Lisburn Exiles Forum

(Site is no longer operational pending a major long overdue overhaul of the entire website. Thank you for your patience. Site should still be visible and searchable for old posts.)

The Lisburn Exiles Forum is dedicated to the memory of James Goddard Collins (The Boss) who single-handedly built LISBURN.COM (with a lot of help from many contributors) from 1996 to 29th November 2012. This website was his passion and helping people with a common interest in the City of Lisburn around the world is his lasting legacy.

Lisburn Exiles Forum
Start a New Topic 
Sea Story

When I was in the Merchant Navy I worked on several oil tankers and this incident happened on one belonging to BP called the "British Osprey.

We were sailing up the Red Sea heading for the Suez Canal and I was on the midnight to 4am watch, the area was very busy with the south bound ships that had cleared the canal all round us. Our radar was going full blast and showed ships ahead of us heading south it also showed one echo dead ahead which which meant we both had to alter course to the right.

However when the 2nd Officr asked permission from the Captain who was also on the bridge permission to alter course permission was denied the 2nd came over to me and whispered I don't believe this? I was on the wheel and had been expecting the order to go to Starboard (right)but it never happened.

Our Radar showed the other ship moving slightly to the right while we still maintained our current course,we only just passed each other with very little room to spare and as we passed the Captain of the other ship was leaning over side with a loudspeaker screaming "I'll report you b------s to LLoyds of London, I often wonder if he ever did??. Mauri

PS. LLoyds is the Maritime Insurance Company

Re: Sea Story

And he was dead right Mauri. Stubborn Captains in all walks of life cause trouble.


Re: Sea Story

Pat, I also sailed on a tanker called the "Ragusa" belonging to the Gulf Oil company and formly under the Italian flag.

It was transferred to the British flag along with the other Gulf Oil Company tankers under the Italian flag because of a ship disaster in the Persian Gulf. A Italian Flagged Gulf Oil tanker caught fire while sailing down the Persian Gulf and the crew instead of trying to fight the fire jumped ship along with the Captain and other officer so the ship was sailing along on fire with nobody on it.

Luckly a Royal Navy aircraft carrier was in the vicinity and dropped a fire fighting crew by helicopter on to the burning ship and got the fire under control and also stopped the ship..

Gulf Oil very soon therafter transferred all their ships under the Italian flag to the British flag and reregistered the ships in London.
I never did hear what happened to the the Italian crew but would think the Captain and officers would have lost their licence's.


Re: Sea Story

Although there has been no comments about my sea story I will try once more with another one and then I will be silent??.

I worked on several Union Castle ships on the Southampton to South Africa run, first port being Capetown then round the coast to East London,Port Elizabeth and Durban then back to Capetown and Southampton.

I'm not sure what year it was I would have to look up my Seaman's Discharge book where ever it is and I'M not sure where I was when I heard on the radio that the passenger liner "Capetown Castle" which had just arrived in the UK was missing a lot of gold bars which she had been transporting back to the UK from South Africa which was a common cargo on the Union Castle ships.

Apparently upon investigation by Scotland Yard they had been smuggled ashore at Las Palmas which was a routine refuelling port and bought by someone in India.

Maybe some of you remember the case as the culprits were caught and sentenced to long prison terms. Mauri

Re: Sea Story

Ann, another interesting yarn, even though I don't remember that story in the papers. Funnily enough, on the radio this morning, they were talking about how, years ago, people kept eggs fresh. I didn't hear all the tips, because our eggs don't last long enough to go bad. However, a former sea captain told how they kept their vast amount of eggs fresh when they were at sea maybe for months at a time. He said that the eggs were always fresh even at the end of the journey. He said that a member of crew turned the eggs over every other day or so and that kept them fresh. It was something to do with the yolks being moved, but I didn't hear the whole story. Did you know about this Mauri, being an old seadog?

Re: Sea Story

Hi Ann, No can't say ever heard that before, then of course I had nothing to do with catering or food preparation. While it was normal to spend long periods at sea some longer than others depending on the schedule of the ship,merchant ships generally spent more time at sea than Navy ships except in wartime conditions.

During the Korean war we used to now and again refuel or take on fresh supplies whilst still at sea by meeting up with a Royal Navy Fleet Auxillary Supply ship or Oil Tanker and using the jackstay method transfer Whatever, on one notable occasion we had met up with our supply ship and although it was pretty rough commenced the transfer, only to find after a very short time the two ships were shearing so much there was a danger of collision so the Captain on the supply ship ordered the lines to be cut.

As we were expecting our mail to be sent over as well there was a howl of protests from us,and we never did get the mail until we returned to Japan nearly a month later. Sorry another little sea story. Mauri

Re: Sea Story

Mauri, while I appreciate it must have been disappointing not getting your mail, I assume the provisions were handed over before it got too rough. By the way, what was the food like aboard ship?

Re: Sea Story

Nice one Mauri !

Re: Sea Story

Ann, As a matter of fact we did not get our full food supplies so we were on rations until we returned to port in Japan, which didn't improve the tense atmosphere on board.

As for the food on general at sea,very varied according to where you were serving. Royal navy ships in my day food nothing to write home about,Royal Australian Navy ships,slightly better but again nothing to write home about,though was starting to improve a lot just as I was coming to the end of my service with a menu providing a choice.

Merchant ships,"Well" depended what company you were with,BP tankers had a bad reputation for food,while Esso Company had a good reputation,also "Cunard" line while Union Castle line was lousy.

The best meals I had in the Merchant Navy was on the two banana ships I was on with "Elder & Fyfes, the ships were called the "Turrialba" and "Tenadores" and we ran from South & Central America to both coasts of the USA and also a full cargo on returning to the UK usually to Bristol. "Heave Ho" "Me Hearty's" Mauri

Re: Sea Story

Ann, I should have mentioned the "Cunard Line" as I worked on three of their ships. The "RMS Mauretania" on the Southampton - New York run and then cruising to the Carribean in the winter though not really suited as a cruise ship,Ionly done four cruises on her out of New York but that's another story,

Then there was the Millionares cruise ship the "Caronia" though I only done the North Cape cruise on her and the "Saxonia" Southampton to Montreal. On all these ships the food was excellent. Mauri

Re: Sea Story

Mauri, as I've said before, you've lived a life some of us could only dream about. You've had the good, bad and ugly but great memories. Interesting about the varieties of food. I suppose you could eat anything now.

Re: Sea Story

Yes Ann, Just about anything but still miss "Soda Bread","Wheaten Bread" and "Potato Bread" Would you believe??. Mauri

Re: Sea Story

If anybody is wondering what the "North Cape" cruise is here is the route.

Sailing out of New York, first stop is Iceland, then Ports in Norway,including a stop at Hammerfest on the North Cape so that passengers could watch the sun go down touch the horizon then rise up again.

Also Stockholm in Sweden, Helsinki in Finland, Zoppot in Poland, Hamburg in Germany, Toulon in France then over to the Firth of Forth in Scotland and a port in the very Southern tip of Ireland the name of which I can't remember then to Southampton,and back to New York to prepare for the Medieranean cruise. Mauri

Re: Sea Story

OOPs, Left the "t" out of mediteranean. Sorry about that. M