The CRESTBANK’S last voyage
Stuart Murgatroyd – Sydney -Nova Scotia -Canada
The final Voyage
By: Stuart Murgatroyd, radio officer.
In Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
I joined her in Barry 18 April 1973, and from Barry we headed west across the Atlantic heading for New York, or so we thought. We had heavy weather half way across, but the ship seemed to revel in it.
Before we reached New York we received new orders to head north to Sydney, Nova Scotia, to load iron rails. This brought new challenges as I had to get ice reports so we could navigate through the sea ice along the Nova Scotia coast. So US coast guard ice patrol reports were used, and they were hard to take down as the assisted morse keys spat out the message.
But we made it to Sydney – a small city on tip of Cape Breton Island Nova Scotia.We berthed at the Steel mill and started loading rails meant for Iran.
It was cold and snowy but we managed a few trips ashore this being an important part of my life as I met my future wife, now of 42 years here. We corresponded by snail mail and expensive calls for 5 years before we marry back in Sydney! So after a week or so in Sydney we head South to New York, Norfolk, Charleston then into Gulf Houston New Orleans all with multitudes of different cargo on deck-all meant for Persian Gulf states.
So leaving the Gulf after some good times in the French quarter we-headed across Atlantic and the coast of South Africa.
Round the South Africa coast there are heavy Cape rollers but we get around and head for the Persian Gulf. Through the Straights of Hormuz then most of Gulf states – man, it was hot. No AC on the old Crest bank. But the beer with Chapatis and curry sauce from our crew keeps us sane.
So we proceeded to the top of the Gulf up the Shatt al Arab river where we unloaded those Sydney rails. Luckily this was way before the Iran Iraq War.
Then down to the final destination in the Gulf, Bahrain, where the ship was to be sold, and where our Greek friends assumed ownership of the Crestbank. They offered me a job as RO but it was not something I considered.
As we approached Bahrain we ran aground on a sandbar. We were stuck fast even at high water and unable to get ourselves off. So lurking nearby was a Dutch salvage tug which freed us after negotiations with head office. In Bahrain divers went down for an examination, but there was no serious damage. Unfortunately this did not satisfy the Greeks who insisted on drydocking. The only drydock available was in Singapore so we headed there . We would then fly home assuming that the Greeks accepted the ship. Two thirds of the way there my main transmitter – HF Oceanspan all of 100watt lost power. I tried to raise other ships on MF back-up 500Khz but to no avail. With the help of the Electrician we found the power cable to the Unit damaged. We temp ran a new cable and soon got back on air, sending a list of unsent cables to London so they knew we were still there.
Arrived in Singapore and stayed there 7 days before the Greeks accepted her. We then fly long haul flight home Via Amsterdam KLM on 30 August 1973.
So that is my description of the Crestbank’s last Voyage under Bankline.