Bankline animal cargoes

Alan Rawlinson
23rd June 2009, 10:15
There must be some interesting stories out there about the animals etc carried over the years on the bankline ships.

My only contribution concerns a small ( baby) elephant carried from India to a zoo in Durban, S Africa. She was tethered on the afterdeck of the old ' Irisbank' and regulaly sat on the rails, making them bend. The poop was piled high with banana shoots which we fed her, and which she steadily ate her way through. Sadly, after some 6 weeks or more, she died within site of the Bluff at Durban, and we slung the carcase over the side with some difficulty, for the sharks.

I also remember a word of mouth story about a Bankline ship carrying special large frogs to Australia, and housed in the hospital aft with a few inches of water. So the story goes, they were let out for exercise and most of them hopped straight over the rail into the Pacific Ocean!

Maybe someone remembers this first hand?

Cheers/AL

Jim Harris
23rd June 2009, 11:32
I didn't sail with any of the four legged kind, Al.... but the
2nd Engineer on the 'Ashbank' was a real 'beast' of a man!(Jester)

And a sad story about the baby elephant, which must have really
upset all of those who looked after and became attached to her.

Regards,

Jim.

Alistair Macnab
23rd June 2009, 16:14
I think it was on the "Laganbank" (copra boat) when we carried a herd of water buffalo from Calcutta to Majunga in Madagascar in 1955. They walked aboard via a makeshift gangway onto the after deck (no pens) and were discharged in the roadstead at destimation by means of bellybands and the derricks. Much bellowing as you can imagine.
Another time on the "Inchanga" we carried a mixed lot of live animals in crates on the foredeck from South Africa (lion) and East Africa (gurus, gerenuks, ostrich) from East Africa to Colombo and Madras. I expect Andrew Lavies can give a better account than I can. I do remember that the exporter in Mombasa was a Colonel Stanton who had been the 'animal adviser' in Hollywood on the movie "King Kong" (see the film credits).
The famous tale of the hippopotamus that ran amuk on the "Inchanga" is also a tale worth a pint or two.

jimthehat
23rd June 2009, 16:33
The carrage of animals from east africa to colombo and India was a regular occurance on the Isipingo.
On one trip We had a couple of giraffes in high cages on the aft deck,one giraffe got its neck stuck between the bars and either strangled itself or broke its neck,anyway the keeper declared it dead and using the aft derricks it was dumped overboard,but nothing ever escaped.

JIM

David E
23rd June 2009, 23:42
The carrage of animals from east africa to colombo and India was a regular occurance on the Isipingo.
On one trip We had a couple of giraffes in high cages on the aft deck,one giraffe got its neck stuck between the bars and either strangled itself or broke its neck,anyway the keeper declared it dead and using the aft derricks it was dumped overboard,but nothing ever escaped.

JIM

The giraffe "boxes" must have been very uncomfortable.I used to worry that they were so confined that any movement was impossible-they were always very placid,but needed huge amounts of water that generated vast quantities of urine.
The monkeys were the worst-agressive and dirty and you had to be very careful to keep your hands clear when cleaning the cages.Given half a chance they would scratch and bite.I got caught once and ended up with a badly infected hand. Thanks be, we carried a Doctor.
Their other attractive habit was to s**t into their paws and throw the product at you through the bars.
Pelicans used to damage the shoulder of their wings on the cage internals and had to be smeared with antibiotics.
Lions were not people friendly.

Clearing paperwork, years ago I remember finding the feeding and maintenance instructions for a couple of trips.
Where,outside Bank Line,would we have learned these particular skills !!!

samw783
29th June 2009, 00:43
I was on Streambank in 1980 (I think) when we carried 3 rhinos from South Africa to the Far East. They were in crates on deck just aft of the accomodation and were looked after by a keeper who sailed with us.
I've got some photos, if only I could find them!

Joe C
13th August 2009, 17:34
Alan,I remember the elephant I can even remember its name but suspect it might not be politely translated! We were more successful on the Levernbank and managed to get two rhinos and two giraffes all the way from Mombassa to Hong Kong alive.The Mate was surprised (and disappointed)to discover that we apprentices knew we were on a 40"bonus"from the shipper to deliver the animals in good nick.Oh the skills we aquired as apprentices. Joe C. There must be some interesting stories out there about the animals etc carried over the years on the bankline ships.

