Stories around the ship
and his crew are „quite enough“ . But in sequences I’ll tell some recollections, as true as they have been happened. And somebody who has been on board a ship will probably agree them, and there is really no seaman’s joke.
Someone being new on board MV “Karl Marx” blindly trusted the ships drawings and measurements an lost the heavy lift in full high during passage of the “Nord-Ostsee-Canal” against the wise tip of an older crewmember, to top down a little bit. The heavy lift derrick crashed against the Hochdonn-Railway-bridge built in 1914 and damaged her seriously, but she didn’t crash down. Therefore the pilot who has been onboard said:” What the “Emperor” has built, could Karl Marx never pull down”!!
also we had sometimes. Once we took in Rotterdam four polar bears for a zoological garden in Japan. They have been splendid white bears, but regrettable we landed them in Japan nearly as brown bears… The reason has been the cages, which had been plated with normal steel plates. During the sea voyage daily they got a fresh shower with sea water and after some days the steel plates became rusty. Because the bears permanently moved her heads and bodies to and from they rubbed the rust into their fur and so they became nearly brown bears.
On another voyage we took a lot of breeding pigs for Japan. On this trip we had two Japanese guardians on board, responsible for the pigs. Once a night during board-cinema one of the guardians came into the mess-room and shouted: “One pig more, one pig more…” Ten minutes later the same situation. The reason was, nobody had remarked that one of the female pig had been pregnant . She brought in this night altogether 11 young pigs into live. But on the next morning on young pig was missed. Everybody looked carefully in all places on board but nothing to find, everybody has been asked exactly if there is any possibility for a sucking-pig-festival….. no result. Perhaps the young lady went overboard during ships rolling. The real problem came later in Japan, to declare the “increased” animal cargo, but everybody gave us an asian smile.
regrettable has occured sometimes. In a dark corner of the safety hulls once the cargo-officer found a leaved railway engine…. but a small one for mines. True, it was embarrassing but she has been landed on the return voyage few days later.
But really disastrous has been, to forgot to land the guest gift for Mr. Erich Honecker, the first man in the GDR in Rostock and leave them to the next three month voyage on board. They should presented him on the Leipzig Fair from highranking Japanese business men… The next call at port of Rostock a lot of High Officials waited for us to watch the discharge of these top cargo.
On a return trip from Japan to Europe we met near the coast of South Africa a heavy storm and had steam slowly straight to south for about two days. The ship was heavy rolling an dumping and suddenly a big steel hatch cover jumped out of the rails and felt down in the lower hatch directly on the big wooden case, about 7 feet in length, width and height. The hatch cover pressed them to nearly the half of her original height… This was the luggage of a repatriating diplomat from GDR. Inside were a lot of Japanese goods an souvenirs. The embarrassing fact was, the diplomat had saved his money on a wrong place and had not a sufficient insurance policy….
The Radio room
of my “dream ship” should be not forget. On the webpage from MV “Karl Marx” you can read something about the radio and communications-equipment and look after some pictures. On the left side in the 2nd picture you see the main transmitter EB 1500 from Electrisk Bureau with a good power on shortwave from up to 1500 watts. But the best has been the exciter seen on the 3rd picture left, who was able to attune from 410 kcs up to 28900 kcs to all frequencies.
On top of the exciter you see the vhf main station from Redifon. She gave me a lot of trouble until far east. Suddenly and not controllable she broke down and no vhf-speech has been possible. I had no wire-diagram, no service manual, really nothing. And every time I used to search any error on thus bloody radio set. I shaked every condenser, every resistor, every transistor or transformer, nearly every part on the mainboard with tweezers. Last not least after weeks I found a loose contact on a transformer in the intermediate wave section. Happy I ironed the wire carefully and voila the set runs perfect… On the 3rd picture in the middle you see the main receiver EKV02 from “Funkwerk Köpenick Berlin”, one of the best receiver known to me at all in this time.
In the 4th picture you see on the right the teleprinter.
In the 60ties and the 70ties Radio Luxemburg has been on of the best Broadcast station for young people in Europe, but not for the political leaders in the GDR. It was not really desired to listen to this Radio station and mostly the people did it backdoor, but normally not the sailors at sea. The seamen could get transistor radios at the markets in far east and tried as early as possible to get this radio station at sea. And then I hat a glory idea with my good exciter for the main transmitter – a big joke to all crewmember.
I tuned the exciter to the frequency of Radio Luxemburg in phone mode an said into the mike “You are recovered, You listen to Radio Luxemburg, Switch off immediately Your Receiver….” And in the following hours I hat to keep quite closed the door of my radio room …. !
The ships px
from our coast station Ruegen Radio/DHS had been always a highlight in the radio service on board. Once daily we had to receive the news prepared from the political department of our owner. Sometimes the listening conditions have been so bad, especially in far east , that the rattle of the typewriter was louder than the morsetone from the headphones. And then came text for example as follows:
“The chairman of the “Staatsrat” of the German Democratic Republic and the first secretary general of the “Politbureau of socialist unity party , Comrad Walter Ulbricht has in his speech to the delegates of the party day…. And so on. And four articles began exactly with the same sentence…. awful.
Sudan - TV
In the part education I told about the really professional training on the navigation school. The well skilled radio officers from DSR were well known all over the world.. During my service on board MV “Stralsund”/DCZM (ex Les Comores) in the East Africa range I was asked from the Chief customs officer from Port Sudan, if I could repair his television set. There is no more normal picture…
I hesitated for my chance without any description or wired diagrams, but I took a big bag with probably useful electric tools for measurement and ironing, picked some electric valves and “was ready for take off”. I have been picked up with a big big car and brought to the house of the chief customs. It was an exciting adventure to com to a private house of such African people. In his living room stood the television set. I switched on and the picture was very small and permanently scrolling. Any adjustment hat no success, therefore I tried differentvalves they seemed to be right. And I had luck, and with further adjustments Igot a normal television screen, but poor white, no program. I tried everything to find trouble with the antenna and all other modules – nothing, only white screen. The chief customs came in and cried “hamdulillah - You are great my television set ist wonderful”. Sorry I replied, the screen yes but no program. Don’t mention it, he said – in Sudan ther ist no television broadcasting already …. ! We should wait until evening and if the weather conditions are good, we will see the television broadcast from the east side of Red Sea, from Saudi Arabia. And so we had some food and drinks, a little small talk and nearly 6 to 6.30 a shadowy picture with arab peoples were to see on the television becoming better and better. And really with beginning of the dark night a full television program was to see. My goodness I was happy. With many thanks but without any payment I was brought back to my ship. But the best earning from this – our crew had furthermore no problems with Port Sudan customs.
were born in the radio communications because in ships telegrams every word costs . Therefore once I got from master a message to the owner somewhere like this : Dear sirs, because of cargo situation we insist on discharging rotation MOMDARZAWARA – master + The question of the operator from Ruegen Radio what it means, I replied “I guess its Suaheli language, and it was ok. Really it was the port rotation Mombasa – Dar-es-Salaam – Zanzibar – Mtwara .
Voltage on board ships
has been quite different, especially on MV “Johann Gottlieb Fichte”/DCZK. She was originally a ship with 110 V DC. But with transformers the clever seamen produced 220 V AC, 110 V AC, 42 V AC, 24 V DC and sometimes 50 Hz and 60 Hz, and nobody knew exactly which voltage had the next socket. And then somebody had a terrible fine sound on a new bought disc player originally for 50 Hz and on a socket with 60 Hz…It was said if you like to murder an electronic equipment, bring it to MV “J.G.Fichte” and it becomes true.