Rewritten onboard M/T Ek-Star October 2010

M/T Argo Athena, I was 2nd officer onboard between 30 March 1996 and 30 July 1996

Argo Athena
Argo Athena
Postcard of Argo Athena that I sent from Galveston to my friend in Sweden.

ArgonautHome port:Nassau, Bahamas
Length:327,50 m
Wide:57,20 m
Draft:20,825 m

Gross tonnage:153347
Dead weight:285640
Built at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Heavy Industries ltd., Ulsan. Korea 1990
Engine:B & W on 25155 BHK
Speed:13,5 knots
She had 6 center and wing tanks with a capacity of 330375 m³
She had 3 cargo pump with a total capacity of 15000 m³/h

Owned and operated by Argonaut. Hornet Shipmanagement hired the crew and Ugland in England had the technical management.

I ran in to trouble at Don Muang, Bangkok's International Airport. I didn't had my “Letter of Guarantee” so they would not let me on the plane. I had to call Hornet Crewing in Sweden. Of course the office was closed so I had to call one of the guys at home.
- Oh, I have forgotten to send it to you!
OK, he had to get to the office and he faxed the “Letter of Guarantee” to Singapore Airlines office at Don Muang. Well, luckily enough I was at the airport early. I actually use to go early to the airport if I'm joining a ship. Good to have some extra time if I run in to trouble and the guy I'm relieving rest assured that he will be relieved in time.

I had to wait for a while in Singapore before my flight to Dubai departed. we made on stop on Sri Lanka before we continued to Dubai. Our Agent picked me up at the airport and we took off to the hotel where the rest of the joining crew were living while waiting for Argo Athena.

I checked in at the hotel and then I went to the bar adjacent to “Thank God it's
Friday” at the ground floor on Astoria Hotel. Well, it looked nice. But the
Where luxury meets Lifestyle” above is a straight up lie! Unless there have been any remarkable
Astoria Hotel in Dubai while waiting for M/T Argo Athenachanges since I lived there back in 1996. It was not a bad hotel. But to call it LUXURY is a wee bit too much. standard would be more appropriate.

There were 3 restaurants on the ground floor. Pancho Villa's in DubaiOne of them were TGF with the adjacent bar. On the second floor was the famous Pancho Villa's.

I was back in 2005, well, I stayed at another hotel but I passed Astoria Hotel when I was walking around looking for a drug store when I was signing on Pegasus in Jebel Ali 2005.
Astoria Hotel in Dubai while waiting for M/T Argo Athena
Well, back then it was looking pretty much as it did 1996 so the Luxury part must have been added after 2005. And Astoria Hotel in Dubai while waiting for M/T Argo AthenaPancho Villa's was still open
- Hmm, wonder if they still let me in.

Back in 1996 I was banned from the place. First night and no more Mr. Aladdin allowed inside. Well, anyway, I had checked in on the hotel and I was sitting in the bar drinking soda water from one pint glasses. And I was drinking a lot of them. It was hot and after a few weeks of a good time back in FUNKY TOWN I needed water. Plenty of it.

I was sitting there drinking my soda water when the rest of the crew came in. They had arrived from Sweden the day before me. I didn't knew Waiting for M/T Argo Athena in Dubaiany of them, but I heard them speaking Swedish.
- Hey, are you here to join Argo Athena?
- Yes
Later on the 3rd Engineer told me that he had been so impressed when he first saw me in the bar.
- I thought you were a real sailor gulping down all those gigantic Gin and Tonic without getting drunk.
- It was only soda water!
- What the , I thought it was gin tonic.
I hate gin and he got a little disappointed when he found out that it only was soda water.

We had to wait for 1 week in Dubai for the ship, she was obviously delayed in Kuwait. And I think that everyone waiting for a ship in Dubai knows Waiting for M/T Argo Athena in DubaiPancho Villa's on the 2nd floor at Astoria Hotel. I just wanted to rest preparing myself for the ship
- A com'on, join us for a few beer.
- I need a rest!
- You are so boring!
- I'm a wee bit tired!
- Here we are in “FUNKY” Dubai so let's have some fun!
-I don't kno....
- It's a once in a life time opportunity.
- OK

I was flying in from Bangkok and the rest of the crew from Hicksville, Sweden. Of course Dubai is exciting with an extravagant night life in comparison with Farmerville, Sweden. So of course Farmer John was all excited coming to Dubai.
- Look, there are restaurants open after 6 o'clock in the evening!
- Look, people on the streets after 4 o'clock in the afternoon!
Waiting for M/T Argo Athena in Dubai - LOOK!! A DISCO!! WOW!!

