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Lagos - what can you say, other than AVOID IF YOU CAN...
<shudders>

It has to be one of the worst places I've ever been to - and Port Harcourt is very similar these days - corrupt and dangerous.

You don't anchor overnight, unless you want an unwanted visitation - you steam out 40-50 miles before dark, & slow steam until just before sunrise, then run back in.

At least you can make some water overnight...
 

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Lagos - what can you say, other than AVOID IF YOU CAN...
<shudders>

It has to be one of the worst places I've ever been to - and Port Harcourt is very similar these days - corrupt and dangerous.

You don't anchor overnight, unless you want an unwanted visitation - you steam out 40-50 miles before dark, & slow steam until just before sunrise, then run back in.

At least you can make some water overnight...
When anchored off Okrika at night we had the cable washers going full blast, 2 GPs up for'd with an Aldis and a couple of Pick axe type handles. Radar on the shortest range possible, and hand held radio comm's with the bridge. Any boats coming close got the Aldis in their faces, and shown the handles. Also another patrol around the rest of the ship. Only ever anchored off there a couple of times though.
 

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I was on the Lagos Okrika run on a River boat - cant remember which one it was just now - in '79.

That was scary, paid off by lifeboat onto the beach stayed in the Holiday Inn.

Ian
 

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Yeah, I joined a river boat there in the seventies and the agents could not supply a boat to get us out to the anchorage. In the end the ship send a lefeboat in to get us. We were all happy to get onboard and did not envy the guys going off the same way.
Happy days!
 

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Lagos isn't to bad if you get away from the port and the central city area. In 1980 I left the merchant and worked in Lagos for Decca Navigator commissioning the new navigator chain (master, red, green, purple). The people were ok, it was the snakes you had to look out for!
 

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I was on the Lagos Okrika run on a River boat - cant remember which one it was just now - in '79.

That was scary, paid off by lifeboat onto the beach stayed in the Holiday Inn.

Ian
I was Lecky on the Dart and paid off by lifeboat in Aug 78.
We met our reliefs on the "beach" and checked into the Federal palace hotel from memory. We were on the night flight that evening to Gatwick [British Caledonian].
The experience at the airport lives long in the memory, getting through security with hundreds trying to get through a single door! We had a couple of wives with us and to be honest I dont think it was just them terrified!
I am in the process of downloading a lot of photos to the gallery. I think I have a few of the anchorage with us surrounded bu various ships including cement ships.

Dave
 

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I left there to get married. BP told my missus to be I had left the ship 2 weeks earlier than I had, so she was a little worried - thought I had done a bunk.

My overriding memories are signing off a huge hotel bill, and being searched repeatedly for anything of value that could be taken off us.

We had left anything of value back on the ship, rather than let the 'Gents' from Lagos have them!

I must find my discharge book and check on dates and ships etc.

Ian
 

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I was sparky on the Dart at the time of joining in Lagos. I will need to check my old discharge book when I get home for the date. We may well have met on the quay-side.
I was back in Nigeria in the 90's but fortunately on that occassion we stayed in a guarded compound when joining and leaving the ship. Same hassle at the airport though.
Top of my list of places to avoid.
 

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Found my old testimonials and I was on the British Laurel when off Nigeria.

I left 15/03/1979 by lifeboat to the beach as previously mentioned.

Does anyone remember the Severn Gorge?

On the jetty in Okrika there was a deep 'V' shaped gouge in the concrete jetty, apparently caused by the bow of British Severn.

Some wag had painted 'Severn Gorge' along it.

Ian
 

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I thought it was Security as well.
While up there I took a picture of the berthing arrangements, the two dugout canoes.
My father had to attend a meeting in Portsmouth where he was responsible for the berthing of RN ships in the Dockyard. He produced my pictures and said this is how BP do it up a river in Africa, think the comment was "not up to our standards".
(Cloud)
 

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Remember being in Lagos on the Cormorant berthed at that abbatoir the locols sold "pets" to the crew several Parrots Sand Monkeys and believe it or not a Babboon which we named Kong and they all came back to Tyneside with us I wnder what became of them?
Drynet
I must have been on the ship at the same time. We were running from West Africa to Curacao. I remember Kong and the Old Man eventually banished them all to the funnel deck
Mike
 

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Weren't some of them there for so long that the cement went solid and had to be broken out with windy hammers?
I heard it was the misplacing of a full stop or comma, or the wrong measure of weight that caused the problem.

There were quite a few in '76 which was the last time I was at Lagos.
Story I'd heard was that nobody thought it necessary to tell the Nigerians that the stuff had to be mixed with sand and gravel before use.
 

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Found my old testimonials and I was on the British Laurel when off Nigeria.

I left 15/03/1979 by lifeboat to the beach as previously mentioned.

Does anyone remember the Severn Gorge?

