I was most interested in two articles featured in the August 2018 issue of your excellent magazine.
The first article was the one relating to HMS Bonaventure. I seem to recall that in the early months of 1946, when serving as an SBA on HMHS Empire Clyde (formerly the Italian vessel Leonardo da Vinci), a ship of that name appeared in Hong Kong. It was described as an amnesty ship (or some such name). Providing recreational facilities for fleet personnel.
These included; lounge bars with beer brewed on board from desalinated sea-water and also a theatre with shows provided by an ‘It Aint Half Hot Mum’ type concert party. I would be interested to learn if this was, indeed, the same ship featured in your article, especially as that she remained in the Far East for a number of years, performing trooping duties.
The second article I wish to refer to is the horror story about the dreadful conditions aboard the livestock carrier Awassi Express endured by the hapless cargo of sheep and the unfortunate stockmen who were expected to care for them. It’s difficult in our sanitised world to imagine the stench generated by the rotting carcasses which would have permeated throughout the ship, invading crew accommodation, engine room and bridge areas. It would, no doubt, have been noticed by passing vessels down-wind of her.
Surely, as we approach the end of the second decade of the 21st century, it is high time that the transport of livestock on the hoof over lengthy sea voyages was outlawed throughout the world. Reefer ships have been with us for about 150 years and offer an efficient method of transporting meat at a higher density that that of transporting live animals, without the necessity of carrying stockmen to care for them. It is a problem which needs to be addressed by both the meat industry, that is farmers and processers, and the shipping companies who are providing the transport, be it live, chilled or frozen.
In the case of live transport, it may be that the cost of upgrading the facilities for the carriage of such cargo would be more that the traffic would bear. Another reason for banning the practise. I write as an outsider looking in, with my involvement with shipping confined to five years as an inspector of ship’s provisions. Initially under the Board of Trade, as it then was, before the almost disappearance of the UK shipping industry in the 1970s.
E J MULLEN