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Rubens Fire off Recife

Have just found this forum and georged's posting.

I was a supernumary (paid 1sh per month + meals and a cabin) on the SS Rubens and was at the wheel when I noticed smoke coming from one of the ventilators to the large forward hold. Alerting Captain McNeil who then took over control of the ship.
I also think it was around midday, but it was in 1967, perhaps May or June (?). The ship docked at Recife at close to midnight.

I still have a photo taken when daylight broke, of three fire engines on the dockside alongside the SS Rubens, with the fire still burning away, and with three dozy fire crews arguing over whose responsibility it was to fight the fire - I think these were the docks fire brigade, the local civil fire brigade and the local navy fire brigade.

Amongst my duties was looking after two racehorses being sent out to Brazil for stud. They were called Princely Portion and Royal ????. They were housed in two large boxes, with a centre dividing rail that enabled me to corral them aside whilst I cleaned out the other half....I mucked them out and fed them in their boxes on the aft deck. They were taken off as soon as we docked at Recife. Princely Portion was a fairly calm horse but Royal ???? was a kicker, lashing out at me all the time when I was mucking out or feeding him.

There were two passengers for the trip, a brazilian lady and her 11 yr. old son.

Captain McNeil's son was also on board in the crew, he was about my age, (then 19).

Firstly Steam smothering and then Carbon Dioxide smothering were tried to extinguish the fire, neither worked and the Lloyds agent ordered the hold to be flooded. He had been trying to save other cargo in the same hold including valuable electronic equipment for a new telephone exchange in Sao Paulo.

Eventual clearance of the hold took place in Santos, over many days, enabling me and others to go and watch the Santos football team which then included Pele.
 

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To: Charles who contacted me yesterday, it is great to hear from you. What memories we must both have of the voyage in 1967. I am having difficulty with my old email address to which your message was sent. Is it possible please to send your message again to me at.... [email protected]..... with your email address? Looking forward to hearing from you. RL.
 
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