I noticed in a recent issue of Sea Breezes, a photo of one of my oId ships, the Port Melbourne, now the Princess Danae.
I was 3rd Engineer on her when we had a crank case explosion in the port main engine. This was about four days out from Lyttelton on the way to Panama. No one was killed, although the second engineer was burnt through not having overalls on. The engine room was left in a mess till we got back to the UK so the BoT and H&W could have a look.
My last ship with Port Line was the Port Montreal. I was, at one stage, due to go to the ship stuck in the Suez Canal. I joined Port Line in May 1961 joining the Port Dunedin at Lyttelton.
I served my apprenticeship at the Otago Harbour Board in Dunedin where all our gear was of UK origin – two steam tugs, a large steam dredge, wharf cranes etc. I left Port Line in the UK and joined USSCo going up to Albourg to bring a ship out.
I left the sea after 15 years to come ashore to marry and ended up running a sulphuric acid plant in a fertiliser works. I look back at my time at sea as something that makes you look at the world in a different way. I was President of the local branch of the NZ Ship & Marine Society which we closed a couple of years ago due to declining membership. Of the nine members we had left, only four had been to sea, three as engineers and one a captain.
6 Nursery Plc, Westown 4310
New Plymouth, New Zealand