Carrying dogs as cargo. - Ships Nostalgia

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Carrying dogs as cargo.

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Old 24th October 2008, 00:04
ian keyl ian keyl is offline  
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
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Active: 1964 - 2007
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Carrying dogs as cargo.

In 1967 the famous dog food company Spraats brought a beautiful brindle boxer dog down to our ship the Benwyvis in the Victoria dock in London. The dog belonged to a Time Life magazine camera man who was going out to Vietnam /Cambodia to cover the war and was going to be living in Bangkok.

We sailed from London via suez for Singapore ,I had asked if i could look after the dog and the ch/off agreed and i asked all the othercrew and mates if they objected to me having it stay in my cabin,there was no problem. The dogs name was Marcus and was very much a peoples doghe would lie on my day bed and come up on the bridge with me when on watch and wonder around the deck doing his business.
When we got to Port Said we had orders from the old man no body other than the agent Assuit Shipping and pilot with usual officals could come on board as we slipped into Port Said at about 2100 hrs it was dark and erie,plenty of militry patrol boats speeding around andloads of bum boats miling around the ships side awaiting the deck crew to lower the gangway. When we had finished tying up to a bouy,the lads lowered the starboard gangway and a egyptian policeman came up and positioned himself at the top of the passageway.
I had nipped up to my cabin and got Marcus and put him on a lead to take him for a walk. When i came down onto the main deck alleyway it was full of traders ,so i shouted to the policeman to get them off. He shrouged his shoulders as if tosay what can i do and no doubt they allhad paid him a few bob to get onboard. At this point none of them had seen Marcus ,as I walked up the alleyway shouting at them all to get off and calling thier boats back ,the first group nearest to me noticed the dog who in the heat of the night was slavering around his chops . It was like mass panic for the head of the gangway pushing and shouting and flinging thier arms at me.
All of this made Marcus excited as he was a peoples dog and he was clawing along the the steel deck to get nearer the robed traders, even the policeman was halfway down the gangway shouting for boats to come back into the foot of the ladder.
I thought this was absolutly great power of a dog on a lead over the Egyptians.
What i did not know at the time was the dog being a boxer resembled a pig and the egyptians did not want that jumping up on them and slavering all over them.
The transit theu suez was quiet and marcus was a great deterent to kepping the Canal boatmen close to thier boats and not wonderdering around looking for booty.
We were in the last convoy south that cleared the canal before they declared war on each other which was a releaf

The moto of the story is " dogs are some mens best friend"

His owner came on board in Singapore to collect Marcus who was so excited to see him after about 20 days from leaving him in London.
Rgds Ian.
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Old 24th October 2008, 00:23
sparkie2182 sparkie2182 is offline  
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nice story Ian........

sadly not unique, as Trotterdotpom was well known for the dogs he brought back to the ship.

woof woof

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Old 24th October 2008, 10:09
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Coastie Coastie is offline  
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From what I've seen, Muslims consider a dog as a "dirty" animal therefore will not touch them by choice. I took my dog up to Aberdeen by train once and you should have seen some of the contortions that some would get into just so that they could pass him in the aisleway without touching him.
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Old 26th October 2008, 01:49
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Mike S Mike S is offline  
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My last trip on Durham we were sent a dog to bring home to UK from Auckland. He was a Great Dane with a name as long as your arm but was always called and answered to "Gus".
His kennel was placed on the boat deck in a sheltered position and my duties started with a morning walk around the main deck. There were six large vents on the fore deck, three a side venting the shelter deck and as far as Gus was concerned they were excellent trees. A bucket was placed handy to chuck some sea water over his efforts later! I also soon started to carry a small scoop for the fertilizer.
Gus was soon a mate of every one and had the run of the ship. He spent a lot of his time stretched out fore and aft in the wheelhouse with his rear end against the steering compass and his nose under the open window. She had those old opening windows with leather straps like the old steam trains............!
Well she was built in 1934 and the wheelhouse was timber.
When we passed through Capetown I took Gus for his morning walk around the deck. We were only working no 4 so the fore deck was clear. I wandered down the alleyway to see what was going on and the labour to a man headed up any ladder that was around. I realised that to them Gus was a huge dog and the only dogs like him they had seen were police dogs. We headed back to safer areas and let the cargo work restart.
He was aboard for 6 weeks and when we arrived in Liverpool he was whisked away and was sadly missed.
It took us days to stop stepping over that non existent mutt stretched out in the wheelhouse........
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Old 1st December 2008, 18:38
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Used to carry dogs to and from the far east during my time in Ben Line. Usually it was the Cadets job to look after them and often they were promoted to my cabin for the trip. Was always sad when we had to leave them.

One trip on Bencleuch the master decided he would look after the dog which was an alsatian. It was probably the only time I saw him smile (not the dog but Capt Lumsden, miserable bastard!)
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Old 1st December 2008, 19:33
sidsal sidsal is offline  
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The Anglo-American oil Co's F J WOLFE had a dog which lived on board for years. She was called Suzie and lived with the pumpman. She had seen war service and had medal ribbons stiched to her collar. When loading in hot weather ports Suzie would sit near the pumpman as he took ullages when loading. The air would be full of gas forced out of the tank and eventually Suzie would keel over. Oneof us would then carruy her to the poop and lay her down and she would come trotting back again after about 20 minutes.
We oaded in Abadan once and went down the river and anchored whilst the small tanker came alongside to top us up. They had a dog on board and Suzie and he had it off. Result - Suzie had one little pup.
Suzie was agood mother and they would both come up on the bridge. The pup would pull the signal flags out of their cubby holes and have a great time.
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Old 3rd December 2008, 19:39
EBenarty EBenarty is offline  
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On the Bencairn in 1971 we had a labrador whose owner was moving to Singapore and we had to ship the dog. The cadets were looking after her,but after leaving KG V docks she went mad barking and growling and trying to get up the foredeck, Ginger the cadet put her down to his cabin.
As we proceded down the Thames, Ginger suddenly said there was a fox running up the deck. I said to him dont be stupid!!!
The next day heading down the Channel I had Ginger on watch with me and he yelled "There is the fox" !! I looked down to No.3 Hatch and sure enough there was an animal resembling a fox but it turned out to be a feral cat which must've boarded in the docks. Nobody could get near it but Ginger started putting out food for it. He was the only one it would trust. When we reached the Far East the cat went ashore in every port but would always be back a couple of hours before sailing time and stand at the aft door meowing for food. When we reached Djakarta, one evening Ginger saw the dockers playing football with a cat. He went down and rescued it. It made friends with the Fox and . . . . they had a kitten - the cub :-) Sadly, the Fox missed the ship in Singapore on the way home but the Cub was taken home by the electician to Edinburgh.
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