First Trip Fire - Ships Nostalgia
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First Trip Fire

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  #1  
Old 27th April 2005, 20:35
Santos Santos is offline  
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First Trip Fire

I thought I would tell you all of my very first trip to sea on the Rubens in 1964. We sailed from Liverpool for South America with our second port of call being Receife.

We arrived during the late evening and anchored outside. One of our company ships the Debret was alongside, sailing early the next morning and we were to have her berth. I was awakened during the night by shouts of ' all hands to turn to ' Apparantly whilst a Scotch Boiler was being lit on the Debret, it blew back and had set fire to the engine room.

We quickly hauled in the anchor and got under way. We moved into the harbour and went alongside Debret. We then assisted in putting the fire out, and I was put with our Chief Officer . Together with others, wearing those great big smoke hoods and being supplied by air from on deck,we went into the engine room with hoses, It was very hot and I was both excited and frightened at the same time. Fortunately the fire had nearly burnt itself out around the machinery and we did not have to battle with it for too long but the engine room was totally burnt out.

The donkeyman who was flashing up the boiler was killed as was the Chief Fridge Engineer who went down to try and switch the fridges off.

What a start to a sea going career, but it made me very careful were fire was concerned on a ship. All my ciggies were put out in the sand buckets or safely deposited over the leeward side, and I never smoked, ever, in a hold, whether empty or not, which is more than a lot of my shipmates used to do.

Memories are funny things, but some ten years after that incident, I dreamt about it and awoke in a right state, fortunately that has not happened again since.

The firm of Russells from Liverpool sent a team out to get Debret going again and she sailed home to Liverpool some three monts later under her own steam. She was sent for scrap soon after.


Santos.
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  #2  
Old 27th April 2005, 20:51
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michael james michael james is offline  
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What an initiation first trip ? I bet you wondered what you had let yourself in for ?
I presume the scotch boiler that flashed back was purely for harbour needs, winches,hot water etc, as my 1961 version of British Ocean Liners have the Debrett down as a 1940 built motor vessel - needless to say this publication has been known to be wrong before. No wonder you have found your niche with RNLI Santos, no better cause-heartily supported in landlocked Worcestershire. MikeJ
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  #3  
Old 27th April 2005, 21:09
Santos Santos is offline  
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First Trip Fire

Hi Mike,

Yes I believe that the boiler was for auxillary usage. Debret as you say, was a motor ship, she had a 6-Cyl. Burmeister & Wain diesel engine . What I saw of the engine was a very burnt black metal structure, with clouds of steam around it as it cooled after the fire.

I understood that the scotch boiler was used to supply hot water for cleaning the fridges as Debret was a fridge ship.

I did wonder what I had got into, and hoped that would not happen again. I always admired the engineers for working in such conditions.

I will never forget that first trip.

Santos.
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  #4  
Old 1st May 2005, 10:58
Billyg Billyg is offline
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Greetings,
I sailed or stood by on a few of the artist class ships of L&H, the Ronsard, the Raeburn, the Roland and the Raphael . The older ships had steam auxillaries ie cooling pumps,oil pumps, dc generators etc and often needed the larger Scotch boilers for steam. Usually in port for water heating etc with a smaller demand would be a Cochrane boiler. In port of course the steam winches needed quite a bit and they were more than likely getting up steam to go on standby for leaving as well.
Still not the best introduction to a lfe at sea. I know what it feels like as a loaded tanker (150,00 ton) I was 2/eng on had an electrical fire while we were in Colombo harbour. We are still waiting for the fire tug, I think he went the other way.We managed to put it out, but it was still scary.
Billyg
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  #5  
Old 2nd May 2005, 02:16
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Billyg I payed off the Raphael in March 1955, I palled up with a donkeyman called Peter Rice I would like to make contact with him, I don't suppose you could help, Terry Butler (tell)
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  #6  
Old 11th May 2005, 19:49
Terry Murphy Terry Murphy is offline
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There doesn,t seen to be a great deal of info on P.S.N.C ships
My father sailed on the Potosi as 2nd Steward He was on that vessel when the World Cup was being played in Chile in 1962 and he brought me amedal back.
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  #7  
Old 11th May 2005, 21:02
Santos Santos is offline  
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Psnc

Hi Terry,

Try asking the Ships Nostalgia Admin if they would put a PSNC Forum on for you, I did and thats how Lamport and Holt was put on. They are very very nice people.

Chris.
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  #8  
Old 8th January 2006, 14:00
KevinR KevinR is offline  
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I sailed on the Debrett (2nd. Engr) the trip before the one where she had the fire in Recife. It was a blowback from the donkey boiler, which killed the donkeyman. The Chief Freezer, Willy Spurr, also died, if I remember correctly - he was choked by ammonia fumes in his fridge machy. room which was his fire station (At the top of the E.R. with no way out except back into the E.R.!!!!!!!)
Cheers,
Kevin Routledge
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  #9  
Old 9th January 2006, 01:04
wakaman wakaman is offline
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Fire!!!

