Rewritten in July 2011
I bought this picture from a guy coming onboard selling ship pictures when I was in Finland with M/S Nordic Link 1986
M/T Vestria was built 1965 in Sarpsborg, Norway.
Speed: 14 Knots
• Built for RED AB BIFRSOT, Göteborg. M/S BOHUS
• Sold to PR H LÖFVENBERG, Slite. Renamed to M/T GRYNGE
• Rebuilt to a chemical tanker with stainless steel tanks 1975 at the shipyard in Falkenbergs.
• 1983 she was sold to VERNIA SH AB (THORE SHIPPING and JOEL BACKMAN), Helsingborg. Renamed to M/T VESTRIA
• 1985 ad Thore Shipping went bankrupt and JOEL BACKMAN & SÖNER take over the ship
• 1986 sold to SUNSPUR SH LTD, Malta. M/T STAINLES DUKE
• 1988 sold to ALLIANCE RICHFIELD, Singapore. M/T CEMICAL VENUS.(Li)
• 1988 till sold to CARRIERS LTD.,Liberia. M/T CHEMICAL VENUS.
• 1990 sold to CGE (Far east), Singapore. M/T CENTAUR PROSPERITY (Li)
• 1993 scrapped in Alang, India.
I didn't take any pictures while onboard, DARN!
Wednesday 27th of March 1985 and I joined M/T Vestria and I'm pretty sure I joined her in Kopparverkshamnen in Helsingborg. I remember it as my Grandfather drove me to Helsingborg and he was onboard to have a look on the ship. I don't know if he was impressed by the ship.
I left the ship in January and Captain told me that they had got a new Mess girl onboard. A beautiful girl and I were told that my reliever and the Motorman were fighting every time they had got a few beers. They tried to impress the Mess girl, but as Captain said:
- She is not interested in anyone of them.
They were throwing punches at each other, and not only that. They even hit each other with furniture and stuff. And they had to send them ashore to the hospital.
My first letter from M/T Vestria spring 1985
Friday 29th of March 1985 and I made my first entry in my first letter home. We're steaming up an ice covered Lake Mälaren on a sunny day. We arrived to a waiting jetty in Köping around 6 o'clock in the evening. We're waiting for our discharge jetty to be available before we can shift jetty and start to discharge our phosphoric acid.
Saturday 30th of March 1985 and we shifted jetty 5 o'clock in the morning and we started to discharge. The sun was shining during the day and it had been a nice day.
I also wrote that we had a lot of problem with our pumps.
I sent this postcard from Köping, Sweden
Sunday 31st of March 1985 and as I wrote: Finally, we could leave Köping 5 o'clock in the morning.
About 24 hours discharging so I guess we have had some trouble with the pumps. We also had many leaking pipes and flanges on deck. When walking on deck and suddenly there was a sting and you realise that you were hit by a squirt of acid from one of the leaking cargo pipes.
Monday 1st of April 1985 and we arrived to the lock in Holtenau at 11 o'clock in the evening. I went ashore to buy post cards, and most likely some chocolate. And we expect 12 hours to Hamburg so I will have time to write the postcard and send it from Hamburg.
I sent this postcard from Kiel
What I remember most from passing through the Kiel Canal with M/T Vestria during the spring time
and summer is the ice cream. I was always ashore in the locks to buy ice cream. Yes, they had some good tasting ice cream in Germany back then.
The Kiel Canal (German: Nord-Ostsee-Kanal, NOK), known as the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal until 1948, is a 98-kilometre long canal in the German Bundesland Schleswig-Holstein that links the North Sea at Brunsbüttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau. An average of 250 nautical miles (460 kilometres) is saved by using the Kiel Canal instead of going around the Jutland Peninsula. This not only saves time but also avoids potentially dangerous storm-prone seas. According to the canal's website, it is the most heavily used artificial seaway in the world; over 43,000 vessels passed through in 2007, excluding small craft.
Besides its two sea entrances, the Kiel Canal is linked, at Oldenbüttel, to the navigable River Eider by the short Gieselau Canal.
Tuesday 2nd of April 1985 and we arrived to Hamburg around 11 o'clock.
