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Troutbank first voyage.

Sailed on her for yard trials from Sunderland 17/9/1978 (according to my discharge book) then drydocked on Tyne before Bank Line acceptance trials including measured mile off Souter point with quite a few bob as I recall being wagered on her speed along with catering being provided by off all things a steward in British Rail stewards jacket, (almost surreal). I remember looking down the engine room skylight and was somewhat shocked at seeing for the first time what I later knew was a Doxford engine where everything appeared to be inside out ( being a Radio Officer with some interest in the "garage" I had only sailed on Steam turbine and normal diesel engined ships). Sailed to Bremmerhaven I recall then Rotterdam and Dunkirk loading general cargo for the Gulf. Called at Dubai and then Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. After discharge got new charter for 15000 tons of bagged Urea from Iraq with just a short stay at the infamous Shat-Al-Arab anchorgae for those who remember those long boring days interuppted by cat calls and animal noises on the VHF. Loaded at Um Qasar (not sure of spelling) with destination being Whampoa near Canton China. On completeion of discharge the Red Army searched the ship for stowaways before we slipped our mid river mooring for Japan.
On arrival at Hirahagashima the pilot boat came out then diverted under our stern where they had noticed a man sitting on the rudder. After he was thawed out (mid December ) and found not to be sufferng any ill effects despite hanging onto the space just at the top of the rudder stock and getting dunked every few seconds for nearly three days we aquired ourselves a chinaman who had no papers so Japan would not entertain him as he was an illegal alien with no papers. He remained on board locked away in owners suite whilst on coast as we loaded steel and concrete products for the new port of Yenbu on Red sea coast of Saudia Arabia. On passage the Chinaman was put to work with the Indian crew which at times was entertaining with the Indian Serang trying to explain the task to a bemused Chinaman.
After Yenbu we carried on through Suez to Izumit in Turkey, Annaba in Algeria whre our ever resourceful skipper who'se name eludes me managed to get us alongside form our anchorage to load fresh water which was very low. This was done with the exchange of bottled beverages enimating from Scotland before the local fire brigade turned up with a water tender complete with sirens and flashing lights just to fill out tanks using their pumps. After Annaba we sailed light ship towards Gibraltar where the first complete officer change was done on 20th March 1980, after which I never sailed again on a Bank Line vessel but it was an interesting six months to say the least, oh and by the way when we left the chinaman was still stateless and onboard so if anyone can update the story please do.
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