Cardiff City (1)

Comments from the forum - 6

It was interesting to read Graham’s experience with Hydrodynamic effects and made me think about an incident on the “Cardiff City” in the Suez Canal where we managed to block the canal for a number of hours. We were on our way to Bremen from West Australia where we had loaded a full cargo of grain. Almost all officers, (except for a few apprentice changes in Hamburg in early 1963), had been on the vessel for 17 months since sailing from Sunderland on October 12th 1962. Anyway,our world cruise was coming to an end in early March 1964 as we transited the canal northbound in convoy on a very pleasant sunny morning. I was on the bridge as third mate with the pilot and Capt. Picton Davies and the seacunny helmsman on the wheel . We were proceeding at the regular canal speed of about 7 knts. Nice and relaxed…. I was thinking about paying off and wondering if I had any funds left in the ship and wishing I hadn’t wasted so much in all those foreign ports!
All of a sudden I noticed the ship’s bow wandering off to starboard and heading for the bank. As I turned around the Seacunny shouted out “No Steering!”. By this time the ship was heading straight for the Sinai desert at an angle of about 45 degrees with only a stone canal wall to prevent us proceeding further ashore. It all happened so quick but miraculously when the bow was about 40 or 50 feet from the wall the bow was pushed to port and we went charging back to the other side of the canal and at an almost 90 degree angle at speed and with no steering we went straight up the sandy bank and came to a sudden stop – totalling blocking the canal. The ship behind us was close enough to observe the whole scene and pass the info down the line to following vessels all of whom had to make emergency stops. I think our draft was 32 ft on sailing Australia but when Capt. Picton asked the Mate Don Jack what the draft was forward he responded that it was around 18 feet after looking over the bow. I can’t remember how long we were stuck there but eventually, after the steering gear was fixed, a tug arrived to assist and with full astern from our engines we were able to slide off the bank and continue our transit to Port Said. There we anchored and after a seaworthy inspection by the local Lloyds surveyor we were given a clearance to proceed to Bremen where we all paid off on March 16th 1964, after 17 months. Peter Bloomfield and Ralph Woodward were both apprentices on board at this time and may have more to say on this previous untold story…after 53 years I may have a few of my facts wrong!
Thanks Graham for reminding me of this story….I will in future think of it as “Hydrodynamics Deflection!” One other thing to mention is that the 2 top pictures on Page 5 of the “Cardiff City” were taken at the time. The one on the left would have been taken before the incident as there are vessels in the convoy ahead. The 2nd picture looking aft shows the stone wall. Although there is a lot of shadow I believe you can clearly see the prop effect of the engines going full astern and what looks like a slight starboard list. All a long time ago but it still feels a bit like yesterday when thinking about it! When I say to people now…"worse things happen at sea"….I usually think of the raging storm we suffered about 7 days after sailing Sunderland and rounding Pentland Firth when we were literally hove to for about a week and mostly lying in the trough of the sea and swell.
After paying off in Bremen……. four of us….Dick Gibbons R/O, Keith Dancey 2/E, Derek Anthony 2nd Mate and myself……took the train to Hamburg and stayed at the Hotel Monopol on the Reeperbahn, across the street from the famous Zillertal beer hall which we visited every night of course. We all returned to the UK on April 6th via Rotterdam ferry and claimed all our tax back for that year…..which funds I used to cover my expenses whilst home for my Mate’s ticket. Eventually passed that and joined the “Houston City” as 2/0 in December 1964 for an 8 month trip. Loved those ships including the steel hatch covers… least they didn’t leak like the 840’s. Tony Crowther. Posted on the Forum 22 March 2017.

Disclaimer: The statements on this page are the views of the person who posted them on the forum. The events took place many years ago and in most cases rely on those people's memories, and so we cannot guarantee the accuracy although every effort is made to check it.

Cardiff City. Page [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]
Memories from RSL staff. Page No. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]