And it was hot, 12 °C! That's a lot after a long and cold winter. But the rain was passing every now and then
I sent my first letter to my Grandparents from Hamburg together with a postcard. I had sent a few application letters with my letter to my Grandparents for them to mail to some shipping companies in Sweden.
1985 and I spent an afternoon at Queens Corner in Helsingborg. 1064 Scooby dollars spent in an afternoon. Wasn't cheap back then.
I had just joined the ship when they sent me my bank statement. As my Grandfather wrote in the letter: “I'm sending you bank statement so you know where you spend your money” and he underlined my spending at Queens Corner in Helsingborg. Yes, and I checked how much I spent, 1064 SEK and this was just in the afternoon chilling and relaxing, OK, maybe some lounging. It wasn't cheap to drink beer in Sweden back then.
The also send me my salary slip from M/T Corona for April 1985 and my salary was 5049 SEK.
Salary slip for April 1985
5049 SEK and that is what I made in one month, so this was pretty kept me going for 2 nights on town. Well, last time I was drinking beer in Sweden was in the summer of 2009. I spent 700 SEK (most of the money spent on taxi) and I was so drunk (or was it food poisoning) that my friend had to take me to my hotel. Cheaper to drink in Sweden 23 years later.
Wednesday 3rd of April 1985 and we left Hamburg 2 o'clock in the morning. Beautiful weather!
Thursday 4th of April 1985 and we dropped anchor in Antwerp midday. We have to wait for the high water before we can continue up the River Schelde to Ruisbroek.
It was like summer, 18°C and sunshine. The spring is on the way and life is much easier. We heaved up our anchor around 15 thirty and we arrived to Ruisbroek 2 hours later. We were at a jetty waiting for them to start loading us. But we need to shift jetty before we can start.
Friday 5th of April 1985 and we shifted 200 meters 7 o'clock in the morning. It is raining and the weather is gloomy and grey, but it is warm.
We started to load SUPER phosphoric acid for Ventspils in Soviet Union.
Saturday 6th of April 1985 and we left Ruisbroek 4 o'clock in the morning and we had our Easter dinner in the evening when we had River Schelde and the Pilot behind.
Tuesday 9th of April 1985 and we had to drop our anchor when we arrived to Ventspils. We expect to stay anchored for a few day waiting for them to be ready to receive our cargo. So we broke the sea watches and we were working day men chipping rust all day long while at the anchorage.
Thursday 11th of April 1985 and we ran out of water during the day. We only have 2 drums remaining. And the heating onboard is not working. But as I wrote home, we're OK.
Saturday 13th of April 1985 and we came alongside around 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Nice to leave the anchorage, tends to be a bit boring after a day or two. We had been able to watch Swedish TV ch 2, most likely from a TV transmitter on Gotland in Sweden.
Middle of April and there were ice in the port of Ventspils even though it was 22°C and sunshine. So yes, the summer was in progress.
I sent this postcard from Ventspils. Today Latvia, back then it was Soviet Union
In Ventspils there were not much to do and back in the Soviet Union we had to be back onboard at 10 o'clock in the evening. There were a seaman's club and they came to pick me up at 7 o'clock in the evening for transport to the seaman's club.
I'm searching internet for pictures from Ventspils Seaman's club. Lo and behold, all pictures are from aladdin.st and the first picture says it all, BORING! And this picture was taken when there was a disco at the
Seaman's Club. But back in 1985 there was nothing, a souvenir shop on the second floor.
or babushka doll is a Russian nesting doll (Russian: Матрёшка) which is a set of wooden dolls of increasing size placed one inside the other.
The first Russian nested doll set was carved in 1890 by Vasily Zvyozdochkin from a design by Sergey Malyutin, who was a folk crafts painter at Abramtsevo. Traditionally the outer layer is a woman, dressed in a sarafan, a long and shapeless traditional Russian peasant jumper dress. The figures inside may be of either gender; the smallest, innermost doll is typically a baby lathed from a single piece of wood.
Much of the artistry is in the painting of each doll, which can be very elaborate. The dolls often follow a theme, aside from the typical traditional peasant girls, the themes vary, from fairy tale characters to Soviet leaders.
I bought post cards and I also bought one of those Russian wooden dolls. The one with several dolls inside. I have forgotten what they are called, but I will check internet.
Yep, I entered “Russian wooden doll” and 1 second later I knew that the Russian wooden doll is called a Matryoshka doll or Babushka doll. Interesting
Sunday 14th of April 1985 and we left Ventspils 7 o'clock in the morning. I wrote home that I had been sick during the night. But I never wrote what was wrong.
For sure, can't have been anything I had been eating or drinking at the Seaman's club. I don't know if it was this time. But I remember one time ordering an orange juice in the bar. I got a glass with something that looked like green mucus. I paid and I said thanks'
And I took my glass and I was off to the bathroom where I poured the darn juice in the sink.
Tuesday 16th of April 1985 and we arrived to Hamburg 4 o'clock in the morning. We had a crew change but I never got any letters. We loaded sulphuric acid for Nordenham in River Weser.
Wednesday 17th of April 1985 and we arrived to Nordenham in the morning and we were ready with the discharging of the sulphuric acid in the evening and we left for Hamburg again.
I sent this postcard from Nordenham at River Weser in Germany
I didn't mention anything about Bremerhafen in my letter home. But I write in my postcard that we had been in Bremerhafen. I remember us taking the ferry to Bremerhafen but I don't know if it was this time in Nordenham.
As I write on my postcard: “On the postcard you can see the ferry that we took from Nordenham to Bremerhafen. And you can see the station where we bought postcards”
I never mention anything about beer at the station. I think it was a ferry station and it was 5 minutes to walk from the jetty where we discharged to the station.
Thursday 18th of April 1985 and we arrived to Hamburg in the morning. And we got mail and my Grandparents had sent me a math book and application forms for the navigation school.
Application form to the Navigation School in Kalmar 1985
My Grandparents were nagging about navigation school. But I didn't want to start school, not yet. But they went on and on and they had sent in my application and we would know if I was accepted in June, or something like that.
I went ashore for some shopping. Hamburg, when we didn't go ashore for party I went ashore for some shopping. I bought quite a few records at Karstad on Mönckebergstrasse. This day I went ashore with our Deck Boy and I bought some cassette tapes. We might have been drinking beer, but nothing mentioned about it in my letter home.
I sent this postcard from Hamburg. Well, I wrote it in Hamburg and it is post stamped in Antwerp
Friday 19th of April 1985 and we arrived to Nordenham around lunch time. We discharged our sulphuric acid and we left for Ruisbroek in Belgium.
Sunday 21st of April 1985 and we arrived to Ruisbroek early in the morning. We will load SUPER phosphoric acid for Ventspils. It was nice weather but we had been rolling all the way from Germany to Belgium.
Well, lucky it wasn't so many hours between the pilot stations.
We had to pass a lock between River Schelde and Ruisbroek and I remember one time. The lock was just big enough to fit in the lock. A meter or so between the ship and the lock and I don't even think it would have been necessary to use a heaving line. This time it was a gorgeous day and the lock was full of people enjoying the weather watching the ships passing through.
I spotted several beautiful girls ashore and I was going to impress them by heaving the heaving line all the way to Brussels. Well, the heaving line took off and it just made it over the rail and ended up between the ship and the lock. A major embarrassment.
Wednesday 24th of April 1985 and we passed through the lock in Holtenau 1 o'clock in the morning on our way to Ventspils. We got a new Captain onboard and he brought mail.
I got 3 letters, it's always nice to get mail. My Grandparents told me that my Uncle had cut down a few trees for them and I wrote back home that I would chop the wood when I come back home.
Thursday 25th of April 1985 and we arrived to Ventspils in the afternoon. We have to wait for them to be ready to receive our cargo. Rough sea so we had to go slowly up and down the Baltic Sea outside Ventspils
Friday 26th of April 1985 and we dropped anchor in the morning. The wind had decreased and the sea was not so rough so we could drop our anchor. And we broke the sea watches and we were working day men while waiting for them to be ready to receive our cargo. So we spent the whole day chipping rust.
Sunday 28th of April 1985 and we have had the day off. Sunday and we're working as day men means no job on Sundays. We left the anchorage around 6 o'clock in the evening. 6 o'clock in the evening, that is 7 o'clock local time. That means that we would be alongside around 8 or 9 o'clock local time.
And we had to be onboard at 10 o'clock local time. I think it was this time, I'm pretty sure of it.
I sent this postcard from Ventspils. Today Latvia, back then it was Soviet Union
We had a Deck Boy onboard, and this guy was something else. He joined the ship with 2 giant suitcases. 1 for his clothes and 1 was full of stuff to decorate his cabin with. And he decorated his cabin when he came onboard. Barometer, thermometers in the shape of anchors. His cabin looked like an old sail ship. Well, anyway, he was going to go ashore in Ventspils and he was drunk already in the afternoon preparing himself for a good night in Ventspils.
- Well, I don't think you can go ashore tonight. It will be too late.
He refused to listen and he went to change his clothes when we had all fast. When he was ready I didn't recognised him. He had looked like a scavenger since day one onboard, but now he got dressed in white trousers, black shirt and a white or beige jacket. He went to pick up his shore pass at Captains office. Captain just gaped at him.
- You can't go ashore!! We don't get any shore pass, it is almost 10 o'clock.
Our Deck boy got furious.
- WHAT THE ? I'M GOING ASHORE!!
- No it is impossible
- MOTHERF@CKER!! YOU.....
He ran down to his cabin screaming and shouting. I ripped his clothes to pieces and he punched his barometer. The glass cracked, well, went to millions of pieces and he cut his hand. The blood was squirting and he was all read and there were blood all over his cabin. Never mind the blood, he just continued to rip his cabin to pieces.
I ran out screaming “I WILL KILL HIM” and he took a fire axe and he was running of to Captain. Well, now I had to react and I took the fire axe from him. Now he started to walk KUNG FU style screaming that he knew KUNG FU.
I was screaming of laughter at the same time as I felt sorry for him. Imagine waking up tomorrow after something like this. Well, he got ashore, we had to call an ambulance for his hand. Motherf@cker.
Monday 29th of April 1985 and we left Ventspils in the morning. It was a gloomy and grey day with an annoying drizzle. We're bound for Helsingborg where we will load phosphoric acid for Köping in Lake Mälaren. So we're doing tank cleaning on our way to Helsingborg.
Tuesday 30th of April 1985 and we arrived to Helsingborg 2 o'clock in the afternoon. We were told that they would not start loading until 10 o'clock in the evening on the 1st of May. So of course, I went ashore for some fun. I remember it as I went ashore with our Motorman and we went to Landskrona and we were drinking beer.
Thursday 2nd of May 1985 and it had been snowing all night long. But the weather was nice when we left 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
Saturday 4th of May 1985 and we arrived to Köping in the morning. It was a gloomy and grey day and there were still some ice in Lake Mälaren. We left Köping at 10 o'clock in the evening, bound for Helsingborg where we will load phosphoric acid for Ventspils.
Monday 6th of May 1985 and we had been waiting at the anchorage outside Helsingborg for them to be ready to load us. We were allowed to come alongside at 11 o'clock in the evening.
I wrote home that I had been sick since Friday. I don't know what it was. But I remember waking up one morning with a sore throat. And I mean pain, real pain. Cancer? I don't know, but I gave up snus immediately.
I don't know what it was, but I could not get out of bed.
Tuesday 7th of May 1985 and we left Helsingborg at 12 thirty bound for Ventspils. I wrote home that my Grandparents should give up the idea of me starting the school in Gothenburg in August. “I HAVE TOLD YOU THAT I WILL WAIT FOR ANOTHER YEAR”
Letter sent from Sweden 25th of May 1985
And I receive a letter, sent from Sweden the 25th of May that I had promised to do all the sea service I needed to be accepted at the Navigation school. They had sent my application and everyone they had talked with had recommended me to start the school in August.
Wednesday 8th of May 1985 and we dropped anchor outside Ventspils waiting for them to be ready to receive our cargo. As usually in the old Soviet Union we had no clue for how long we would have to wait. But we expected to be waiting for a few days.
Back in the 80's there were always plenty vessels waiting outside the East Europena ports. The organisation left a lot to wish for and I don't think anyone knew what was going on. Comunist system and no one dared to take any initiative.
Saturday 11th of May 1985 and we could go inside at midnight thirty. The day started with a drizzle but the day became nice. We left Ventspils at 16 thirty bound for Herøya, Norway.
Monday 13th of May 1985 and we arrived to Herøya, Norway. We're going to load Caustic Soda for Stade in Germany. But they turned down our tanks so we had to clean them again. Happened a few times when we were loading Caustic Soda, tanks not clean enough. And you never know if it is due to the fact that they don't have the cargo ready for us.
So instead of having us waiting for the cargo while they had to pay they told us that the tanks wasn't good enough and the company had to pay for the time waiting.
I sent this postcard from Stade at River Elbe in Germany
Wednesday 15th of May 1985 and we arrived to Stade 3 o'clock in the afternoon. It was a gorgeous day and I took a pushbike up to the centre of Stade. What do I remember about Stade? Well, Germany and back in 1985 there was a song, hmm, was it “Life is Life”? I think so and this was a very popular song. And it was terrible, and they played it all the time. 24/7 on the radio and everywhere ashore. Every time I heard the darn song I was about to commit suicide.
I don't know what's wrong with the music taste of the German people. A few years later and it was “I just called to say I love you” Motherf@cker, that was a terrible tune. And they played it 24/7 and it was impossible to escape.
Thursday 16th of May 1985 and we left Stade in the morning and we arrived to Hamburg a few hours later. We had a very nice weather, but it had been raining during the night. We're changing cargo pumps in Hamburg before loading sulphuric acid for Antwerp.
Sunday 19th of May 1985 and we arrived to Antwerp in the middle of the night. When we have discharged our cargo we're leaving for Ruisbroek to load SUPER phosphoric acid for Ventspils.
Monday 20th of May 1985 and we dropped anchor in River Schelde at midnight. We're waiting for the high water so we can continue up River Schelde to Ruisbroek and we expected to leave the anchorage around 4 thirty in the morning.
Wednesday 22nd of May 1985 and we entered the lock in Brunsbüttel around 11 o'clock. I don't know if it was this time. But I remember when we came in to the lock in Brunsbüttel. We had all fast and we went on deck to secure the gangway and to go ashore to buy ice cream.
Well, M/T Vestria and the state of the equipment on deck left a lot to wish for. Acid leaking everywhere and our clothes looked like shit. It was enough with a drop of acid to get a hole and when we had washed our clothes the hole had became bigger. Sometimes our clothes were nothing but a big hole. Yes, we looked like scavengers on deck.
Captain tried to be fun and he asked me if I wasn't afraid of falling out of my clothes.
- I prefer a few holes before skid marks up my back!
I had noticed the back of Captains shirt earlier. I don't know if it was skid marks on his white shirt, but for sure, it looked like it. Captain disappeared in 0,5 and he returned with a new shirt.
Well, I wrote home that we had many swans in the Kiel Canal and I also heard the cuckoo
Friday 24nd of May 1985 and we arrived to Ventspils around 12 o'clock and we didn't had to wait at the anchorage. They were ready to receive our cargo when we arrived.
This time they came up with some stupid shit. They wanted us to have a doormat at the gangway and we must use it BEFORE going ashore. Where do they come up with all this bullshit?
This day I also decided to stay onboard until I had the required sea service for applying to the navigation school. That means to the middle of July.
Letter sent from Sweden 13th of June 1985
And of course, my Grandparents were happy about my decision. They had done nothing but nagging about me applying to the school.
Monday 27nd of May 1985 and we arrived to Hamburg 3 o'clock in the morning. During the day it
was 30°,C in the shadow so it was very hot.
We had a BBQ on the poop deck.
According to my letter we left Hamburg at 11 o'clock in the evening bound for Ruisbroek. And that would mean that we will discharge in Ruisbroek. I can only remember us laoding in Ruisbroek.
Wednesday 29nd of May 1985 and we arrived to Ruisbroek at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I took one of our pushbikes and I went in to BOOM for some shopping. I had lost my valet so I bought a new valet. I was also buying underwear and some honey.
