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Discussion Starter #1
Is there anyone out there who ever worked for the Black Star Line? Volta River, Densu River, Ankobra River, Nasia River etc. I recall a Captain in a silk bathrobe who used to grasp the arms of the magnetic compass periscope and bark out meaningless orders in German and another who got thrown into prison for carrying too many deck passengers. A RN submarine coming alongside and offering us a tow; we always had a bad list. Carrying cargo to USA port that didn't exist and the cockroaches that blackened the bulkheads and shared our food. Dear God, it was a nightmare! Is there anyone brave enough to admit they were there too, or did I just imagine it? (Cloud)
 

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Great stuff! I'm sitting here being overlooked by a beautiful carved mahogany head, bought in Takoradi 35 years ago.

I bet you never thought you'd be laughing about that all these years later!

John T.
 

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Black star line

If I remember right BSL was operated at arm's length by Zim Israel in London. I ws interviewed for an engineering post by the catering superintendent. Three hours on the Densu River looking around and askng questions was enough for me. I fled the ship and never went back to sea. If Polarum is able to laugh now - it will be a miracle.
 

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Not BSL but I did do a trip, as Marconi R/O, on the Herbert Macaulay (X Sussex Trader) of Nigerian National and must say that they were weren't any where as bad as that. Quite enjoyed the trip even if I was ashore in Lagos the night of the first coup,then caught malaria in Port Horcourt so as usual it was any excuse for a P***up so all the bottles decended to my cabin as I was confined to bed

NigelC
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Black star line

Nigel: I too served on the Herbert Macauley in 1964 and it helped me to recover somewhat from the trauma of BSL. Leaving Poland, I caught the old man staring intently through binoculars at a nearby bulkhead and slurring "The sea's as dark as a shark's **** tonight". I thought 'Here we go again', but I let it pass and it turned out to be a pretty good trip.

Trotterdotpom and TripleX: With therapy and the love of a good woman, I have learnt to laugh again.
 

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Hi Polarum

It was Nov '65 when I joined the HM in Tilbury and the OM was a J Hogg, quite rotund, can't remember the Mate's Name but he was very very rotund.
Nearly didn't make it home as in a storm, in the middle of the night of course, we lost half our deck cargo of logs over the port side. apart from finishing up with the maximum permittable starboard list the deck crew had to go out and lash the rest down. You can image the Elbe pilots reaction when we arrived with, a now much reduced, 10%+ list and large logs hanging over the side. It was the nearest I ever came to sending an SOS which would have been a bit messy as I was unable to sit down!

Nigel
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Herbert Macauley

Hi Nigel. I'm glad you made it back or you might not be here to tell the tale.
I can't remember a rotund Captain Hogg but on another NNL ship 'Oranyan', the old man was extremely obese and would wolf down every single item on the menu. He went home from Tilbury (with all our docking bottles) and died a couple of days later whilst tucking into a meal at home. We forgave him. When I think of him now, I see a large man with a napkin rigged as a bib, and eagerly enjoying an enormous plate of red cabbage. Happy Days Tony C
 

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Polarum

It was propably all the French Fried Yam that did it.

Have got some pics of HM in it's three guises, I don't know whether you have come across them before. Have attached as HM can let you have the other two if your interested

NigelC
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Herbert Macauley

Many thanks Nigel for the two pics. I liked the Herbert Macauley - but not enough to name any of our four children Herbert. Cheers Tony
 

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...so come on somebody, BSL sounds as though it may be the source of some good laughs. Any pics floating around, cos I can't remember having seen a BSL boat?
 

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At the time of Black Star Lines inception I was working as a Cargo Superintendent for the West African Conference in Tilbury. We did the discharge & loading of both Black Star & later Nigerian National Lines. Initially the only difference between the two was that whilst the Black Star purchased well clapped out old tramp tonnage Nig. Nat. purchased not so well clapped out tramps, although in later years both had some new decent tonnage. Initially Black Star only had the Volta River & were handled Agent wise by a London based offshoot of Zim called Star Shipping, inparticular by the London Zim suprimo Capt. Khan.
One of the early dodges for which the Volta River was known was the carrying of far bigger deck cargoes of logs than other similar ships by means of enhancing their stability by flooding #2 &#4 lower hold log cargoes once they had departed Ghana thus completing the marjority of the voyage with her marks well submerged, something they were subsequently stopped from doing. The dockers also were not best pleased when discharging #2 &#4 to be faced with logs resembling a skating rink & a none too pleasant smell!!!
 

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BSL ships

Pics of two earlier BSL ships Volta River and Densu River. Some were ex-Haines trampships. A ghanaian diplomat was refused a lemonade in howard johnson restaurant and to avoid diplomatic incident president USA ordered increase investment in ghana - later ships in the fleet were bought with the lemonade money and were quite stylish.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Black Star Line: Volta River

I joined the Volta River in Tilbury around 1962, but did a runner a couple of weeks later when she was temporarily moored in Greenhithe. The old man wanted us to sail with only two mates working 12 hours on 12 hours off. Zim superintendent in London: I don’t recall a Captain Khan, but a Captain Gad Hilb who had attempted to break the British blockade of Palestine in 1948. He interviewed me for the job while we were stuck in a lift that was jammed. His minder had an eye patch like Moshe Dayan. But what am I doing? I’m trying to forget all that.
 

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Hello to all,

I had the pleasure to work, as agent, for BSL in Rotterdam with Dammers and van der Heide Agency as from 1974 untill the last day of BSL.
It was a pleasant time.

b/regards

aadje
( Aad Motz )
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Glad you enjoyed your agency work. Hopefully things had improved since the 1960's and that you were able to some mail to the ship's before they left port.
 

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Crewmails

Polarum,
I understand what you mean and must confess such things happens. As I have sailed as well I fully understand the social matter and importance of boarddelivery of mail. First you hand the mail and second you ask Captain " did you have a pleasant voyage?".
No or to late delivery are most famous in Antwerp and USA ports, is n't it??

b/regards
aadje
 
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