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Thread: Hostile Waters

  1. #31
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    Default Re: Hostile Waters

    If I remember correctly when entering the designated war zone of Vietnam the war bonus was paid on your basic pay at 100% but not on overtime pay. I have received 100% of my total pay when sailing to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on several occasions with two different companies during the Iran/Iraq war in the mid 80's .I received nothing for working in Southern Sudan in 82/83 when the Southern Peoples Liberation army were fighting a civil war with the North of the country. I received 200% of my salary while working in the Yemen during the first Gulf conflict in the early 90's this was because Saudi Arabia had had kicked out all Yemeni nationals from the kingdom as they and their government were firmly on the side of Iraq and against the western coalition and The Saudi's were expecting an attack in the south of the country by the Yemeni army .Most of the Western Embassies had closed and repatriated their employees including the British Embassy due to the strong possibility of civil disturbances and the animosity of the local population . I had heard that there were only about 150 expats left in the country. We had a meeting with a very senior Presidential officer who had promised us that not one hair would be harmed on any expats head if we stayed and if need be they would assign two members of the presidential guard to each individual expat. The Yemeni government considered it vital to keep the oil production going (About !60000 barrels a day) As the production facilities at Ma'rib were surrounded by a very heavy military defence force and the two expat camps in Sana'a were well guarded and any travel that I had to do was by helicopter I stayed and considered it money for old rope.

  2. #32
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    Default Re: Hostile Waters

    This was one of my ships but before 71 did she still have the gas tanks?

  3. #33
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    Default Re: Hostile Waters

    Hi I done a trip on the Cerithinthes I can't remember if this how it's spelt .1967 joined in Greenock in drydock a lot of welding was done on it all the seadoors port holes were all welded up .we to a few places in South Vietnam and remember going to Cambodia and was told they called it Campochia if that's how spelled .the captain told us not to on deck only if special needs .good crew some of the deck hands put the fear of into me .

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Hostile Waters

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Garroch View Post
    Our first trip to Saigon 1967 Tet Offensive. we arrives at Vung Tau and anchored waiting for the pilot. The Marines boarded with our security detail. They started by throwing anti-personnel mines overboard. I was chatting to a 19 year old Marine when he started shouting at a Viet-Cong floating towards the ship in a coracle. At 10 meters he raised his M16 and shot him between the eyes. The Viet-cong dropped into the water and sank.

    We proceeded up the Mekong with two destroyers one at the bow and one astern. They started shooting all over the place. Then Marine Phantoms dropping Nalpalm on either side of the ship. That was interesting
    We arrived at the oil terminal to an appalling stench of rotten bodies. There were lots of bodies floating around the terminal. We had to post deckhands at the stern to push the bodies away from the engine room water inlet
    The destroyers stayed anchored off our port side shooting onto the opposite bank along with Phantoms still dropping Nalpalm. This was backed up by the gun battery located on our starboard side shooting between our bridge and the foremast below the radio antenna. I was standing on the bridge wing and could feel the shells passing by. I could even see them in my peripheral vision.
    We were discharging Jet Fuel JP4 and during the night the adjacent gun battery started throwing flares up, which lit up the night and all the guns started up again including machine guns with tracer firing in all directions. The problem we had was the flares landing on the deck which we had to fight off with hoses.

    As we were leaving the second mate at the bow noticed a mine tied to the anchor cable and floating against the port side tanks. we called MSTMS (shipping control) and they dispatched a helicopter to drop some Seals into the water, tie the mine to the helicopter which dragged it away and dropped into on the shoreside.

    That was my introduction to the Vietnam War. Our further trips were not as interesting.

    I forgot to mention that when we were in Chulai and evacuated the ship due to North Vietnamese troops being close. We never found out what happened we witnessed the US troops evacuating the airbase in helicopters . They then returned about 18 hours later as if nothing had happened. In the meantime our crew were in panic mode. First time I saw a Liverpool crew crying in fear.

    When we discharged In Danang we berthed at the end of the runway. I used to enjoy watching the B52's taking off, (Being a pilot myself I appreciated the skill it must take to fly one of those aircraft). Its interesting to know that the B52 has rockets to assist in taking off, even with eight engines.
    One night the Viet-cong blew up a munitions store, which was adjacent to our discharge pipelines. We quickly dropped the hoses and moved into the center of the harbour. We watched the scene for five days it was like a miniature atom bomb a big blue ball. amazing sight.

    In Danang the american fire power was 24 hours a day, in all directions. At night the scene was tracer fire everywere. We took our lives in our hands going on deck.

    AS we left Danang one night, the radar indicated a very large target one mile off the port bow. Suddenly an Aldis light started flashing the international code for "You are standing into danger" The Captain did not understand why??? As I was answering, the night lit up orange, flames flew across the sea towards us and the sound of the sky ripping apart, as a 16 inch shell flew through the bridge and landed on the shore side. It was the US battleship New Jersey. What a sight to see that constant fire power as the shells screamed over. We crept away into the darkness with our tales between our legs.

    There is lots more. When you get used to war you get very blase about it. I used to love watching Phantoms ,as a pilot to see the Phantoms at 100 feet dropping those Nalpam canisters and then hitting afterburn as it cascades across the land, it is a sight that lives with me everyday.
    .......Thanks for that Bob, good to hear other peoples experiences and that was some experience. I was on the Haustelum in 1968 and as a 17 year old JOS I was busting to do vietnam but we went in the opposite direction and as a 68 year old and having seen my share of the not so nice side of life I'm bloody glad I didn't. But as a great friend always use to say, "It's all a part of life's rich tapestry"
    Last edited by david spengler; 29th August 2019 at 10:20 PM.

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