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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Hi Hamish, Found the newspaper cutting at last. Yes it was the Kelvinbank on Jan 6th [ year unknown but think 1954/55 ]. No casualties and all crew taken on board Titanbank for passage to NZ. Caption to photo says" British motorship Kelvinbank hard aground on reef at Ocean Island".Wonder whats left of her after 50 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Many thanks Marconi Sahib for referral to thread re Kelvinbank. Very interesting for me to see photo.
Terry Rose
 

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Because both Christmas Island and Nauru are the peaks of oceanic mountains, the bottom falls away alarmingly only a short distance from the shore. There were no wharves as such and you were strung between the loading gantry and a number of buoys. These buoys must have had miles and miles of chain to the bottom. When sailing, these buoys had to be let go and because of the tension on the mile of mooring chain, a little man was put on the buoy with a hammer. At the given signal, he held on with one hand and belted the cable slip with his hammer and the buoy took off! God knows how more of these little men were not killed.
Anyway, just for a bit of colour, here's some waves on the loaders at Christmas Island.
URL=http://img525.imageshack.us/my.php?image=crhistmasislf9.jpg]
[/URL]
 

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Thanks for posting photo of Christmas island Chillytoes. I did a few trips between there and Geelong in the 60s on the Borgnes. Just a question how do you make the picture larger please? Thanks.
Neil
 

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Hi Calm C.
Small world, I was Master of Eigamoiya during 1982 when we drifted off Nauru because of the Westerleys with Cape Trafalgar, one of the baron ships and a couple of Harrison ships. Sometime towards the end of the drift the Britannia turned up on a state visit, we had carried a load of explosives from Melbourne in our forward magazine to blast a channel through the reef on the easterly side of the island in case the royal barge could not make it into the boat harbour.
 

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Just read your thread and see its a while ago. Anyway, I was at Naurau frequently in the early sixties as cadet and then third mate with Lyle. Cape Grenville and Cape Sable come to mind and, yes, it was a dusty business but done in a day. The only good things about the trade were the discharging in Oz and then coal to Japan.
 

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Rock Phosphate

Hello Terry,

During 1955, I "stood by" M.v. " Triaster " being built at Glasgow for the British Phosphate Commission, as an Elect. Engineer, then did the delivery voyage to Melbourne, Australia.

Between 1955 & 1959, I did many voyages on her to Nauru & Ocean Islands, operating out of Melbourne. I also did a couple of voyages on the Triadic to the Islands.

Since then have settled in Melbourne, although born Swansea Wales in 1927.
If I can help you with any photos or info please let me know.

Regards, Terence Williams.(A) R.538301.
 

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Had the pleasure of visiting Ocean Is,Nauru, Christmas Is then discharging in NZ or Aus we did this for 7 months then singapore for drydock and home, One thing that has stuck in my mind was when the locals working onboard had lunch it was corned beef and rice.
 

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Memories of a dusty rock.

I was on the Nauru run the whole of 1966 with M/V Varangfjell, and came to know the island quite well. Approaching the island from southward we took our usual observation after sunset , and laid on a course for Nauru. Due to the westerly current we inevitably were set far to the west of the island. Having run our distance we turned due east, and after a couple of hours we would sight tha masts of other ships awaiting their turn to load. Having sighted the island we shut down the engines and drifted westward for the next 24 hours. This was repeated for days on end. Once we drifted there for 35 days before we were able to go alongside the reef and start loading. This could not be done if the wind exceeded force3. The Island are mushrom shaped and the seaside moorings laid on a slope not far from the edge were the deep ocean began. These moorings were a constant worry for the local harbourmaster. Once alongside the two cantilevers swung out, and loading 15000 tons were accomplished in a few hours. The dust were all over the ship, inside and out. Whoever was not needed onboard, went ashore or took a swim in the boat harbour. The island were absolutely dry at the time. No beer. Not even sugar and yeast were sold. This in order to enforce sobriety among the inhabitants. The were about 7000 Nauruans at the time, but having the highest per capita income in the world at the time, very few bothered to work. The labor was imported from the Gilbert Isl. The exception were the Police and Postal service. At the Post Office they shook parcels arriving from OZ and NZ, and if they heard something clucking inside, the parcel simply disappeared. The Police were also in the business of impounding other peoples liquor, whether homemade or imported. Partynight was every night, and they were racing each other in big cars on the 10 miles of highway along the coast. We had a couple of passengers to Nauru once. The two chaps came back onboard on the next trip, the task done. One (a Finn of course) brought with him a gallon of a yellow liquid he called beer/vine/champaign. Turned out he had made the brew by fermenting Marmite! Having loaded we set course for OZ or NZ. Discharging in Brisbane, Newcastle, Port Kembla, Melbourne, Bluff Harbour, Napier, Lyttlton, Whangarei. A round trip took as much as 55 days, and that in a dry ship! If you saw me there slightly tipsy on occasions, there was a reason for that!
Finally, I have also written the story of my life at sea for the benefit of my grandchildren, and I will recommend others to do the same. We are a dying breed and som much history will be lost when we are gone.
Knut.
 

