MV Houston City - Ships Nostalgia

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MV Houston City

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Old 2nd January 2008, 12:45
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Janner100 Janner100 is offline  
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MV Houston City

The Houston City built in 1963 was the last of the traditional type ships built for Reardon Smiths. In his excellent book on the Reardon Smith Line (published by Starling Press Ltd) PM Heaton reproduced the entire voyage history of the Houston which by any standard was a great ship. Alas the book is no longer in print.

I have listed the voyages as reproduced in the book.

M.V. Houston City (3)
January, 1963- to April, 1972

Sunderland - ballast-Norfolk, Virginia - coal-Kokura – ballast - via Wakamatsu (bunkers} - Seattle - bulk wheat--via Singapore bunkers) - Vishakhapatnam and Calcutta - ballast - Bunbury and Albany - bulk wheat-Yokohama – ballast - Geraldton and Fremantle - bulk wheat - via Aden (bunkers) and Suez Canal - London and Belfast. Drydocked at Belfast

Belfast - ballast - New Orleans – bulk grain - via Panama Canal (bunkers) - Nagoya and Yokohama - ballast - via Panama Canal - New Orleans - bulk corn - Moji and Yokohama - ballast - Wallaroo and Adelaide - bulk barley - Yokohama and Kobe - ballast - Vancouver - bulk wheat - Yokohama - ballast - Kalama (Long¬view) - bulk wheat - via Singapore - Madras and Calcutta

TIME CHARTER - Vishakhapatnam - Singapore - Isbata - REDELIVERED - ballast - via Moji (bunkers) - Sydney - bulk wheat - via Aden (bunkers) and Suez Canal - Liverpool. Birkenhead (bunkers). Avonmouth and London - London - ballast - Sunderland (repairs) - Sunderland - ballast - New Orleans - bulk grain - via Panama Canal (bunkers) - Osaka and Sakai - ballast - Portland, Oregon - bulk wheat Nagoya - ballast - Prai - TIME CHARTER - Tabata - REDELIVERED - ballast - via Moji (bunkers} - Adelaide - - bulk wheat - via Bombay (crew changes), Djibouti (bunkers) and Suez Canal - Hull, London and Birkenhead

Birkenhead - ballast - Antwerp - TIME CHARTER - Flushing - Pensacola - Mobile - Baton Rouge - Houston - via Panama Canal - Hiroshima - Yokohama - REDELIVERED - ballast - Kitimat. B.C. - TIME CHARTER - San Francisco - - Oakland - Long Beach (Los Angeles) - Guaymas - Champerico - San Jose - Acajutla - San Salvador - La Union - Corinto - via Panama Canal - Leixoes - Le Havre - Dunkirk - Rotterdam - Bremen - Hamburg - Avonmouth REDELIVERED

Avonmouth – ballast – Galveston bulk grain - via Panama Canal¬ - Yokohama - ballast-Nagoya - TIME CHARTER – Yawata - Kawasaki - via Panama Canal – Newark – Montreal – Cleveland - Detroit – Duluth – Montreal – Leghorn - Oneglia - REDELIVERED ballast - Genoa (drydock and bunkers) – ballast -Tehamalti - bulk salt-via Suez Canal, Aden (bunkers) and Bombay (bunkers) -Kawasaki and Chiba - ballast-Victoria and Vancouver - bulk wheat ¬Tokyo - ballast-Mackay with bulk sugar and Townsville with bagged sugar – Moji – Wakamatsu - Yokohama and Tokyo - ballast -¬ Geraldton and Fremantle - bulk wheat-via Djibouti (bunkers) and Suez Canal -London and Leith.

Leith – ballast - Belfast (drydocked) –ballast – Glasgow - TIME CHARTER – Swansea – Birkenhead - Las Palmas Cape Town - Port Elizabeth - East London - Durban - Beira - Lorenzo Marques-Durban--East London-Cape Town -Wallis Bay-London - Immingham - Antwerp-Hamburg -- REDELIVERED

Hamburg - ballast - Destrehan - bulk wheat - via Durban (bunkers) - Vishakhapatnam – ballast - via Colombo (bunkers) - Durban -bulk grain - via Singapore (bunkers) - Tokyo, Yokohama and Kinuura – ballast - Geraldton and Fremantle - bulk wheat - Osaka - ballast-- Albany - hulk grain - Nagoya - TIME CHARTER –Yawata – Shimonoseki – Kobe - Yokohama – Vancouver - Seattle - Portland, Oregon.- Chiba-Kobe – Osaka -Yokkaichi –Nagoya - Nakodika – Yawata – Sakki –Moji –Kobe – Yokohama –Vancouver - Seattle –Tacoma - Portland, Oregon – Vancouver – Harmac – Shimizu - Yokoha¬ma - Nagoya-Osaka - Moji – REDELIVERED