On the jetty in Okrika there was a deep 'V' shaped gouge in the concrete jetty, apparently caused by the bow of British Severn.

Some wag had painted 'Severn Gorge' along it.

Ian
The 'Security' put it there long before the 'Severn' was built.
 

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Its a long time ago but we were even taking cement to Nigeria way back in the sixties..and bringing huge Mahogany logs back as deck cargo.

I joined a 'Hungry Hains' tramp steamer "Mv Trecarrell" as an ordinary Seaman in Salford. (Black funnel, huge white 'H' on it) We were told she was bound for West Africa.. It was Dec 62, one of the coldest winters on record and the thought of three months on the African west coast sounded like heaven to us..
I didnt even take a coat or oilskins.. Just a few T shirts, jeans, shorts and my sunglasses.

It wasnt until we noticed on the second nights bridge watch that we were steering N/W and not South after lands end that we were finaly told we were first loading up some Cement to "take" to West Africa in the baltic Port of Gydinia.
That was 62, the year the Baltic froze over and the Poles were escaping from communism by simply walking across the baltic to Sweden.. It was not a happy Xmas that year but at least it was dirt cheap... We managed to smuggle a couple of crates of Vodka aboard.. and a lot of smoked polish sausage/salami to ward off starvation.
Good trip though, Shore gang joined, living on deck after Freetown, off loaded Takoradi, Tema and then Lagos. We offloaded all the bags of cement (by dockers on their shoulders not trucks) and I learned a lot about rigging heavy jumbo Dereks for loading logs up in Sapelle, miles and miles up into the jungle up the fresh water creeks, with (literally) monkeys almost hanging in the rigging. We wern't even insured by Lloyds past a certain point in the river, (or so they said) The pilots came out in canoes (honestly) shouting " I am de one boss, I am de one" This sound like a messroom yarn spin but as swear its not..

We were about a week loading logs in Sapelle and a Norwegian chippy on the next ship to us, was found beheaded ashore after arguing with some locals, it really was just jungle there in the sixties.. Heavy duty shore leave...

I was only on her about three or four months but the deck cargo shifted homeward bound in Biscay and made us list so we had make for a French Port (La Rochelle I think) to off load some dangerous Deck cargo and the main cargo of logs stowed below decks was taken to Antwerp... I took my chance and persuaded them to pay me off there, faking injury to my back from a 'staged' fall off the logs.

Bear in mind this was long before the days of "Injury lawyers for you" all I got above my wages in the ship was the price of the North Sea Ferry fare home and two days subsidence at the Local Seamans mission..

I got a matross job on Norsk coaster "Tobin"at the Rotterdam pool a couple of days later. My back miraculously now"healed"..

All in all a rather "intresting" Nigerian trip but she was a typical tramp.. Hungry as hell but still, I learned more about rigging and "being" an AB on that one trip than a dozen oil tankers.. She didnt even have Iron Mike either, all watches were three man, lookout, wheel man and farmer.. No day workers just three watches, a bosun and a chippy.. There you go... Wooden ships and iron men...
 

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Nice story Paul but why not name the ship.
I was at Sapele first time in 1945 in Dallington Court and we moored to
trees oposite Sapele so it was a canoe ride for a pack of cigarettes..
There again in 1952 in Starcrest ..and it had not changed..
I made a trip in one of Hain's Trevanion in 1948.. Cuba for sugar..
Regards,
Stan
 

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Trecarrell

Nice story Paul but why not name the ship.
I was at Sapele first time in 1945 in Dallington Court and we moored to
trees oposite Sapele so it was a canoe ride for a pack of cigarettes..
There again in 1952 in Starcrest ..and it had not changed..
I made a trip in one of Hain's Trevanion in 1948.. Cuba for sugar..
Regards,
Stan
'Trecarrell'.. Sorry Stan, thought I had, been back now and edited it.(Smoke)

If you have been to Sapelle no doubt "flash for gash" may bring back some old memories?
evidently in those days beer cans were highly prized for canoe repairs and those drinking beer over the rail were rallied by the cries of the young ladies in canoes how they would be rewarded for any empties thrown overboard to them. (I've never ever drunk as many McEwan cans since than I did when I sailed up those Nigerian creeks!)
 

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i was on the ikeja palm when that farce was going on we had taken two giant machines that were part of the giant cement mixers required to start the ball rolling so to speak one part was over twenty tons the discharge went ok,and we were in the process of changing the rig steam guys etc when the train that had the load on moved and the lift had not been secured properly and the whole load promptly rolled off the train,and sustained a large fracture i believe another palm boat took the object back to u.k for repair months later rgds(Thumb)
Got a picture of the IKeja Palm berthed in Lagos in 1962. Its in my old scrapbook somewhere if you want it, I'll scan her & post it.
 
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