My only contribution concerns a small ( baby) elephant carried from India to a zoo in Durban, S Africa. She was tethered on the afterdeck of the old ' Irisbank' and regulaly sat on the rails, making them bend. The poop was piled high with banana shoots which we fed her, and which she steadily ate her way through. Sadly, after some 6 weeks or more, she died within site of the Bluff at Durban, and we slung the carcase over the side with some difficulty, for the sharks.

I also remember a word of mouth story about a Bankline ship carrying special large frogs to Australia, and housed in the hospital aft with a few inches of water. So the story goes, they were let out for exercise and most of them hopped straight over the rail into the Pacific Ocean!

Maybe someone remembers this first hand?

Cheers/AL

rcraig
15th August 2009, 20:03
We carried a number of beasties when running between Calcutta and Durban one of which was a brown Himalayan bear whom I recorded for posterity in Calcutta(I think).
We christened him Nelson because he only had one eye. We young apprentices were not very original. But we knew our history.
He was a crotchety old sod despite us feeding him every morning with Scott's porridge oats (or perhaps because of it) through the narrow gap at the bottom of the bars at the front of his cage.
He was placed in a well constructed but not well designed cage/box on the fore deck. Well constructed because all three sides of the wooden cage, were lined with metal as was the bottom. Not well designed because the top was not lined.
So it came to pass that one fine early morning as we were gently rolling down the Indian Ocean he was seen heaving his shoulders out through a hole he had clawed out of the top. We watched the hilarious spectacle as he was with difficulty persuaded back into his box. Well, we were on the bridge. We thought it was hilarious.
We often regretted that he had not escaped. One, because it would have been a good tale to drink on, and two, because we did not particularly like the mate we had. Although in retrospect I am not sure quite what difference it would have made to our relationship.
Given the mangled state of his aluminium frying pan by which we cautiously fed him, it could have been an interesting experience.

Joe C
26th February 2010, 18:22
Photographic follow-ups on a couple of earlier items.
The elephant we loaded on the Irisbank at Chittagong for Capetown (unfortunately it didn't make it),and one of two giraffes and two rhinos we took all the way to Hong Kong from Mombasa on the Levernbank.The giraffe is the one with the horns and I believe the mate was called Gibson.No,before you ask, I don't know what the giraffe was called.

bobw
27th February 2010, 11:53
Elly looks a bit on the thin side poor thing. I suppose the great whites off Durban would have been able to demolish the tough hide before it washed ashore?

Alan Rawlinson
28th February 2010, 09:04
Elly looks a bit on the thin side poor thing. I suppose the great whites off Durban would have been able to demolish the tough hide before it washed ashore?

Hi Bobw

Here's a snap of the elephant in happier times, before he became shark meat...

She was well fed ( we thought) on banana shoots - watered etc... but the long spell on deck shackled to the rigging seems to have seen her off. I always imagined he sort of pined away.

Joe C
28th February 2010, 16:13
Hi Bobw

Here's a snap of the elephant in happier times, before he became shark meat...

He was well fed ( we thought) on banana shoots - watered etc... but the long spell on deck shackled to the rigging seems to have seen him off. I always imagined he sort of pined away.

On reflection it really was quite cruel,expecting a jungle animal to survive for weeks on the open deck.It used to lean on the vent inhaling the smells from the cargo, tea etc.,no doubt reminding her of home.
By the way Alan I know I was only a second trip apprentice and not expert in these things but I'm sure it was female.They left it tied up by every limb.If it had been male they would have needed another rope!

Alan Rawlinson
28th February 2010, 18:10
On reflection it really was quite cruel,expecting a jungle animal to survive for weeks on the open deck.It used to lean on the vent inhaling the smells from the cargo, tea etc.,no doubt reminding her of home.
By the way Alan I know I was only a second trip apprentice and not expert in these things but I'm sure it was female.They left it tied up by every limb.If it had been male they would have needed another rope!

I;m sure you're right, Joe. I have amended the gender!

My favourite recollection was the habit she had of crushing the feeding bucket under foot until it was flat with a handle on one side.

Alan Rawlinson
28th February 2010, 18:16
Found this one of you, Joe

Joe C
28th February 2010, 20:23
Found this one of you, Joe

I'ts a bit strange to see yourself fifty five years ago, complete with hair,thanks for the memory.I'll have to have another delve among the photos.