But I'm coming in from FUNKY TOWN and in comparison Dubai is a dead city. Well, anyway, we went for a few beers at Pancho Villa's and this was the first and last time I was there.

I got banned from the place. Never mind, it wasn't very fun. After Pancho Villa's we went to a disco and, well, turned out that I got banned there was well.

My master plan! I was banned from the only 2 places in Dubai and I could do other things in Dubai. I spent the evenings walking around Dubai and I was soon familiar with the city.
And when the guys asked me if I wanted to join them for a beer.
- Hey, they won't let me inside!
Waiting for M/T Argo Athena in Dubai
I really liked walking around in Dubai, it was a big city but the buildings were like it was a small and old city. And the streets were full of life. So when I came back in 2005 I didn't recognised anything. Dubai and the whole area between Dubai and Jebel Ali was a big construction site with high risers popping up everywhere.

Otherwise there wasn't very much to do so I stayed in my room trying to sleep. I could hear the live band from Pancho Villas through the ventilation duct. And it was the same every evening.
- We take requests.
- Oh! Someone wants to hear House of the rising sun!!
- Oh! Someone wants to hear Hotel California!!
They played House of the rising sun and this Hotel California 15 times every evening, at least and I was in my bed going mental.
- We take requests.
- Oh! Someone wants to hear House of the rising sun!!
- Oh! Someone wants to hear Hotel California!!

And it was the same every night. What the is so special with Hotel California? Was it the only tune they knew to play? Or is it the only song people like to listen to?
- We take requests.
- Oh! Someone wants to hear House of the rising sun!!
- Oh! Someone wants to hear Hotel California!!

Yes, night after night and I grow to hate these two songs. I didn't like them before my adventure in Dubai and for sure, the time spent in my room listening to the crap didn't made me feel better about these two songs.
Waiting for M/T Argo Athena in Dubai
Tuesday 30th of March 1996 and it was time to join Argo Athena after that we had spent a week Waiting for M/T Argo Athena in Dubaiwaiting in Dubai. Finally Argo Athena, had left Mina al Ahmadi in Kuwait bound for the Gulf of Mexico.

We were picked up at the hotel by a bus and we had to go for a few hours to Mina Saqr North of Dubai. Immigration and formalities and we boarded a launch full of stores and provision for Argo Athena. My parcel from Sweden was there as well.

And an hour or so on the launch and we arrived to the ship late at night and it was very nice when we finally sat for on Argo Athena's deck. Well, poop deck. We were lifted onboard in a basket.

I had time for a chat with the 2nd Officer I relieved. He was explaining how to calculate distances M/T Argo Athenaand stuff.
- Yeah yeah, bla bla
Calculating distances. Well, I think I know how to do that. The off signers left with the same launch we had arrived with and we left for the Strait of Hormuz

Wednesday 31st of March 1996 and we were steaming South in the Arabian Sea leaving Strait of Hormuz behind us when I came on my watch 4 o'clock in the morning.

Our Chief Officer was on watch with me on my first watch so I could familiarize myself with the bridge equipment.
M/T Argo Athena
We were bound for Gulf of Mexico and Galveston lightering area and we had 30 + days to go.

30 days + and it became boring. The first few days were exciting. Always nice to come on a new ship and there is stuff to discover. But after a week the excitement turned in to tedium. When we passed South Africa the ship started to roll in the rough swell coming from South and we were rolling pretty much all the way until we had passed Brazil.
M/T Argo Athena
The ship was rolling heavily, not the quick movement like we have on small ships. Argo Athena was M/T Argo Athenahuge so she moved slowly and I would hardly have noticed if it hadn't been for my tea cup.

My tea cup moved around so I had to hold on to it all the time.

