Gordon Wright @ OPALIA (2), Sat, 04/11/2009 - 20:31

Opalia was a sort of 'Marmite' ship for Deck Cadets: you could love it or hate it (and sometimes both almost at the same time). It engendered such a fabulous camaraderie between the cadets on board that it provided possibly the best time of my cadetship. At the same time, the cadets were treated so badly by the 'management' of the ship that unhappiness was rife! (By management, I'm not necessarily referring to individuals so much as to the systems that existed for managing and working the cadets, though occasionally the inconsiderate or even arrogant behaviour of certain officers did make life worse.)
I learned a lot during my two trips on Opalia, though not entirely because of the 'training ship' tag. I learned that I found it rather hairy hanging over the bows on a stage painting the name when we were lightship and therefore a fair distance above the briny! I learned that chipping rust is pretty boring. I learned that digging the sediment out of bloody great cargo tanks using nothing more than a hand shovel when you are in the Caribbean causes you to sweat profusely. I learned that TJP gets very thick if the heating coils fail! I learned that if you 'drop' an anchor while going 'slow astern' and the windlass brakes are useless, there will be a good chance of losing the anchor!
All in all, though, with the mists of time hiding the worst excesses of Uncle Joe's bullshit from my eyes, I look back on Opalia with great fondness. She was physically a beautiful ship (or so I thought, and still do) and it's a shame such ships are no longer gracing the sea.

Gordon Wright @ AMASTRA (2), Sat, 04/11/2009 - 20:08

Amastra: what a ship!
I spent 4 months or so on Amastra as a deck cadet. As many will remember, she was powered by a Doxford motor - a sight to behold...when it was running. I lost count of the times we wallowed aound 'not under command' while the long-suffering engineers fixed the fuel pipes (or some other, less frequent point of failure) again. After dark, sparks would drift out of the funnel, which was quite interesting when we were fully loaded with aviation fuel!
The master at the time was the great Jimmy Millar. He had an incredible capacity for Ballantyne's whisky: I often saw him down a Heineken beer glass full (presumably 330ml in modern money) before dinner and go back for more straight after eating! Despite this, he hardly ever appeared to be under the weather (though on the rare occasions he was, he could be very entertaining).
We had a trip into the Baltic when it was iced over. We had to tie up a good 15 feet off the loading platform because of the solid blacks of ice between us and it. The next trip took us to Curacao (or was it Aruba?) where the ship was heeled over somehwere between 10 and 15 degrees so that the anti-fouling paint could be reapplied, first on one side and then, after a quick turn around, on the other. We spend four days, in total, living on a permanent fairly steep slope!
I was always a sucker for the older ships and I loved Amastra to bits (as I did Opalia and, to a lesser extent, Drupa and Serenia). What a pity such vessels have gone forever.

Ariffin Ramli @ ABADI, Sat, 04/11/2009 - 02:10

I have celebrated Hari Raya twice onboard Abadi 2002 and 2004. Also refit at Sembawang shipyard Singapore on Sept 2004.

Ariffin Ramli @ BEKULAN, Sat, 04/11/2009 - 02:01

A few trips onboard Bekulan..and a Refit.
Refit MHI Honmoku Sept 2003.

Ariffin Ramli @ BEBATIK, Sat, 04/11/2009 - 01:46

Bebatik MHI Refit at Honmoku, Yokohama Japan on Sept 2008.

Roy Robertson @ VELUTINA, Thu, 04/09/2009 - 12:11

In my 7 months on the Velutina we went aground in the St Lawrence River, had a collision with the lock wall in the Panama Canal, mid Atlantic a hole appeared in the ships side in the boiler room below the waterline and we had to call into the Azores to get a plate welded over it, polluted Lake Maracaibo, couldn't heave up the anchor off a U.S. port due to a lack of deck steam pressure. All in all it was a quiet trip.

L. Coenraadts @ KOROVINA, Wed, 04/08/2009 - 11:48

Na een avond stappen,stapte weer aan boord zonder over hemd,was van zijde in de mode dus .
Was zo van mn lijf geplukt,door wie??????????? ik laat alle opties open,leuke tyd...

Steven Seymour @ VERTAGUS, Tue, 04/07/2009 - 11:07

i was only on the vertagus for one age was only obout 19
so i was a bit knave. the second steward did not like me, so he put in
a bad report on me
so when i got back to england i got the sack.
i would love to get in touch with him, but i dont no his name.
when i was on board we were sailing between durban south africa,
and the persian gulf.
well thats it for now steven seymour ex steward

Sean Marsh @ EBURNA (2), Thu, 04/02/2009 - 09:04

Whilst serving aboard the Eburna in 1979-1980 we picked up two lots of Vietnamese refugees. I have pictures, which i think one of the engineers took, of the rescue of the first boat load we picked up in the South China sea. I believe everyone involved in that rescue were given a set of photos. The second boat load of refugees we picked up a couple of months later off the Thai coast. They were very lucky because two Thai fishing boats were steaming towards them at a great rate of knots and not all Thai fishermen were friendly! I believe my memory serves me right but if anyone who was on board at the time has a better recollection of events maybe they could update it.

Sean Marsh @ EULOTA (2), Wed, 04/01/2009 - 10:29

The Eulota was, after 12 years, my last ship with Shell. I joined my first Shell tanker in 1974 and paid off my last tanker in 1986. I carried on sailing until May 2001 when i finally came ashore, i didn't want to miss my daughter growing up and anyway the passion for the sea had gone. We moved to New Zealand in 2004, to Wellington and now i'm thinking of taking up yachting as a hobby!!

Sean Marsh @ EBALINA, Tue, 03/31/2009 - 12:56

Joined Ebalina in Chiba, Japan in May 1980 it was her first sailing from the builders yard. I was the first seaman on the 4-8 watch. I went to turn the lights on my first night aboard but nothing happened the Captain, Ch. mate, 2nd mate, Ch. eng. Bosun and myself (well a whole load people anyway) stood around the light switches wondering how to turn them on. Lucky we were still in port and lucky we had a Japanese engineer still aboard.

Sean Marsh @ EBALINA, Tue, 03/31/2009 - 12:42