Rewritten onboard M/T Ek-River July 2010
Thanks to Charles Eriksson for picture.
M/T Eken was owned and operated by Ektank and she was built 1980 by FEAB-Marstrandsverken Marstrand, Sweden. She is 7700 DWT and she loads 9158.0 m³ and she is 114.68 m long and 18m wide. As you can see she looks pretty much like Tärnvind.
I signed on Eken 7th of May 1991 as an AB and I signed off 23rd of May 1991. It's a very long time ago and I have forgotten where I signed on and off. I have forgotten most of the time onboard.
I remember that I used the cycle exerciser after every watch. They had a cycle exerciser in the gymnasium and I remember that it was very boring to use it. But they had a Nintendo game down in the gymnasium as well.
Hmm, after a few days in the gymnasium I thought that I should try the Nintendo (I had never played Nintendo before, I don't like TV games).
As you can guess I didn't gave a rat's a.. about the cycle exerciser after a few days, I was busy with the Nintendo for several hours every day. Anyway it reminds me of when I was on United Polaris several years later. The Chief Engineer and I were sitting in his cabin 24 hours a day (except for my watches) and played Nintendo.
One night when we arrived to Oslo I wanted to go ashore. Our Cook and I wanted to let our hair down so I asked one of the AB's if we could swap watches. I was on 4-8 watch. No it was impossible and bla bla bla. Well we went ashore and had a good time. I was a little tired on my watch in the morning and believe me, it was not funny to wake up in the sofa in the mess room with all the people I was supposed to wake up at 0715 starring at me.
During my time on Eken I had to learn the Morse code. Morse code was my last exam at the navigation school before I could get my 2nd Officer license. I had listening so much on the tape so I knew them by heart. Every time I practiced the Morse code I was
several groups ahead of the tape. I was getting very nervous and irritating listening to this beeping.
It was very annoying and I destroyed at least 2 tape recorders while listening to the tape.
I got a tip how to learn the Morse code. That was to read everything in Morse code. Every sign should be translated to the Morse Code. So on my watches on deck I read all the signs and translated them in to the Morse code by means of beeping all the letters in my head.
My problem was not to learn the code, it's quite easy, and the problem is to listening to it without going nuts. But I need to do it, the Morse code and Proficiency in Survival craft is my last two courses before I can get my 2nd Officer license.
We should discharge gasoline in Gdynia, Poland in railway wagons. Hmm, safety first, all the people working on the jetty stealing gasoline in empty bottles and more or less everything they could find. Gasoline all over the place. It took very long time to discharge to all those wagons.
The boys had time to go ashore and have a good time. Back in the days there was Gdynia hotel and Casanova
( I think that was the name) a place down in the basement.
First night the AB that could not swap watch with me in Oslo didn't return to take his watch. 2nd Officer got pissed off and he told me that I should write overtime when I took his watch. I told him that we had changed watches so that he could go ashore having a good time.
I was on the 4 to 8 watch when the AB came back in the morning he was ashamed and I told him that I took his watch and that I told 2nd Officer that we had changed watches. At 6 o'clock the 2nd officer started to ask me if I had seen our Cook coming back.
20 minutes later he called again.
- Have our Cook come back yet.
- Maybe I have to note him in the log book for not turning up.
- What the is wrong with this guy? Let them have fun!
At 7 o'clock he asked again and this time he made a note on the whiteboard that he would put down our Cook in the log book.
- What the is wrong with this people? Here we have, most likely the best Cook ever to have set foot in this company and the 2nd Officer tried to make a point.
Our Cook came back just after 7 and he had the breakfast ready in time. Yes, that's enough. When the cook came back he was smiling like never before.
I asked were the he had been all night long.
- I meet a family girl, he told me.
- Oh yes! I replayed, not too impressed. Where did you meet her? I asked
- On a disco
- Oh yes! I replayed, not too impressed.
Well, he was in love. As I told you we discharged to railway wagons and this took very long time so we had time to go ashore in the evening. The AB owed me 1 watch so I asked the Cook if he could show me the disco. And he was not hard to persuade.
- Yes, Yes we go ashore after your watch 8 o'clock tonight. He was in love and he was very happy to have the chance to go ashore again.
I wasn't surprised when he took me to Casanova. Down in the basement he introduced me to his "Family girl". She recognized me as well as I recognized her. I meet her there a few years before.
Our Cook was not too happy about it. Well, what can I say, expecting to meet a family girl on a place like that and in Poland. Good luck!!
Well, we had a good night out at Casanova. Casanova was actually the first stop when coming from the port. A mere 10 minutes walk from the ship. Just out through the gate and you changed money on the street. All in all about 10 minutes from the ship to Casanova, including the changing. well, that was last time in Gdynia, during the Soviet era. Now the black market was gone.
If you changed 10 or 20 US you had more money than you could spend in one night. But that was back in the days, now it was a wee bit more expensive, well, never mind, we're not on a budget.
We left Poland, for where I don't know. The only two ports I remember from this trip is Oslo and Gdynia and of course Brofjorden where I signed off with our Cook. But that's the only ports I remember from my time onboard M/T Eken, but it is a long time ago.
Thursday 23rd of May in the year of our god Lord 1991 and I take a rental from Brofjorden to Göteborg with our Cook. We left M/T Eken with the pilot boat when they were anchored waiting for the jetty to be free.
We had a few drinks in our Cook's apartment, turned out that he lived just next to friend off me. Later on in the evening I meet another friend at, hmm, I think this place was called Ferdinand.
