For the Master of RFA Wave Governor, Captain Walter L. Holtam RFA, the voyage out to Brazil in November 1957 in ballast was reaching its end.

Captain W. L HOLTAM

The ship was off Curacao when he received a report that six of the Lascar crew had thrown themselves over the side and were swimming ashore.

He ordered the ship to be turned round so they could be rescued only to find that eighteen others of the Pakistani crew had commenced a campaign of passive resistance by refused to undertake any quartermaster duties.

RFA Wave Governor

 

The Captain, using the officers, took the ship to Port of Spain, Trinidad where the matter was placed in the hands of the authorities.

The six seamen who had ‘jumped ship’ were quickly brought from Curacao and joined the others to be charged variously with criminal offences, including desertion and wilful neglect of duties before the local Magistrates’ Court. When offered bail they refused to rejoin the ship saying they preferred prison and so were remanded in custody. The crew claimed ‘bad treatment’ onboard the ship by the Master and after an enquiry by the Harbour Master Captain Holtam found himself charged with an offence relative to the accurate maintenance of the ships log book.

After two weeks and various Court appearances all charges were withdrawn or dismissed against the Master and all of the crew. All the Lascars still refused to rejoin the ship were repatriated by the Admiralty while the ship signed on a new West Indian crew to continue her voyage.

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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