The day passed by one our way across the Indian ocean and the Atlantic. We didn’t saw any land until South Africa and then we didn't saw any land again. At least I can't remember us seeing any land while passing the Caribbean. We entered the Caribbean between St Lucia and Martinique on an Westerly course taking us South of Jamaica and Safety plan on M/T Argo Athenathen North west towards the coast of Texas and the Galveston lightering area passing between Mexico and Cuba.

I remember listening to a morning show on the radio when we passed Jamaica. (Without seeing Jamaica) It was one of those “We're reading this morning’s headlines in the news papers” show. And it was hilarious.

The host was reading the headlines and different stories in the news papers and after every story he made comments.
- Ay don't understand this man!
- Ay man, this was complicated!
Jamaica, well, I would not be surprised if the host was sucking on a big spliff while doing the show.

I was in Jamaica back in 88 or 89 and all the Stevedores was walking around in the cargo holds M/T Argo Athenasmoking whatever it was they had filled their Rizlas with.

We had been on our way for a month or more, I think it was 45 days from Kuwait to Texas. And we were going to discharge our cargo to an Italian tanker. She was on 80,000 DWT so she had to come out to us 4 times to lift all of our cargo.

We were anchored waiting for her to return. It took her one or two day to go and discharge her cargo and to come out to us again. After a month on the seven seas we wanted pizza. At least 5 or 6 of us and we gave the Italians 1000 or 2000 US$ so they could buy pizza for us.

Pizza Hut, have you ever had a good pizza at Pizza Hut. I haven’t and I only ate one pizza. But the rest liked the pizzas. As you can imagine it was a shit load of pizzas, for 5 or 6 people. We had to lift it over from the Italian ship with our deck crane.

I don't have to tell you that we were bored with pizza before we finished them, yes, I only had 1. I think there is still pizza in the freezer on Argo Athena (now she has a new name and owner). But the Italian chef he turned bananas when he noticed how much money we spend on pizza so he offered to make pizza for us (half price).

He was even baking samples for us, they were better than the Pizza Hut. But we turned down the offer and he lost a 1000$ business.

After more than 1 month on the ship without any chance to go ashore we wanted to do some
nån jävla lustig kurre hadde skrivit upp en “Japansk gummi fitta med kick start” på listan. Alltid e d någon som ska skämma ut sig.
shopping in the USA. We ordered stuff, we had a list on the bridge where we filled up what we wanted to have and a few days before arrival we sent the list to our Agent and he brought it to us when we arrived.

Well, hmmm, 1996 and I was already fighting obesity and baldness back then. I was trying to keep the "Slim line" on the ship exercise was needed. But exercise is boring. OK, it was fun when I was a young boxer and boxing is the best exercise. It's not like you can give up just because you're tired. Then you get your arse kicked.

So I was happy when I discovered that our Engine Cadet was a boxer. He used to train boxing in Kalmar. So I was glad when he wanted to start boxing onboard. We were looking for a place for our boxing sessions and the steering gear compartment. A huge area, good, we have a place to do the boxing. But no equipment.

We ordered gloves, jumping ropes, shoes and we even ordered duffel bags to carry all our stuff M/T Argo Athenain and our Agent brought it to us when we arrived to Galveston. We spend more than a few dollars on all this stuff and the plan was to train every day.

And the duffel bags, well, we wanted it to be like home. Coming home from work, pack your gear in the bag and off to the boxing ring.

It all sounded great during the planning. But we were running in to several problems when it was time to put our plan in motion. I got of my watch at 8 o’clock in the evening. Excellent time to start the training. Our Engine Cadet finished work at 5 so he was ready for action.

We were ready to kick ass. But, we used to spend the evenings in the 2nd Engineers cabin lying and telling yarns to each other. Well, this was during the PRE-BOXING days. But it was convenient to meet there and we could leave together from there to the steering gear compartment. So we made an appointment to meet in 2nd Engineers cabin after my watch. 10 past 8 and our Cadet was waiting for me with his " kit " ready.

What a failure, most of the time we never came out from the 2nd Engineer's cabin before it was time to go on watch again. And those days we managed to leave we had to pass the day room. Who the f@ck came up with the idea to have the day room in our way?

