Rewritten onboard M/T Ek-Star September 2010
I took the photo outside Simrishamn 31st of July 1990
I took the photo outside Simrishamn 31st of July 1990
Westön was built 1973 by Rauma Repola Oy, Rauma, Finland. She was on 5710 DWT. She was 137,52m long and 22,36m wide. She could load 1296 m. Westön was going in Traffic between Finland and England for Finncarriers.
• She was delivered to Finska Ångfartygs A/B, Helsinki, Finland 1973
• Nordsjöfrakt in Skärhamn bought her 1985 and named her Westön.
• she was sold for scrap 2006.
I called to B & N and asked if they had a job for me as AB. I spoke with someone asking me:
- Did you work on Storön a few years ago?
- Yes, I said.
- I was Chief Engineer there back then, he said.
- I call you back in a few minutes, he said.
But when I was working on Storön it was in Nordsjöfrakt.
Nordsjöfrakt AB was formed 1972 with the 2 ships, Sandön and Cortia and 1989 and Nordsjöfrakt and Lennart Bylocks forms a company and they change name to B&N Bylock and Nordsjöfrakt AB
After a few minutes he called and said that I could sign on Westön. I signed on Westön in Hanö bukten off Simrishamn 31st of July 1990 as AB. We left Gothenburg early morning, they picked me up with the company car at Masthuggstorget just a few minutes’ walk from my student room and we took off towards Simrishamn in Skåne. I had had a late night the day before so I didn't feel like a million, but it was not bad. Just boring to sit in the car for several hours.
In Simrishamn they have a search and rescue boat that the company use to pay to transport crew to and from ships on Hanö Bukten (Bay of Hanö).
So when we came to Simrishamn we went down to the small fishing harbour and we loaded our luggage on the boat that took us to Westön on Simrishamn roads.
When we came close to Westön with the boat I could see the AB in the pilot port in the ship's side. He was putting out a pilot ladder for us so we could climb onboard. I recognized him immediately, we had been ABs together on Nordanhav and we had had a very good time onboard Nordanhav.
So I was very happy to see him and I was looking forward to the trip onboard M/S Westön. We boarded Westön and she continued on her voyage to Hull in River Humber.
When going to Hull from Finland we passed through Öresund and when we returned we went via the Kiel Canal and we could go ashore to buy ice-cream in the locks.
First time we arrived to Hull was on a Saturday.
Hmm, unless we dropped anchor it doesn’t make sense. I joined the ship on the 31st of July and that was on a Tuesday. And 4 days from Simrishamn to Hull are a few days to much. But I remember that it was Sunday the day after and Stevedores didn't work.
Well, anyway, we arrived to Hull in the afternoon and we were soon ashore. When we were finished with the mooring operation we had a few beers in the duty mess and then we had a shower.
And I remember my cabin as a meeting point.
Everyday there were sitting people in my cabin and if we were going ashore we drank beer in my cabin before we left over the gangway.
We left the ship in the early evening and we had to walk through the docks looking for a place where we could call a taxi. Not a place to call a taxi as far we could see. But when we passed the lock we found some kind of office or control room for the look. They called a taxi and I still remember that we had to wait for quite some time before the taxi arrived.
There was a place called Sgt. Pepper and we used to go to this place. Actually I don't know if there was so much more to choose from in Hull. So this Sgt. Pepper was the place to be at and I was happy that I didn't lived there.
But we had a good time and a few exotic Swedish sailors are always popular on the pubs and I even suspect we were the most exotic thing ever happening to some of the people hanging around the pubs in Hull.
Believe me, there was nothing exotic with Hull. OK, maybe the police on the horses.
- Hmm, well, maybe the shit faced girls,9 months pregnant and covered in tattoos. That was exotic, at least when you're from Sweden Hmm, I never seen something like that before and I really don't want to see it again.
We started the discharging Monday morning when the Stevedores started to work again after the weekend. I don't remember if we went to Amsterdam or Antwerp after Hull or if we left straight for the Kiel Canal.
But I know that we left straight for the Kiel Canal at least one of the times. Coming from the NW entering the TTS leading to Elbe Pilot and we must have come direct from Hull.
- Hmm, thinking of it. We might have gone straight for the Kiel Canal every time.
I had finished my navigational college but I had to write and give in a work on a subject that was related to shipping. I hadn't made up my mind on what to write about (I think it was the Captain coming up with the idea to write about the
" European Community "). I was on 8-12 watch and in the morning Captain stood the 8-12 watch. He let me drive the ship so I could get some practice before I got my licence.
On the way from Hull to the Kiel Canal we had to enter Texel TSS from the north.
