17th March 2006, 16:29
I've recently posted a couple of pics taken during my time on the Hector Heron in 1972, my only tanker experience. At the time it was the only tanker amongst the 70 odd ships of the Cayzer Irvine fleet. It was viewed, a little, as the place you went if you were naughty. I, however, volunteered to be sent there. At the time of such foolishness she was on a Mobil charter running all round the South Pacific. I was somewhat taken aback to be informed a couple of months later that my (strange) request to serve on the vessel had been approved and I would be joining her in Lagos the following week..WHAT!!! By this time she had gone onto a BP charter and had been thrown into the deep end on the Lagos-Okrika run, I'm sure loads of you must have experienced the run and would love to share your horror stories. There was an Eygptian Suez Canal pilot at Okrika who used to disappear into the bridge toilet when the jetty was about 100 yards off and reappear when we were all fast.

I have to say as a cargo ship man it was an excellent crash course in tanker operations. We did the run for a month and then pushed off, I believe any longer and a Nigerian crew would have had to be hired.

There was a proper BP tanker on the run with us and fortunately she was alongside in Apapa when an errant fisherman, fishing in the abbatoir's discharge, managed to ignite the jetty with a carelessly thrown fag end. As the locals all hightailed it up the road the fire was, I believe, put out with the ships fire monitors. I dread to think what would have happened if we'd been alongside!!

Although the ship had a poor (undeserved) reputation in the company, the Master was Bob Royan, who went on to be the last Master of the Windsor Castle and the Mate was Sir Bill Codrington (an old Shell man) who insisted on serving on the ship and not poncing around on the mailboats much to the companies chagrin and I spent a great six months on her.

Didn't volunteer for any more tanker time though. (*))

Jeff Egan
17th March 2006, 16:39
I did a few runs Lagos-Okrika Charlie and remember the berth in Okrika was infested with all manner of insects which seemed to enjoy human flesh and blood.there was also a BP club ashore with a very good outdoor pool. The Lagos slaughter house has it's own thread from some months back.

peter lewis
17th March 2006, 17:32
i have many memories of lagos i worked for texaco in the 70s and early 80s and spent many weeks or months at a time at anchor waiting for a berth if there were any british ships there the lifeboat drill would be called operaition walport launch lifeboat swop films and back on board before the pirates had you the smell of the slaughter house was very distinctive to say the least texaco would only pay you off or have you join there in extreme cercumstances due to the hassle at lagos airport yes fond memories (Cloud) (Hippy)

17th March 2006, 19:10
Lagos - Okrika !!!! I had all but fogotten that "interesting" run. Oh, the smell of the OMO factory mixed with the abattoir - especially at about 06:00. Oh, the joy of coming of watch to find a lady of the night in bunk!! The first and only time I forgot to lock my cabin!! Finally, Oh the joy of paying off from Lagos and flying home . . .

Vital Sparks
19th September 2007, 17:30
I'll never forget the smell of blood and OMO, the sound of frightened animals running around with their throats cut, or the sight of red froth as the afternoon downpour washed all the OMO powder and blood into the river.

Also remember R/O describing his experience of arriving in Lagos with South African Rand in his suitcase. It was left over from previous trip, his wife had packed for him and she knew he was going somewhere near South Africa.

19th September 2007, 21:07
Never did Lagos Okrika but did a number of Cotonou-Lagos runs. Berthing in Cotonou always seemed to be a case of emergency full astern and hope. Paid off in both Cotonou and Lagos. Cotonou was interesting because they had a curfew and we were told if we went outside the hotel after dark we stood a good chance of being shot. We spent 3 days in the "Hotel du Lac" (the lac was full of flying beasties) waiting for a flight home.
Have just posted a couple of pictures of paying off in Lagos, another interesting experience!
Also did the Lome-Lagos run a few times, Lome only a few miles along the coast but like a different world. Great place, excellent run ashore and very friendly locals.

Vital Sparks
20th September 2007, 09:23
Have to agree, Lome was a little piece or paradise on that run.