When passing the day room we had to check what video they were watching. And, well, we got
stuck there watching video. And that's even though we had seen the movie 200 times already it was better than the exercise. As you suspect, we did not spend many evenings in our BOXING RING.

Hmmm, I was worried about the developments in the boxing ring. Obviously the boxing
would not give me my desired V-shaped torso. So I decided to go serious with my diet instead.

I told Motorman, 2nd and 3rd Engineer and the Engine Cadet that I M/T Argo Athenawould give them 100$ each when they caught me eating anything except fruit and vegetables. Great idea and I could imagine myself signing off the ship looking like a greyhound, and then I wasn't thinking about the buses.

I was on the 4-8 watch, so I got out of bed every morning 20 minutes before 4 o'clock. I spend 15 minutes in the shower and then I went to the bridge.

Well, everybody suspected me for going down the galley to grab a snack before my watch in the morning. 4 o'clock in the morning I'm not thinking about wasting time going down to the galley. Every minute in bed is invaluable. But these guys were convinced that I was eating in the mess room. So all 4 of them went up at 03:15
( Beyond believe how someone can get out of bet at 05:15 of their own free will)

They went down to the mess room to rig a video camera and then they went on deck with a Grit blasting on M/T Argo Athenaremote control to the camera. They Video on M/T Argo Athenatried to catch me every morning but all for nothing. But they got plenty video of me eating apples in the evening.

One evening we were sitting in the 2nd Engineers cabin and we decided to watch a home movie. While sitting there watching, yeah, we all know how fun it is to watch these home videos. Yes, the video camera never took off to be the success they had expected. Used one time and then the darn camera was but in a box and then it was forgotten in a drawer somewhere on the attic.

So I was sitting in the day room with the guys watching this move. I was half asleep when all of a sudden it was from our mess room. And I'll be darned. Our hero appeared sneaking in to the mess room grabbing a few pancakes.
- What the ?? I didn't see that one coming.

It was not a beautiful video. But they scored a full 10 out of 10 for the enthusiasm. I told the Captain that I needed 400$ the day after when I was eating salad for dinner. But they guys told me that they didn’t want any money.

When we were finished with the lightering we sat course to West Africa. We stopped for bunker M/T Argo Athenaat St Estadius in the Caribbean before continuing to West Africa.

Some of the crew got ashore in St Estadius to get vaccinated for Africa.

And when they were ashore they took the opportunity to see the sights and our 2nd Engineer bought a big tea mug for me. Good, now I had a real bucket to drink tea from and I used it on my watches. Very good, I didn't have to refill my tea cup every 10 minutes anymore. Always nice with gifts, especially tea cups.

After St. Estadius we crossed the Atlantic bound for Pointe Noire, Congo we were going to load 2 parcels of crude. The first parcel in Congo and the second parcel in Nigeria.

When we finished the second parcel in Forcados, Nigeria we left for Kao-Hsiung and Shi-Lung on Taiwan with a stop for crew change outside Cape town, South Africa for provision and crew change.

After Taiwan we were bound for the Persian Gulf to load crude again. We expected some inspectors from the company in Fujairah to inspect the tanks. So it was tank cleaning after leaving Taiwan.

Tuesday 30th of July 1996 and we took provision in Singapore and I signed off in Singapore and I was soon back home in FUNKY TOWN


OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it’s not very easy for them to see the blue coloured links to the next page. So
Jiffy (also jiff)

noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.

ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.

So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one.
So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!

Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas

Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!

Haga usted dice el español? No hay problema! Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!

Farla parla l'italiano? Non problemi! Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra

Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!

คุณพูดภาษาไทยได้ไหม ไม่มีปัญหา ถ้าคุณต้องการไปหน้าถัดไป ให้กดปุ่ม “Next” ข้างบนนี้

Вы говорите по-русски? NJET PROBLEMA! Просто нажмите синюю кнопку "Next" с левой стороны и Вы моментально переместитесь на следующую страницу!

E ni Svenskar och inte förstår Engelska så ska ni skämmas. J och Björn, med det menar jag inte att alla mina stavfel ska ältas varje gång vi träffas.


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