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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I am new to this forum, so I would like to give you a brief intro as to why I am here. My father was a soldier in the Vietnam war and fled Vietnam in 1981 on a boat along with 20-30 other refugees. He left Vietnam April/May 1981 - leaving my mum, my older brother and myself behind. After several weeks at sea (and run-ins with Thai pirates) their boat was picked up by the Texaco Bombay, perhaps in June 1981 and perhaps in or around the Gulf of Thailand.
The captain and crew of the Texaco Bombay ported in Singapore shortly afterwards, where my father and other refugees were held and processed. At the time my father recalled seeing 'London' and 'Texaco Bombay 2' on do***entation, but at the time he did not speak English. After some research on my side I concluded 'London' referred to the vessel's registered port and perhaps 'Texaco Bombay 2' referred to the second set of refugees that had been picked up by the vessel. My father initially thought that the vessel was called 'Texaco Bombay 2', but I can not find a vessel of that name in any of my searches. I believe my father may have mixed up what he saw on do***entation with what he thought was the vessel's name (it was over 38 years ago).
After several weeks in Singapore my father and the other refugees were sent to Scotland to start their new life. Our family was re-united in 1988 when my mum, my brother and myself (I was 7 years old at the time and had never met my father) were flown over to be repatriated with my father. Our family have always been grateful for the safe passage of the boat and to the UK government for its open-door policy for refugees fleeing war. Above that, we are extremely grateful to the captain and crew of the Texaco Bombay who helped to change so many lives and was at the right place at the right time (my father said that the day after being picked up there was a huge storm in the region, which would have capsized their boat!).

I am here hoping to find information on the captain and crew of the Texaco Bombay that picked up my father's boat, I know it would mean a lot to my father to be able to meet those who saved him and the others. If you were part of that crew, please get in touch. If you know someone who was part of that crew, please get in touch. I would really appreciate any information that could help put me in touch with them.

Thank you,
Thanh
 

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Lovely story Thanh- I wish you every success on your search.

Lots of BP men and threads on SN - I expect some will be along to provide details of Texaco Bombay.

BW

J(Gleam)(Gleam)
 

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Thanh
There is a website for Texaco Overseas Tankship, see link with pictures and some details of the ship:-

https://tota.co.uk/index.php?ship_id=4

This gives some details of the T2 tanker Caltex Bombay which was later enlarged and renamed Texaco Bombay.

I served with Caltex 1954-1958, all their ships were renamed Texaco xxxx,
Unfortunately the web site does not seem to have maintained since 2015.

Regards

Ian
 

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https://graphics.latimes.com/tent-city/

Quote

Inside the tent city, the lost and the bewildered roamed, one of them describing their arrival “like coming to the promised land — just that we didn’t know what was promised or where we would land.”

Unquote

LOTS of pictures including one of a 4 years old girl, with her grandmother, pictured forty years later at her Clovis, CA home.

https://www.kpbs.org/news/2010/apr/29/camp-pendletons-tent-city-housed-50000-vietnamese-/

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/150-years/sd-me-150-years-april-30-htmlstory.html

-----

I knew one man, and his two young son's, who came in that airlift. Truong's wife had been gunned down on a Saigon street. In Saigon his family had run a Locksmithing business for decades. He had worked closely with the US and they were flown on a US Navy Cargo Plane -- with a couple refueling stops -- direct to Camp Pendleton.

Truong Dong was his name and they lived with an American sponsor in Costa Mesa, CA.

September 1976 I was hired as a maintenance engineer at SCPH:

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-photos/snawi-the-westin-south-coast-plaza-costa-mesa/

Truong Dong was the Locksmith. It was a Sunday, I was working the day shift alone, when a guest broke a key off in a guestroom door lock. I telephoned Truong to come in, which he did, but disgruntled about leaving a celebration at home. He collected his tools while he and I exchanged some nasty comments to each other.

Then we both stopped and looked at each other and I stuck out my right hand and introduced myself. Truong replied in an equally friendly manner. I went with Truong to fix the lock. Truong showed me how to take the key stub out. It was SO easy when you know how.

How?

Take two tiny pocket sized, straight blade screwdrivers. Grab the stub on both sides with the screwdrivers and pull it out. Truong had brought a replacement lock with him, since when keys break, sometimes something breaks inside the lock.

