matadi,Trinidad (Boxing Day), Rotterdam,Thameshaven,early 1960 spent coasting UK waters to Stanlow, Saltend, Killingholme, Teesport, across to Rotterdam,Donges ( cargo of Avgas ),Copenhagen ,Fredericia, then back to CuraA?ao ,en route anchoring in Falmouth for turbine repairs over Easter weekend. Across to Carson loading clean oils for the Med calling at Iskenderun,Beruit, Tripoli (Libya- stern discharge) Malta, Port de Boucher (Marseilles again stern discharge). I paid off Aluco at 10.00 hours on Thursday 3rd June 1960 for leave. I joined Horomya in Rouen on 11th July but that\'s another another story!

Horomya 11/23/2016 - 21:47

I joined Horomya on 11thJuly 1960 under the command of Captain Mayne having spent the previous 5 days in Rouen with deck apprentices Codrington from S Rhodesia and Benrimjo from Gibraltar as Horomya had been delayed by a sfrike in Bordeaux. We arrived Mina Al Ahmadi 2 August to load crude for Niigata , weather during the passage down the Red Sea was very warm and 3 of us were given the job of derusting midship decks with windier hammers very noisy (no ear defenders in those days!) and very very dirty. Nighttime temperature in Mina was 42c (109F) Horomya had no air con. Bunkered Singapore 12 Aug arriving Niigata 22nd slow discharge took 2 days with no night sailings. Next 5 months to end January 1961 we transported crude from Miri to Niigata, Yokohama (5times) Bunyu, Balikpapan (pilotage through Japanese WW2 minefield!) Tarakan, Labuan, Tg Penuru, Pulo Sambu, Singapore, Surabaya where we spent a week from New Year's Day 1961 watching Naval manoeuvres celebrating President Sukharno's birthday with beautifully designed Russian warships. My memories of this trip include the greenish blue colour of far eastern seas, the view of Mount Fuji from the sea.the enormous swells from typhoon Phyllis as we left Kobe and I mean enormous! the gorgeous satay sticks at the Officers Club in Balikpapan and finally the sights,sounds, scents and culture of Japan and bargain prices of many things compared to home I paid off in Mina 20th January1961for transfer to Velutina and met David Rayfield - hello David!

Velutina 01/18/2017 - 22:31

I joined Velutina in Mina on 23rd February 1961 3 days after paying off Horomya. I was glad of the 3 day break as I had been suffering with a poisoned toe for the previous week. We berthed in La Spezia on 9th March and paid off 2 days later with Captain Swainston (ex Aluco maiden voyage master), 4 off Mothersole 5/E Maclaughlan, and D/A Rayfield for train to the UK, on the channel crossing which lasted barely an hour I felt seasick! I put it down to the ferry stabiliser motion. On Saturday 1st April 14 Deck apprentices reported to the Greenbank hostel in Plymouth for midapprenticeship course no 3 a ...Vic Hubert, Don Travis, Tony Parkes, John Rothwell, Paddy Slinger, Phil Abbott, Norman Dixon, Bob Cheshire, Ray Baker, Colin Neason, Richard Lawson, Ian Baird and myself. Mid apprenticeship courses had started in 1960 after the Board of Trade allowed these courses to qualify as seatime for 2nd Mates ticket shel and a number of other companies took part. That first Saturday evening Richard Lawson and I were invited to a party at Freds place (her nickname) at Newton Ferrers thanks to Andy Orr and Johnny Pounder from MAR 2. Weekdays and some evenings were devoted to studies, Saturday mornings for dhobying and cleaning the hostel for Sunday inspection by Captain Hyde, our other tutors were Captains Hopwood and Danton. Thursday mornings involved travelling to HMS Drake for marching drill courtesy of the Royal Navy ! Practical seamanship took place at Mutton Cove on the Tamar with Captain Hyde where had we had the use of a lifeboat and sailing dinghy, Richard Lawson and I had the dinghy on day and sailed down tide into Plymouth Sound despite the other lads in the lifeboat trying to attract our attention, a while later we realis d why as we attempted to tack up tide only to realise we had sailed downtime on a following wind! Several hours later we walked into afternoon classes to much derision and comment! I think all of us enjoyed the the break from life at sea for those few months . I certainly enjoyed many week ends in Newton Ferrers swimming , sailing and generally having a good time. Happy memories

Volvatella 06/06/2017 - 18:28

I joined a scruffy looking Volvatella in Rotterdam in early December 1961, Captain Withers who had taken command a few days previously had a reputation for running a very tight ship but very much liked good quality food. Volvatella was Chinese crewed but with British officers and engineers, as 3rd trip Deck apprentice I was appointed ships carpenter which meant permanent day work, no watches but on stand by duties from end of passage through to full away on passage. I was responsible for the daily monitoring of drinking water for quality,quantity as well as ordering and monitoring the loading of fresh supplies. Captain Withers wanted Deck side cleared of rust and repainted, I was give the job of derusting all screws and threads on tank hatches including securing clips and the long hatch lifting threads, it was hard work, most lifting threads were badly corroded taking several hours each using a die and spanner all work was inspected each day, once all work was completed Volvatella looked very smart. Captain Withers then instructed me to refurbish the bridge decking seams with pitch and oakum, so I spent the next few weeks on my hands and knees! Over the months we sailed to Geelong,Miri,Kharg Island,Yokohama,Singapore,Bombay. On 5th February 1962 on passage from Geelong to Miri we caught a hurricane off Western Australia - boy was it rough! We left Bombay on 2nd July for Mena, en route a day or two out we were asked to stand by Venassa on passage from Germany - who had broken down in the Gulf, we one of a number of Shell tankers within a few hours steaming that evening, first light the following day we sighted Venassa and stood by waiting orders from Shell, within an hour of our arrival Achatina appeared and carried on passage after a few messages. From the moment we increased speed the previous evening it had been all hands on deck to prepare to undertake a tow, the insurance wire was hauled aft using a wire spring , as ships carpenter I protected all vulnerable rubbing areas deck side with timber as well as lining the stern panama fairlead with timber and lead sheet , 2 poop deck fairleads were braced with timber, finally anchors and windlass were made ready if needed. The insurance wire was flaked out down an aft companionway with a running pulley in the bight shackled to a messenger line and midship winch to control paying out. Finally the go ahead to tow came through and started the following morning - 7th July I think. We approached Venassa from port quarter firing a rocket line onto her forecastle from about 100 metres, as she had limited windlass power we hauled aboard one of her manila mooring lines which shackled to our insurance wire and then hauled to Venassa by her windlass and finally shackled to one of her anchor cables, our end of the wire had been lead through the midship sett of bits and secured round both poop deck winchs, the poop deck then out of bounds for the duration of the tow , a continuous watch being kept from the aft boat and bridge decks. The following day within a few miles of Mena harbour limits a decision was made to take Venassa's emergency power away from steering in readiness for harbour towing by tugs, I was on watch on the aft boat deck at the time as Venassa began to yaw and the towing cadence came higher and higher the more she moved, eventually the connecting shackle cleared the water and parted with a large spring like coil of insurance wire hurtling towards our stern for a few seconds before sinking.We were a few miles short for a full salvage payment but still received a bonus. Volvatella was probably the most rewarding hands on experience in my 6 years at sea - being in control of windlass and anchors when required , long hours with little rest 30 plus when towing , lots of shipboard DIY , and last but least good food and a very competent crew and captain