Printer Friendly

The ocean's power was brought home to use on ship voyage.

AS READERS may know, I spent many years in the merchant navy and only now do I look back and realise what conditions we put up with.

In November 1970 the personnel manager telephoned, telling me I was one of the new crew to fly to Curacao to join the MV Beaufort Sea as the electrical officer of a new tanker under its management.

From Curacao airport, taxis took us to see a green-painted hull with a white-painted superstructure, a midships navigating bridge and aft engine room, with a flying bridge between the fore and aft accommodation. Then we saw MV Pedro Miguel partly obscured by our new name.

The chief and second engineers already on board remained with us after we had signed on because they had experienced the numerous electrical power failures and main engine mechanical problems of this 13,040 GRT, 7,892 NRT nightmare with its 7,500 BHP Burmeister &Wain Marine Engine.

We regularly transported heavy oil from Curacao to Cristobal or Panama at each end of the 50-mile-long Panama Canal.


On one trip to New York during a bad storm the sea badly damaged the flying bridge, cargo oil tank heating pipes and the ship's hydraulic steering system pipework, preventing it being steered from midships. This resulted in it having to be steered manually from aft.

The oil cargo solidified.

During our piloted passage into New York, the main switchboard failed, causing a total power failure and we had to be towed by tugs.

Steam lances were used to liquidise and discharge the cargo.

With the switchboard rewired by contractors, we sailed for Curacao eight days later, needing a good sense of humour and two matches to keep our eyes open.

Malcolm H Mort Cardiff & Barry Seafarers Link Organiser Roath, Cardiff


The Panama Canal as it looks today
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 10, 2009
Previous Article:Five-star England book their finals ticket.
Next Article:Jazz festival hit the right note; VIEWPOINTS.

Related Articles
Scots expert builds `new' Queen Mary.
The last survivor of Titanic selling up to pay for nursing charges; MILLVINA, 96, IN CASH HOPE.
The last survivor of Titanic selling up to pay for care home; MILLVINA, 96, HOPES SHE'LL RAISE pounds 3,000 IN AUCTION.
Snaps start a family search; Susan Lee is hoping a reader will be able to shed some light onaphotographicmystery.
NYK and Nippon Oil Assess 'Auriga Leader' Seven Months into Voyage Using Solar Power.
Tragedyat sea.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters