Probably one of our longest ever radar services for Smye-Rumsby was the removal and installation of two radars on a VLCC – very large crude carrier. Because of the sheer cost of keeping such a vessel idle in port while the work was carried out, it was decided from the onset that we would need to sail with the vessel from the Isle of Grain to Cape Town, South Africa.
During passage we took part in a search for lifeboats from two ships that had collided off Dakar. We could see one in flames miles away. We spent many hours tracing out an area with no luck. Then we heard that a Russian ship had found all of the lifeboats and cleared off without telling anyone. It took three weeks in all, to the time of arrival back in Britain. Our technician was only given the owners’ stateroom as his quarters –wow! When all the work was finished we ended up doing many other repairs for the ship and crew members. Why waste time when you have the skills. We even had sports competitions on the deck on Sundays with shooting, high jumping and shot put with a rubber covered steel ball. What a great experience!!