Ballast - Chalna - TIME CHARTER – Chittagong – Calcutta – Colombo - Norfolk, Virginia – Savannah - New Orleans - REDELIVERED – ballast - via Panama Canal - Salina Cruz - bulk maize - via Honolulu (repairs and bunkers) - Mizushima, Kobe and Shimizu – ballast - Kobe (drydocked) - ballast-Sydney - TIME CHARTER – Wallaroo - Ade¬laide –Melbourne – Mahe – Mombasa – Aden - Port Sudan - Jeddah – Koddaida – Mombasa -Port Kembla – Melbourne – Wallaroo - Ad¬elaide – Mahe – Aden - Port Sudan – Jeddah –Assab - REDELJVERED - ballast-Port Louis -- bulk sugar-via Port Elizabeth (where sick crew member put ashore) - Liverpool

Liverpool – ballast - Brake - TIME CHARTER – Amsterdam - Las Palmas – Dakar – Chittagong – Vishakhapatnam – Singapore - Wakay¬ama - Kobe - REDELIVERED – ballast - Port Pirie and Ade¬laide - hulk barley--via Cape Town (bunkers) - Belfast

Belfast - ballast-St. Nazaire - TIME CHARTER – Dakar - Durban Singapore - Yokohama-Shimonoseki - REDELIVERERED - Ballast - Astoria and Portland, Oregon - bulk wheat - Kaohsiung and Keelung - ballast - Mourilyan - sugar-via Panama Canal - St. John, NB – ballast - Houston - bulk wheat -Oran and Mastagenem – ballast - Toulon (drydocked) - ballast - Marseilles - TIME CHARTER - Savonna - Morondava - Majunga - Mutsamudu -Moroni -Diego Svarel –Tarnatove – Revuioii - REDELIVERED – ballast - Lorenzo Marques - bulk coal -Rotterdam and Bremen - TIME CHARTER - Antwerp - Le Havre - Genoa- Cape Town - Fremantle - Adelaide - Melbourne - Sydney - Brisbane - REDELIVERED - ballast-Townsville - sugar-via Panama Canal - ¬London

London - ballast-South Shields (drydocked) ballast - Flushing (bunkers) - Flushing - ballast - Dalhousie - TIME CHARTER – Belledune – ¬Quebec – Montreal -Three Rivers - Cape Town - Bombay - Cochin - Colombo - Madras - Calcutta - REDELIVERED – ballast - Kobe - TIME CHARTER – Nagoya – Shimizu – Yokohama - Los Angeles - Ensenada - Acapulco - Manzanillo - Mazathan - Guayanas - Ensenada - Makohama - Nagoya - Osaka - Kobe (Vessel sold to TMM).

I sailed as first trip Junior Engineer, joining in November 1970 when the ship discahrged her cargo at St John NB. 6 months to the day later we paid off in Rotterdam having brought a cargo of coal from Lorenzo Marques.

The Officers on the voyage were:

Captain Tony Thomas
Mate Tom McNulty
2 Mate Clancy Collins
3 Mate Charlie Starr
Radio Officer Andy Vost
Chief Steward Joe Wagner
Chief Engineer Ian Taylor
2 Engineer Larry Williamson
3 Engineer Alan Fisher left part voyage - not replaced
4 Engineer Kel Blunt
J Engineer John Elliott
J Engineer Clive Greenwood
J Engineer Dave Ricketts
Electrician Tom Thompson left part voyage replaced by John Gardener
Eng Cadet Dave Jellyman
Deck Cadet Dougie Cumming
Deck Cadet Tony Stockman
Deck Cadet Alan Skilton

My thanks to Dog Cumming for reminding me recently about my colleagues on the trip and New Years Eve in Mostagenem when there was a skirmish with the crew of a Cypriot ship and later when there was a skirmish with the Algerian Police and Customs. Tony (Flash) Thomas held an emergency (it's best to say) meeting in the smoke room at 8.30 after he had been woken by the police at the crack of dawn demanding he hand over the officers involved in the knife fight earlier. Flash quite rightly asserted that British officers did not involve themselves in knife fights. What really happened is another story for another time.

Last edited by Janner100; 2nd January 2008 at 12:56..
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Old 2nd January 2008, 14:34
benjidog benjidog is offline
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Hi Janner10,

If you have the basic information about this ship as well, this would make a good SN Directory entry. Rather than having the information sink with the thread it would become a permanent reference.

If you haven't done so already, take a look at the Directory to see what I mean. I can advise on this if you wish.

(I know I am already becoming a bore on this topic but there are photos of both Houston City ships in The Allen Collection.)


