IT WAS WITH A GREAT DEAL OF INTEREST that I read the article in the March 2011 issue of Sea Breezes. I also joined the Port Hobart for the first time on the 20 August 1962 at KG 5 (4) as a newly promoted Jun/2nd/Eng.
This would be my first trip on H&W (BW) Double Acting 2 stroke engines, although I had served on the Port Invercargill for nine months which had a H&W (B&W) 7 cyl single acting type. The Port Hobart proved to be a happy ship, hard working but with a great crowd of blokes. I finally did three voyages in her serving from 20 August 1962 to 10 February 1964.
I have a few reminiscences about the first voyage which I can share with the author. We also carried a prize pig in our animal menagerie. At Las Palmas we also loaded deck cargo for Australia, a large number of portable oil exploration equipment, trucks, drill rigs etc. This was loaded with the ship’s own gear to the forward well deck holds 1 & 2 and proved to be quite a challenge as the centre of gravity was difficult to gauge on some of the bulkier items, needing multiple lifts to get it right. It was quite a sight to see these various items being swung on board. The crew certainly had a lot of lashing down to do before we left.
The engines on the Port Hobart at this time were very prone to have frequent “Scavenge Fires”. This was an inconvenience for the watch keeping engineers as the necessary slow down of the engines was controlled to allow the fire to burn itself out without stopping. Under normal conditions the slowdown lasted about 45 minutes, but between Cape Town and Durban, we cracked a main oil cooled piston, which allowed the oil to flood into the “Scavenge Trunking” which caught fire. This burned for about two hours before we could stop and change the piston. During these fires the firework display from the funnel was something to see, especially at night, and during an after deck film show. The chief officer had the problem of keeping the after decks clean from the deposited soot. On this voyage we had at least 20 fires, but on a later one by changing the cylinder lubricating oil specification it was reduced to zero (changed by a very good chief engineer Mr Gascoigne).
Arriving in Hobart on Saturday 27 October, 1962, we were followed into the harbour by HMS Tiger, which berthed by the grain silos and was open to the public at the weekend. On Saturday evening we were invited to a party on board a China Steam Navigation ship berthed alongside whose name I fail to recall. I wonder if the author, Peter Moore remembers having a few beers in the engineers bar “Ye Yogi Bar” decorated with characters from the Hanna Barbara cartoon series. The Christmas day menu was always first class, something to remember.
Thank you Peter for bringing back very pleasant memories.
4 Rues de la Montage
L 5380 Uebersyren, Luxembourg GD
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