Harmattan Crew

Quality2
24th July 2006, 14:01
Hello All,
I am trying to trace any crew members of the MV HARMATTAN that was destroyed during a misile attack in Karachi harbour DEC 1971. Or maybe anyone who was there but on a different ship?.

Best Regards

andysk
1st August 2006, 18:11
I was R/O on Clan MacLeod in Madras & Colombo at the time. We spent from 24th Dec 71 to the end on Jan 72 in Colombo transhipping all our Chittagong cargo into Clan MacLay for discharge in Karachi. The lads were not too happy abput that, neither were the Indian crew !

Cheers

Andy

BMW Simon
2nd August 2006, 06:10
Click on this link also re above!http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=7049&highlight=Harmattan
Simon.

Quality2
3rd August 2006, 13:07
Thanks for your replies guys.

TO ANDYSK
I imagine Karachi was in quite a state at that time!!?.

robin marsh
19th August 2006, 14:13
I was lecky on Harmattan at the time and I will e-mail you direct as from your name I would think that you are related to the 4th enginner.

It's a long story leading up to when we were hit but we at been at the outer anchourage for some time with both fresh food and water getting quite low. We could not leave as the passage had been mined, and the captain had put the ship on full war footing with a complete night time blackout.
On the night that the missile hit most of us engineers were in the 2nd's cabin playing cards. There was a very loud sound as if the safety valve on the boiler had blown, (on reflection it was a missil passing very close) the 2nd engineer got up to go below and I got up to go to the toilet that was when the missil hit. I was the lucky one as I got blown through the wooden toilet door every one else in the cabin was killed, although Colin, the 2nd enginner died the next day.

I don't rememember to much of what happened but one of the junior engineers who was off watch dragged me out of the fire and took me to the life boats that were being launched.

We were taken on board another ship that was at anchore (and I cannot remember the name of her). The next day a cutter came out and took us ashore, that was when the 2nd engineer died, on the cutter going ashore.
Myself and a donkeyman were taken to the hospital, where I was for about 4 days when the British Consul arranged for a cease fire so that a plane would evacuate us. The Donkeyman was to ill to go and I later learnt that he died in hospital
I was taken off the plane at Cyprus where I spent 4 weeks in hospital before being flown back to the UK.
Although the Harmattan was gutted by fire she was beached and am led to believe she was used as a store.
I have some photo's of her after the incident which shows that the missil went straight through the 2nd engineers cabin and exploded in the engine room.

fred henderson
19th August 2006, 15:26
Robin

What a traumatic experience. I am very glad that you are able to relate it to us.

Fred

John Rogers
19th August 2006, 16:32
What a story,and a terrible ordeal. Glad to see you are fine and can share this story with us. May I ask who fired the missile.?
John
PS
I just read about the attack in the new paper clipping someone posted, it did not mentioned that they hit civilian ships only bragging they destroyed the port.

John Tremelling
19th August 2006, 16:39
Hello Robin, You were lucky to walk away from that one.

On a lighter note I have always thought that missiles were incorrectly named. Should they not be hittiles?

Best wishes to all who live to tell such tales.

John Trem

rockinbilly
14th February 2009, 18:57
I feel sorry for the crew that died on her, It must have been quite an ordeal. But personally I had just served almost 18 months on that heap, I joined in the Tyne and was told we were loading phosphates in Bremerhaven for China and back, we were in Germany for almost a month, when we did sail, we JUST made it through the Suez, soon after it was closed due to the war.
We just tramped around the Far East, China /Aussie, etc, the articles stated we could sign off in the first UK port OR Dry Dock, we dry docked in Hong Kong, then Japan, and eventually we got orders for Tilbury UK. Where they refused pay us off, because we were DRY Docking in Holland, the ship was that bad one of the crew skinned out in Calcutta.
we couldn't get off fast enough(==D)

the xeal
18th March 2009, 21:09
i read somrwhere a member is after infornation regarding,here fate in december 1971.i was aboard the M.V.EUCADIA.tied up in karatchi she was towed in along side us after being holed in the forepart by a stray missile from a pakistani gun boat.i have spoken to one crew member off the harmattan at the time if you want anymore info only to glad to help email me through this site regards xeal.

the xeal
8th June 2009, 23:43
the thing that amazed me more than anything regarding this incident was on returning home after 12 months aboard the M.V EUCADIA.{anchor donnaldsons}.the harmattans sad demise which i witnessed first hand as she was towed into karatchi boxing day 1971 as we were tied up in karatchi. was the lack of knowledge, i remember enquiring regarding the ship after my long leave ,reporting back to liverpool pool,mannisland. i spoke to shipping clerks/the N.U.S. knowone had any real info to pass on how many casualties etc...it was as if they never heared of the ship. i read in a sea breeze a few months later that the pakistani government of the day,sent our government an appology for there stray missile. and that was that. who said life at sea was a walk in the park? regards all xeal.(MAD)

Gerard Carmichael
17th August 2009, 18:12
Hello All,
I am trying to trace any crew members of the MV HARMATTAN that was destroyed during a misile attack in Karachi harbour DEC 1971. Or maybe anyone who was there but on a different ship?.

