I got this picture from http://www.photoship.co.uk
United Polaris was built in Karlskrona, Sweden 1981. She is 142.4m long and 17.8m wide.
She was on 11720 DWT and she has 21 cargo tanks with the capacity of 12527 m³.
United Polaris was built as Vinga Polaris for Vingatank Rederi AB but was later sold to United Tankers. United Tankers owned the ship but Ferm Ship Management had the management for M/T United Polaris. When United Tankers became Broström then Ferm Ship Management became Broström Ship Management.
I signed on M/T United Polaris 29th of January 1995 in Stockholm as 2nd Officer and signed off in Bremen 20th of June 1995.
Sunday 29th of January 1995 and we were driving to Stockholm in a rented car from Gothenburg. I picked up the car early in the morning and then I went to the train station to pick up the new AB, Chief Engineer and Captain. We got on the wrong route, we drove the Go:teborg to Stockholm road but the road via Jönköping is quicker even though it's a wee bit longer.
I was in the front seat, but I was not driving. Well, if I had done the driving I guess we would have arrived to Stockholm several hours earlier. Now we were chugging along in 100km/h. And now I'm talking top speed, average speed cannot have been much more than 70km/h.
On our way to Stockholm from Gothenburg we were going from rain to snow. There was snow in Stockholm when we arrived and it was cold darn cold.
Please! Take me out of here, I hate the winter
United Polaris was discharging in Stockholm when we arrived and as I remember it we should be ready in the early morning and we were bound for Ventspils to load Naphtha when we were ready in Stockholm.
And of course, arriving to Ventspils and we had to stay on the roads to flush our tanks. Loading Naphtha and no tank cleaning should have been necessary in normal cases, but my guess is that the cargo was not ready for us. Well, anyway, the Surveyor wanted us to flush our tanks and we spent a few hours on the roads flushing our tanks.
The winter of 1995 was a terrible winter, at least when it comes to the wind. We had gale warnings on the North Sea every day and sometimes we did not make very much speed going against very rough sea. We transported much oil around England and we were affected by the bad weather every day.
Gale after gale, well, we were soon used to the rolling but it was very tiresome.
We were in Eastham and when we arrived we got to know that there wasn't going to be any cargo operation during the night. So I took this opportunity to go ashore for a few beers and to have a good time.
Of course, back then, if shore wasn't ready to start the cargo operation until the day after arrival and we were alongside I went ashore for a good time. So I took a taxi to Liverpool for a few beers. Well, today I would have stayed onboard writing something on my stupid web page.
Otherwise there weren’t many opportunities to go ashore for a few beers and a good time. Except for our stay at the repair jetty in Arendal, Norway I had only one more chance to go ashore drinking beer and enjoy myself.
It was in Hamburg. We arrived to Hamburg in the morning or around lunch time. No cargo operation until the next afternoon.
So what to do?
Yes, of course, go ashore for some fun. And I was not alone, our Chief Officer asked if we I wanted to join him to go have a look at the maritime museum.
- Yes, why not?
One of our ABs and the Chief Engineer joined as well.
Of course, I lost them after an hour or two at the maritime museum so I went down to the pub for some beers while waiting for them to be ready with the darn tour around the museum.
We spent a few hours at the museum ( I spent some times in the bar waiting) and when the guys returned to the entrance I spotted them from the bar.
It was nice to leave the darn museum behind and we were soon on Reeperbahn.
A beautiful spring day and it was really nice to walk around enjoying the nice weather making stop for a beer or two whenever we felt for it. We had a good time with a few too many beers.
Otherwise there was never time to go ashore for a good time. Only a few hours if I needed to buy something, and that were if we stayed close to some city. But most of the time we stayed far away from the civilisation so it was not worth to bother going there unless there was a chance of having fun.
But I went ashore in Liverpool for some shopping. It was a nice spring day so I decided to give it a GO. I needed underwear so I took a taxi from Eastham to the city of Liverpool to buy underwear and records with " Ruthless Rap Assassins ".
Yes, we remember " Ruthless Rap Assassins " from my train trip to Goa. I had been looking for them ever since and I had only found one record, and that was in Melbourne, Australia.
" Ruthless Rap Assassins " are from Manchester, pretty close to Liverpool so I might have some luck and find some records with " Ruthless Rap Assassins ". I visited every record shop in Liverpool and I could not find any CD with " Ruthless Rap Assassins ", not even in the second hand shops.
But I found a store for underwear. I bought 1 pair and tried them on. It was OK. So I bought the whole stock, every single pair of underwear they had in the shop.
Yes, I don't like shopping and I buy stuff for several years so I don't have to bother so often. Last time I bought underwear was almost 10 years before Liverpool. In Fredericia, Denmark and these underwear was of a very good quality and they would have last me forever if it wasn't for one thing. The colour, they were blue and I had 100 pairs.
- Hmm, I even think I still have a few pairs left, more than 20 years later.
