2nd October 2007, 16:55
Having recently placed a request for contact with a shipmate Harry Campbell in FREECREST during 1951 in Crew Members thread reminded me of that voyage.
FREECREST was a tramp and was chartered by Saguenay Terminals.
The voyage was 11th July to 17th December 1951..
Signed on at Tilbury and all Deck crew were local to Grays and Tilbury including my brother Les AB - I was Bosun. Engine ratings were Arab..
Sailed in ballast for Trinidad and at Chagaramas we loaded bauxite ore for Port Alfred on Saguenay River Canada..8 hours discharge of cargo and sailed for Dingwall NS. Loaded gypsum ore for Savannah Georgia..then to McKenzie Guyana and loaded bauxite for Port Alfred..next port was Newport News Va [ saw UNITED STATES under construction here ] and loaded coal for Germany.
Arrived Hamburg on 25th October.. Following discharge of cargo at Diestelkai we lay by for four days for engine repairs which was nice for me as my fiance lived in Hamburg...Sailed in ballast for Baltimore and here we loaded coal for Rotterdam sailing on 27th November.
Clearing Hampton Roads [there was always a wonderful sight to see here.Many units of the US Navy from small craft to battleships would be seen at anchor - Naval bases at Norfolk and Newport News were there] we received warnings of a hurricane and two days later we entered into it.Within a few hours 70 feet waves were completely submerging the ship and in three days we made no headway. FREECREST suffered much damage.
Wire reels,pipes and pipe casings on the foredeck were carried away and washed overboard...No 1 derricks were bent and the gangway on port side was lost..huge seas stove in the lower face of the bridge causing flooding in the officers saloon and their cabins ...a lifeboat and davits were damaged ..potato lockers were washed overboard and the entrance doors to the crew quarters aft were stove in allowing tons of water to flood the cabins of seamen and firemen below...with the violent rolling of the ship this water demolished the bulkheads,bunks and lockers - it was a total shambles..
The seamen and firemen were then accomodated in messrooms amidships..
Captain Taylor remained on the bridge throughout this time until the wind decreased in strength.
The ship had no hatch locking bars..On receiving news of the impending hurricane,we the seamen with Chief and 2nd Mates,2 Cadets,Chippy and 2nd Engineer passed the runners from derrick head blocks through shackles on deck and criss crossed accross the hatches,then hove tight...We used canvas vent covers on edge of coamings to prevent chafing..
There may have been some damage or worse if we had not taken these precautions.
Arriving Rotterdam a tug came alongside and supplied steam to the windlass and winches to enable us to moor ship and to top the derricks.
As the ship would be in port a considerable for repairs the crew were paid off..
FREECREST was built in 1942 as EMPIRE AUSTEN .. 1949 renamed FRINTON of Counties Ship Management Co..1951 FREECREST of Crest Line ..1955 FAIRWATER Liberian flag ...1961 APJ USHA Indian owners and 1962 broken up in Bombay.
Surviving that hurricane, FREECREST proved a credit to her builders - Lithgow's of Port Glasgow...
3rd October 2007, 10:59
Picture of 'Freecrest' at http://www.shipsandharbours.com/picture/number2940.asp
3rd October 2007, 13:26
Dennis - a million thanks,and quite a story to that painting..
It was painted by Ian Boyd and commisioned by my friend Captain Philippe Georges of Montreal..
In distant left is Liberty ship BOBARA ex SEDGEPOOL of Ropner's,it was Phil's first ship as a Cadet and in FREECREST he was Cadet and 3rd Mate.He also sailed in STARCREST,RIVERCREST,LLOYDCREST,HILLCREST,then 3 years in CAPE St DAVID and SAINT DUNSTAN of Saint Line..
Then to Saguenay Terminals of Canada and through all promotions to Master...SUNRHEA - SUNFLOWER - SUNBRAYTON.
During 1998,the site of the old Gravesend Sea School on the riverside began redevelopement of executive flats. From the start I began recording the progress on camcorder,visiting every few weeks..
Late 1999 I saw a request in Shipping Today and Yesterday from a Montreal reader asking information on Crest Line.I replied with info,and also mentioned I had sailed in FREECREST and STARCREST..His reply told me he had just returned home with his wife from a visit to Gravesend and they had bought a newly built flat on the site of the old sea school..
He also wrote that he joined STARCREST in Rotterdam as I was paying off..
Phil and his wife came over here a few weeks later and I gave him a video of his home being built..They now have frequent holidays here in Gravesend..
It is a small world !!
5th October 2007, 21:14
STARCREST of Crest Line London.