Friday 24th of May and the party continued at Frasses, our school pub at the navigation school on Kvarnberget in Göteborg.
I have finished my school, except for the Morse code test and the Proficiency in Survival Craft course that I have to take.
But I still have a few friends in school so Frasses is a good choice if I wanted to drink beer and listen to Kal P Dal.
We spent the whole weekend partying. Partying sounds much better than drinking. Drinking sounds a little like asocial behaviour.
But in that chase, at Frasses you were not the only one with an asocial behaviour. And if I by any chance would get the concrete hat on I was not the only one. Always someone sleeping in a corner somewhere.
OK, coming home from eken and I had spent so much energy to learn the Morse code so I could as well take the test. I was no passing the test with flying colours, but I passed so now I can just forget about the Morse code. Yes, they haven't been using the Morse code for several hundred years by now.
Nice to be able to put this behind me. This was the hardest part of the navigation school. Not to learn the code, but man! Listen to it drove me up the wall. Yes, one cassette player beaten to pieces when I lost my temper.
If we didn't spend the time at Frasses we spend the time at Solrosen in Haga. A very nice vegetarian restaurant. Good music, at least when they played my Kal P Dal cassette.
May turned in ti June and I had the Morse code test behind me. The Proficiency in Survival craft course was not available until the autumn. This is a 3 day course I think. We have to spend time in a swimming pool turning around life rafts and stuff. well, I will do it after the summer.
My friend was working on the small boats operating in Göteborg archipelago. Going from Göteborg to the islands in the archipelago. And in the summer time they have a Pub boat stopping at the islands for an hour or so at each island so the people can come onboard to drink beer.
So he invited me and another friend for a tour.
- Is it any fun?
- Yes, there is a guy playing accordion onboard.
- Sounds like fun!
- Yes, very nice.
- Well, I'm going to bring my entertainment centre.
We had not been onboard for very long before my friend started to get nervous.
- You must behave!
- We're the only ones onboard!
- Turn down the music!
- What the
We were only 2 onboard + 2 catering people and the guy playing the accordion. I guess there was a guy driving the boat and my friend that had invited us as deck hand.
We were still alone after the first few stop. My friend the Deck hand (He called himself Chief Engineer because he was greasing something on the motor every now and then) was out at every bridge to make fast the ropes on the bridge.
Well, we were sitting in the restaurant listening to my entertainment centre and drinking beer while watching him in action.
Of course, we could not help but screaming a few pointers at him when he was on deck. My friends stress increased pari passu with us getting more and more drunk.
It didn't take long before he confiscated my entertainment centre. As soon as my music disappeared the guy on the accordion started to play. With the only noticeable difference (Of course, the music turned for the worse) that the catering staff started to look gloomy. While we had my music both of them were happy.
Of course, when you're 20 you don't want to listen to a darn accordion.
My friend told me for the 76th time that we had to behave. Yes, he had been at our table complaining nonstop since 15 minutes after departure from Göteborg.
- The restaurant staff is angry at you!
- What the !!?? The girl would have been in my lap long time ago if it wasn't for you running around embarrassing us!
- No no, they have complained.
- HEY! Chief, shouldn't you go grease something now?
I think the whole idea with the pub boat was to pick up people and then they stopped at Donsö or Styrsö for an hour or two before going back to Göteborg dropping off all the people again.
when we arrived to Donsö for our long stop there were plenty people coming onboard. The boat was almost full and I don't know what the f@ck that had got in to the accordionist had got his accordion up to 5500 rpm. Maybe he had had a few drinks or maybe he was just pepped by all the people. Well, maybe it was the drinks. He had been lying in wait all evening sticking out his nose from behind the curtain waiting for my entertainment centre to go silent. So after 3 bottles of wine behind the curtains he had managed to muster the courage to come out and play.
Well, I thought my friend the Deck Hand/ Chief Engineer would relax a little when we were going back to Göteborg, but not.
At arrival to Göteborg he asked us to go wait in his car. He still had a few Chief Engineer jobs to take care of before he could leave the ship.
No problem, we got a few bottles of beer and my entertainment centre and the music was soon blasting high over the bridge. And I don't know what happened, but we managed to start his car alarm and he came running on the bridge.
- WHAT THE ARE YOU DOING??
He dropped us at Solrosen on his way home. Well, the rest of the summer went on pretty much like this every day, well, not that we were going with the PUB boat. Hmm, I don't think we were welcome back.
But the parties, every day. We were sitting at the Chinese restaurant at the theatre on Hisingen, drinking beer enjoying the summer. We decided to go to India during the upcoming winter. I suggested Lufthansa or something like that. But that idea was turned down in favour for PIA. Who the hell wants to fly with PIA with a stopover in Karachi when going to Bombay.
Well, we went down to the Travel Agent and we booked our Tickets for the 1st of January 1992.
The summer days disappeared quickly. We had tickets to a rave party on a weekend but I had to leave Göteborg just a few days before. So I missed the Rave party, well, never mind. There will be more parties in my days. I signed on M/T Vingavåg 13th of June 1991 when they were at shipyard in Göteborg.
Monday 5th of July 2010 and we were anchored with M/T Ek-River waiting to come alongside in Svetly to load Gas condensate. I received an e-mail from an AB that I had been working with on Eken. Darn, it's almost 20 years ago. Time turns fast and I got hit by agony again. Darn!
Well, anyway, he had found my page about Eken when he had searched internet and he had found his picture. Or as he wrote “I'm almost sure it's me on the picture from Gdynia”
You are visitor no.
To www.aladdin.st since December 2005
Visitors from different countries since 26th of September 2011