wrong port

17th July 2008, 00:37
Have you ever set off / arrived at the wrong port for whatever reason or been given wrong co-ordinates for some of those hard to find places .

To start the ball rolling , in 74 we were once on our way at slow speed from Fos to off port Tripoli Lebanon , it should have been off port Tripoli Libya .It turned out ok though because we were eventually diverted to another port in Libya , arriving there earlier than expected because we were closer .


17th July 2008, 08:54
It was rumoured, in one of the coastal tanker companies, that in the days of RT communications (telephone) and poor reception, a vessel was ordered to proceed to Billingham (on the Tees) to load. On arrival there was no one to meet the vessel. The Master called the office by shoreside phone to be advised that he should have been at Immingham....
Red faces all around.......

Sebe (Thumb)

Tony Crompton
17th July 2008, 09:52
We had a case many years ago where a large Japaneese or Korean ore carrier bound for the Tees anchored off Port Talbot. ( British Steel had plants in both ports), known his cargo was for BSC and assumed that meant the Welsh Port.

Another occasion a ship giving an hour away ETA and nobody knew anything about the ship. After much checking with agents, Port Authority, etc a rather sheepish voice on the VHF admitted he was new to the ship and was using the name of his last ship!!

Had another occasion where the Pilot ( not me ) went to bring a Russian ship in. Went aboard, heaved up and was well into the river until it was discovered he was on the wrong Russian (2 were anchored)

All were more embarrasing than serious with much subsequent leg pulling.


Robin Craythorn
17th July 2008, 10:59
Back in 1969 I was 2/O in 'Esso Lancashire', I was on the afternoon watch and we were proceeding along the south coast of Iran bound for Ras Tanura,
We had just overtaken a Greek tanker when he called me on the V.H.F. and asked me if I knew where Lavan Island was he did know that it was somewhere in Iran. I did tell him that on a previous trip I had noticed an oil terminal on one of the islands along that coast. A few days later, now loaded and outward bound from Ras Tanura I was again on watch as we passed along the south coast of Iran and was able to see the Greek Tanker berthed at the oil terminal. About 12 months later I was again on the 'Esso Lancashire' but this time as Chief Officer, we were approaching the Persian Gulf, I went up on to the bridge to see charts out all over the place and the Old Man and Second Mate looking through them, the Captain then turned to me and said "The loading orders have come in, we are going to a place called Lavan Island but we don't know where it is" Ah I said by sheer chance I do know where it is.

17th July 2008, 12:12
I was AB on a "Delivery" from Rouen to Bangkok Dec 1963, apparently there was only one sextant on the ship belonging to the captain, IT got smashed falling from wheelhouse table in a violent roll, we were between Ceuta and Port Said, the plan was just follow a parralel course to the tankers overtaking us all the time, we had fallen in with one who had very,very slowly got past us and early one morning ,I was at the wheel when we arrived off Alexandria!
AS TRUE AS I SIT HERE!! co-ordinates? what are they?

Chris Isaac
17th July 2008, 17:54
If a ship misses a port its very seldom the fault of the port!

17th July 2008, 18:23
I remember some longshoremen waiting at a pier to tie up a ship, and then watched it sail on by.

17th July 2008, 18:47
Coaster heading for Warrenpoint (East coast Northern Ireland) arrived at Warren Point (North coast Northern Ireland) (==D) (==D)

17th July 2008, 19:06
Heard a story recently about a new crew member who was flown to Kristiansand South (relatively) near Oslo and the ship was in Kristiansund North (relatively) near Trondheim

18th July 2008, 00:41
Sailed from Assab in the Red Sea expecting to go to Massawa, a short hop along the Ethiopian coast. The Old Man, who liked a drink, had just been raving about catching barracuda off Hodeidah in the Yemen, another port on our schedule. He claimed that the Agent called up from the wharf and told him: "Change of orders, go to Hodeidah. Nobody else heard this, but, of course, off we went to Hodeidah, anchored and out came the fishing lines. After a few hours of being ignored by the local Marxist authorities a "someone-'s-got-to-fall-on-their-sword" message came through from the charterers in Tokyo...."What are you doing at Hodeidah, go immediately to Massawa!"

Fortunately, a few hours later at Massawa, they were blowing it up and we couldn't get in for a couple of days - only wasted a bit of petrol.

John T.

2nd August 2008, 15:11
Texaco had 3 ships known as the 'Ghent' class. They were called the Texaco Ghent, Texaco Brussels and Texaco Rotterdam and there is a well authenticated story of someone getting sent to join the Ghent in Rotterdam when in fact he should have been joining the Rottedam in Ghent ! More red faces and anguish for the poor guy doing the travelling.

