I'd forgotten that one altogether but now I remember it was pretty scary. To be fair though, I think there might have been an element of prank about it. We were all so much more immortal back then.
Getting that reefer cargo from the hold onto trucks and off to the chambers in town was a challenge. The cargo would all be pre-cleared but tallying out was, well, it just didn't happen; we'd check in the shop reefer chambers the following day.
The ECUSA ships servicing the Caribbean island hotels with delicacies from the US sometimes let a bonanza get through, a leftover in the assorted debris at the bottom of the hold. In particular I remember a 6lb package of Alaskan king crab which I appropriated with approval of my superiors and had prepared specially for a large group at the Hotel de Turistas.
Leftovers in the UK service were rare and I only remember stevedores digging into a few small cases of fresh grapes.
Ships calling at POS would lift transhipment cargo from the Far East, mostly steel products which, after discharge from the Mitsui OSK ships, would have been left out in the baking Trinidadian sun for days or weeks until the first oncarrying Booth vessel arrived. The steel products included small kegs of nails. I say "small", 50cm tall barrels, damn heavy.
I don't recall the name of the ship but it was a UK run one, with a large load of Lyons Maid ice cream in the reefer holds. The cartons of ice cream are huge but relatively light in weight; they almost filled the hold, leaving just a few feet between the top of the stow and the bottom of the hatch cover.
Space at Port of Spain had been tight and, somewhere along the line, a decision was made to stow a few tons of kegs of nails on top of the ice cream. Nobody'll know the difference, right? Well, the almost red-hot kegs quickly burned their way right down to the bottom of the reefer hold and melted a good deal of the ice cream on the way down and at the bottom. Which, of course, re-froze en route and presented a disgusting glop on discharge at Iquitos.
What a business! The Lyons Maid ice cream had been sold by a Vestey subsidiary trading company in the UK to a Vestey subsidiary mini-market in Peru and carried there by a Vestey shipping company. The insurance claim by the consignees of the kegs of nails (ruined by condensation) and by us as consignees of the ice cream would eventually involve... us as Lloyds Agents.
Last edited by David Lorimer; 11th September 2019 at 22:25..