I asked him if we shouldn't cross the west going lane at a right angle and enter the east going lane in an as small angel as possible.
- Never mind, no one will see us out here, he answered.
Well, Murphy's law, there was a small ship from the German coast guard just close by. They called on the radio and asked Captain for his name. I don't know if he was fined. Well, shit happens.
- Hmmm, but why should it happen to us all the time?
We arrived to Elbe without any more mishaps. In the Canal we used to go ashore for candy and ice-cream. In the lock there is always a little going on and it was a break from the daily routines.
Nice if it was sunshine. But, of course, if it was raining it would have been better to stay inside the accommodation scratching the behind.
HKF use to arrange sport events for sailors ashore. They come to the ship and they drive the crew to some sport ground. Yes we have seen several pictures from such adventures here on www.aladdin.st.
HKF also arrange 24 hours soccer tournaments, Ping Pong, bandy and many more tournaments at their sport arena in Gothenburg.
They arrange for the crew to go ashore for different sport activities in Rotterdam and Antwerp. They always have something going on. Sometimes they arrange athletics tournaments between ships and then we do the activities onboard and we record the results and send them to HKF. And the winner is.......
Well, during the August 1990 HKF had some kind of tournament and we were participating. Those tournaments are open to all ships so it's pretty much up to the crew if there is any interest.
There were no lack of enthusiasm onboard M/S Westön and we were running, jumping and we were throwing things around. I don't remember our results but I was running down our deck like a track horse. I bulldozed my way down the track on deck and a few meters more and I had gone supersonic, I could hardly managed to stop.
Well, it was not my intention to give you the impression that we were only busy doing sports. We had a nice big poop deck, we loaded containers fore and aft of the superstructure. So when we didn't have any containers on the poop deck it was perfect for a big table. Throw in a grill and you have a BBQ party.
Of course, there was plenty to do on the ship between ports. The summer is short and we needed to get some paint on the ship before it was too late in the autumn.
I remember that they had a project to paint under the bridge wings when I was onboard.
Luckily enough I was never involved in the bridge wing “PROJEECT”. I can't stand heights and for sure, if I were to sit on a platform under the bridge wing I would have suffered from severe vertigo.
So I was very happy with staying on deck, but I could take pictures of the guys. Put there was a lot of other stuff we had to do. Cleaning of our decks and if I remember it right we had 2 deck and one cargo hold.
We loaded paper and trailers on main deck and on weather deck we loaded containers. They could roll on and off the cargo via ramps from main deck. That's why they call it a RO-RO ship.
They used a crane to load and discharge(lift on and off) our containers so maybe the correct name would have been a RO-LO ship.
We had a deck crane onboard. But I can't remember that we ever used our own crane. They used shore cranes to lift on and off the cargoes and the only thing we did with our crane was to move it. Our crane was moving along the deck on rail tracks and we had to move it every time it was in the way obstructing the discharging and loading, well, sometimes it was used to move some containers. You can see our crane and the rail tracks on one of the pictures above.
Loading in Rauma, Finland to load paper rolls and paper products. We stayed overnight in Rauma every time so there were chance to go ashore to explore the night life. Summer time and it was OK, but I can imagine this place as very boring in the winter.
When I look at my pictures I remember that we were in Helsinki one time. A guy I had been to school with on Kvarnberget was working on a Stena ship next to us so he paid me a visit.
This was the first time for me in Helsinki so I took the opportunity to go ashore to check out the nightlife I had heard so much about. And it was fun, I went to several pubs and I ended up at some club. I don't remember much, I only remember, well, I remember it like a punk rock place and the music was great.
But we loading in Rauma all the time in Finland, this stop in Helsinki only happened once during my time onboard. In Finland the vodka was very expensive.
So we bought vodka in the slop chest and we sold it to the Stevedores.
Good to have some Finnish currency in the pocket when going ashore to the pub. And of course, it made a lot to improve the statements from VISA. Well, VISA was both good and not good. When you wanted to go ashore and you didn't had any cash it was excellent. But of course, that meant that I could come home with less money than when I joined the ship.
But back then it was never mind, I was 20 and no problem spending money, there were more money where they had come from. Priority was to have fun, as much as we could and we were never thinking about the money.
And while writing this I remember that we must have gone to Antwerp on some of our voyages. I had my cabin full of Belgian Scooby Doo$ and the plan was to buy a stereo for Bjäbben in Antwerp.
But my money got stolen in Rauma. I didn't lock my cabin and I think one other guy got money stolen from him as well. Well, I got new money and I bought a stereo for Bjäbben so she was happy when I brought it home.
- Hmm, maybe not when I played music on full blast. Quite angry actually.
