Indian City (4)

Comments from the forum - 3

The trip on the Indian City from 8/1/73 to 19/6/73 was my first trip as 4th Engineer after a previous trip as junior on Wilkawa, I think that the 2nd Engineer was Nick Shilstone who was medically evacuated from the ship off Acapulco after losing part of a finger in a nasty encounter with one of the Ruston generators turbo blowers.
That voyage was one of the most event filled that I ever undertook and I almost did not return to sea! Michael Burt. Posted on forum 24 January 2012.

Indian City Officer list February 1973.
Captain: J.D.Lloyd, C/O: M.E.Jones, 2/O: P.G.Thompson, 3/O: E.J.Dunk, J.A.Challacombe, R/O: B.A.Stagg, C/E: D.W.Litson, 2/E: N.B.Shilstone, 3/E: E.Hume, 4/E: M.J.Burt, J/E's: D.O’Brian, R.Maw, W.C.Evans, Elec: C.Villa-Landa, C/S: J.L.Sanday, Nav Cadets: P.A.Ward , I.Cowan.
There were several individual changes made during the next few months: both Ken Milburn and Wilf Carr joined, whilst Nick Shilstone left in Acapulco with a hand injury. Vaguely thought Mo Green might have replaced him at a later stage. MikeJones.

We joined in New York and no sooner had the previous crew left than we had a generator fire caused by a fractured fuel pipe spraying diesel on to a hot exhaust. It was all hands to the pumps with fire extinguishers, getting another genny flashed up and on to the board, defective one shut down and the fire contained and extinguished.I ruined a good set of shore going gear that night and thought that this was a bad omen!
The next disaster was when we were doing a liner change next time back in the States, Norfolk? the liner jammed part way down and we put the jacking gear on, the 3/E (Eddie Hume) and I only took a couple of turns each on the jack when the liner dropped with a bang on to its landing, unfortunately the 3rd had his foot part way on the landing and the liner sheared of a couple of his toes. The medics were called in and got him stabilised and he was taken off on a stretcher with our best wishes. I cannot remember who replaced him but I think we sailed back to Japan without a 3rd. Michael Burt. Posted on forum 25 January 2012.

I remember the incident very well indeed, Mike. In fact, I organised getting the medics down to the ship; it was the first time I had seen one of those inflatable sleeves used, that they put around Eddie Hume's foot. I also remember the send off he received from his fellow shipmates, at the foot of the gangway, one of whom deftly removed the packet of cigarettes from his boiler suit top pocket and told him he would not be needing them.....any ideas who that might have been? Mike Jones. Posted on forum 25 January 2012.

To continue the thread have dug into the attic and found a couple of files that provide a few clues to that period, not a particularly easy one as you have mentioned Michael.
Often wondered who I upset to be sent to the Indian City.
My records show I joined the ship in New York 09/01/1973 and paid off in Norfolk on 19/06/1973. I assume as per RSL practice that all of us, as per the list Mike provided, joined at the same time and left together.
Cannot recall a fire on one of the generators the day we joined but do recall the little oil fired auxy boiler was out of action. Needless to say New York at that time of year was perishing cold and so was the ship. The fuel tanks for this boiler were situated at the top of the E.R casing underneath the skylight; which had been left in the open position, as far as I can remember. Think we managed to get the boiler working on D.O. after a bit of a struggle.
From N.Y we loaded coal in Norfolk for Japan via Panama. Then back ECUSA with Datsuns. Cannot recall any particular incidents on that voyage apart from Nick Shilstone getting stuck in the lift when coming off watch one evening. Nick being the happy go lucky fellow he was had performed a song and dance routine in the lift that caused the emergency brake to operate. Recall Carlos and I spent sometime extracting him, how is lost in the mist of time.
Think we loaded some CKD cargo in Japan that voyage, Honmoko? At the last moment a spare M.E. Liner was delivered, sat on the poop deck until Panama when we shifted it down into the E.R.
Loaded coal again for Japan for the next trip, again via Panama as far as I recall.
Datsuns back again to ECUSA.
As you mentioned that was the trip back from Japan that Nick, for some unknown reason, stuck his finger into the compressor wheel of the generator turbo-blower; whilst the machine was operational. Guess he must have been testing the generator after some sort of overhaul. So a quick call into Acapulco and Nick ashore whilst we pushed onto Providence.
Where is which I believe that the accident to Eddie Hume occurred.
Then down to Norfolk and pay off.
I have a vague recollection that Bob Day joined in Providence .

Other odd memories, Mike Jones and I testing the High Pressure water jet machine,
Ruck Suck, designed to blast off rust etc. Supposed to use fresh water, there was never enough and the only tap was aft, not much good for preparing the main deck.
The collection of hoses to catch the water leakage from the M.E. Cylinder liner telltales. No time to lift the liners to change the ‘O’ rings.
Eddie Hume hanging by his boot laces in a cargo hold to weld up a broken pulley bracket for the hanging car decks.
The stevedores in Japan dropping a pontoon onto half a dozen 240Z’s (or was that the Wilkawa a year earlier?)
Eric Poingdestre attending the ship in Moji
Wilfie Carr I believe joined in USA after the first trip and stayed on back to Japan after we left.
The ship was on time charter to Yamashita Shinnon. David Litson. Posted on forum 4 February 2012.

Hi Dave, great to hear from you,you have given a good summary for that event filled voyage!
That trip will always remain in my memory because I never sailed subsequently on another vessel that had so many things go wrong!

Another event that I can remember is when the spare liner broke free from its securing point on the engine room forward bulkhead flat when we took a mega roll in extremely heavy weather outward bound for Japan.I was single handed 12 to 4, I had not long taken over the noon watch when it happened, all hell broke loose when it came crashing on to the upper engine flat and rolled towards the aft end and the fuel tanks,
I can recall you shouting from the top of the engine room to press the panic button and get all the engineers below to secure it before it punctured the main engine daily service tank or worse. It reminded me of a story by Victor Hugo in which a cannon broke loose in heavy weather on the gundeck in a man of war and how it was finally secured.
We eventually got the beasty cornered and lashed with strops and chain blocks where it stayed until we docked in Japan and got it correctly stowed. The bulkhead strongpoint had sheared on closer examination and had to be re welded. Michael Burt. Posted on forum 5 February 2012.

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.

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Memories from RSL staff. Page No. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]