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Thread: From Europe to the Persian Gulf via North And South America and South Africa.

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    Default From Europe to the Persian Gulf via North And South America and South Africa.

    296252macmillan.jpg
    In Oct 75, as 2nd Mate, myself and others flew to the Netherlands to join this ship in Velson, a port on the Ghent Canal. As you can see she is a forest product carrier, 6 hatches and 3 travelling gantry cranes. The charter that she and her two sisters had been built for had ended and they were tramping world wide. She had come in with a full cargo of copra from the Phillippines and Indonesia. After part discharge in Velson we went to Hamburg to complete discharge. There in the famous Beer Keller we met up with some lads off a Shell Tanker in dry dock and between us we drank a French Naval Crew on a curtesy visit under the table.
    After completing discharge our next voyage was a food aid cargo of rice from the USA to Iraq plus other cargo. All the way across to our rice load port, Orange in Texas, we were washing the holds with disinfectant and high pressure sea water in attempts to get rid of the copra beetle infestation but on arrival in Texas the Agriculture inspectors still found copra beetle infestation so the ordered the vessel to be fumigated with a cyanide based gas. This meant that we all had to be put up in the Holiday Inn in Orange whilst fumigation was going on. Very nice but Orange was a pretty dull place until we discovered a nice bar that was open all day and so for the next couple of days we tried very hard to drink it dry...failed.
    Bac on board we loaded our cargo of bagged rice (10000 tons) and then went round to Houston, City Dock No.1 to load more cargo. This was Drill Pipes and pumping gear, a large mobile crane for S. Africa, truck based drill rigs, some buses, S.U.V.s and a complete drilling rig consisting of 4 units, each around 200 tons each. 1 accommodation block, two power plants and 1 drill unit.
    After completion of loading and securing we set off for Santos where the drill pipes were discharged. We had Crimbo alongside in Santos and held a fancy dress party after which we went ship visiting to a Swedish Johnson line astern of us, which gave them a bit of surprise when a gang of half drunk Brits dressed as red Indians, german soldiers, moose etc. wandered into their smoke room.
    After sailing from Santos, next port was Durban to discharge the mobile crane, said to be the tallest in South Africa at the time. Unfortunatley to discharge this beast it required us to berth under Durbans heavy lift crane but the berth was occupied so we had to wait 4 days or more for it to become available, which did not please the cranes owner as he had lots of work lined up for him but at least it did give us a chance to revisit some of Durbans attractions (Bars, clubs) in order to wet our whistles.
    Then it was off to the Persian Gulf to discharge the rest of the cargo. The first port was only given as a Latitude and Longitude off Kharg island where we discharged that drilling rig onto a barge that was then to place it onto pre built platforms where it was to drill wells from. From there we went to anchorage off the Shatt Al Arab to await a berth in Basrah where all the remaining cargo was to be discharged along with over 100 more vessels waiting for a berth, some of which had been there for well over 6 months. After a month or so at anchor we eventually went off to Kuwait for stores and fresh water. I paid off there on 03/76 . The ship returned to anchorage off Basrah and after a couple of months was berthed in Basrah as some of the vehicles were for military use. As for the rice cargo, as Iraq was basically sinking under the amount of food aid rice, they immediately condemned our cargo and arrested the ship. She was to stay at anchor in the river off Basrah for the next 2+ years until the Iraq's eventually released her but I cannot recall if the rice cargo was ever discharged or just dumped.
    rgds
    J.A.

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    Default Re: From Europe to the Persian Gulf via North And South America and South Africa.

    What is ship’s name, John ?
    Looks like Munck loaders on deck. I was An engineer in the last ‘Beaver’ boats in the early 70s, and then the new container vessels on the North Atlantic run.
    Sounds like a fun trip.

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    Post Re: From Europe to the Persian Gulf via North And South America and South Africa.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arton View Post
    296252macmillan.jpg
    In Oct 75, as 2nd Mate, myself and others flew to the Netherlands to join this ship in Velson, a port on the Ghent Canal. As you can see she is a forest product carrier, 6 hatches and 3 travelling gantry cranes. .................................................. .

    The ship returned to anchorage off Basrah and after a couple of months was berthed in Basrah as some of the vehicles were for military use. As for the rice cargo, as Iraq was basically sinking under the amount of food aid rice, they immediately condemned our cargo and arrested the ship. She was to stay at anchor in the river off Basrah for the next 2+ years until the Iraq's eventually released her but I cannot recall if the rice cargo was ever discharged or just dumped.
    rgds
    J.A.
    What's the ships name?
    Last edited by Chris Allman; 26th February 2020 at 02:30 PM.

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    Default Re: From Europe to the Persian Gulf via North And South America and South Africa.

    The ship is the H.R. Macmillan.
    A bit more on discharging that oil rig we had on deck. As said it consisted of 4 units. An accommodation block for 50, fully kitted out and ready for immediate use with bunks fully made up and covered in shrink wrap, galley with all pots, pans, knives etc all in place and even office supplies in the various offices. The whole kit was designed on a "plug and play" idea, put the individual units in place on pre built concrete platforms that surveys had shown were the best place to drill and find oil, link them up using plugin fittings, fuel up the power units, man and store up the accommodation block and within 48 hours start drilling. The plan was to drill a number of wells off the platform then use the platform as a we'll head and shift everything to another pre built platform.
    To discharge these units a large towed towed crane barge had been engaged and after anchoring in the position given a couple of days later this french registered bargeturned up being towed by a tug with a British captain. The barge tied up on our starboard side with its port side alongside us, on its starboard quarter was a large kedge anchor, more about that later. The barges mooring ropes had more knots in them than a plank of wood and were in pretty poor condition. In Houston when this lot had been loaded they had used our timber deck cargo fittings to lash them down with loads of wire lashings and bottle screws and the French crew from the barge first job was to cut through all these lashings with angle grinders leaving the weight of them alone to prevent any possible movement, remember we were at anchor somewhere in the middle of the Persian gulf in an unsheltered anchorage. The next problem came when the barge came to connect up its crane for the first lift only for it to discover that their shackles were too big for the lifting lugs fitted on the units, they wanted to cut out the lugs to fit their shackles but we said NON!! So they went back to their barge. We could see them in the workshop on the barge working away a hours later they came back saying they had the solution, (they had ground down the shackle pins to fit the lifting lugs!!). Just as they were about to start the first lift a storm blew up which called a halt to everything. The barge was ranging up and down and eventually it's forward moorings broke and it swung round held by its stern moorings only in the process of which it hit the focsle of its tug, anchored nearby putting the tugs anchor windlass out of action. The barge aft moorings eventually gave way and it drifted away on the wind but not before that kedge anchor had taken a strip out of our hull, fortunately above the waterline. So there we were stuck with the 250 ton units sitting unlashed on our deck in the middle of one of those gulf storms that blow up with no warning. We upped anchor a steamed into the storm to mitigate any rolling motion. Eventually the storm died away as quickly as it had sprung up so we returned to the anchorage position. The barge attending tug had managed to get his windlass fixed and went off in search of the crane barge, returning 3 days later with it tow. It moored up alongside us again and over the next 24 hours of so got all 4 units off our deck and onto the barge. We were then free to go to kharg island to discharge equipment bound for there before sailing off to join the loads of vessels anchored off the shat Al Arab to wait for a berth in Basrah to discharge the rest of the cargo, as told previously.
    Rgds
    J.A.

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