You have to be very careful working around places such as this because grain dust can be explosive. What makes it even more dangerous is that people don't usually think of grain as being explosive, so they don't usually take the sort of care they would if they were working around something like ammunition. However, more than one grain elevator has been known to blow up.
Sign of the times, Grain elevator!
I was in East London on one of Runicmans loading maze which took six weeks, loaded from sacks off rail flat cars, up to the lip of the hold, where ******* spit the tops of the bags and poured into the holds, soon as rain was expected, suspended cargo and cover the hatches.
Must admit that the six weeks were memorable, Seamans Mission was our saviour, dances and trips well organised.
South African Railways Tugs on the next berth loading COAL bunkers, loaded by convicts, two Africans Policeman with throwing spears watching the convicts, with one white South Afrian policeman watching all with an old 303 rifle.
The Cinema was called a Biocope! Big lecture from local immigration on arrival, regarding being friendly with local colored girls and the consequencies if caught.
In my six months on board we only loaded one fast cargo, Phosphate from Casablna to Rotterdam, all the rest was by buckets, loading and unloading.
Happy little ship.
Infact East London was the only good port we had, apart from Joining in Salford.
Spent a very enjoyable Christmas Day in East London in 1977 on "Birchbank", although on the general berth not the grain berth. We got the pilot on board at 1000, just before he was going to call it a day and we also pipped a Messageries Maritime ship by 20 minutes! After an excellent lunch and few bevvies, a walk along the top allowed us to watch the French ship rolling about outside in the swell - sad eh? Both of us had left Durban the previous evening and were going maximum speed to get in to East London as agents had already told us that pilot finished at 1000 and only one berth available.
We were there on an SSM ship in 1981 loading grain for Bandar Abbas Iran when a local lad got onboard, made his way through the accommodation to the Chief Engs. cabin and stabbed him. Fortunately for the chief the knife hit his breast bone leaving a slight cut.