We left Ruisbroek at midnight. Bound for where?
A birthday card for me
Friday 31st of May 1985 and the only thing I wrote for today was:
“We arrived early this morning around 9 o'clock. The weather is nice, but a little windy ”
But I never wrote where we were or what we were going to load or discharge.
Sunday 2nd of June 1985 and we arrived to Rotterdam around 7 o'clock in the morning. We will be here discharging for quite some time. We're discharging in to a barge and the barge has to go discharge when she is full.
And we have to wait for the barge to come back so we can continue discharging.
I sent this postcard from Rotterdam
I remember this port stay, almost like it was yesterday. I remember going to town during the day. I was working during the night, I think from 8 in the evening to 8 in the morning. I just watched deck and our moorings while waiting for the barge to return.
I had been in the mess room and I was o my way out on deck when I passed the stairs going up to the Officer's deck. I could hear some commotion and I went up to investigate. I discovered our Captain and 2nd Officer, and they were fighting.
Monday 3rd of June 1985 and I had burnt my arms in the sun. I had had time to take a walk in to one of the suburbs to Rotterdam before we left Rotterdam.
Tuesday 4th of June 1985 and and we arrived to Hamburg around 9 o'clock in the evening. We will load sulphuric acid for Gent in Belgium.
Friday 7th of June 1985 and we arrived to Gent 4 o'clock in the morning. And the discharging must have been pretty quick because we must have left late afternoon in order to have been able to be in Calais 3 o'clock in the morning the day after.
Saturday 8th of June 1985 and we arrived to Calais 3 o'clock in the morning. Drizzle and overcast, never mind the drizzle, I took a walk up to the city. This was the first time for me in France so I wanted to check it out.
I remember experience with my home made French and it worked excellent.
Just to put “La” or “Le” in front of every word.
- La glass
And I had an ice cream in my hand in a jiffy. Same at the department store. I was looking for tube socks.
- La socko le tennis
And I got a pack of tube socks. Well, thinking about it, I can't understand why I bought tube socks. They are OK first time I use them. But after one session in the laundry machine they are pretty much useless.
We had nice weather in the afternoon and we must have left Calais in the afternoon or early evening. Bound for Immingham to discharge the sulphuric acid.
Sunday 9th of June 1985 and we arrived to Immingham around 10 o'clock in the morning.
Port of Immingham
The terminal only had capacity to receive 120 tonnes per hour so we expect to stay in Immingham for a while. County hotel in Immingham was a famous place for the “Scandal beauties” frequenting the place.
UK was well known for the ladies prowling around the ports looking for beer, or any alcohol for that matter. And it was no beauties, 45 ++, 200 kilo and only God knows when they had had a shower last time. And they drank a pint of beer in 2 seconds.
I knew a guy and he told me about one of these SCANDAL BEAUTYS. They had discharged timber in somewhere in England. He had been ashore the day before and he woke up with one of these girls. And as he said:
- She was so ugly so the Stevedores stopped working when she went ashore.
Immingham is a small town and County hotel is the only place where to drink beer. We went up to County hotel in the evening and we were drunk. Everything closed at 12 or 1 o'clock and we wanted to continue the party.
- Isn't there anything open now?
- Yes, we have a Indian Take away
- What the
Monday 10th of June 1985 and I had a long constitutional in to Immingham where I had an ice cream. I went to the Seaman's Club in the lock later on in evening and we meet some Swedish sailors from a Transatlantic ship. We expect to leave Immingham during the night, bound for Hamburg where we will load sulphuric acid.
Wednesday 12th of June 1985 and we arrived to Hamburg in the morning. We changed some crew but we never received any mail.
We were loading sulphuric acid at dolphins. M/T Otello or M/T Ottawa, well, I think this was the name. But I'm sure it was one of the sisters built in Lödöse back in the 60's for OT. Well, anyway, a OT ship, was moored next to us and they were going to load from the same barges we loaded from when we were ready.
This was a real wreck. I remember some of the crew hanging on the rail smoking a joint. No one cared, and people were drinking beer on deck, no one cared.
While we were moored next to each other we climbed between the ships. Just to say hello and have a look at each other's ships.
