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Thread: Empress Of England Old Bosun

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Empress Of England Old Bosun

    Marian
    The empress of England was built on theTyne in 1957 and the Canada in 1961, again on the Tyne. The strike that Jayne refers to was on the Canada in New York. The crew went on strike wanting better leave conditions amongst other grieviences but apparently it was instigated by communist infiltrators to the Seaman's Union. A number of other British passenger liner outfits suffered strikes at the same period. Whatever the reasons for the strike or who was behind it, the strike was the death knell for the White Empresses. The bosses of the parent Company, Canadian Pacific Railway, saw falling number's on the transatlantic crossings and supposedly saw no future in cruises, which is strange as the same bosses sold the Canada to Carnival, now the largest cruise outfit going. If you examine the original list of directors for Carnival and those of the CPR at the time, you will find that the samenames appear.
    Rgds.
    J.A.

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  3. #62
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    Default Re: Empress Of England Old Bosun

    The crew of the Empress of Canada went on strike for wanting better leave and conditions, it was instigated by communist infiltrators to the seaman's union. The directors of CP sold the Canada to Carnival cruise line. The original list of directors for Carnival and those at CP at the time the same names appear.
    Was it possible the strike was actually manipulated in such a way, as in poor leave /working conditions leaving the crew no alternative but to take industrial action. This gave CP directors an out so they could sell the ship on and at the same time secure there own well being and screw the British seafarers yet again. No doubt the officers went with the ship, and then eventually the lower officer ranks could be replaced by cheaper foreign officers?

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    Default Re: Empress Of England Old Bosun

    Lewis
    When the Canada was sold to Carnival the whole U.K. crew were replaced by Italians if I recall correctly. At the time of the demise of the Empress ship's C.P. was going through a huge expansion plan with loads of New buildings, employing British officers and cadets, at one time they were one of the biggest employers of British Officers, employing over 1000 of us on salaries matching that of Joe Shell. From 2 Empress's, 2 tanker's and 4 small white Beaver boats in 1967 by the early 80's there were well over 50ships in the fleet. All those ships had been replaced with bulk carriers (cape sized, pajamas and handy sized geared), product, chemical,. Blvd tanker's, container ships, even a RORO. Pity it did not last as by 89, all but the container ships had gone as with virtually all the sea going staff.
    Rgds
    J.A.

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    Default Re: Empress Of England Old Bosun

    I remember seeing a lot of there new builds, I also remember the CP adverts in the Numast Telegraph during the time of the expansion. There was a cartoon character as a Pirate with a cutlass in his hand, all are best people run away to sea was the logo lol. I think they lost a ship up in Basra or it was there for the duration of the war along with one or two UASC ships. The CP ship was loaded with grain. I was on a UASC ship at the time. We had been there 3 months as the we had a meltdown on the main switchboard. We cobbled together enough bus bars for 1/3 rd of the board to get power and enough generation supply. We got word from shore side in Kuwait to get the hell out of Basra as all hell was going to break loose. The Basra port authorities would not let us sail because of the state of the ship ref: power supply. When it got dark we got ready and the old man told the mate we were leaving. They cut the ropes and we made a run for it. Made it out of the Shat al Arab and headed for Kuwait. The switchboard went bang again and we were dead ship. We ended up being towed to Kuwait and after a month I paid off. The Iran v Iraq war started 24 hours after we cleared Basra. Question were asked as to why we made it out and two other UASC did not. All I will add was our Captain was a Dublin lad, the other two UASC ships had German skipper and the other ship had an Indian skipper, they were there a long time.

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    Default Re: Empress Of England Old Bosun

