Boats, memories, places, friends


Venting the dry bulk tanks, North Sea, 1996, Maersk Mystery


Working the S7000, towing her (as an assist vessel to her own thrusters) from Ushant to offshore Pointe Noire. Maersk Mariner.


Aberdeen circa 1996/97. The diminutive Maersk Trader. The Shetland ferry (P and O) can be seen in the background.



Three ‘hands’ on MV Zealence circa 1984. We were paid ‘shares’ of the cargo freightage rather than set wages and we  supplied our own food. Some times it was good money and sometimes very poor. During the miners strike, it was good, around £900 a week running coke from Calais to Mistley Quay, Essex.



Barge handling (a dark art allatsea always found), West Africa. S7000 on the horizon.



Aberdeen, Trinity Quay. Mariner and Trader on the spot market. Some days the  ships go out for £6000/day, on another when the market was really  tight and rigs needed moving, £100,000 a day. Just to get  things in proportion, the fuel and consumables were extra of course. The Mariner could burn 50 tonnes a day (ifo) when cranked up, that’s around $30,000. The joys of it.


RFA days. 1977. RFA Tidereach. Pictured the 8-12, Engineer, mate and sparky at around two in the morning. Nowadays you’ll be dismissed for sniffing a barmaid’s apron, then it seemed mandatory to drink like a whale.


Quart in a Pint Pot, 1996, Colonel Brown and disciples, drunk nunky in the background.


Two of the hands on MV Kindrence, London and Rochester’s finest. The company was quite infamous for the eclectic nature of its crews.The one on the left was a Medway thug and nothing more, the one on the right was as daft as a brush and maintained that he only slept with his sister once.


Another Kindrence hand. True to stereo type, and like all the rest of us on there, odd…..but nice.


Swansea 1976 (allatsea was always very lucky with the exotic destinations visited), British Cormorant. Note the ‘proper’ cargo ship coming through the cut.


My closest friend, Kevin Smith, pictured in Dover in 1999. A  Master Mariner AND ATPL, sadly killed by the bastard cancer three years ago. The nicest man I ever met, certainly the coolest under pressure.


Moi, Maersk Finder, 1998. A PSV rather than a AHT, the Finder was the worst, un-happiest year of my maritime life. Running between Asco Peterhead and the BP ETAP field 8 hours out of Aberdeen. The five week trips were non-stop hell on Earth as far as the driving Mates were concerned. No DP and  one mate watches. A ludicrous workload. After four trips I’d had enough. Went back to AHTs and never looked  back. To this day I have an aversion to Peterhead and ALL things ASCO.


Look carefully, 4 BP Bird Class tankers laid up in Barry Docks 1976.


Blimey, taken several centuries ago, mr and mrs allatsea playing publicans. The mental scars are still visible, even in low light. The pub, despite the carnage of the industry in recent years, is still trading, just. We left in 1995. Thank God.


Ken the 2nd Engineer on Maersk Mariner, demonstrating why only young and fit people should ever go topless.


Las Palmas, cargo ops to S7000, discharging a 40 tonne reel of 83mm wire….from the forward hold!! A rare thing in the offshore world.

Steve Close Pointe Noire pool

And finally for this post (‘hooray’ they cry) Stevey Close getting out of the Pool on the  way home from Mariner via two bars and the swimming pool at Ponte Noire. Happy days they were.

About allatsea

Sixty year old master-mariner. Absolutely gorgeous. Well wedged.....when compared to a Nairobi street urchin. Sorted, in that I haven't been in court recently. Hopelessly optimistic, terminally disappointed. Good with cats and other fluffy things. No musical talent. Generous to a fault provided it's someone else's round. Political centreist with far right and left viewpoints. A green activist from the hydrocarbon position with nuclear leanings. Averse to avarice but always happy to receive lottery wins, gifts, windfalls, legacies, prizes and wet sloppy kisses.
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