1978 I was promoted to a newly created position of Assistant Chief Engineer. When I got a call from a brand new Front Office Manager. A guest had broken a key off in one of the safety deposit boxes. So Truong and I show up. The Front Office Manager just had to explain to us how we should open the box. He said we needed to drill out both locks then take a thing -- Truong and I had to provide the FOM with the tool nomenclature -- a slide hammer -- and pull both locks out.

The FOM was dumb-founded when Truong said "we do it differently here". Truong took one single lock pick in each hand and simultaneously picked both locks. In seconds Truong swung the door open unscrewed both locks, telling the FOM that he would re-key the locks and bring him new keys.

February 1981 I was promoted to the newly created position of Energy Manager and transferred to the Westin Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix. Just before we left Truong and his son's took my wife and I out to a Vietnamese restaurant.

We ate in what Truong said was the food and the way they ate in courses in 'Nam. Truong explained what all the dishes were and how they were prepared. We had a darn nice time. I never saw Truong again after I left SCPH.

Attached:

SCPH-Front-Door-E.jpg
You can see the steel pipe and canvas porte cochere:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/porte cochere

Quote

a roofed structure extending from the entrance of a building over an adjacent driveway and sheltering those getting in or out of vehicles.

Unquote

The front of the hotel faces a grassy park that connects via wide concrete sidewalks other nearby places including a live theater building, a multi screen movie theater building - I saw Das Boot there.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082096/

And a huge Opera house. The shopping center across the street South Coast Plaza was built first. There were not a lot of stores at first but there was a large upscale department store on the west end then a whole bunch of one story stores then a Sears on the east end. They still have not stopped developing SCP now tearing down old to build new.

The top hotel guestroom floor is 16, floor 17 above is where the Maintenance Department is located. Behind the windowless area where the main sign is. Along with a pair of 300 tons 480 VAC 3 phase electric centrifugal chillers, an outdoors on the roof 600 ton evaporative cooling tower, and a pair of natural gas fired, 300 horsepower, 150 pounds, Bryan watertube boilers. Typically hotels have 14 or 15 KVA of utility power brought into the building and billed on the high side and then transformed via hotel owned transformers to 480/240/208/120 the main electrical switchboards and transformers are on 17.

SCPH-Game-Deck-E.jpg
You can see the top of the waterfall at the bottom of this picture. The tent on the left has permanent hard walls and a tent roof. We were always putting up tents there.

SCPH-Lobby-E.jpg
You can see the rest of the waterfall through the floor to ceiling glass main lobby wall. There is a shallow pool at the bottom of the waterfall. Once we had a female sorority in house for a weekend. They filled all of our four hundred guestrooms. I got a call from the FOM to get my posterior post haste to meet him in the lobby. He wanted me to witness and confirm that they were really there and that he was not imagining what he saw: a bunch of naked sorority women in the waterfall pool, some washing their hair under the waterfall. Before he went out there and shut them down.

The waterfall is powered by a vertical, 25 HP, 480 VAC, 3 phase, electric motor and pump, there is a swimming pool type sand filter, both located in a tiny basement closet adjacent to the laundry

SCPH-Main-Entry-E.jpg
This is where you turn off Anton Street to enter the hotel with the entry on the other side. When I was there employee parking was diagonal parking at the curb down at the dead end of Anton Street.

Notice the open balconies on each guest floor. These balconies are on both ends of the tower. Initially each had only the single steel orange 'fence' you can see. Soon as the hotel opened people were coming from all over to ride the elevator to the top floor and jump off the balcony committing suicide.

We stood at eighteen jumpers plus a couple individuals who killed themselves in their guestrooms. Westin Corporate had their architects draw up a recommendation for leaper screens on each floor balcony. But the owner kept saying no.

We had some big shot shindig happening one evening. I was standing in the lobby facing the front doors with the General Manager, Executive Assistant Manager and the Chief of Security. Awaiting the imminent arrival of the senior patriarch of our owners. During my era at SCPH it was published in the local newspaper that our owners annual income was $35,000 an hour - 8,760 hours per year - you do the math. Our owners had been farming these former bean fields for generations. Now they were developing the land.

The owner walked in looking worse for wear, hands and face dirty and cut and his clothes were stained, torn and askew, he walked up to the GM and said:

First, number nineteen leaper, is laying out there on the south sidewalk.