At end of my leave from FREECREST I hoped to get a job in EMPIRE BALTIC on Tilbury - Hamburg service having had 18 months in her previously,but it was not to be so after waiting for a month I signed on Bosun on STARCREST.
Voyage time 7th Feb.1952 to 26th June 1952. Joined at Tilbury,loaded 4000 tons of cement at Bevans Wharf Northfleet then up river to KGV dock and loaded general cargo for West African ports.
We were on Elder Dempster charter and painted the funnel yellow.
Bunkered at Dakar - then Freetown,at Takoradi we took on 61 Kroo boys..
They are African stevedores and are in charge of a Headman.They remain with the ship and work the cargo and winches at all ports visited on the coast.They are very competent men and also rig the derricks ..
They have two cooks and bring their own cooking utensils plus a large rice boiler. They also supply their own food,rice,dried meat,dried fish,yams and peppers.At the end of their working day a large tent is hung from a derrick and spread accross a hatchtop for sleeping.At sea between ports they are employed in chipping and scraping decks etc..
From Takoradi we sailed for Cape Coast a surf port.Ships lay at anchor here and cargo is discharged by derricks into surf boats alongside the ship.
These large canoes are driven through the surf and onto the beach by ten men with paddles - a very skilful operation..Two canoes lashed side by side can load large crates..
To Sekondi,another surf port then entered Takoradi for fresh water and stores.
Surf ports in Ghana ceased operating many years ago when a new harbour at Tema was built..
From Takoradi to Accra a surf port, then to Lagos Nigeria.
Arriving off this port on 26th March 1952,we anchored among many other ships and it would be 49 days before we sailed again..
Cargo remaining in the ship was 2000 tons of cement and a few tons of general cargo..
It was chaotic in Nigeria at this time with docks and railway systems congested and at a virtual standstill..
Ten days at anchor then we entered the port for two days to discharge the general cargo and take on stores and fresh water - then returned to anchor two miles off shore among 40 other ships.
During our long spell at anchor many of the crew had some time in Creek Hospital suffering with malaria..I was in hospital for 8 days and on returning to the ship in a launch I found the Kroo boys at work in discharging the cement cargo over the side into the sea - other ships with cement cargoes were also dumping it into the sea..
Charterers considered it to be less costly in doing this than paying for an idle ship.
Following the dumping of the cement the holds were washed out and we were taken on Palm Line charter.
On 13th May,we sailed from Lagos for Warri a creek port and after a six day delay we loaded 300 tons of palm kernels..then to Calabar and a four days wait before we loaded ground nuts..Returned to Lagos and loaded a few mahogany logs and sailed for Takoradi to pay of the Kroo boys,arriving there on 7th June..The Kroo boys had been with us 98 days..
Bunkered at Dakar and then homeward to Liverpool..
Arrived in this port and berthed in Queen's Dock on 25th June 1952.
We had arrived with 1000 tons of cargo in a 10,000 ton ship.
The Master was Captain G.Roberts and Chief Officer was Mr Jamieson from the Shetland Isles...
STARCREST was built in 1944 as EMPIRE ASQUITH .In 1947 acquired by Counties Ship Management and renamed BROCKLEY HILL ...In 1950 STARCREST ...In 1957 renamed ARGOSY of Codemar Co Panama ...1960 NEZIHI IPAR Turkish ...1970 Scrapped at Istanbul..
6th October 2007, 23:12
STARCREST Voyage 2.- -9th July 1952 to 27th February 1953.
With most of the Deck crew from previous trip,we rejoined ship in Langton drydock 2 in Liverpool on 9th July 1952 and sailed on 12th - Hampton Roads for orders.Received later,load coal at Newport News Va for Germany..
Arrived Emden 13th August and after a four days delay we began discharging - completed on 19th and sailed in ballast for Norfolk Va...Here we loaded coal and sailed for Rotterdam, arriving there on 23rd september..discharged and sailed in ballast for Norfolk Va. arriving on 13 th October...loaded in 8 hours and sailed for Rotterdam..
Arriving and sailing days on this trade was very strenuous.All derricks had to be topped,hatches stripped and beams removed as soon as we entered Hampton Roads .Then berth the ship and stand by the moorings..At Norfolk and Newport News the coal was loaded directly from railway wagons..
A large chute was suspended over the hold and 25 ton capacity wagons were upended and the coal tipped into the chute..As each hold was filled we had to move the ship along the quay as the chutes were a fixture..
Loading completed,we then replaced beams and hatches and battened down all as quickly as possible as we would be in the open sea very soon..
Lowering derricks was hazardous at times if we began rolling...
Lucky if we managed to have two hours in the nearest bar..