Thursday 13th of June 1985 and we left Hamburg around 4 o'clock in the morning. We arrived to the anchorage at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
I sent this postcard from Nordenham at River Weser in Germany
We left the anchorage around 8 o'clock in the evening. We did 2 trips between Hamburg and Nordenham. And I still remember when we left Hamburg on the 15th of June.
We left in the morning and when we left the Pilot it was terrible weather and I was on the fo'c's'le securing the anchors. I remember the sea breaking over the fo'c's'le.
Sunday 16th of June 1985 and we're back in Hamburg and this time we're loading for Rotterdam
Monday 17th of June 1985 and we left Hamburg 9 o'clock in the morning. We meet Corona on the way out from Elbe and it was rolling when we left Elbe behind and as I wrote home.
It had been raining every day for the last few days. So it was a normal European summer with rain and strong winds.
Tuesday 18th of June 1985 and we arrived to Rotterdam in the middle of the day.
We were moored to buoys and we discharged to barges. We had a speed boat coming to pick us up so I went ashore and I took the train to Rotterdam.
Wednesday 19th of June 1985 and we shifted to another jetty 4 o'clock in the morning.
I sent this postcard from Rotterdam
We were doing tank cleaning at a tank cleaning jetty. We completed the tank cleaning and we left the tank cleaning jetty at 1 o'clock in the afternoon.
We arrived to the jetty where we are going to load the Caustic Soda. The Seaman's church came onboard and they took us to the church. We also visited an exhibition and the Norwegian Seaman's church before we returned to the ship.
My last letter from M/T Vestria, at least I can't find any more letters
We loaded the caustic soda and we left Rotterdam bound for Piteå in Sweden. This trip must have taken us a few days. I sent my last letter home, maybe I thought it was no idea to start a new one when I was about to sign off. At least I can't find any more letters from M/T Vestria during spring/ summer 1985.
Monday 24th of June 1985 and I went ashore in Piteå to send home a parcel from the post office in Piteå. When I joined the ship it was cold and I was wearing a brown suede leather jacket. My best jacket ever. But I decided to send it home as it was summer. I took the opportunity to send some Captain Morgan rum in the same parcel.
And according to my post card I went to a barber shop but they were closed. And according to the same postcard we were leaving for Skelleftehamn when we were ready in Piteå.
I sent this postcard from Piteå, Sweden
We were loading sulphuric acid in Skelleftehamn and according to a letter from my Grandparents I had called home. And I had told them that I
had got my hair cut in Skelleftehamn, 70 SEK.
The franc (Dutch: frank, French: franc, German: Franken) was the currency of Belgium until 2002 when the euro was introduced into circulation. It was subdivided into 100 centiem (Dutch), centimes (French) or Centime (German).
The conquest of most of western Europe by revolutionary and Napoleonic France led to the French franc's wide circulation. In the Austrian Netherlands (now Belgium), the franc replaced the kronenthaler. This was in turn replaced by the Dutch guilder when the Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed.
Following independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the new Kingdom of Belgium in 1832 adopted its own franc, equivalent to the French franc, followed by Luxembourg in 1848 and Switzerland in 1850. Newly-unified Italy adopted the lira on a similar basis in 1862.
In 1865 France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy created the Latin Monetary Union (to be joined by Greece in 1868): each would possess a national currency unit (franc, lira, drachma) worth 4.5 g of silver or 290.322 mg of fine gold, all freely exchangeable at a rate of 1:1. In the 1870s the gold value was made the fixed standard, a situation which was to continue until 1914.
In 1926, Belgium, as well as France, experienced depreciation and an abrupt collapse of confidence, leading to the introduction of a new gold currency for international transactions, the belga worth 5 francs, and the country's withdrawal from the monetary union, which ceased to exist at the end of the year. The belga was tied to the British pound at a rate of 35 belgas (175 francs) = 1 pound and was thus put on a gold standard of 1 belga = 209.211 mg fine gold. The 1921 monetary union of Belgium and Luxembourg survived, however, forming the basis for full economic union in 1932. In 1935, the Belgian franc was devalued by 28% to 150.632 mg fine gold and the link between the Luxembourg and Belgian francs was revised to 1 Luxembourgish franc = 1¼ Belgian francs.