Well, anyway, I had underwear to last me a life time but the problem was the colour. 100 pairs of blue underwear and people thought that I only had one pair of blue underwear and that I never changed. So I grew tired of the blue underwear and threw them away. A shame, the best quality underwear so far.
Well, anyway, back to Liverpool. I had tried one pair and they were OK. But when I started to use them they were not so comfortable that I thought they had been back in the shop. Of course, good music and the beautiful girl working there made me feel better than I really might have felt.
I had to try to sell them, mission impossible I thought. But I gave it a try and I opened a stall in my cabin. I ran out of stock in a jiffy, our Cook and 1st Engineer bought the whole stock. I lost a little money, but not as much if I would have to throw them all away.
Yes, our Cook, yes, I remember him. I still don't know if he was crazy or just plain funny. But I had a very good time with him and there were plenty laughs mixed with astonishment. He could really come up with some amazing stories and you never knew if they were true or if he was just a simple myth maniac.
Well, anyway, before coming on United Polaris I never liked lingo berry jam. I didn't fancy the idea of having jam to you meal. One time when our Cook was serving Kålpudding, I love Kålpudding, and I was asking him about the gravy. Must have been one of the best gravy’s I ever had.
- Hey, what did you put in the gravy? It was very good.
- I mix some lingo berry jam in the gravy.
Hmm, it was yummy and I eat lingo berry jam after that. So this is a memory I have of this Cook, and of course that he bought my underwear. And of course, I also remember that it was very nice to be on the same ship as him.
During the spring 1995 we went to Arendal in the South of Norway. We received order to proceed to Arendal, to do some work on the ship after discharging in
Arendal is a small town on the south coast of Norway. After the geographical boundaries were extended to include four surrounding communities in 1992, the town now is the tenth largest in Norway in terms of populations, but still contains only about 40.000 inhabitants in total.
Arendal was originally called the Venice of Scandinavia because the town is built on seven islands, with a network of canals surrounding it. Most of these canals have later been filled up, but they have plans to reopen some canals again.
The most glorious period of the town history was during the sailing ships era, in the 18th and 19th century. Arendal was at one time one of the largest and most important towns in Norway. Arendal's wealth was based on shipping, with the surrounding iron ore mining, iron works and timber providing the most important trade. Arendal had connections to all important trading centres of the world, and had better contact with Europe than with the country's capital of Christiania (or Oslo, as it was later to be called).
The introduction of steam ships gradually reduced the town's importance, but the old traditions have been retained, for example in the atmosphere of the Tyholmen area, where the collection of wooden buildings is reckoned to be among the most picturesque and best preserved of its kind, and in 1992 was awarded the much coveted Europa-Nostra prize.
Remove old ballast and cargo pipes in Arendal and that meant welding. So our Chief Officer and the ABs were busy all the way to Norway with the tank cleaning in order to be gas free at arrival to Arendal.
Arendal, not exactly a port for tankers and I remember that we didn't had any chart for Arendal. So our Pilot had to bring a chart when he boarded us outside Arendal.
We ended up smack in the city, we stayed on a jetty just at Grand Garden. And our Gangway ended up almost at the entrance at Grand Garden's pub. OK, it was a 2 minutes' walk over there, but it was pretty OK. I mean, for being on a tanker. Actually, it was excellent.
During our stay in Arendal we removed some cargo lines and made a new piping arrangement in the pump room. There was plenty job to do and we we're busy 24/7. But the pump room got much better when they were finished removing all the old unused cargo lines.
Suddenly it was possible to actually follow the pipes in the pump room.
The pump room in United Polaris and her sister ship United Star (former Vinga Polaris and Vinga Star) was notorious for their pump room. It was a complete waste of time to go down in the pump room trying to line up for loading or discharging without a map. It looked like a bowl of spaghetti down there. But when we left Arendal it was very good and you could line up without any drawings of the piping system.
Easy to see what valves to open and we were all very pleased with the job.
I don't remember how many days we spent in Arendal, but we had time to go ashore and have a good time. And of course, with the gangway at the entrance to Grand Garden's pub we had to stop there for a few beers.
I remember one night, we were enter...Well, we tried to enter a disco in town and they told us....Well, me., that I was not allowed inside with pyjamas.
- What the
And I was with one of our ABs and he would never let me forget this incident. Well, I was Mr. Pyjama after the incident.
Yes, this AB, we had a very good time. He knew Hotel 27 in Bangkok, maybe more than he wanted to. He told me that Nordic Orient Ship Management used to send their salaries to Hotel 27 in Bangkok when they were running out of money.
Yes, Hotel 27, a famous hotel. It was a terrible hotel, but it was a fun hotel. But, hmm, I can't say that I miss it.
Anyway it was nice to leave Arendal. If I remember it right we went to Mongstad and loaded Jet fuel for Amsterdam. Or if it was gas oil, hmmm, never mind we loaded something and the company made some money.
