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|Irish Trampship mis-adventures: Chapter Five|
|Tuesday, 14 August 2012 18:16|
Chapter Five: Trading in South East Asia
By Gordon O'Rourke
The ship and crew settled down over the next three months, visiting many ports in the region, all on relatively short voyages for the time charterers. We only visited the ‘Helena’ about once a month to see how she was doing with the repair work schedule and generally sort out problems – if any – on the crewing side, especially after their harrowing ordeal in Hualien.
The ports visited by the ship included Pekan Baru (Sumatra), Jakarta, Penang, Cebu, Manila, Shantou, Guangzhou, Mawei, Dalian, Haiphong, and Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, we were learning more about the different trades and the forming of various contacts, as well as catching up with insurance claims correspondence.
No major incidents occurred, and our next task was to arrange for crew reliefs. Most of the Polish officers and some of the Filipino ratings had completed almost a year of service.
The Polish officers, almost to a man, expressed a collective desire to be relieved on time, as they didn’t want another Hualien experience. Most of the Filipino ratings however, were prepared to sign another one-year contract. I found that they were more stoic and hardened than the Polish officers and had taken the Hualien incident in their stride, probably because the Philippines itself is hit every year with typhoons. To them, it was a more commonplace event.
Anyway, we kept our part of the contract and relieved the Poles on time in Penang, as well as the Greek Captain who also wanted to return home.
With the Filipino ratings we gave them a pay increase, and decided to have the ship totally manned by Filipinos. A new Filipino Master, Carlos Velasquez, and other deck and engineer officers were recruited in Manila after Declan and I visited there to recruit. The new crewmembers all joined in Penang.
It made economic sense to have local crews from a salary and travel costs point of view, as well as familiarity with local cultures and languages. After all, we would be continuing to trade the ship in the Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific regions for the next three years. We hoped.
This story is a work of non-fiction. Unless otherwise noted, the author and the publisher make no explicit guarantees as to the accuracy of the information contained in this story and in some cases, names of people and places have been altered to protect their privacy.
The Irish Trampship mis-adventures
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