We were soon back in Hull again and same story. we took a walk to the lock and we called a taxi. Sometimes we had to call 2 taxis and we were most likely meeting up at Sgt. Pepper. The only place I know of thanks' to my pictures.
And of course, I'm not 100% sure the name really was Sgt. Pepper so don't run of making any bets that there is a pub named Sgt. Pepper in Hull.
Lo and behold, while checking my pictures I discovered a place marked as “The Cheers in Hull”. Is it possible that there were 2 places? Obviously.
Maybe we had run out of welcome at Sgt. Pepper, and what kind of name is Sgt. Pepper anyway?
I remember that we meet Captain and Chief Engineer with his wife on town in Hull when we walked from a place searching for another place. (Doomed mission)
Good thing is that everything closed so early in England back then so we were back onboard in a good time.
But many times the opportunity to get to bed early was wasted by a beer or two before going to sleep. And then, when too drunk sleeping turns in to unconsciousness. And then you're not getting the rest you need. You body is working at a maximum to burn the alcohol in your system and, well, we know how it feels when we wake up.
In Rauma we had 2 places that I know the name of. Well, again, don't run away making any bets. This is the name my pictures was marked with 20 years ago. But when I marked my pictures I was convinced that one of the places was named Columus and the other place was Kalihovi
and if I remember it right Columus was a pub and Kalihovi was the place people went for dancing.
1 time in Rauma there was an AB signing off and he was staying at hotel overnight waiting for his flight back home. So we went there for a few drinks in the evening and when we arrived the party was in full swing.
Music was high and there were several phone calls to his room. I don't know if it was from the room service or if they complained about the noise. or maybe they just wanted him to get the f@ck out of the hotel.
Most likely a combination of all of the three above. Well, the spirit was high in his room and we spent an hour or two before we left for the exciting night life in Rauma.
He had a huge bill after drinking all day on the room. As soon as he stepped out from the elevator they called on him. Hmmm, he didn't look like someone you liked to have a huge unpaid bill laying around without feeling uncomfortable about it. And our company didn't make them feel any better about it. That's for sure.
I think he was kicked out from the hotel room because he took the same taxi to the airport as we took back onboard when they closed the pubs in Rauma. I don't remember the closing times in Rauma but we got a few hours on town before they closed.
Well, anyway, I remember that he was in the taxi leaving us at the ship at the wee hours. He had cut the back of the passenger front seat in pieces with a big knife he was wearing.
Not a guy you would like to bring to a drive in movie in our own car. Hmm, I was glad that I didn't have to fly with him. Maybe he f••••• up all the seats in the aircraft on the way to Sweden. He was a nice guy but after a few drinks he became Mr. Hyde and obviously no one you wanted to be around when he was wearing a knife. And it was not a small knife either.
We left for Hull and the off signing AB, at least I think he made it home to Sweden. We have had a very good time onboard and it had been very nice people onboard. We got a new Captain onboard and not before long we had an argument.
I woke up one morning in Rauma and I looked at my wrist watch and it was almost 10 o'clock. I should start to work at 8 o'clock.
When I came up the other AB told me that I could go to bed again. I should not start to work until afternoon. I got pissed off, no one had waked me up and I didn't know about my changed work hours. I crapped in my bed waking up 2 hours late for work. Well, I got pissed off and I told him to send me home. And no one liked this guy, well known moron even outside the B&N and when telling people that I had been on Westön the first thing they asked was:
- Wasn't Captain (whatever his name) was onboard?
Yes, this guy had really made it in his life. Everyone he had ever met disliked him. Imagine when you retire after a full life of work and you can't find anyone that likes you. Sad, very sad.
Wednesday 12th of September 1990 and I signed off on Simrishamn roads with the Search and Rescue boat in Simrishamn. They came out to pick up us and my box with the stereo for Bjäbben.
Wednesday night and I went to Frasses at Sjöbefälsskolan on Kvarnberget, Göteborg in the evening. I was drinking a beer when the Marine Personnel Manager's son came down to Frasses. He was study last year in the Engineer class.
- Aladdin, I heard that you gave your notice!
- Yes, that was a stupid motherf@cker.
- You're not the first one.
I don't know, but I think it's strange they keep a guy that no one like and the other crew they just give their notice. Well, that's their business.
I spent a few nights at Frasses to meet some of the friends from when I was study at the school. I still knew they guys from last year in the engineer class, but otherwise it was all new faces.
It was soon time for me to leave for a new ship. They called and asked if I could join Tärnsund 26th of September. Yes, why not? I joined Tärnsund in Skarvikshamnen, Gothenburg.
You are visitor no.
To www.aladdin.st since December 2005
Visitors from different countries since 26th of September 2011