I remember when loading at Neste's refinery in Borgå, Finland. I was filling up WT when all of the sudden it sprayed from the high jet. The called on the radio from the terminal:
- What's happening, they asked.
- It's just a spray from the high jet, I replied.
The AB had to mop the deck. But it was strange, the tank was half full with ullage of about 5m.
Otherwise this could happen when you top off the tanks and then you have to monitor the pressure in the tank to avoid the opening of the high jet and the spray. But at 5m ullage was a new experience for me. It happened on the other 2nd Officers watch as well when he loaded 6P/S at ullage of 5m. But it only happened in Borgå and it wasn't very fun to load after this experience.
When you start to load in to a tank and 1st time the high jet opens it's expected with a spray if it's raining or if there is some water condense in the high jet.
I remember one night, my door opens and the Chief Engineer comes in and he had a seat in my sofa. And he starts to sing, something from a child show on TV, I think the name was tårtan. Well, I must have forgotten to lock my door. I always lock my door and it started on Vestria when the Mess girl came in to my cabin one night when we were in Morocco.
I had a good time onboard. It was a nice crew and we had plenty fun. I was in Chief Engineers cabin every day playing Nintendo. Well, sometimes we were in the day room playing cards, but we got more or less addicted to the Nintendo so playing cards was soon history.
We played Super Mario and we could not stop when we had started and sometimes we were playing Nintendo all night, until midnight when I went on my watch.
Darn! This Nintendo really got us. Every time Mario got killed we throw the control in the floor screaming and jumping like children. Is this the behaviour of grownups? I don't think so! But we had fun.
And I remember when I was the Captain on Halmia a few years after United Polaris. I brought a Nintendo and I was playing Super Mario in my cabin every day. Well, there wasn't very much else to do, of course, I called our Cook and asked for milk shakes. I played and suddenly I stumbled upon a trick. I think it was in one of the stairs and suddenly I got millions of points and, well, after that it wasn’t fun anymore and I have not played Nintendo after that.
Chief Engineer was also helping me in the kitchen. I was on a new diet, and this one was a bright shining star in the sky of all diets. I only drank hip rose soup. Our Cook had a 20 litres pot in the kitchen. I had saved several cases of empty soda water bottles, the ones with screw cap. We boiled hip rose soup and filled up all the bottles with a funnel, darn, it took us all night filling up all the empty bottles with this soup. Then I drank hip rose soup between the meals. Of course, I didn't want to miss our Cook's delicious lingon berry gravy.
I also remember that this was the time I was first introduced to Nile City. One day when I came in to the mess room our Chief Engineer was watching video, Garfield.
- What the are you watching??!!
On the way to Bremen in the Kiel Canal Captain told me that I had to sign off in Bremen. I called my travel agent in Gothenburg and ordered a ticket to Bangkok. The company had 1 new Officer just finished school that they needed to get out on a ship.
But I had been onboard long enough, when the company took over Johnsson line they got plenty Officers to the company with no tanker experience. So Chief Officer and Captain called the company all the time and asked them to let me stay.
Chief Officer told them that they needed someone with tanker experience onboard, he could not sit in the CCR 24 hours a day. Well, it was good for me, I wanted to stay.
Tuesday 20th of June 1995 and we arrived to Bremen and I left the ship in the afternoon 20th of June 1995. My flight was in the evening but I had planned to stay 1 night in Bremen before flying back to Gothenburg.
I checked in on a hotel and in the evening I went to the airport to change my ticket.
- It's not possible to change your ticket, they told me.
- What the ??!!
Well, never mind. I took a taxi back to the city.
I had a few beers in the city and I was ready to let my hair down. But where was the action? Bremen was not a very fun place.
- Hmmm, Hamburg, yes!
I checked out from my hotel and I took a train to Hamburg. I checked in at a hotel close to the central station. I just left my bag at my room and I went for a few beers.
Yo!! When I woke up in the morning it was easy not to burst into laughter. I still remember this day, this was the day when I had become old. The agony hit me like a freight train when I found out that I had spent 1500 to 200$. A few years earlier I had just shake my head and continued to spend money on the next bar. My first agony, darn, I'm really getting old.
I just wanted to disappear. My plane ticket from Bremen, well, never mind I had to go by the Choo-Choo train. And conveniently enough I lived just a minute's walk from the train station. I bought a ticket and I had to wait for an hour or so before my train to Copenhagen departed. I had to change train in Copenhagen, yes, I was looking forward to that.
I left Hamburg towards Gothenburg without any backward glances. Back in Göteborg I had my ticket with KLM and next stop Bangkok.
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it’s not very easy for them to see the blue coloured links to the next page. So
Jiffy (also jiff)
noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.
So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one.
So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!
Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas
Faites vous parlez le français? Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!
Haga usted dice el español? Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!
Farla parla l'italiano? Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra
Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!