6 months in 60 seconds
I joined the ship at Mina Al Ahmadi on the 20th January '74
With part A of the chiefs ticket under my belt before Xmas I was back at Aberdeen Technical Coillege studing for part B when Batch in the office got in touch to ask a favour. Join the Bidford Priory in the Gulf.
Being a bit fed up of studing why not? Wrong answer ha ha
First class ticket to Kuwait - £240. Funny how certain things stick in the mind.
Can't remember much excitement on the first couple of runs down to exotic Kwinana. Plenty good engineers onboard to keep her going.
Willie Wood from Newburgh in Aberdeenshire was the chief engineer. Nobby Clark from Westhills Aberdeen the mate.
Rolling Stones nights in the bar was a sight to be seen!
Willie Wood and Nobby paid off up the Gulf before we set sail loaded for the Isle of Grain.
Alan Lowery had taken over as chief eng. Dave Wheelan, Ron Pennycook, Fred Diffy, Ian Hardie senior engineers and was George Wilson one of the juniors?
Fred ??? filled the mate's slot. Pete Saunders was at some stage of the 6 month trip the skipper.
Yes Brian I remember you getting caught up in the taco drive taper pins when you were in the bilges looking for your shifter. The taper pins had been left sticking out 2" either side of the drive cogs. Caught the back of your boiler suit and ripped it clean off. Plus some skin.
Well things burst into life as we left the Gulf. I think it was on the midnight to 4? An almighty bag from the HP turbine. Why did it always happen at night?
It was first thought it might be the HP flexible drive coupling. It proved OK. Opened up the HP primary gear casing to find the culprit. Major damage to the primary wheel and pinion.
Then the fun started. All hands to the pumps.
Spent the next few days rigging to run home on the LP turbine. It was a miracle we found all the pipes and bits and pieces to do the job. Also had to lift out the HP primary pinion. No mean feat in the heat of the engine room at sea. The engine room crew and the cadets did a sterling job.
Copious ice cold beers probably kept us going.
A relaxing time for some of the crew, Somalies I think? who managed to catch a few sharks while we were adrift. Kept them swimming about in the pool for a while.
Eventually got under way again and headed for Mombassa to carry out further inspections of the turbine/gearbox bearings. The condition of the bearings indicated they would not make it to the UK so ended up getting a squad from shore side and inspecting them all and changing out many.
The noise in the engine room from running on the LP turbine only was horrendous but we made it to Cape Town and thankfully the Ise of Grain, Just!
A great crew made up for all the trials and tribulations
Paid off at the Ise of Grain on the 16th July '74