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Old 26-02-13, 08:19 PM
Dierk Bauer's Avatar
Dierk Bauer Dierk Bauer is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Hamburg/Germany
Posts: 3,751
Default My voyage with m/v "Diabas"

My voyage with m/v „Diabas“ in summer 1970

While getting trained as shipping agent, we were allowed one voyage with one of our vessels, in order to get to know also a bit of the life and hardships of our colleagues aboard the ships. I selected a voyage from Rotterdam to Avonmouth and back via Swansea with coal for Rotterdam. I was keen to see England for the first time, but also glad that I just happened to be in the bookkeeping department at that time. All my other colleagues did the same, as it was rather dull work there. I went by train to Rotterdam and got on board some hours before completion of loading. The vessel was loaded by conveyor. In the late afternoon loading was completed and the crew made ready for sea. I was quite exited , being allowed on the bridge , looking everybody over their shoulders. The captain gave the order to haul in the ropes and to start leaving the jetty. But nothing happend. The ship didn`t move an inch. There was some confusion. They increased the enginepower, still ...nothing. The ship didn`t move. After some consultation with the pilot the captain ordered tugs. After some time two tugs arrived. They made fast and started to pull the “Diabas” away from her berth. After some time they succeeded. The ship started to move. Being freed from her berth the “Diabas” slowly tilted over to the portside. In a hurry the crew moved her around the corner of the jetty to the other side and made fast again. There the stevedores trimmed her with the help of a crane, until she was on even keel.
So after some delay we were able to start the voyage to Avonmouth. I believe that the crew was as surprised as I was. The pilot told the captain later, that the stevedores let run the conveyor, after a ship left,until the belts were empty, pouring all into the water. Therefore can it happen, that the draft at this place is less than indicated We had the misfortune to be at this spot at the wrong time
The voyage was as ecxiting as I expected. When passing the Channel we all had a sad feeling, because we passed the wreckbuoys, marking the graves of the german “Brandenburg” belonging to HAPAG , Hamburg and the greek “Nicki” and her crews, who sank after collision with a submerged drifting wreck some weeks before.
We spend a weekend at Avonmouth, so I was able to visit Bristol too. In Swansea I saw for the first time streetsigns in welsh. It was also quite interesting to see coal being loaded by tipping over the railwaycars. After two weeks, we arrived back in Rotterdam and I had to go back by train to Hamburg and the “dreary “ bookkeeping department. To my regret this was the only voyage I `ve made with our vessels. But I always enjoyed it, being onboard the ships acting as waterclerk.
Tschüss and all the best
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