500 miles from the Kiwi coast,cargo of powdered sulphur,fire alarm went,
smoke pouring out of the vents of one hold,the mate gets all suited up
goes down the hatch,is away for 5 mins,comes back up,he,d stamped
on the fire to put it out,some shifting boards had broken loose in the
tweendecks,and ignited some sulphur dust.
when discharging,the metal grabs would strike the coaming,or stringers,
bingo!! fire,!!the wharfies just dropped a scoop of sulphur on top to smother it.
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  #10  
Old 9th January 2006, 13:07
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jim barnes jim barnes is offline  
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leaving Liverpool on the ANDONI PALM Sept 1975, where going out the Mersey i was on watch on the wing of the bridge turned around looking aft and saw smoke billowing out of one of the hatch vents 4 hold. informed watch officer i was told to go aft evacuate crew from after accomadation and to asemble in crew bar(no arguments there) this i did in the meantime the ship had been in touch with Liverpool and told to return to port in the meantime Co2 had been pumped into hold. at the end of my watch 4to 8 i went down to bar with the rest and while there some one said where are the down bellow crew (Indians)? Christ i said and ran aft to clear them out(they where on the starboard side us deckies on the port side) i had forgoten them! i had a job telling them to get out and midships as there was a chance of explosion, they would not leave without collecting their possesions together first. we aventually docked safely in port with the fire brigade waiting for us, they did their job and we where to stop 3 days in port which was good for me as my wife was due to have my first child any day. a couple of days later i was on night watch and believe it or not i reported another fire on deck (some of the origional fire damaged cargo was still on deck and must have been smoldering and re ignited) a few more days in port and subsequently i was in Liverpool for the birth of my first Girl(middle name Andoni) born Liverppol 27th Sept 1975 funny thing me finding or reporting both fires but can swear i was not reponsible for either fire. strange trip that one ended up seriously injured in Sepely paid off hospitalised with bosun flown home also chief engineer paid of with broken leg but thats another story.??
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  #11  
Old 13th November 2006, 18:14
John Mepham John Mepham is offline  
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L & H Rubens 1967

Your story of the Rubens being on fire in Santos brings back a few memories.
I was working by on the Dryden in Liverpool in 1967, just making up time between ships ( I had left the Ronsard and was joining the Raphael ).
I believe that Dryden had been sold to the Chinese and was being handed
over in Santos, We sailed a few days later on the normal Scotch whiskey &
steel out trip & corned beef home !, when we arrived in Santos the Dryden
was at anchor and completly burned out, and still smoking.
I never did find out what happened or was it still L & H or had it been handed
over to the Chinese.
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  #12  
Old 13th November 2006, 18:58
JoK JoK is offline  
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Scotch marine boiler blowbacks-this bring back memories.
We were flashing the plant alongside. All the deckplates are up and shipyard workers are in the bilge working on? a pipe maybe? Anyways, myself and the 2nd are setting safeties or I should say he is showing me the correct way to do it so he can go down in the breeze and watch me. I'm standing ontop and between the two aft boilers, talking to the fireman who is down on the plates as the pressure comes back up.
We had water in our fuel as we soon found out, two furnaces blew back, shooting flames 10 feet over the guy's heads in the bilge. The fireman had to beat his way thru the fleeing workers to get to the burners and shut them off. It was quite spectacular in a way, looking back.
But we had some terrible blowbacks until we got the water out of the lines.

Last edited by JoK : 13th November 2006 at 19:00. Reason: spelling
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  #13  
Old 29th December 2006, 13:02
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ruud ruud is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Murphy View Post
There doesn,t seen to be a great deal of info on P.S.N.C ships
My father sailed on the Potosi as 2nd Steward He was on that vessel when the World Cup was being played in Chile in 1962 and he brought me amedal back.
Ahoy Terry,
Another one found after more than 1˝ yrs. back, here's your Potosi 1955, hope your dad can still enjoy this piccie.?
Name: s.s. Potosi
Company: Pacific Steam Navigation Company
Built:1955
Wharf: Greenock Dockyard
Tons: 8564
LOA: 1956,12
B: 20,12
Pass.Accom.:12 pers.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Potosi1955 (Medium).jpg (46.4 KB, 32 views)
__________________
All the best
ruud
Changer de cuisine donne de l'appétit!
My piccies also @:
http://www.vesseltracker.com/en/Phot...06a43771da649b
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  #14  
Old 26th June 2007, 12:35
Pete Axon Pete Axon is offline  
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Hi Santos, we must have met on that ill fated day in Recife. I was down below when the boiler blew back and just managed to get out via the tunnel ladder. Myself and the RO went with the Chief Freezer to hospital where he was pronounced dead.By the time we got back to the ship, all was doused down and folk were in a bit of a daze, understandably so.Never thought we would be sailing that ship back to the UK but we did,every credit to Russells who flew a team out to fix it. London first and then back to Liverpool to pay off. Never went back for a repeat though,joined the QM after that. Regards, Pete Axon ( Poulton-le-Fylde UK )
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Old 26th June 2007, 19:41
Santos Santos is offline  
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Hi Peter,

Yes we must have met or seen each other, I was a first trip Cadet, and got to know the two cadets on Debrett, John Webber was one but for the life of me I cannot remember the name of the other one. Glyn Houston was the Chief Officer whom I later sailed with when I was Third mate of the Sheridan and the Rossini.

