Written onboard M/T Ternvik June 2011
Friday 15th of August 1997 and I had just signed off M/T Tärnfjord. We were at my place having a few drinks before going to town when my phone rang.
It was from Stolt Tankers in Houston. They wanted to know if I was available to join a ship.
- Yes, I just signed off today. When?
- In October
- Good, then I can join one more ship before it is time.
- NO NO, we pay your salary from today. We want you to take a chemical tanker course before you join
They booked a Chemical Tanker Safety Course at Warsash Maritime Academy for the month of September and I had to be home waiting. Well, it was nice weather so it was OK. I had a friend from Norway that I had meet in Bangkok and he was going to Stockholm. We decided to meet there over the weekend.
I have a friend living in Bangkok and he was home visiting Stockholm so we were going to meet him as well. I had planned to take the train but I was suggested to take the bus from Go:eborg to Stockholm instead.
- It is very cheap!
- Is it any good?
- It is very cheap!
- How long does it take?
- It is very cheap!
- Is it comfortable?
- It is very cheap!
- OK, I give it a try
It was cheap, I don't remember how much I paid for the bus ticket. But it was just a fraction of the train ticket.
I boarded the bus and we took off towards Stockholm. It was great, I paid nothing and it was comfortable, for 20 minutes. Then the seat started to get a wee bit hard. On the train I would have been able to walk around, drinking beer (Yes, my original plan was to go by train drinking beer) and use the bathroom. I was ready to jump overboard after 2 hours on the bus and when we arrived I decided to take the train back to Go:teborg.
I arrived to Stockholm and I went to meet my friend from Norway and I think we lived on a boat the first night. I remember my hotel being full so I had to find other accommodation. I woke up in a bunk on the boat Saturday morning and I was in a hurry to get out of there. I needed a shower and we walked the 100 or 200 meters to our hotel.
I remember that I had to take a shower in the basement because my room wasn't ready when I arrived to the hotel. When I finished my shower we took the 5 minutes' walk to Gammla Stan to meet our friend and his wife to be from Bangkok.
I remember it as we meet on a breakfast restaurant and then we went to another restaurant for beers. I think my friend had some friends working there. But this place turned out to be nothing but a lunch restaurant so we to a taxi back to Stockholm city.
It was only afternoon and we were pretty drunk already. I don't know if we had plans to go to Gröna Lund, the amusement park in Stockholm.
I know that we never ended up at Gröna Lund and my last pictures is from the hotel room. But I remember that we were some place in Stockholm in the evening, but where? I have no clue.
I also know that we meet my brother, he was living on Åland back then while he was studying at the maritime academy and he had to go there by ferry from Stockholm.
I returned to Go:teborg on Sunday afternoon and I avoided the bus. I took the train and I arrived to Go:teborg in a better shape than I had arrived to Stockholm, and that was after 2 days of party.
They called me on the 15th of August from Stolt Tankers and they hired me and I was waiting at home until the 15th of September for my chemical tanker safety course to start. The course took place between 15th and 19th of September at Warsash Maritime Centre in Southampton.
After returning to Sweden I did not hear anything from Stolt. It was tedious waiting. But I remember that I had my first ever internet experience this autumn. I had 2 friends living very close to me in Go:teborg, actually one in the very same house and the other an 3 minutes' walk away.
There was something called the internet and this should be something so fantastic that we decided to go check it out.
We have heard so much about internet and we were at my place drinking tea talking about this 7th wonder off the world.
There was a internet cafe on Ekedalsgatan not far away from where we lived. I was passing the place every day when I was walking to the city. Internet, what is this? We walked to the place and as it is a internet cafe we ordered tea and some pastries to go with the tea.
We asked the girl if we could check out the internet and we paid her for an hour. We started the computer and we were just looking at the screen. No one of us had ever seen internet before.
- Can you please help us?
The girl came and she started a internet browser and she explained that we had to enter what we were looking for.
- OK, thanks'
She left and we were all by lonesome in front of the computer.
- What to look for?
We have heard that you could find a wife on the internet.
- Try wife!
We entered wife and we were delirious with anticipation, but there were pretty much nothing happening
- This was fun!
We finished our tea and we left after 10 minutes. I remember when we walked back home, we were not impressed by the internet. But I remember having plans to go for a holiday in Canada or Berlin over the weekend. We were talking about this on our way back home.
I was very bored just to be at home scratching my behind, doing nothing. So I called Stolt Tankers in Houston and I told them that I might get away over the weekend for some fun.
- Haven't you joined the ship? We thought you had signed on in New York already.
I still don't know if this ship left New York 1 Officer short or if the gay I was supposed to relieve is still onboard waiting for me.
That must be what they call the Flying Dutchman?)
When I asked them if it was OK for me to go away for my planned holiday, they said that they wanted me to stay at home because I was on "stand by" salary.
- I have not received any salary. I said
- We don't pay you any salary until you have signed on the ship.
I was lucky that I did not have to wait for more than 2 and a half month to sign on, otherwise I would have been starved to death and kicked out of my apartment. They still wanted me to pay my rent even if I had not signed on my ship. Luckily enough I had some money saved.
Well, I got a date for me to join the ship. I would join M/T Stolt Excellence in Texas City end of October 1998. I asked them to send me 1 week earlier so I could have a few days of holiday in Houston before signing on M/T Stolt Excellence
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