My favourite command…
by Captain John Campbell, who earlier served in the Bank Line.
My first Command is my favourite.
One sunny day in July 1971 I joined the Texaco Saigon as Master for the first time .It was 17 years since I started as an Apprentice. This was my first command and perhaps my favourite one.
Built in Mobile , Alabama, her sea going service began as the SS Chicaca in 1943 when she joined her 500 sisters in helping fight World War II . She was a veteran and travelled many miles carrying millions of tons of petroleum crossing the oceans of the world . She became a British Ship in 1952 managed by Caltex Overseas Tankships until Texaco took over. She was scrapped in 1981.
As I joined her in Bahrain, she looked a handsome vessel She was on her maiden “jumboized.” voyage .She had been lengthened and widened by having had her entire bow and cargo section replaced and the foreword accommodation placed over the engine room . It was a great idea as Texaco got a longer bigger tanker carrying more cargo at half the cost of a new ship. . The Turbo Electric Engines were in great condition, but her boilers were showing their age.