Orient City (3)

Comments from the forum - 3

I was second Mate at the time and George Harvey was Master, and Bill Jones was Mate. Whatever prompted me at the time to type this out, I will never know but it is dated 9th February 1971 and describes our stay in Chittagong. I now record it verbatim for anyone who might remember that trip.

9 February 1971:
We arrived at the outer anchorage on the morning of December 10th 1970. The ship was almost immediately surrounded by a fleet of small dhows, whose owners were anxious to do business by either fair means or foul. The crew were good customers and the poop was soon transformed into a mini farmyard with goats and chickens running around. The rest of us were content to buy coconuts, bananas and prawns.

After the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean, it took a while to become accustomed to the dirty, brown, evil smelling water which surrounded us. It obviously didn't bother the locals who used it for washing and cooking.

Three weeks passed and the ship was still lying idle in sweltering heat and our lives were suddenly governed by a longing for the "tomorrow we'll get alongside" which never seemed to come.

Our stay was made more tolerable by the presence of the Dutch m.v. "Voorne"
whose officers launched their lifeboat on many occasions, firstly to exchange magazines and films and, when we knew them better, to come aboard for a drink and a natter. We often went aboard the "Voorne" for a beer and sometimes for a barbeque and the steaks, chicken and orangeboom beer went down well.

When the "Voorne" started to discharge in the estuary, we discovered that the "Chittagong City" which went alongside to lighten her was none other than RSL's old "Madras City". Now almost at the end of her life, she is due to be scrapped later in the year.

We did not go upriver to berth until 24th January and it was a slow laborious process. Everyone was really upset by the treatment of the little kids on the dock who would grab a handful of loose grain and stuff it in their skirts or pockets. They were chased mercilessly by the dock police weilding large sticks - God help them if they were caught.

The only building to break up the panorama of all the hovels and shanties was the ultra modern and ultra expensive Agrabad Hotel. George Harvey and Peggy treated a few of us up there for a meal one evening - when the bill came we had to have a whip round it was so enormous. At one stage we thought we'd have to do the washing up!!

No tears were shed when at last on 1st February 1971 we finally sailed for Singapore and Australia. Ah!! Fresh air and a lovely blue sea at last. Al Nicholl. Posted on forum 7 July 2012.

Hi Al, a good account, glad I missed that bit, I joined you at Singapore on 5th Feb 1971, for the last part of George Harvey's final voyage, which ended on our return to UK in April, having loaded grain in Aussie, via the Cape. I joined with Jakie Vaughan, as Supy Capt, his first voyage back at sea after leaving the office staff. Enjoyable trip. cheers. Reg Smith. Posted on forum 8 July 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]