Orient City (3)

Comments from the forum - 2

We have all at sometime been on the worlds worst ship and that means you and you and you. The Chief Steward had learned his business in a South American prison and the food was poisonous or the accommodation was only fit for livestock. This sourness was generally felt during the twentieth consecutive run from Dampier, 12 hours loading and nowhere to go, to one of the super fast Japanese discharge ports, 12 hours alongside at a steelworks so big it took a couple of days to reach the main gate. OK so I am exagerating but only just. Now I dont intend this to be a discussion on food standards but I did consider the accommodation to be better than alright with RSL. Which brings me to the point. I did sail with one or two who did not rate the cabins. They should have been there when the Orient City (3) was sold in Rotterdam.
After discharging we did a drydocking before the handover to the Greeks. The Indians went home along with the bulk of the officers. Mike Barrall the C/E was rushed home because his wife was exceedingly pregnant, which left Arthur Thompson the eng. Supt. and yours truly to keep her 'sorted'. Now I won't be speaking out of turn if I tell you that Arthur did not want to be there. He presented me with the Chief's typewriter and told me to make out a rough spares list, stressing the rough bit, he then shook hands and hopped it. I was a little embarrassed when I presented this list to the Greek C/E but he was over the moon and reckoned it was more than he got on most ships. He asked if I would stick around and do the 'driving' from the drydock to the layby berth, I told him that was no problem but I drew the line when he suggested that I have a run to Hamburg with them. I asked him where the engine room crew were and to cut a long story short, there weren't any. He kept the 4/8 watch and generally ran the show. His 2/E was a bloke with a bit of experience and two oiler/greasers kept the 8/12. I will explain how they kept the costs down. The after end was sealed off. The two watertight doors on the poop front had the seals removed and the doors were welded shut. The only access to the steering gear was through the rope locker. Midships was like a construction site. The engineers and mates cabins had the day beds removed and an extra bunk fitted. The mess room kettle took a walk and the water supply was blanked off, the smoke room in the starboard corner became the crews mess. The funnel stayed red but with a white 'S'. The name ALEXANDER A. S. was given pride of place but I have an abiding memory that Bideford stayed put, rather strange beneath a Cypriot flag.
Whilst the floating dock was being 'sunk' I was sitting on No.4 hatch talking to a local from the shipyard. He asked if I wanted an orange and pinched a couple out of a box which was on the hatch with some bits and pieces of stores. When we looked in the box there were 25 oranges for a crew of 27 so somebody missed out.
A 63 man crew to sail her in and 27 to take her out.
Tell you what, those Greek boys did not expect much which is just as well because that is what they got, not much. The C/E told me that any minor repairs would be done but if anything major needed doing she would be loaded with scrap and the whole show would head for the Far East.
So even if we did have some forgetable days we would have been hard pressed to beat the conditions the Greeks were putting up with.
A sad end to a good old tramp ship. Colin Gateshill. Posted on forum 20 April 2012.

A great narrative and a fine insight into the practical side of ship sales.
As you will note from the photos of the Orient City, on the WebPage Profiles, the Alexandra A.S. still looks pretty good a year after the sale, though by the time she became the Tong Jit, she looks a little “scruffy”.
The image of her during trials, in 1960, which is an office photo, has written on the reverse “2 copies sent to New Owners 26/5/72”. Mike Jones. Posted on forum 21 April 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.

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