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I joined the Trent, a products tanker, in Dunkirk as 2/E. Train to London from Glasgow then on to Dover over the channel by hovercraft then taxi to the ship. It was 5th November 1986.

We went into the Black Sea loaded at Tuapse in Russia, it was winter and very cold. We passed under the new bridge they were building in Istanbul across the Bosporus. When we arrived in Odessa we had the usual customs and immigration to go through and then we got our subs in Russian roubles. Many of the guys had been there before and told us just to get 10 roubles and the exchange rate was one rouble to one pound. However their advice was to put extra cash in our socks which we changed with money changers in the town, the money not the socks, there was no shortage of guys wanting US dollars and Sterling and we got a good exchange rate. Before we left Tuapse we changed our original ten roubles back to Sterling with the agent. Don’t remember drinking beer but the cafes and bars had plenty of Russian champagne which was too bad. One evening in Tuapse when leaving the bar we teamed up with a load of guys off a German ship and some Philipinos from another ship, and we formed a Conga line and performed a conga all the way back to the ship. The Russian police in their fur coats and holding machine guns just looked at us and laughed.

We headed to New Haven, Connecticut, seemed strange bringing Russian oil to the USA. We had a half day off and proceeded to the local mall to buy some winter jackets as we were heading back to Russia. I was with a couple of cadets and we had a bit of trouble getting into bars as the drinking age there is twenty one. We got into to one eventually which had loads of Yale University pennants on the walls and I asked the barman why they were there, he opened the door and pointed across the road to Yale University on the other side of the road. On leaving the New Haven we went down the East river in New York under the Brooklyn Bridge and you could look into the Two Bridges area of Manhattan, it was at night and looked quite dramatic.

It was back to Russia, to Odessa this time but we stopped off for some routine repairs at the shipyard in Gibraltar for about a week. We managed to do some tourist type stuff and took a cable car to the top of the rock and saw the rock monkeys. The pubs were very British with draft English beer. In Odessa the agent laid on a bus trip up in to the countryside and he took us to a Museum where the guide tried explained the Russian side to the Crimean war with the British described as imperial aggressors. Oh and we had some more Russian champagne before leaving port.

The ship then headed to Las Palmas with a cargo of heating oil where it took about a week to discharge so we had a few runs into town, it was a lot warmer than we had been in Russia. The next loading port was Iskenderun in Turkey near the Syria border where we loaded a cargo of oil for Swansea in Wales. The oil had come from Iraq through a pipeline that ran through Syria to Turkey.

The guys on the Trent were wearing the Royal Navy type braid and the Chief Steward told me he had some in his stores if I wanted them , so that night I walked in to the bar with my ‘new’ braid on my shoulders. Unfortunately I was wearing it the wrong way round but the captains wife saw me and changed the braid around to the correct way just as well as it would have cost me a case of beer to be flying the wrong way. I think the curl went over the top to the back, but can’t remember.

I paid off the ship in Swansea and got the train to London then on to Glasgow. This was my second BP ship after the Gas Enterprise and I came to BP through the Wallems IOM agency after being made redundant from Denholms and then Swecal. I did one more BP ship, the BP vigour, and then went to offshore drilling rigs in the UK and then Worldwide I stayed on rigs of various types for the next twenty seven years

The British Trent was one of the best trips of my sea going career, being a products tanker it went to much better ports than I was used to on crude carriers, the engine room was good and the was a great bunch of guys on it. It was a shame that later it was involved in a collision with so many fatalities.

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Here are a few more Trent pics. The one in the bar has the captain and his wife , the chief Jimmy Kinsella (great guy from Liverpool), the electrician and the 3/E and I think the chief Steward standing behind the Chief. The one with the bridge in the background is Istanbul. It was Tenerife we went not Las Palmas as I said in my earlier posting, one of the photos shows us approaching Tenerife.

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Here are a few more Trent pics. The one in the bar has the captain and his wife , the chief Jimmy Kinsella (great guy from Liverpool), the electrician and the 3/E and I think the chief Steward standing behind the Chief. The one with the bridge in the background is Istanbul. It was Tenerife we went not Las Palmas as I said in my earlier posting, one of the photos shows us approaching Tenerife.

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Tuapse brings back memories. I was on the Tay in 85 when we loaded naphtha for tarragona discharge. Remember soldiers on jetty covering focsle gangway and poop, not to stop us getting off we were told to prevent Russian citizens getting on and buggering off ski. Run ashore was an eye opener, bus toll us to seaman's mission loads of books on Marx lennin etc which you could take then onto neptune bar for onion beer vodka and champagne. In my later career as a building inspector I met a champagne socialist farmer who raged about soviet Russia and all the benefits of the communist system.. when I told him I had been and what it was really like his chin hit the floor as at that time not many people had been to russia
On a side note I recognise the guy sat down in the bar with the Falklands sweat shirt I think his name was wally and he was a jock seaman?
 

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Can't remember his name I think he may have been the bosun. Russia was an eye opener we were there a few days and I got to know a girl and she took me around the town. I wanted to look in some of the shops. She told me no problem and we got a mini bus taxi into town and she told me to keep my mouth shut as she did not want anyone to know she was with a foreign seaman. There were bread shops and fruit shops with big queues, we went into an electrical shop and there were only a couple of TVs and a radio for sale and all the other shelves were empty. When I left she gave me a bottle of Stolly and a Matryoshka doll which I gave to my mother when I got home, I drank the Stolly. My mother never knew where I actually obtained that doll :)

One of the deck cadets bought a fur hat off one of the guards for a few beers but later thought he would wash it when it came out of the washing machine it had shrunk to about a 1/4 the size.
 

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I was on the Trent in 1975 when we visited Tuapse. We were treated to a football match against one of the local teams. Half-time, the locals gathered in the centre circle and ate oranges. We collapsed on the sideline and downed cans of Tennants! Needless to say, we lost....... :ROFLMAO:
 

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Was in Tuapse loading ore , summer 1969 , don't remember much but still got pics.
 
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