    Lewis
    I well remember those recruitment adverts. Posters of them were sent out to the ships and at the time I was C/Off on a Cape sized bulker. We received them on board and the 3rd mate posted them up in the crew alleyway outside one of the Indian secuni,s cabin. He was my 4-8 watch keeper and wore sea boots and a duffle coat every day even in the tropics. He was a smashing fellow, very quiet and always on time for his watch and was immensely proud of how clean and sparkling he kept the wheel house. One afternoon he was late on watch and was refusing to come out of his cabin, when I went down to find out what the problem was he was terrified, saying the rest of the crew had hired a gang to murder him, which seeing as we were in the middle of the ocean coming up to Le Havre from Richards Bay seemed to be a bit strange. Asking him where this gang was coming from he pointed to the poster saying there the proof is.
    That C.P. ship that was stuck up in Basra was the Forest Product vessel H.R. Macmillan and she had a bit of a chequered history. In 74 she suffered an accident whilst discharging timber in Tilbury when, whilst a Munck engineer and a deck cadet were killed when the crane trolley came off the track and fell onto the quay killing them both.
    The voyage that ended with her stuck in Basra, I was Chief Officer on her started when we joined her in Terneuzen where she had come in from the Philippine's and Indonesia with Copra shells. After part discharge there we completed discharge in Hamburg where we had some tremendous drinking contests with ourselves and the lads off a Shell Tanker in dry dock against a French Navy ship on a curtesy visit, in the Zillertal where we were taking turns in conducting the orchestra. After engine repairs we sailed for Orange in Texas, hatch cleaning with special disinfectant in a attempt to kill off the copra beetles that had infested the ship. We were loading bagged rice in Orange for a USA Food Aid Program for Discharge in Iraq. On arrival in Orange the USDA immediately discovered copra beetle infestation still so we were all sent to a hotel for 3/4 days whilst she was fumigated. The first day in the hotel we set off to explore Orange, a one horse town. It was stinking hot but fortunately we discovered a bar selling ice cold beer in jugs that was open. It also sold burgers so that was our day sorted. Leaving around 1800 to return to the hotel for our evening meal, we said we would be back later, which drew claims of disbelief from the American patrons given the amount we had drunk. After our hotel meal we returned to the bar to gasps of amazement from the staff (they obviously had never met a crowd of British seamen intent on the ale and our excuse was the heat). We stayed there till closing and then went back to the hotel bar where upon seeing us all stagger out of the lift, the Captain and Chief Engineer, who had been enjoying a quiet drink, immediately departed for their rooms. The bar staff served us one drink and then shut up the bar so we had to persuade them to sell us a couple of cases to drink in our rooms. This involved us going past the pool so a bit of skinny dipping came into play. When we got on board after the fumigation the loading of the bagged rice took around 10 days.
    After loading the bagged rice we went to Houston (City Dock no.1) and loaded refinery equipment for Kharg Island, trucks fitted with drill equipment for drilling water wells, bound for Basra, steel drill pipes for Santos, SUV's for Iraq along with Buses also for Iraq, a huge mobile crane for Durban plus a drilling rig consisting of 4 units each weighing 266 tons (on deck) bound for a new oil field to the west of Kharg Island. We got to Santos just before Christmas and had Christmas day in port doing ship visiting after dinner ending up on a lovely Swedish Johnson line cargo ship, bursting into their lounge just as they were about to have fisticuffs with themselves. As we were in fancy dress it put a stop to any fisticuffs.
    After Santos we went to Durban to discharge the mobile crane but the heavy lift crane berth was occupied so we had to wait 4/5 days for it to become free, which allowed us to sample the drinking haunts in Durban. Knowing that there was going to be delays up the Gulf we took on extra stores of food and ale. There was a Greek cargo ship in port also bound for Iraq and its Captain was stuffing his freezer chambers with staples on his own account which he was going to sell to ships anchored off awaiting a berth.
    We eventually got this mobile crane off loaded, it being at the time, the biggest in reach and load, in South Africa.
    We then went up to Kharg Island and went alongside to discharge the refinery stuff along with some of the S.U.V.'s. After that we went to a latitude and longitude position and anchored awaiting a heavy lift crane barge to meet up with us to offload the drilling rig units. They were to be placed on pre prepared platforms and they were designed to be hooked up together and drilling within 24 hours. They were a accommodation module fully outfitted with everything for 50 person, two power modules and the drill stand.
    The crane barge eventually turned up being towed by its tug, skippered by a Brit. The crane barge was French registered in Djibouti and after having to turn down their lifting shackle pins to fit the lifting points on the modules they proceeded to cut off the hundreds of wire lashing that had been put on in Houston to secure the modules to our hatch covers. Before they could actually start lifting any module a gale sprung up causing the barge to break its mooring swing round and demolish the focsle of the tug and then make a big gash in our hull above the water line when its anchor came into contact with us, it then drifted off into the distance. 3 days later when its tug had eventually managed to repair its windlass enough to enable it to raise its anchor and chase after the barge, it re-appeared and discharge of the modules went on smoothly.
    By now we only had the bagged rice, the drill trucks, buses and remaining S.U.V's on board so off we went to anchor off the Shatt Al Arab to await with along with around 100 other ships, for a berth in Basra. The situation there was akin to the ships trapped in the Great Bitter Lakes where we did weekend visits to other ships for bar-b-ques etc. There was a Blue Flu bulker there, the Agamemon and when we visited her we got some scabby sarnies and about 3 cans of ale each, most disgusting especially as when they had eaten and drunk their fill on our ship. Occasionally a ship would shoot off to Kuwait to take on stores and water and would always ask other ships if they needed any stores and they would pick up extra staples for who ever requested the with their owners having worked out payment amongst themselves. Some ships had been there for 6 months or more and still had no idea when they would get a berth. After a month or so we had to go to Kuwait for water and stores plus reliefs and I paid off there. She went back to anchor for some more months and eventually berthed in Basra to discharge the remaining vehicles but the rice was condemned as unfit for human consumption. She was stuck there for almost 3 years whilst the rice problem was sorted out, anchored in the river off Basra where she was not allowed to leave. When she did eventually get released she was in such a state that after patching up her hull in Dubai she went onto the beach in India and was scrapped.
    rgds
    J.A.

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  11. #66
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    Default Re: Empress Of England Old Bosun

    I did one trip to the Gulf from the UK , we dropped the hook and I never seen it up again for the rest of my trip 4 months, Saturday morning we used to start the main engine and steam round the anchor for ten minutes or so. UASC had a trick , they had a class of ships known as the K class 43 of them nearly all the same. What they used to do was when they arrived in the gulf you had to register the vessels name and the time you dropped anchor. I suppose it was to get yourself in the berthing queue. What they did was register and then sail on to another port and register there as well. They got caught out as they would register other company vessels names as well. How they got caught was they Registered say the m/v Ibn Zinia as being at anchor ( it may not have been that name but) you get my drift, The Ibn Zinia was reported in the Lloyds List as a Casualty due to a major fire in the port of Antwerp a day later and it was picked up on by shore side authorities. Much egg on face, UASC being an Arab company rumour has it bribed there way out of that one , many shore side staff in port control ended up driving new Mercedes cars lol.

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    Default Re: Empress Of England Old Bosun

    My father was master of the H R Macmillan when the Tilbury accident happened. I was on board at the time.

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