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1963 to 1984
|09/02/2021 - 10:00||Brian Reid||
Sailed on the SS Opalia in August 1975 as a navigation cadet for Shell, joining the ship in Hamburg before sailing to Gabon and then over to the Caribbean (Curacao), Venezuela, Baton Rouge and Chesapeake Bay - not at all what I was expecting and spent most of the trip chipping the rust and painting - not much navigational training involved in that! :-(
|11/05/2018 - 16:33||Mike Nicholson||
Sorry Paul Wayman, but it was me who “Bullshitted” the papers, I was actually senior cadet at the time. Though I was pissed It all escalated rather quickly. The Chief Officer saw this and pointed at me straight away and said “You” (I thought fuck me that was quick), then he went on “your the senior cadet, I want you to find out who did this”
Anyway, then came the “punishment” work (petty f***ers), I was all set to fess up, then word got round and about a dozen of the lads came to see me. “Mike, don’t do it, you’ll get sacked. Anyway, it was worth it just to see the reaction from the Chief Officer”. So discretion being the better part of valour I kept shtum, though (nearly) everyone knew it was me.
When I left I was branded “immature” on my report. Then thrown out of the captains cabin (Snowdon - I think), for telling him what went on the ship. Ie Alcoholism, drinking contests, sleeping on watch (on the mat behind the helm), flogging the chart corrections etc. He even threw a sellotape dispenser at me.
Although we had some fantastic fun, and camaraderie, I hated the ship, and most of the officers on it. I recently went to an old Oralia shipmates wedding - so not all bad.
|02/11/2017 - 09:54||Paul Wayman||
We were in New York, where somebody had bought a rubber stamp with "bullshit" on it, and went around stamping all of the Chief Officers standing orders. The perpetrator didnt own up, so we all got punished. Myself and a few others were sent to scrape paint off the flying bridge in sub zero temperatures, as we followed an ice breaker up the Hudson River.
|02/17/2015 - 22:53||Wayne Barry||
16 years old and first time leaving the UK... was flown to Venezuela, on my own, to join this ship. Loathed and despised almost every minute of every day, subjected to intense bullying from so-called "senior cadet" who was nothing more than a jumped up power freak who got upset because I wouldn't go back to his cabin for "a little fun" Great training. not.
|01/11/2015 - 16:14||Wayne Lomax||
This was my first ship back in 1983. I was what was called back then an STS trainee sort of a poor mans cadet. Whereas cadets were seen as lowly we were even lower. I have some mixed memories of the ship some good some bad. I remember painting the front of the housing on a stage when my side suddenly collapsed because the doddery old bosun hadn`t secured it properly and myself and the other cadet were left hanging on our safety lines. They had to lower a jacobs ladder which we had to use to climb back up. When we eventually got down all the chief officer said was "was that you up there pretending to be batman lomax". I also remember being shown the 3 man lift in the bar which consisted of me and two other cadets lying on the floor, me having my arms and legs pinned down and another sprog debagging me and pouring a can of lager over my nads. i can highly recommend a beer shampoo on the old pubes but not soaking wet under crackers.
|10/07/2014 - 17:37||Nick Roberts||
As a "Senior" Cadet (an important distinction at the time!!) I enjoyed my trip on her - and probably learnt more about pumps and cargo and general tanker practice than on any other trip or college stage.... but it was a good job nobody had thought of D&A testing at the time!! Anybody remember the Boxing Contest???? (Today - I wonder how the "Risk Assessment" for that would have looked!!)
|03/16/2014 - 15:09||Mike Hapgood 1||
I like marmite but i hated that bloody ship. Painting on top of rust because the 'officer trainees' couldn't think of anything better for us to do. Was sent to the old man on a charge of 'mutiny' for throwing a chipping hammer overboard and refusing carry on - i quickly apologised! Did enjoy the cadets mess. My cabin was at the stern, next to the propeller - like trying to sleep in a cloths dryer, and the noise, can still hear it now!
|12/02/2012 - 22:13||Don Owers||
I was on watch with a new assistant, he was a Chinese trained as a mechanic and while I was busy trying to get the evaporator working he shut off the fuel to the boilers. He was supposed to shut one valve and open another to swop over tanks but he forgot to open the alternate tank. Naturally the fires went out, steam pressure dropped and the T/As slowed down lowering the A/C frequency as the did so. Strangely there was no alarms for this condition and nothing happened immediately, until suddenly the lights began to flicker and oh dear everything was going dark and light again with a strobe effect that made vision difficult and logic impossible. I didna??t have a clue what the hell was wrong so I pressed the alarm button. Unfortunately there were two alarm buttons, the fire one and the engineers. In my haste pressed the fire alarm which created no end of panic as everyone was roused out of their beds at 3am when they are not feeling like being roused at all.
|10/10/2010 - 16:56||John Armstrong||
A cargo ship went down around Venezuela and the survivors was rescued by the Opalia. Can anyone remember this?
|11/04/2009 - 05:53||John Peter Briand||
|04/11/2009 - 20:31||Gordon Wright||
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.)