MV Oakworth

August 8th, 2013

Flew to Norway’s Oslo airport in Oct 78 and joined the Oakworth at Fredrikstad but had little time for sightseeing as we sailed for Finland the same day.

Finland was stunning and we spent September calling at three ports, the first was Ruama a historical town with beautifully preserved wooden buildings, then along the coast to Hanko with its small islands and little boats, and finally sixteen days at Kotka with pretty parks and churches.

The Finnish people were welcoming and friendly, I remember several of us went to a dance in Kotka where the local practise required us (the men) to sit patiently at our own table and wait for the girls to come over and talk to us when they wanted a dance.


Finland was followed by Vlissingen (Flushing) in the Netherlands where we completed loading cargo before sailing straight away for Australia. It took us over a month to reach Melbourne sailing south through the Atlantic, down the coast of Africa and around the Cape of Good Hope before crossing the Indian Ocean.

It was a very jolly ship with quite a few junior officers and we passed some of our off duty time having informal sing-along’s accompanied by the radio officer cadet who had a guitar and was a fair song smith – I still have a cassette recording of “Oh Oakworth” and the ever popular “Midnight Ploughboy and the Poultry Kid”!


Australia was spectacular with ten days port in Melbourne followed by a fortnight in Sydney. At one point we were moored so close to Sydney Opera house it filled the view through my cabin porthole. I didn’t get to hear any opera but we did make an exploratory visit to Bondi Beach, I was still the palest person for miles.

Sydney was followed by Newcastle (New South Wales) and then north past New Guinea and through the Coral Sea to Japan, first to Kakogawa and then to dry-dock in Kobe. Since we were standing watches of 12 on 24 off in dry-dock we had ample time to see the Kobe – an exciting vibrant place especially busy over Xmas. It seemed a strange combination of tiny traditional restaurants and market stalls merging into the cosmopolitan commercialism of the huge five mile long Motomachi shopping arcade.


Xmas 78 on board ship while in Japan.


Sadly though the company had finally gone into liquidation and the Oakworth was sold to Hong Kong buyers and renamed Progressist while in drydock.


Due to the difficulty of finding new employment while in Japan during the holidays I suddenly found myself work for Shell Tankers and flew home from Japan via Alaska on the 28th to find my family had delayed Xmas a few days for me!

The route for this trip …

Fredrikstad (Norway) – Skagerrak Strait – Baltic Sea – Gulf of Bothnia – Rauma (Finland) – Gulf of Bothnia – Baltic Sea – Hanko (Finland) – Baltic Sea – Gulf of Finland – Kotka (Finland) – Gulf of Finland – Baltic Sea – Skagerrak Strait – North Sea – Flushing (Netherlands) – English Channel – North Atlantic – South Atlantic – Indian Ocean – Great Australian Bight – Melbourne (Victoria) – Bass Strait – Tasman Sea – Sydney – Tasman Sea – Newcastle (New South Wales) – Tasman Sea – Coral Sea – Soloman Sea – Pacific Ocean – Kakogawa (Japan) Kobe (Japan)

Comments are closed.