Smit Rotterdam [a voyage report 1981]
SMIT ROTTERDAM DEEPSEA OCEAN TUG 22000 HORSEPOWER
In the spring of 1981 i received a telegram from Smit international whit the mention that the Smit Rotterdam is coming: you had to examine and mutter.
I was than functional as a boy from the engine room.
Because I wasn’t eighteen yet I couldn’t serve, as a guard on the bridge and as a sailor whit a contract.
So I returned back to Rotterdam to prepare everything.
The next day the Smit Rotterdam came in and I introduced my self on board the ship,by the chef .We had to collect provision and take enough fuel on board.
There after, we start sailing to Stavanger [Noorwegen].
Once we were sailing I unpacked my duffle bag whit my clothes and installed my radio, and than I mounted it steadfast to prevent it from tumbling and lancing about.
After a few days we were in Stavanger where we stayed a couple of days to make preparation, because we will be working whit the biggest oil production platform in the world.
The oil platform stood on 3 pontons it should go into a small part over the sea and than a fjord there to be settled on a base, which had a height of 300 metre.
Once we came in we managed whit the help of tugboats from the NRS to manoeuvre the platform on the columns and than we detached the cables.
After this we speeded back to the Westerschelde there we assisted to pull loose from a bull carrier.
There where already a few tugboats busy executing this task.
At night when the tide was high we attempted tugging for 2 hours until we got it loose.
After we had our touring equipment we sailed back to Rotterdam.
There was everybody except me was relieved.
In the meantime there was another wreck waiting, it was the mammoth tank Energy Concentration from the europoort that was broken in two halves.
The front part of the ship was already towed away by another tugboat of Smit. They had to transport it to Split [Yugoslavia] to be demolished.
We towed the back end of the ship back to the front to Barcelona to demolish.
Once we reached Barcelona we sailed directly to the North Sea and brought a oilrig to Sicily this was a prosperous trip.
We stayed 2 nights in Sicily; almost the whole crew went ashore to drink some beers.
In the evening we got news that in Libia a gas tanker with an engine room fire floating off coast.
Yes of course the whole crew and myself stopped what we were doing and assembled to go to the gas tanker.
The first mate took a taxi to look for everyone who where in the various cafes.
When we got there we extinguished the fire and fastened the tanker by hand to our ship, because nothing was working on board.
The name of the tanker was Gas fountain
We took the tanker to Marseille and carried it over at local harbour towing service and immediately proceeded to the North Sea.
There was a next job waiting for us, but this time it was a storage tanker whit destination Valetta [Malta] for reparation.
On the way to Malta we passed through Gibraltar channel where on both sides you see Spain and Marocco.
We succeeded then to make joke whit one of the crew.
We told one of our men [mess boy] that the postman will come along and he stood the whole midday whit a bamboo stick whit a red flag waving, and a red lamp under his arm whit a bucket of imitation post on the front deck.
During our voyage we had the pleasure of seeing some dolphins.
Valetta you cannot actually dock that means we have to use our own live saving boat to the shore.
On the shore we took time to relax, we rented speedboats in Sliema and we went sight seeing old and new buildings!!!!!
Back on board we barbequed on the deck and to amuse our self we had a “real fire spitter’ our own sailor.
Whit a little gas oil it should have worked.
There was no time to get lazy because after enjoying our self we had another job waiting at the harbour.
It was a Netherlands mud-piston [Ham 215], which we had to bring to Jubail [Saudie Arabia] in conjunction whit the construction of a new harbour.
We took the Ham 215 to the Suez channel this was a big experience.
On the Suez channel pilots, electricians and businessmen came on board.
For a good co-operation we treaded the guest drinks, food and cigarettes.
The electricians duties were to operate the searchlights, that was at the front of the ship [Suez light]
On the Suez channel you sails in a convoy from west to east and vice versa, there is also a lake where convoys pass each other.
We couldn’t sail very fast at once because the tow of the mud-piston ham 215 and had anchored for one night in order to continue sailing, the following day whit another convoy.
At the end of the channel we thanked the pilots and the electricians and we untied the boats of the businessmen and we took our own course directly to Jubail.
In Jubail we united the ham 215 we arranged the formalities and depart to Bahrein.
In Bahrein we refuelled and filled up the provision and leaved to Singapore, because there we had another job waiting.
The cross over the Indian Ocean was a quiet progress.
We stopped at Sri Lanka for a couple Sri Lankier fishermen.
We exchanged some clothes, old working shoes and cigarettes for fresh tuna fish.
A few days later in the morning we arrived in Singapore.
We vacuum our huts because in the evening the new crew will coming on board.
In Singapore we stayed a couple of days in a hotel, whit a lot off colleagues.
They are relieved from 3 other ships of Smit .
I don’t have to explain how much I enjoy it.
After a couple of days of amusement it was finally time for me, and the colleagues to take our separates paths.
On the airport there was a K.L.M. plane already waiting for us and after a couple of enjoyable hours brought the plane us back to the Netherlands.