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Built by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead, ARGENTINA STAR (1947/10,716 grt) operated on the UK-South America route until 1972. She was sold to Union International and arrived at Taiwanese breakers on the 19th October of that year.
 

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I was a Deck Boy/JOS/SOS on the Argentina Star back in the early 60's. Lots of pictures and and stories of crew members. Other ships: English Star, Hobart Star, Brasil Star, Paraguay Star, Tasmania Star, Mandoza Star.
 

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Welcome aboard there Steve,

Lot's of new pici's........goodeeey.....dig em out and get em posted Steve.
Hope you enjoy our site and any prob's just shout....plenty of help on board.

Julian
 

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Thanks for the welcome guys.

As I said I was Deck Boy on the Argentina Star back in the early 60's. Will have to get the old discharge books out of the loft to confirm exact voyage dates for you.

Captain Eric Pearce OBE was the master at that time. He was the Blue Star fleet Commodore in that period. He was also a highly decorated war hero with many heroic deeds to his credit under the Blue Star flag.

Pompous and strict he came across as very scary to the junior ratings.

He would often stand in the gloom of the chart room and watch the course recorder - when I was steering on the 12 to 4 watch. He would the enter the wheelhouse and bellow "Boy your steering is eratic. Hold her steady" then slip below to his quarters.

I once was responsible for tossing him from his bunk, when I strayed off course and we took some big rolls from a beam sea. He roared up the voice pipe to the 2nd mate "Who's got the helm mister?" The 2nd advised " Ordinary Seaman Todd sir" Eric replied "Oh that b*****d"

He then set a new course and said "See if he can hold her steady there so that we can all get some sleep"

Me, I was terrified with thoughts of being keel hauled.

Have attached some pictures for you guys.

Fore deck at sea outward bound to BA

Boat deck from the poop - note passengers playing deck tennis on the boat deck and the hornings over the No 5 hatch which acted as the dance floor and cinema. The well deck over No 4 hatch - forward of the bridge, converted to the swimming pool.

Loading meat at the Anglo in BA's dock sud. The old boy looking down from the poop was the ships Chippy. He was another Blue Star veteran war hero. I think his name was Alexander. The Bosun at that time was a character named Paddy Fyths. He was affectionately known as Paddy Cinco by the Blue Star crews.

As I was a skinny runt of a kid, I was given the nickname Spike - as in Marlin. The name stuck with me for years to follow.

Steve

PS: Sorry it looks like my picture files are to big to attach on this site will have to reduced them and send later.
 

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South dock BA. Two crewmen in foreground. The guy on the right was an AB named Derek Cole. An ex fisherman and complete nut case, but also a very good shipmate. I last saw him in the late 80's when he was working on the docks in his home port of Lowestoft.

Dock Sud as we called it, was close to La Boca's colourful Caminito and for regular crews it became home for a week, while beef was loaded from Vesteys Anglo Meat Works.

The smell of cooking beef was every where - bife de choriza and bife de lomo. Ships crews cooks, were notorious for getting drunk whilst in port. So for a few pesos or some paint we would supliment our diet in the local cafe's. The Bar International - a large corregated iron nissen hut known as The Nash, was hull grey inside and out.

The Pink Palace formerly known as Hugo's gaff was a quayside adobe shack. Re-painted in accomadation white that had been tinted with a dash of funnel red. The woodwork was nicely cut in with boot topping blue.
 

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Argentina's fore deck at sea. Note forward lifeboats were swung out at sea and lashed firmly to a wooden fender boom at the heel of the davits.

Because of the number of passengers, they acted as a 'man overboard' emergency boat and could be launched rapidly. The EB crews were required to hold a Board of Trade lifeboat ticket. We would drill each morning at seven bells. At the sound on the chief officers whistle we would muster at the leeward boat. The Master would attend the bridge and the boat was released and lowered a few feet - under the orders of the 2nd mate, before being re-secured. Sometimes in port the boats where put in the water for a jolly skull round.

Old wooden clinker-built craft, they would leak like a sieve and would have to be continuously baled out.

During daylight the ship was mostly on automatic (Iron Mike) steering. The crewman, on the wing of the bridge, was the helmsman keeping a sharp lookout while standing bye.

Also attached picture, taken from the aft well deck, of Royal Mails 'Amazon' or 'Andes' as she enter Rio's Guanabara bay at dawn.

Steve
 

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Keep em coming Steve,

Some lovely old photo's from your archives and much appreciated descriptions with them.........Well done.....Damn good effort (Applause)
 

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Today I spoke to a retired (redundant) Blue Star captain, I asked him as captain did he sign his own discharge book, he said "no I do not have one" so I said to him the last time you had a discharge book was when you were a chief mate" He said "yes"
I cannot believe that a seaman does not have a discharge book. Can anybody confirm that captains do not have a discharge book. Lookinf forward to the answer
 

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R58484956 said:
Today I spoke to a retired (redundant) Blue Star captain, I asked him as captain did he sign his own discharge book, he said "no I do not have one" so I said to him the last time you had a discharge book was when you were a chief mate" He said "yes"
I cannot believe that a seaman does not have a discharge book. Can anybody confirm that captains do not have a discharge book. Lookinf forward to the answer
YES, they still have a discharge book & they sign it. The only thing they don't do is 'sign on' like the rest of us.
 

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R58484956 said:
Today I spoke to a retired (redundant) Blue Star captain, I asked him as captain did he sign his own discharge book, he said "no I do not have one" so I said to him the last time you had a discharge book was when you were a chief mate" He said "yes"
I cannot believe that a seaman does not have a discharge book. Can anybody confirm that captains do not have a discharge book. Lookinf forward to the answer
A captain is not required to have a discharge book as he does not "sign on". However, he is required to prove seatime for revalidation of his/her certificate of competency, GMDSS etc. and for tax purposes. The easiest way to do this is to record his joining and leaving dates in his discharge book. The problem is, if he signs his own discharge book, it's not valid anyway and he then still has to get a statement of sea service from his employer. Most captains get the relieving captain to sign their discharge book during their handover.

British discharge books are issued for "life" and do not, therefore, do not require revalidation. In many parts of the world, the discharge book (or seaman's book are it is called elsewhere) is the required form of identification when going ashore. British seafarers were last required to get new discharge books in 1970, so for old timers such as myself our discharge books are 36 years old as is the photograph in them. This makes life very difficult when trying to prove one's ID, particularly in the USA when going ashore.
 

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I was third mate on the Argentina Star in 1970. The deck officers were accomodated in the bridge house at the forward end of the boat deck. The swimming pool was situated in the shelter deck immediately forward of the bridge and I spent many lazy daylight watches looking down at the ladies in the pool rather than ahead where the danger lay.
I eventually fell down the hatch in BA after a week of burning the midnight oil (constant partying ashore at night, following by loading hanging quarter beef and horse during the day. I woke up in the British Hospital two days later. The Old Man "Black Mac" had made the Chief Steward visit me in hospital before the ship sailed without me and, by putting a pen in my unconscious hand and making a mark on the ship's articles, signed me off. This meant Blue Star no longer had to pay me until I recoved.

When I woke up in the British Hospital, there were two lovely girls sitting on my bunk each holding one of my hands. I was sure then that I was dead and had arrived in heaven. Not so, because when I tried to talk I found my mouth would not open. I'd broken my jaw in the fall and they'd wired my teeth together!
 

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"Argentina Star"
10,700 tons. Single screw turbine. 17 kts
Cammell Laird. 1947
460,000 c.f.R.
Sisters: Brasil Star, Paraguay Star, Uruguay Star.
 
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