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Old 2nd January 2008, 19:23
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I can put a time frame on that trip to Astoria, which was in July 1970. I have the actual times of tie-up and departure in another room.
You can call me Eric, just don't call me late to dinner.
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Old 2nd January 2008, 21:17
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Janner100 Janner100 is offline  
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From Astoria in July 1970 took about 5 months to get to St John NB. For some strange reason we were in St John NB for about 4 days before joining. The outbound lot must have been climbing the walls waiting to get home. 4 days in a posh hotel eating steaks and loads of ice cream. And there was me just brought up on Cornish pasties. The climate was colder than at home. It was my first time away from these shores and boy was I green. As I recall St John NB has one of the biggest tides in the world.

We sailed late afternoon and my first watch was with Kel Blunt on the 4 to 8. I was seasick first watch and it wasn't even rough. I was so embarrassed. A week down to Houston and my first taste of the US of A. Houston was supposed to be the 'murder capital' of the states (or so we were informed). To be honest we met with nothing but kindness. A group of friends took me under their wing and showed me the sights, one a nice lady called Yvonne Phillips. Never made it back to Houston though did go to Corpus Christi on other ships (the Cornish and Port Alberni Cities).
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Old 10th January 2008, 00:15
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Janner100 Janner100 is offline  
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I joined the Maria Elisa (x Houston City) in June or July 1972 to replace an engineer who had to fly home. I am guessing this was the first voyage for the new owners, TMM. I believe she had previously been under charter with TMM.

I left the Tacoma City in Vancouver and flew down to LA to await the Maria Elisa in San Pedro. She was late and I had four glorious days in a motel. The agent made sure I was fed and watered and had enough money to survive. Memories come flooding back of flicking through the countless movie channels to find a decent film. When sheer boredom overtook me I headed for the 24 hour diner (where the agent had arranged for me to eat on account) at 4 am for either an early breakfast or a very late dinner. I would then sleep till late and head into Long Beach for shopping or some beers. Not much fun without shipmates to drink with though. I also find time to phone friends in Vancouver (one in particular). The Doctor Hook record has fond memories for me of this time where "the operator said it's 25 cents for another 3 minutes...". As I remember I had lots of change and the US operators were pretty generous with some more time at the end of the calls when the change had all gone.

Captain John Cann
Mate Evan Warmsley
2 Mate Julian York
3 Mate Mike Gaffney (I think)
Radio Officer John Cowardine
Chief Steward Evan Sefton
Chief Engineer Dave Litson
2 Engineer Charlie Primrose
3 Engineer Pete Magorian
4 Engineer Frank Robinson
J4 Engineer Dave Ricketts replaced Nori Caroll
Junior Engineer Will Davis
Junior Engineer Stuart Miller
Electrician John Gardiner

Last edited by Janner100; 10th January 2008 at 00:21..
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Old 26th April 2008, 15:52
Robert Bell Robert Bell is offline  
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To Janner100, re Housto City, she was sold on to TMM Mexico, managd by RSL and renamed Maria Elisa, I had thepleasure of sailing on her if I recall twice, I was with RSL from 1957 until they went into liquidation
Robert Bell
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Old 27th April 2008, 23:18
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Janner100 Janner100 is offline  
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I pleasure to hear from any Smiths personnel.

The Houston holds a special memory for me because she epitomised everything I joined Smiths for. A 'tramp' run not knowing from one cargo to another where she was bound for next. The Cardiff class were more sophisticated facility wise with air conditioning, a/c and all but...

I also sailed on her part of the first trip she was owned by TMM. Paid off in San Diego and flew home the circuitous route. Understandably Smiths would never pay to fly home by the more expensive direct route.
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Old 28th April 2008, 12:44
Ernie Higham Ernie Higham is offline  
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I was on two of Smiths, the Indian City and the Great City, great runs, states,far east and Aus, foodwise, weight losing. That was about 1954-57.Ernie.
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Old 28th April 2008, 13:19
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I guess she had no deck hands or down below crew.

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Old 28th April 2008, 20:25
cymruman cymruman is offline  
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Reardon Smith used British officers and Indian crew, until their later days when I think they got their arm twisted into using British crews on some of their TMM managed crews. Memory fading now but I think Josefa had Cardiff crowd Arabs in ER, West Indian on deck and cant remember what catering was. Remember 1 chief Steward was sacked inside a week, so sparky did the job across the Atlantic to Mexico before we got another one who was appalling, The final straw was pickled pigs lips, chips and peas as a main course, he too was sent home.
The sparks was a superb feeder, wish they had kept him as ch/stew.
Anyone here remember that trip, when we were towed from Coatzacoalcos to New Orleans.
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