Rewritten onboard Ek-Star October 2010
Thanks' to Benny N for this picture that he took in Brofjorden back in 1987
I found this picture on www.shipspotting.com. Picture by Capt. Jan Melchers Thank's to Benny N for HOT TIP!!
Paul, the owner called me and asked if I wanted to sign on M/T Kaprifol as Chief Officer. I
asked for how long and he said for about 2 weeks.
tack för bilderna. Har du någon historia och data på båten också så e nästa flaska ABSOLUT på mig när vi går på Royal City Avenue nästa gång!
- That's a little too short for me, I said.
- Well, you can sign on as 2nd Officer after the 2 weeks, he said.
Straight out of the hat he lied me straight in my face.
-OK, I'm coming, I said.
My friend was working as an AB on STENA LINES between Go:teborg and Fredrikshamn so I took the ferry he was working on to Denmark. I never had to buy any ticket and the company saved some money and I had company on my way to Denmark. My friend showed me around and we had a snack in one of the restaurants.
I took the train from Fredrikshamn to Fredericia and I arrived to M/T Kaprifol Thursday evening of the 21st of December 1995. She was loading for Amsterdam
When I came onboard they said that I could not sign on as 2nd Officer so I had to go home after the 2 weeks. Well, this is how they recruited ship crew 200 years ago. Well, Paul gave me a winter coverall in compensation. What the f@ck do I need a winter overall for?
The old Chief Officer signed off in Amsterdam and I was all by lonesome again. We completed discharging and we left Amsterdam bound for Brofjorden to load some cargo. Gasoline or gas oil, I don't remember.
We spent Christmas and New year onboard and that was exciting.
Our bow thrusters broke down and the Captain could not handle the ship without the bow thrusters so the ship owner Paul had to come onboard. Captain driving between the ports in the owner’s car and the owner drove the ship.
It was very cold and there was no CCR so I had to go on deck for 6 hours. We were only 2 Officers on deck so we worked 6 hours and then we had 6 hours off. It was 15 to 20 °C below zero so it was darn nice to come inside after the watch.
We had one big cargo tank and it usually to around 45 minutes to fill this tank. All the other tanks were small so you could not leave the deck, and it was freezing cold.
So when we filled the big tank I usually went inside to calculate final ullages and cargo intake. And I had time for a quick cuppa. I wanted some honey for my tea, and rose-hip soup would be nice in the cold.
- Can you buy some honey and rose-hip soup, I asked the Captain. He was going to stop for some shopping on the way to the next port in the owner’s car.
- It's nice to have after the watch now when it's cold, I said.
- Oh yes, a very good idea! Actually an excellent idea! He said.
And I was looking forward to the rose-hip soup. I asked him for the honey and rose-hip soup in next port. So imagine my disappointment when I got the answer:
- They were out of stock, he said.
I could not believe my ears. The nitwit is laying me straight in the face. Well, never mind, he saved 20$ and that made his day. And the company must be f@cking glad to have been able to recruit this Captain. He saved 20 $ on the honey so never mind they spent hundreds of dollars to have an escort car between the ports.
When in port the owner could take off for a few hours attending business and when it was time to leave he came back and the Captain drove the escort car to the next port.
Yes, a proud moment in his life! Top of his career.
1 Day the Captain came to the bridge and asked me if I knew Kalle.
- Yes, I do, why?
- I could see that you sent post card to him, he said.
- What the !This dull moron is reading the postcard I'm sending and he's stupid enough to ask me questions about them.
- No, I never read the post card. I just saw the address!
The best was when I inspected the tanks, I think it was in Gulfhamn, before loading. I was inspecting the tanks together with the surveyor. I found out that it was leaking between the tanks. There was a hole in the bulkhead. So I told the Captain.
- Oh, that was totally unnecessarily to inspect the tanks, he said.
- No, it's pretty much the f@cking standard procedure before loading!!
I remember 1 time when I should do the tank cleaning in the night. The ABs are on overtime when they do work on deck between 18:00 and 06:00, except their cargo watches. Well, here they never got any over time and I told them about the over time.
- No, they don't have any over time, Captain said.
- Yes, they do! I said.
- No, they don't have any over time, Captain said.
- Yes, they do! I said.
He disappeared and when he came back he told me that I was right. Upcoming tank cleaning and they have overtime when they are doing tank cleaning after 1800. At the dinner Captain (The one driving the car between the ports) asked me:
- Can you do the tank cleaning by yourself tonight?
- No, I said.
- That it's a poor show, he said
- What the f..k, are you stupid you good for nothing, I said to the moron.
Poor show, that's when the Captain has to drive a car between the ports. Well, anyway, it was very cold and the deck was covered with ice.
- Do you want me to go on deck dragging our tank cleaning hoses and cleaning machines by myself while you and the AB are standing on the bridge looking at me while munching on candy?. Are you for real?
It was hard enough for 2 persons on the slippery deck.
I signed off Monday 8th of January 1996 in Helsingborg. We're arriving in the evening and I'm going forward to the fo'c's'le to prepare for mooring. I hear some noise under the fo'c's'le so I went down to check it out.
I discover our 2nd Officer dismantling our broken down bow thruster. He has been busy since he got off his watch at 18:0 and he is going on a new 6 hours watch at midnight.
- What the are you doing? You should be sleeping now!
- I have to do this and when we arrive I will jump ashore to take the mooring ropes.
- But you need to sleep, you're going on a 6 hours watch in 2 hours.
Poor guy, an old fisherman used by the company. He received peanuts for salary. I had more when I was AB back in the days. And he has to work 18 hours per day. Well, as the Paul said to me.
- Aladdin, you're lucky that you can write your work hours!
- WHAT !!?? WHY!!??
- The other guys are on fixed salary.
- And you can't find people. Hmm, strange.
We were arriving to Go:teborg and I asked the AB to put in the scupper plugs preparing for the arrival. I ask him if he is ready with the scupper plugs.
- What is a scupper plug?
- Say what?
Off course, going home and I had to pay for the train ticket myself, but what can you expect from a company like that. when I sent the bill the owner told me that I could go to the trade union with my complains.
Yes, they had problem finding people.
- Aladdin, we have big problem to get Chief Officers to the ship. If they are not drinking they don't know how to do their job, the ship owner Paul told me one day.
- Hmmm, I wonder why.
I knew a few friends that had been working as Chief Officers on this ship before me. All of them warned me to go here. Paul called all of them and asked if they wanted to come back. As no big surprise they said no. Then Paul told me that they were all bad. This is the style in Grebbestad Shipping. Please don't call for references!!
Well, I was back in a real company before soon. I had called on Hornet Ship Management and they had a job for me when I signed off. I signed on M/T Rankki 23rd of January 1996