Joe C
1st March 2010, 20:56
Here's an Irisbank picture (that's her stern in the background).We were in our favourite Indian destination,Visaghapatan! The specs just visible above the ship were your friendly sh*te hawks queueing up to nick the 2nd Mates smoko when he walked out on deck,as was their wont,leaving scratch marks on your hands.1956 I think.

McMorine
2nd March 2010, 12:24
We carried five thousand geese from Mombasa to Bangkok on the Riverbank, in baskets on the foredeck. The stench and noise was horendous, kept the apprentices busy feeding and watering them. I think we only lost about twenty, which wasn't bad, considering how they were stacked on top of each other.

John Campbell
2nd March 2010, 18:41
My God – there goes the Engineers’ Goose

I don’t think I was on board a Bank Line ship with animals but I do have
a Bank Line Animal story:-

On the Eskbank we had an elderly Chief Eng, a Dubliner by the name of Doyle, who used to come out to the famous No 4 hatch after dinner and under the Stars would start to tell stories and jokes. Of course he repeated the same rigmarole night after night and one tale sticks in my mind.

In the days before fridges and when ice boxes etc were the norm – the officers and crew took live stock with them which gave rise to the chicken coops on the poop deck.

One Christmas Bank Line provided two geese – one for the Mates and one for the Engineers. The fowls were fed daily by the Apprentices fattening them up.

One day as the Old Man and the Chief were gazing aft from the Boat Deck watching the daily rations being issued to the geese. One of the Apprentices had to clean out the coop and accidentally let the gate swing open whereupon one goose ran out and flew off into the sea.

Without hesitation the Captain exclaimed – My God there goes the Engineers Goose.

I apologise if you have heard that story before – if you sailed with Mr Doyle you certainly would have done so.
JC

rcraig
2nd March 2010, 19:32
Joe C

Which of the two sterns is the Irisbank?

Joe C
3rd March 2010, 08:31
Joe C

Which of the two sterns is the Irisbank?

Do you want me to counter that or give you a load of old bullocks!

Winebuff
3rd March 2010, 17:58
Never carried any but sailed with a couple who should have been locked up for some of their behavior. Drink and bad attitudes - not a good mix.

Lefty
17th May 2011, 00:17
On the Inverbank in 1965 we carried a load of creatures from Mombasa to Takoradi, Ghana. They were presents from Jomo Kenyatta to Nkruma we were told. There were about eight zebras, four ostriches. Two giraffes and one very special lioness called Connie. She had been brought up on a white Kenyan farm and seemed to have an extreme dislike of negros. A very special gift for Nkruma! The young wildlife tender we carried was most distraught when he lost an ostrich, but that was all he lost. We used to be able to scratch the lioness's neck as she lay half out of her crate on very hot days! She also had an extreme dislike for the smell of booze so the Mate and second engineer had problems when they tried touching her!!!
That was a very busy trip with 39 ports listed from Mombasa to Casablanca including a very worrying run up to Matadi on the Congo, as there were still hostilities there!
Thats another story! GN Lefty

noel grayson
21st May 2011, 11:37
I remember taking pedigree pigs to the Seychelles, and being concerned as to the attitude of the Moslem crew. No need as a few rupees to the topasses did the trick.
There was also the occasion of the Mahronda arriving in Boston in 1947, with the local paper headlines reading "Mutiny on the Mahronda". Just before arrival with 100 monkeys on board for the local zoo, they got out of their pens and were everywhere!!

Alan Rawlinson
22nd May 2011, 08:11
I still like the one about the 'special' extra large frogs ( or were they toads) kept in a few inches of water in the hospital aft, on one of the Bank Line ships. Someone decided to give them some space, ( blame the apprentices) and let them out on the afterdeck for a run when they all started leaping around and half of them ended up going clean over the side into the ocean! A tasty meal I imagine for some lucky resident of the deep.

Would be nice to have this tale verified.

outhouse
15th January 2014, 18:10
Did hear of a camel being shipped that bit the deck cadet. So they rigged a derrick and chucked it over the wall - last seen swimming in the direction of nowhere!!

Could have been folk law but the look on the tellers face said otherwise.