Following Belgium's occupation by Germany in May, 1940, the franc was fixed at a value of 0.1 Reichsmark, reduced to 0.08 Reichsmark in July, 1940. Following liberation in 1944, the franc entered into the Bretton Woods system, with an initial exchange rate of 43.77 francs = US dollar set on October 5. This was changed to 43.8275 in 1946 and then to 50 following the devaluation of the British pound in September 1949. The Belgian franc was devaluated again in 1982.
Like 10 other European currencies, the Belgian/Luxembourgish franc ceased to exist on January 1, 1999, when it became fixed at 1 EUR= 40.3399 BEF/LUF, thus a franc was worth € 0.024789. Old franc coins and notes lost their legal tender status on February 28, 2002.
I think we discharged our cargo in Antwerp. And my postcard from Antwerp is the last thing I sent home from M/T Vestria before signing off. At least I can't find any more letters and postcards.
But I was ashore with our Motorman in Antwerp. Back then Antwerp was a very fun place and we took every opportunity to go ashore in Antwerp. And Belgium was dirt cheap back then. At least the beer. It was almost for free. I think we got about 100 Belgian Franc fro 2 US dollars and a beer was between 8 and 25 Franc. 25 Franc at a fancy disco.
So it was almost impossible to spend any money, you handed over 1 dollar and asked for a beer. You got a beer and 1 dollar change. Well, thinking of it, it was possible to spent quite a lot of money if you put your mind to it.
I sent this postcard from Antwerp
According to my postcard from Antwerp we were going to Ventspils so we must have loaded SUPER phosphoric acid in Ruisbroek. I don't know if we discharged the sulphuric acid from Skelleftehamn, Sweden in Antwerp or someplace else. But I remember one time n Ruisbroek and our Motorman and I take a taxi to Antwerp for a good night on town.
We were back inboard early morning, how do I know? It was the 2nd Officer on the 4 to 8 watch on deck. And when I stepped over the gangway I discovered our duty officer, dead drunk in a fight with Captain.
Of course, I stayed on deck to watch the row and Captain told me to leave deck.
- Go inside!
Of course, I stayed to watch them fight.
When we had left Schelde Pilot behind the day after Captain called me.
- When I tell you to leave deck you leave deck!!
I didn't knew if I should laugh or what to do.
The last letter from my Grandparents before I sign off. Sent from Sweden 3rd of July 1985
Yes, as someone told me:
- It is only the guns missing and it would be a real cowboy crew.
I had a very good time onboard and it was time for me to sign off. I got an letter from my Grandparents and I was accepted to the navigation school on the 3rd of July.
My Grandparents were dancing and laughing when they got the news from the school in Go:teborg. What's the big deal? I don't know, but I guess they have had enough worries about me wasting my life partying all the time. HEY, I WAS 20!! And when you're 20 the life is pretty much all about having a good time being irresponsible. Right?
They also wrote that my suede leather jacket was destroyed by the Captain Morgan Rum I sent home from Piteå. My Grandfather wrote that the whole post office smelt of rum when he came to pick up my parcel. Never mind the broken bottle, but my jacket. OK, it would have been way too small by now.
Well, it was nice to sign off even though we had had a very good time. Summer of 1985 and we had quite a few of what we called SUMMER ABs onboard. Summer time and everyone wanted to be home so they had to hire SUMMER ABs, the kind of ABs that can't get any jobs when there is someone else available. They were drunk most of the time and I remember one time relieving one of the summer AB's on deck.
We transported acid so it was pretty important that we didn't have any leaks on the cargo pipe system. The summer AB had been busy changing gaskets on the cargo lines during his watch. He had not even bothered to take off the bolts at the flanges, just forced the gasket halfway in and then tightening the bolts.
Tuesday 11th of Jule 1985 and I signed off M/T Vestria. I don't know where, but I'm pretty sure it was in Helsingborg. I would have a few days of summer holiday before starting the Navigation school on Kvarnberget in Go:teborg.
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 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!
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.
Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas
Faites vous parlez le français? Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!
Haga usted dice el español? Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!
Farla parla l'italiano? 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.