Arrived Rotterdam on 29th October - discharged cargo in 24 hours then sailed for Norway .Arrived Narvik and anchored to await a berth..Other ships to load before us were - MARIE SKOU -SAIVO - GEORG RUSS - SILVANA - SVEALAND - STONEGATE and HARDANGER..It was very cold with much ice and snow..
We loaded and sailed on 7th November for Baltimore and for the next 23 days we experienced heavy and violent rolling until arrival in Hampton Roads.
Four days at anchor and we then sailed up to Baltimore for cargo discharge..
Saw more than 60 Liberty ships mothballed there..
At Newport News we loaded coal on 5th December and sailed for Germany on same day..Atrocious weather conditions every day and arrived at Kalikai Hamburg on 23rd December...began discharging on 29th,finished and sailed on 30th for Newport News.. arriving and anchoring on 19th January 1953.
On 22nd we loaded and sailed same day for Germany.
Arrived Harburg Hamburg on 11th February and on completion of discharge of cargo on 15th the charter ended..
We sailed for Rotterdam for drydocking and the crew were paid off..
STARCREST was a typical tramp of that time..we had carried seven cargoes in seven months....Stan.
7th October 2007, 09:06
Fascinating stuff, really enjoyed reading these threads. The picture you painted of the storm and the Freecrest was like being their, and brought back memories of a more modern tramp that I served in that hit a North Atlantic hoolie towards the end of a six month voyage. We all thought that this was it, as steel was smashed in and equipment ripped from fixings including the port gangway, and part of the port side foward hance fashion plate and rails.We looked a real mess arriving in Rotterdam, their was a coach on the dock side with a new (full Asian Crew) crew waiting, I wondered what they must have thought as we came into sight, and also the qiuck exit us Brits made down the gangway.
Excellent and clear pictures of seafaring of that period.
Best Regards to you Stan
19th September 2009, 20:53
Since this thread of two years ago are there any members who sailed with Crest Line?
I am trying to contact Harry Campbell - Chief Steward with Crest Line.
6th February 2010, 08:56
[QUOTE=stan mayes;361029]Since this thread of two years ago are there any members who sailed with Crest Line?
i sailed Mooncrest 30 dec 1954 to 24 april 1955 as EDH
Also Junecrest 12 oct 1956 6 april 56 as AB
11th March 2010, 15:51
Stan - Many thanks for posting your reminiscences , especially that "hooly" in the north Atlantic - yes, it always amazed me the damage seas could do to steel. Anyway, I remember seeing Ivanovic's 'SKYCREST' when she arrived in the Royal Docks, London in the early 60's., and how we all flocked to see the new fangled 'Jumbo' , the Stuelcken derrick. She must have been one of the first , if not the first British flagged ship to be fitted with one. Once again thanks for posting .
24th November 2010, 03:07
My first voyage to sea was in 1965 , I joined the Skycrest as a Deck Cadet in London, straight from school . We went Immingham,Edinborough,through a Gale toGlasgow, then Liverpool. what a start I thought. Then we went to New Zealand via Panama,
6 ports in NZ , over to Australia and home Via Cape Town. First voyage 6 months.
Next voyage was 13 months and was a case of where didnt we go, when we came home the ship was going to China next . I did a stint as 3rd Mate uncertified while we loaded up in Sweden and Norway, signing of in Oslo and going home by Ferry.
Unfortunately there wasnt a berth for me on her sister ship Wavecrest
so I changed companies to Canatlantic "Caxton", I was with them untill1968 when they sold the ship .
That was the end of my seagoing carreer. But it was a great time and I saw a heck of a lot of the world.
24th November 2010, 21:43
Hi Cadet 1
Was the Chief Officer Stevo Novacovic and do you
remember the names of her masters during your time?
24th November 2010, 22:55
I think the Mate was Hughes but that could have been Caxton (memorie's not what it could be). 2nd mate had a slavic name, tall, thin build. I have a photo of him, somewhere!
There were two masters in my time, the first was a short tubby guy I think his name was Muldoon, he was sent home during the voyage!
There were two cadets at the time and the other one went home at the same time!
I never got a reference fom him and his replacement only certified I was on the ship, not conduct.
Can't think of the next masters name , but I have it at home somewhere, I'll dig it out and post it next week
30th November 2010, 05:21
The Master for the rest of the Voyage, in Skycrest was Alex Miller.
Master on Caxton was J.G.Wilson.
28th December 2010, 20:29
stan I'm being serious here, I do think your vast knowledge should be put in book form, I for one would buy it
1st January 2011, 10:52
Me too- a fascinating litany of seafaring at its best and expertly penned to boot.
Keep them coming Stan.
Happy NY to you.