Dick S
1st September 2008, 14:53
I remember my one and only trip on maggie Booths up the Amazon approaching a berth(hands on docking stations) and the R/O come charging into the wheelhouse with a change of orders. So off we steam to the port only to find that we we should have been at the other one.(I now know what Amazon Portuguese is for what the **** are you doing here!) The Telegram was weeks out of date!! So back we go! At least I got see some off the River in flood.


1st September 2008, 18:03
A friend of mine was lockmaster/dockmaster in Goole in the 70s. One evening a Dutch coaster arrived in the locks unexpectedly, he boarded it and said to the master I dont know what berth you are for, as we dont know anything about you. The master replied put me on the chalk berth as thats what I will be loading, my friend said we do not load chalk here. The master disappeared to his cabin and returned with a telex stating that he was to load chalk in Poole. They got the charts out and the master was shown where Poole was, then he almost started to cry saying that if he had to replace a mooring rope or two that year all his profits would be gone. He was an owner /skipper, his profit margins must have been tight, I expect thats the reason they all went out of business.

2nd September 2008, 12:37
I recall reading some years back of a passenger in Douglas who was returning back to Fleetwood, boarded the wrong ship and ended up in Belfast instead!

Tam Broon
8th September 2008, 15:43
MV Benstac on the way from US West Coast to Far East, port rotation was changed almost every day. Eventually the Chief Mate had had enough and hid in his cabin for the rest of the voyage. Arrived at Manila and spent two days trying to get some sense out of the port pilot before being told that a gang of stevedores were waiting our arrival at Dadiangus.

9th September 2008, 16:15
Cutsplice, the master/owners dog could have shown him the way as it always seemed to be the sole occupant on the bridge at sea, the only time a "human" appeared was when the dog started barking!! mind you I use to think those little "Dutch Clogs" were lovely little family boats, now sadly missed on the coastal trade.

9th September 2008, 19:14
I read some remarks by pilots and it reminded me of when I was in Brocklebanks - 3rd Mate on the MATHURA. We came back from the usual Indian run into the winter of 1947. Blizzards started at Cape St Vincent and by the time we reached the channel we had a list to starboard because of the ice build-up from the easterly snow showers which froze on everything. We took 2 days to go from the Downs to the Thames - anchoring in the frequent blizzards - no radar then. After discharging cargo we took on a North Sea Pilot to travel up the East coast to Dundee and discharged the usual jute and gunny. We left for Hamburg and couldn't drop the pilot so we took him with us. We therefore had two pilots. After Hamburg we went to Rotterdam and on leaving we took the dock pilot and the river pilot with us to Middlesborough as we couldn't get them off because of the ice. So, on arriving at Middlesborough we had no less than four pilots on board - North Sea ,Dundee, Maas dock and river pilots !

10th September 2008, 08:56
Then there was the containership "TNT Express" manoeuvering at the same time as the containership "TFL Express" in the port of Gulfport, Mississippi - did that cause some VHF problems in late 1984!

11th September 2008, 06:45
Anchored off Spurn a few years ago and a ship requested a pilot for Goole. Nobody seemed to know anything about him and after enquires by the shore people it turned out he should have been at Poole. I bet there was a few red faces aboard there.

Hugh Wilson
11th September 2008, 07:32
When I worked on the Denholm managed Alcan vessels, a 2nd Eng was scheduled to join the ship in Port Rhodes, Jamaica. The Glasgow travel department sent him to Rhodes, Greece. What was even funnier was that the ship had been trading to and from Port Rhodes for several years, with the same 2nd on board, and he never thought to question his flight details.

11th September 2008, 17:14
In 1953, I was on the Denholm Ore Carrier 'Ormsary' bound for Narvik in Norway. I was an apprentice on lookout during a blizzard on the 12 -4 watch (day time vesrion). The ship was moving at a snail speed. Visibility was almost zero.
We were heading into the entrance of a Fjiord when I spotted a fishing boat close by on the bow. The Skipper, Capt. Brown yelled down to the man in the boat as we passed. Seconds later we did a 180 turn and headed back out to sea. Turned out we had missed the approach to Narvik and were heading into another sea loch.

Jim C.

John N MacDonald
16th September 2008, 21:21
:o :o I was told by the 2nd mate on the Marfret Provence that a Russian captain of a U.S owned, Panamanian flagged bulker arrived at Manzanillo, Cuba instead of the port near Colon, Panama nearly causing an international incident.