Best Regards
Hi, I was on tanker Cherry Viking,( Master) arrived in Karrachi harbour the day after the bombing,Singapore flag. Chartered to Pakistan National Oil company,your ship was in some mess,all the accomodation deck appeared burned out. Also outside the harbour a small Greek
cement carrier "Zoe " took a direct hit, killed the master and his family. We discharged and proceeded to Banderabas until hostilities finished. We were on
Rastanurra/ Karachi every 10 days for a year and a half. regards

the xeal
6th September 2010, 02:04
The sight that greeted us boxing day 1971 Karatchi Regards lads R.I.P. Them all xeal.

Thurst73
7th July 2012, 21:47
I was lecky on Harmattan at the time and I will e-mail you direct as from your name I would think that you are related to the 4th enginner.

It's a long story leading up to when we were hit but we at been at the outer anchourage for some time with both fresh food and water getting quite low. We could not leave as the passage had been mined, and the captain had put the ship on full war footing with a complete night time blackout.
On the night that the missile hit most of us engineers were in the 2nd's cabin playing cards. There was a very loud sound as if the safety valve on the boiler had blown, (on reflection it was a missil passing very close) the 2nd engineer got up to go below and I got up to go to the toilet that was when the missil hit. I was the lucky one as I got blown through the wooden toilet door every one else in the cabin was killed, although Colin, the 2nd enginner died the next day.

I don't rememember to much of what happened but one of the junior engineers who was off watch dragged me out of the fire and took me to the life boats that were being launched.

We were taken on board another ship that was at anchore (and I cannot remember the name of her). The next day a cutter came out and took us ashore, that was when the 2nd engineer died, on the cutter going ashore.
Myself and a donkeyman were taken to the hospital, where I was for about 4 days when the British Consul arranged for a cease fire so that a plane would evacuate us. The Donkeyman was to ill to go and I later learnt that he died in hospital
I was taken off the plane at Cyprus where I spent 4 weeks in hospital before being flown back to the UK.
Although the Harmattan was gutted by fire she was beached and am led to believe she was used as a store.
I have some photo's of her after the incident which shows that the missil went straight through the 2nd engineers cabin and exploded in the engine room.
Hi my dad was the junior engineer who pulled you out his name is Thurston Ian Watkinson, but known as just Ian Watkinson he has told me all about the missile attack from Karatchi at the moment he's recovering from a stroke he would have been 21 yrs old then.

Thurst73
7th July 2012, 22:01
Hello All,
I am trying to trace any crew members of the MV HARMATTAN that was destroyed during a misile attack in Karachi harbour DEC 1971. Or maybe anyone who was there but on a different ship?.

Best Regards
Hi my dad is Thurston Ian Watkinson, He never used his first name but he was on there as a junior engineer when it was hit in 1971.

Quality2
8th July 2012, 12:31
Hi Thurst73
Sorry to hear about your dad,s stroke I hope he makes a speedy recovery.
Your dad and my brother Ken were good friends and had served together on another ship before the Harmattan, I have a couple of pictures of them together somewhere. A few years ago I was trying to find out what happened on that dreadful night as I was only 13 at the time and was shielded from a lot of the details. I made many inquiries to try and contact your dad but with no success and had given up looking. I believe your dad used to live quite near to us in Blackrod, Wigan.
I had quite a lot of correspondence with Robin Marsh but I learned recently that he has passed away.
Please give my best regards to your Dad and let him know that Ken Seddons family are thinking of him.

Thurst73
9th July 2012, 09:10
Sorry to hear about Robin, I will read what you sent to my dad we live in Kent now we used to live in Blackrod. My dad is recovering in Canterbury hospital if you have pic's my dad would love to see them. If you could email any that would be good watkinson636@msn.com. He has mentioned Ken alot when he talks about his past and what happened in 1971.

Thanks

Thurston

R58484956
9th July 2012, 12:36
Greetings Thurst73 and a warm welcome to SN. Bon voyage.

steve mcdougall
29th September 2012, 11:39
Hello All,
I am trying to trace any crew members of the MV HARMATTAN that was destroyed during a misile attack in Karachi harbour DEC 1971. Or maybe anyone who was there but on a different ship?.

Best Regards

i sailed with george burke r/o i was with him for a trip in 1975 on the booker viking,booker line i can remember him telling me about the harrisons ship anchored of karachi, he was the r/o on her george was from liverpool,aged 50 at the time at least he got out ok, don't know if he is still with us.

Dive Instructor
15th February 2016, 08:58
Harmattan crew: I first came to know about this wreck in 1982. In 1983 I dived a shipwreck at out anchorage of Karachi Harbour. It had a huge hole aft on its starboard side next to its engine room.
Another detail I remember from first dives on this wreck were new propellers placed near its mast. Also all of its holds were open and its hold covers were folded open.
If this is Harmattan kindly confirm. I may have a few pictures.