Second I was just walking in here from the parking lot when something heavy hit my back and sent me sprawling on my face.

That something was # 19.

How soon can you have those F****** Leaper Screens up?

Took us six weeks and we got a LOT of positive praise and press from the local mental health community.

SCPH-Pool-E.jpg

The bottom of the pool is the main kitchen ceiling. The pool is steam heated. Initially the only filter was DE -- diatomaceous earth -- that is overly complicated. On recommendations from others we added a bank of easily cleaned paper cartridge filters, that feed into a sand filter, then the DE and that really reduced the frequency of cleaning the DE filter. That and we were always getting phone calls that there was no water in the pool. The water was so pure it seemed to disappear - all you saw were the sides and bottom of the pool.

Attached:

SCPH-Front-Door-E.jpg (205.6 KB)
SCPH-Game-Deck-E.jpg (125.7 KB)
SCPH-Lobby-E.jpg (131.1 KB)
SCPH-Main-Entry-E.jpg (129.4 KB)
SCPH-Pool-E.jpg (127.8 KB)

Understand all of the originals of these pictures were twice or three times larger I always massage post pictures in Photoshop.

Greg Hayden
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the replies, it gives me hope in my search. I found the below entry on TOTA;

"Notes - In 1978 TEXACO BOMBAY, under the command of Captain Peter Foot , rescued seven seamen from a liferaft who had abandoned their ship in flames off Puerto Rico. The Colombian registered ESPERANZA, carrying a cargo of rice began taking on water.

The American Captain Jon A Casanova IV of ESPERANZA attempted to reach the Puerto Rican coast, but the pumps could not cope and the ship
developed a severe list. Captain Casanova and his six man crew abandoned the ship which subsequently caught fire and sank 50 miles offshore.

Six hours later, Ian Burgess, 3rd Officer on TEXACO BOMBAY spotted the liferaft and alerted Captain Foot. The ship reduced speed and circles while Michael Burton-Hopkins, Chief Officer and 2nd Engineer Tommy Graham prepared the number one lifeboat. TEXACO BOMBAY got ready to pass a line to the liferaft with a rocket line but if that failed the ship"

The rescue was 3 year's prior to my father's boat being picked up - it is possible the Captain (Peter Foot) or the 3rd Officer (Ian Burgess) may have been part of the crew that picked up my father's boat. If there is any way I can contact either of them, I would greatly appreciate it!

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Texaco Bombay

I came across your post and had a quick look to see if I could find any info. I checked on Facebook because I'm a member of 2 groups which have to do with shipping companies and ship. But I didn't find any reference to Texaco.

I did find the info below. Maybe you could try the email address if the association is still active.

Good luck

Paul Darrell Slingsby

TOTA

The Texaco Overseas Tankship Association was formed in 1997. It is open to anyone who was employed by the company or its predecessors either afloat and/or ashore.

Regular correspondence is maintained with members.

There. is an annual subscription of £10.00 per former employee to cover administrative costs.

A List of Members is sent to all paid up members.

To contact us, email us at [email protected].


Home History News Ships Ports Links About
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I came across your post and had a quick look to see if I could find any info. I checked on Facebook because I'm a member of 2 groups which have to do with shipping companies and ship. But I didn't find any reference to Texaco.

I did find the info below. Maybe you could try the email address if the association is still active.

Good luck

Paul Darrell Slingsby

TOTA

The Texaco Overseas Tankship Association was formed in 1997. It is open to anyone who was employed by the company or its predecessors either afloat and/or ashore.

Regular correspondence is maintained with members.

There. is an annual subscription of £10.00 per former employee to cover administrative costs.

A List of Members is sent to all paid up members.

To contact us, email us at [email protected].


Home History News Ships Ports Links About

Thank you so much for your reply,

Sorry I am slow to respond, I haven't checked the forum for some time now. I tried to email the above, but unfortunately the email address is bouncing with the error 'The response from the remote server was:
550 5.1.1 <[email protected]>: Recipient address rejected: User unknown in virtual alias table'

Are there any members of TOTA on here who can confirm if the website/service is still functioning?

I appreciate everyone's effort to help and I shall keep endeavouring to find the crew.

All the best and stay safe,
Thanh
 
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