Silvia Sofia

Comments from the forum - 1

Joined 23.08.81 at Acapulco and left at Nagoya 19.02.82
Joined 11.06.82 at Dalian PRC and left at Salina Cruz 30.10.82
Joined 20.01.83 at Oakland and left at Long Beach 11.07.83
Joined 22.10.83 at Oakland and left at Yokosuka 26.05.84
Joined 26.09.84 at Long Beach and left at Long Beach 05.04.85
Joined 10.06.85 at Oakland and left at Yokohama 03.11.85
Joined 31.01.86 at Oakland and left at Osaka 23.07.86

For nearly 5 years I sailed as Master on the Silvia Sofia with just the two trips on the Bibi.
Joined Bibi 16.07.80 at Long Beach. Left 16.10.80 at Innoshima, following sea trials after the new Constant Pressure engine set up. Later joined 01.03.81 at Long Beach and left at Nagoya 04.06.81

There was always friendly rivalry between the two ships. Terry Haxell, who served as Mate on both always preferred the Bibi and called his lot the 'A' team.
Both ships were a delight. The Silvia probably the fastest of the two (Tony Lightfoot will vehemently disagree, I am sure!).TMM seemed to prefer Tony for the Bibi and me for the Silvia. Mike Bellamy served as relief Master for us both when we took our respective leaves.

We had some interesting trips. Both ships were engaged on the TMM Far Eastern Service (FES). Loading in Salina Cruz then up the coast to Acapulco, Lazaro Cardenas; sometimes to Ensenada, then Long Beach and Oakland, before going trans-pacific to Yokohama, Osaka, Busan, Keelung, and Hong Kong before returning for the reverse leg.

The Berth in Hong Kong, was at Whampoa Terminals, which was an excruciating place, with as bolshie a set of stevedores as one could imagine. Busan was not much better with its attendant reek of Kimshi Cabbage!

Both ships loaded cotton on one occasion to take to Red China. The Bibi was the first, and she went, I think, to Shanghai. The Silvia went to Ching Wang Tao, in the Gulf of Pohai where the Great Wall of China started. The Chinese there had, I think, never seen a westerner before, and certainly no one like Dave Aubrey's (C/O) wife, Elsie. She was a tall and very attractive French lady. One evening, we were invited by the Chinese authorities to the theatre, for one of their People's concerts. When Elsie emerged from the car, there was much wondrous sighing from the five thousand or so assembled Chinese. I think the evening did wonders for Anglo-Sino relations!

Salina Cruz was a swine of a port with frequent gale force "northers" and an infernal inner harbour, where we bunkered on occasions. On one attempt to enter the inner harbour, we managed to hit the fender on the knuckle and tore a hole about 60ft long on the shell plating in way of No.2 hold and heeling tanks. On a Sunday of course!! It always happens on a Sunday, and by the Tuesday the solids had hit the fan in a big way. Temporary repairs under LR supervision were done and would you believe it, we then went to Guayamas and loaded 6,000 ton of copper concentrates in No.2 which put the damaged area two metres under water!! We made it across the Pacific OK and the Japanese, in Hitachi Osaka, had to use pneumatic hammers to break up the cement boxes I had constructed internally.

Osaka, July 86 was my last trip on the Silvia, and from then on it was car carriers and the penal servitude on the Cordoba and Azteca I, that is, until I had had more than enough of the CSMS operation.

I sailed with some great guys: I remember with affection people like Nick Shilstone and Joe Fitzsimmons, Pete Baverstock, JJ Moore, Fred Lever and many others and most of all the Silvia Sofia Herself, who never let me down. Great ship and I was sorry to read Jerry Coleman's report that she was scrapped in August last year. Charlie Boyer. Posted on forum 3 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.

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

Bibi class data. Page No. [1]