With my brand new 2nd Mate’s Certificate in my hand I proudly joined the Ocean Shore in Aberdeen on 18-11-1972. We sailed the next day for an oil rig located off the coast of Newfoundland. Crossing the Atlantic we encountered horrendous weather with swells up to 25m but eventually arrived at the rig after some smart astral navigation from the captain after days of cloud.
St. John’s Newfoundland was our base and this turned out to be a nice place but the weather was really cold. Eventually we had to break our way through mile after mile of ice on our way out to the oil rig. The Ch. Mate paid off sick and I was promoted in his place along with a dispensation from the local marine office as my certificate wasn’t adequate.
When the rig was threatened by icebergs we had to lift anchors and tow it to a new location off Nova Scotia. This was awful work in such cold and rough conditions. Even with other tugs attached we went backwards 26 miles during the day of the worst weather conditions. The tow wire broke and the Ocean Shore had to go back into port and strip off the old wire and replace with a new one. Again a real struggle in the conditions with me as the only Mate.
I left the ship in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 29-01-1973, completely exhausted and stayed in bed for a couple of days once back home to recover.