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I was on the Nauru run the whole of 1966 with M/V Varangfjell, and came to know the island quite well. Approaching the island from southward we took our usual observation after sunset , and laid on a course for Nauru. Due to the westerly current we inevitably were set far to the west of the island. Having run our distance we turned due east, and after a couple of hours we would sight tha masts of other ships awaiting their turn to load. Having sighted the island we shut down the engines and drifted westward for the next 24 hours. This was repeated for days on end. Once we drifted there for 35 days before we were able to go alongside the reef and start loading. This could not be done if the wind exceeded force3. The Island are mushrom shaped and the seaside moorings laid on a slope not far from the edge were the deep ocean began. These moorings were a constant worry for the local harbourmaster. Once alongside the two cantilevers swung out, and loading 15000 tons were accomplished in a few hours. The dust were all over the ship, inside and out. Whoever was not needed onboard, went ashore or took a swim in the boat harbour. The island were absolutely dry at the time. No beer. Not even sugar and yeast were sold. This in order to enforce sobriety among the inhabitants. The were about 7000 Nauruans at the time, but having the highest per capita income in the world at the time, very few bothered to work. The labor was imported from the Gilbert Isl. The exception were the Police and Postal service. At the Post Office they shook parcels arriving from OZ and NZ, and if they heard something clucking inside, the parcel simply disappeared. The Police were also in the business of impounding other peoples liquor, whether homemade or imported. Partynight was every night, and they were racing each other in big cars on the 10 miles of highway along the coast. We had a couple of passengers to Nauru once. The two chaps came back onboard on the next trip, the task done. One (a Finn of course) brought with him a gallon of a yellow liquid he called beer/vine/champaign. Turned out he had made the brew by fermenting Marmite! Having loaded we set course for OZ or NZ. Discharging in Brisbane, Newcastle, Port Kembla, Melbourne, Bluff Harbour, Napier, Lyttlton, Whangarei. A round trip took as much as 55 days, and that in a dry ship! If you saw me there slightly tipsy on occasions, there was a reason for that!
Finally, I have also written the story of my life at sea for the benefit of my grandchildren, and I will recommend others to do the same. We are a dying breed and som much history will be lost when we are gone.
Knut.
Made a few phosphate runs with the Bank Line in the 50s and remember the dust very well.Unfortunately on one occasion some of our crew forgot and decided to stash their contraband cigarettes in the tween deck box beams. It must have seemed a good idea in the dark but when the Aussie rummagers opened the hatches there was a trail of footprints in the tal***-like dust stopping immediately underneath their hiding place!I think the Old Man was fined and did'nt find it as amusing as we did.
 

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Hello, I was just browsing the web looking for information on "Kelvinbank" when I came across your conversation. My Grandfather, Kevin Lennon, was in charge of the power house on Ocean and Nauru for a number of years and was a mad photographer. I thought you may be interested in one of the photos I now have. If you are interested in any more, don't hesitate to contact me.
 

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no you didn't it was sunk on the 19th of June 1940, by a German submarine u-48 on a trip from Bougie to Glasgow while it was carrying a load of iron ore
 
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