History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
Jack Jenkins and CS Mercury
I was born and bred in Co Durham, and I've lived in New Zealand for the last 42 years. My service on the Mercury was on her maiden voyage, which lasted about a month and a half in 1962.
On leaving Liverpool, they tried the gear out in the St. George's Channel, fished around for some old cable, found it, buoyed the end off, and reeled in some of it. When they went back for the buoy, they went astern too close and got the buoy chain around the port prop. One of the deck officers had scuba gear on board; he went down to check and confirmed what had happened.
We then went into drydock at Falmouth to remedy the problem. We had lots of small electrical fires; also the main diesel engine manifolds caught fire with fuel slopping over them. The lube oil pipes from sump to main engines sheared with the vibration and had to be replaced with flexible ones.
I left the ship when she returned to Greenwich for her first load of cable - although the
accommodation and food was first class, I just couldn't handle the ''bullshit'' regime.
Geordie lads and cummerbunds don't mix!!!
See also this Cable Story on CS Mercury
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