I remember the fire flaring up again in the evening , it had got into the fridges insulation. Most of our crew was ashore and we had them recalled by the Police. We then got towed off Debrett and put alongside the quay ahead of her. Thought the Brazilian Fire Brigade were going to sink her the ammount of water they pumped aboard. She began to list I remember and wasnt there a hole cut in her side to drain some of the water out.


Kind regards

Chris.
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  #16  
Old 26th June 2007, 20:01
Cap'n Pete Cap'n Pete is offline  
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On the subject of L&H fires, I was on the Churchill in on the 5th June 1990 in Itajai, Brasil when we had an engine room fire. It started with an explosion about 20 minutes before we were due to sail. The accomodation quickly filled with smoke and the fire alarm started immediately. A quick muster indicated quite a few people were missing, so we donned CABA and started going round the cabins. Those crew members which were trapped, however, we were able to reach by ladders to their cabin windows.

A short time later, 4 engineers appeared from the engine room, all quite badly burned on their hands, faces and mostly blinded by the toxic nature of the smoke.

Having accounted for all the ratings and the passengers, we still had to find the 3rd and 4th engineer whom we knew had been working in the engineroom. As the rest of the ER staff had been injured and taken off to hospital, we only had the deck department with which to fight the fire and form a search party to find the missing engineers.

One AB and I entered the engineroom via the tunnel escape wearing BA. We searche the bottom plates, the last known area they were thought to have been working but we could not find them. To be honest, I thought we would be looking for bodies because there was too much smoke to support life. Having spent too much time seaching, I realised we did not have enough air left to return to deck via the tunnel escape. The only way out was up through the sea of the fire, which we later found was centred on the fridge flat on the stbd side. Going up the port side we passed the control room, where I decided we'd try and call the bridge to let them know we'd be coming out via the main entrance. As I opened the door into the control room, I found the 4th engineer standing there in some distress and suffering some nasty burns. Putting an escape hood over his head, the AB and I got him out onto to deck.

We changed our air bottles and returned to the steering flat ready to make another entry via the tunnel escape to find the 3rd Engineer who was still missing. I have to say I was very worried because I did not think we'd be lucky a second time. However, just as we started to climb down the ladder, the captain told us on the walkie-talkie that the 3rd had been found on deck, wandering around blind.

We eventually put the fire out with the assistance of the local fire brigade.

Our problems started after that as all the engineers were in hospital and the ship was blacked out and we had a lot of water in the engine room after the fire-fighting operation. However, within 48 hours the company had got an engineer supertindent and a chief engineer out to the ship and we went from there.
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Old 26th June 2007, 22:00
Pete Axon Pete Axon is offline  
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Hi Chris, apologies for calling you Santos in the previous message.I do remember the local fire brigade pumping water like men possessed, thought they were trying to drown the damn ship.That hole in the side was there when we left Liverpool...........Joking aside, it was a hell of a trip.The engineers steward died on the way out and was buried at sea.We got robbed in BA by the local mafia posing as police.The 2nd Eng was a nutter and was sacked in Monty and was replaced by another nutter who I later sailed with on the QM,no names but we called him Mad Jim.I do recall Glyn Houston but can't recall the skippers name ( can't decipher his name in my D'book) Also remember John Webber. All in all, a trip to forget. Kind regards, Pete
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Old 26th June 2007, 22:07
Santos Santos is offline  
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Originally Posted by Pete Axon View Post
Hi Chris, apologies for calling you Santos in the previous message.I do remember the local fire brigade pumping water like men possessed, thought they were trying to drown the damn ship.That hole in the side was there when we left Liverpool...........Joking aside, it was a hell of a trip.The engineers steward died on the way out and was buried at sea.We got robbed in BA by the local mafia posing as police.The 2nd Eng was a nutter and was sacked in Monty and was replaced by another nutter who I later sailed with on the QM,no names but we called him Mad Jim.I do recall Glyn Houston but can't recall the skippers name ( can't decipher his name in my D'book) Also remember John Webber. All in all, a trip to forget. Kind regards, Pete
Hi Pete,

You could only have a trip like that in Lamports, happy days !!!!

Chris.
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Old 28th June 2007, 12:25
Pete Axon Pete Axon is offline  
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Hi Kevin,I did the trip as Junior Eng when the boiler blewback in Recife.Myself and the RO went with the Chief Fridge to hospital.I have cold shivers every time I think about that day, I was on daywork with the 3rd & 4th Eng when it happened, managed to get out via the tunnel escape ( just ) Can't recall the C/E's name but I think he was Polish or Ukranian, decent bloke.The Chief Fridge had two canaries called Bing & Little Bee, both died due to smoke etc.The 4th & 3rd who may have done the trip with you were called Eddie Rooney and Mac (his nickname ....can't recall his real name.) Didn't go back for a second trip. Regards, Pete Axon
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