BMW Simon
25th February 2016, 05:27
Harmattan crew: I first came to know about this wreck in 1982. In 1983 I dived a shipwreck at out anchorage of Karachi Harbour. It had a huge hole aft on its starboard side next to its engine room.
Another detail I remember from first dives on this wreck were new propellers placed near its mast. Also all of its holds were open and its hold covers were folded open.
If this is Harmattan kindly confirm. I may have a few pictures.

Hi Dive Instructor,

I don't think the wreck you are diving on is Harmattan as she was not sunk but scrapped........however there were other ships involved with the incident that probably were sunk........Harmattan was stuck by a missile but not sunk, see as follows........ On 8 December 1971 Harmattan's career ended whilst anchored four miles offshore Karachi, hit in the funnel by an Indian Styx missile, fired from an Osa class patrol boat (glad I was not aboard!) she was declared a complete total loss, then sold to Pakistani breakers. Scrapped 5.72

There were incidents reported in the local paper at the time of the incident, I have read them somewhere on the net, if you have the time or inclination I'm sure you'll find them and discover exactly which ship/ships that were sunk........ apparently more than one ship was hit
with missiles of which 6 or so were fired.

Kind regards,

Simon

Dive Instructor
25th February 2016, 06:07
Hi Simon,

thank you or taking the time to write. Yes, I know now that
Harmattan was finally scrapped after discharging its cargo of fertilizer at Karachi. I also have an eyewitness account from a crew member who was on another ship berthed at Karachi harbour at that time. He saw Harmattan towed into Karachi harbour on boxing day 1971.

There are a total of three wrecks at Karachi outer anchorage that need identification. Locally no records exist as you can understand the state of affairs in a lesser developed country like ours.

Anyhow, I will keep searching till I can get the info on these wrecks i.e. Zoe, Gulf Starr and Venus challenger. If anyone has pictures or access to photographs of these ships it would help me tremendously.

Dive Instructor
25th February 2016, 06:17
Hi Robin,
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. As I am researching the wrecks from 1971 war I would be grateful if you could share any photographs you may have from that time. I believe I have dived on Zoe, Gulf Starr and Venus Challenger. Unfortunately there is no way to positively identify these wrecks in absence of photographs or records from the time.
I am doing this research to honor the victims who lost their lives in "someone else's war". Truly a tragedy especially when a naval vessel fires on unarmed civilians. Anyhow, war is all about atrocities. All we can do is honor and remember those who fell victim so that we do not repeat our mistakes.
I hope I will get further help from this wonderful bunch of people I have found here.

Dive Instructor
25th February 2016, 06:23
Hi Xeal,
just for the record Pakistan had no ship to ship missile capability in 1971. India was the first nation to actually use missiles in naval warfare. They had acquired these missiles and high speed boats from Russia. Therefore the stray missile theory may be inaccurate.
Regards

BMW Simon
25th March 2016, 04:56
Hi Dive Instructor,

I just found a photo of Harmattan post attack prior to being towed away to discharge and subsequent disposal at Karachi Harbour,

Kind regards,

Simon.

BMW Simon
25th March 2016, 05:19
Another photo that I have posted in the past .......taken with my trusty Instamatic in Vancouver circa 1969.......wow times were tough in those days........see the spud locker above the galley.......happy but chatty Harrisons of London (hungry Harrisons!! haha) weevils in the rice, condensed milk only, sugar jam tea & coffee rationed by the Chief Steward, 4 cans of Tennants Lager only if you had the empties.......no movies, no washing machines.........the kids wouldn't be able to handle it these days!!!!

Dive Instructor
26th March 2016, 05:59
the thing that amazed me more than anything regarding this incident was on returning home after 12 months aboard the M.V EUCADIA.{anchor donnaldsons}.the harmattans sad demise which i witnessed first hand as she was towed into karatchi boxing day 1971 as we were tied up in karatchi. was the lack of knowledge, i remember enquiring regarding the ship after my long leave ,reporting back to liverpool pool,mannisland. i spoke to shipping clerks/the N.U.S. knowone had any real info to pass on how many casualties etc...it was as if they never heared of the ship. i read in a sea breeze a few months later that the pakistani government of the day,sent our government an appology for there stray missile. and that was that. who said life at sea was a walk in the park? regards all xeal.(MAD)

Xeal, I have researched at length your comment about Pakistan Government's apologising for Harmattan destruction by a stray missile. The fact is that Pakistan had no missile capability at all in Dec 1971 on land or on our ships. Therefore, the stray missile apology must have come from the Indian Government not Pakistan. The Indian missile boats fired their missiles from just 12 miles from Karachi, so close that the rocket motors were found on the Harmattan as a naval survey of the ship revealed.
Pakistan at the time was so far from missile technology that the incoming missiles that night were mistaken for fighter aircrafts and little was known of this threat. I believe this attack may have been the first missile attack carried out by any navy till then. Both missions named trident and python by the Indian Navy were hailed as the first missile attacks in Naval history.
Harmattan owners however sued Pakistan Government for demurrage charges amounting to a few thousand pounds. The lawsuit was dismissed later. This is a matter of records that can be researched.