20th September 2008, 19:27
We went to the correct port but the mail did'nt.
Was on a Moss Tanker going to Espiritu Santo in the Pacific Islands.No mail received for months & company promised to deliver.
Well we arrived & Sailed & no mail. The mail was discovered in Santos in Brazil where our mail clerk had sent it!

Much teeth knashing but we did see the funny side

22nd September 2008, 20:27
Two tales that seem to fit with this thread - both NZ related,

the first being a FOC bulker using an atlas to navigate arrived at Manakau on the W of Auckland rather than Hokianga on the East side, the port control could hear him but not see him, think this happened early 90s. Manakau was a little shallow for this vessel - only by good luck was a "Sea Empress" type incident averted.

Second concerned a colleague who left the ship in the Far East to fly home to Auckland, defeated all ticket checks at the airport and only realised the error of his ways when he noticed the airport he had arrived at was spelt "Oakland" Again late 80s, early 90s - wouldn't rate his chances of getting away with that now without spending some time as a guest of Uncle Sam. (PS he insisted he was not under the affluence of incahol at the time!!)

22nd September 2008, 21:17
On a bulk carrier destined for Christmas Island to load phosphates for Australia (the island which is off Northern coast of Australia)Indian Ocean side, guess where all the mail went to---yes the christmas Island in the PACIFIC Ocean. Eventually got this mail 2 years later sent to my home address. Typical shipping co office Cockup.
Now if we had gone to the island in the Pacific instead of the one in the Indian ocean i guess the office would have played merry hell with the Navigators/Captain. Can look back and laugh at it now---not funny at the time.cheers ftf

11th December 2008, 19:20
Overheard Liverpool pilot telling our master that a few weeks previously he had boarded a Liberty ship at Point Lynas. On the way he asked the American Captain who was just over 20 years of age if he had been to the UK before. He said he hadn't and intended seeing Westminster Abbey, House of Commons etc and the pilot said " O- so you are going to go down to London then !" The captain said that he took it they were on the way into London.
It turned out that all the crew were novices and they had merely followed the ship ahead in the convoy and ended up at Point Lynas.
In WW2 it was common for Liberty ships to be manned by very inexperienced people. Apparently young men went to sea school for 3 months and did a trans Atlantic as 3rd Mate, next 2nd Mate, next 1st, next master.
We were Commodore ship once from Gib to P.Said and the Commodore - Rear Admiral Brodie (RN -Retired) said he would not go on an US ship because their navigation was rubbish. He said that on a previous passage on a Liberty ship they were going along the African coast near Cape Bon. There is an island ( Zembra I think) and the convoy was to pass between it and the land. On approaching he asked the master to get a fix so that he could go centrally through the gap as otherwise the ships in the outer columns could be too close to shallow water. After some time he asked if there was a fix on the chart and the master and mate after a bit of discussion said to the Commodore _ " Would you like a four point bearing - our Chief Officer is very good at these "!!
The navigators among you will know that such a bearing only tells you how far off a point you are , when you get there !

kewl dude
12th December 2008, 05:25
When I was a teenager working the evening shift at a gas station in my home town of Duluth, Minnesota an eighteen wheeler truck stopped on the street in front of the station. It was an awful mid winter blizzard going on. The driver climbed down and came into the station looking for directions to an address. He handed me his waybill where I did not know the address but I pointed out to the driver that it said Duluth, Georgia - about 2,000 miles southeast of us.

My first trip offshore was a C4 with a bulk grain cargo from Baltimore. The sailing board said Calcutta and much of the way across Calcutta was our destination, but then a message was received that said we were going to Calicut. Our deck officers could not find Calicut on our charts so a message was sent to our office asking for coordinates.

Greg Hayden

Alistair Macnab
12th December 2008, 06:54
Radio contact with the pilots in the U.S. Gulf:

US: We are at the seabuoy now, pilot, where are you?
Pilot: That's our location Cap'n, Guess one of us is wrong and we live here!
US: Double check here. We are 15 miles south of the channel entrance.
Pilot: Can't see you but my radar is picking up a large ship off the entrance to Lake Charles. This is Port Arthur. If you're the ...x.... this is where you need to be.
US: Oops. We're standing by the wrong seabuoy for the wrong port. We'll be with you in one more hour!

12th December 2008, 08:47
MV Strategist - late 70s.

We left Japan and had orders to make full speed for Vancouver, where a cargo awaited us. A day or so out from Vancouver we announced our impending arrival and asked for a pilot. They weren't expecting us.

Quick communication with head office revealed that we should have been heading for Vancouver, Washington State, not Vancouver B.C. Fortunately, it was only a slight detour further south and not much of a delay.