I was part of the cable party on a smally ship in Hong Kong many moons ago. We'd finished boardings for the night and were heading into anchor and get our fat ones down. It was pitch black with the only lights visible the nav lights, a couple of cigarettes and a red pussers right angle in the PO greenies mit. All of a sudden the darkness was rent asunder with the sound of someone yelling 'LET GO!' from the direction of the bridge wing...Feck! We'd obviously managed to miss all the previous orders and hadn't prepped the cable in any way. Oh well, in a few nano seconds the mousing was off, the gert big hammer was swung and the anchor was snaking its way into the China Sea. Only problem was we were doing 12 knots and the gunnery officer had shouted 'BELOW!' .....
Thats what happens when the dabbering is done by and RO, a greeenie and a chinese stoker........ can't remember what the outcome was but as it was all fun in the sun in Honky Fid, and the old man was one of the finest, nobody got in the sh*t. Health and safety? what a load of ballacks!
Fer gawds sake its hardly a major disaster is it? We broke down three times a bloody week on the Otter hardly ever in fact never ever saw a headline in any paper which said.
Jinked O boat HMS Otter's port donked tits up again!
It happens get over it and anyway the boats doing trials isn't this the time when these sort of problems are sorted and resolved?
Come on Sun get back to reporting what you are good at Naomi Campells bonking feast for diamonds!
Another gem from 'the paper that supports our boys' (pass me the sick bag Alice). Long live The Stun...living proof that imaginitive writing still exists on planet Earth.
I too would rather make up stories than actually go to the back end of the planet to find out and report on the true facts.
...All of a sudden the darkness was rent asunder with the sound of someone yelling 'LET GO!' from the direction of the bridge wing... Only problem was we were doing 12 knots and the gunnery officer had shouted 'BELOW!'...
It is with regret and haste that I write this letter to you. Regret that such a small misunderstanding could lead to the following circumstances, and haste in order that you will get this report before you form your own preconceived opinions from the reports in the World Press, for I am sure that they will tend to over-dramatise the affair.
We had just picked up the pilot, and the apprentice had returned from changing the "G" flag from the "H" flag, and, being his first trip, was having difficulty in rolling the "G" flag up. I therefore proceeded to show him how, and, coming to the last part, I told him to "let go". The lad although willing, is not too bright, necessitating my having to repeat the order in a sharper tone.
At this moment the Chief Officer appeared from the Chart room, having been plotting the Vesselâ€™s progress, and thinking that it was the anchorâ€™s being referred to, repeated the "Let go" to the Third Officer on the forecastle. The port anchor, having been cleared away but not walked out, was promptly let go. The effect of letting the anchor drop from the "pipe" while the vessel was proceeding at full harbour speed proved too much for the windlass brake, and the entire length of the port cable was pulled out "by the roots". I fear the damage to the chain locker may be extensive. The braking effect of the port anchor naturally caused the vessel to sheer in that direction, towards the swing bridge that spans a tributary to the river up which we were proceeding.
The swing bridge operator showed great presence of mind by opening the bridge for my vessel. Unfortunately, he did not think to stop the vehicular traffic. The result being that the bridge partly opened and deposited a Volkswagen, two cyclists and a cattle truck, on the foredeck. My Shipâ€™s Company are at present rounding up the contents of the latter, which, judging from the noise, and the pungent aroma, I would say were pigs. In his efforts to stop the progress of the vessel, the Third Officer dropped the starboard anchor, too late to be of practical use, for it fell on the swing bridge operatorâ€™s control cabin.
After the port anchor was let go and the vessel started to sheer, I gave a double ring Full Astern on the Engine Room Telegraph, and personally rang the Engine Room to order maximum astern revolutions. I was informed that the temperature was 53 degrees, and was asked if there was a film on tonight. My reply would not add constructively to this report.
Up to now, I have confined my report to the activities to the forward of my vessel. Down aft they were having there own problems. At the moment the port anchor was let go, the Second Officer was supervising the making fast of the after tug and was lowering the shipâ€™s towing spring down into the tug. The sudden braking effect on the port anchor caused the tug to "run in under" my stern, just at the moment when the propeller was answering my double ring Full Astern. The prompt action of the Second Officer, in securing the inboard end of the towing spring, delayed the sinking of the tug by some minutes, thereby allowing the abandoning of that vessel.
It is strange, but at the very moment of letting go of the port anchor, there was a power cut ashore. The fact that we were passing over a "cable area" at the time may suggest that we may have touched something on the riverbed. It is perhaps lucky that the high-tension cables brought down by the forecastle were not alive, but owing to the shore blackout it is impossible to say where the pylon fell.
It never fails to amaze me the actions and behavior of foreigners during moments of minor crisis. The Pilot, for instance, is at this moment huddled in the corner of my cabin, alternately crooning to himself and crying, after consuming a bottle of gin in a time that is worthy of inclusion in the Guinness Book Of Records. The tug Captain, on the other hand, reacted violently and had to be forcibly restrained by the Steward, who has him handcuffed in the shipâ€™s hospital, where he is telling me to do impossible things with my ship and my person!!
I enclose the names and addresses of the Insurance Companies and drivers of the vehicles on; my foredeck, which the Third Officer collected after his somewhat hurried evacuation of the forecastle. These particulars will enable you to claim for the damage they did to the railings of NO. 1 hold..
I am now drawing this Preliminary Report to a close, for I am finding it difficult to concentrate with the distraction of Police sirens and their flashing lights.
It is sad to think that, had the apprentice realised that there is no need to fly Pilot flags after dark, none of this would have happened.