S.S. Brasil

Memories & Photos


August 1972 - The eagle was taken off her pedestal over the buffet table while the S.S. Brasil (Volendam) was underway to Bremerhaven, Germany.  Do you see the tears under the eagle eyes?  (Courtesy of Bob Hoppe.)

The Volendam underway to Bremerhaven.  (Courtesy of Bob Hoppe.)

Lonely Promenade Deck on the Volendam(Courtesy of Bob Hoppe.)

Jettison material on board the Volendam.  If Bob only knew then what he knows today.  Anything that had Moore-McCormack on it was thrown overboard.  (Courtesy of Bob Hoppe.)

As seen from the decks of the Volendam, the Veendam (S.S. Argentina) waiting her turn to get underway to Bremerhaven.  (Courtesy of Bob Hoppe.)

Early 1968 -- Engine Control Panel.  This is similar to the photo in the Engine Room of the Enchanted Isle.  Didn't change too much. (Courtesy of John Farrell.)

Early 1968 -- One of the Boilers.  (Courtesy of John Farrell.)

Early 1968 -- Second Assistant Engineer John Olesky is facing the Engine Control Panel, with his back to the Engine Throttle Board.  (Courtesy of John Farrell.)

Early 1968 -- Third Assistant Engineer Robert McMahon is watching the Boiler Control Board which is shown below.  (Courtesy of John Farrell.)

Early 1968 -- This is a photo of the Engine Throttle Board. (Courtesy of John Farrell.)

A ship's tale as told by John Farrell while he was Apprentice Engineer at the time:  The Boiler Control Board photo (on the left) shows a bunch of gages with a large and prominent white number 3 on the side of a gage in the foregoing on the right side of the photo.  The gage with the number 3 is supposed to have two cousin gages.  The similar gage with number 1 handwritten in chalk is one of the cousin gages.  You may note that a hole exists in the board where the number 2 gage should be and a sign placed over the hole in the board.  These particular gages are critically important to the Engineer in charge of keeping watch in the Fire Room because they remotely indicate the level of water in each of the three boilers.  The sign over the hole reads, "SNAP'S HOLE."  The Chief Engineer Ed Manion got wind of the remark made by the First Engineer Mr. Folster to the Third Engineer Bob McMahon prior to his attempt to affect a repair to the number 2 water level indicator gage.  Mr. Folster had stated to Mr. McMahon that repair to the gage "will be a snap!"  Mr. Folster applied a bit too much flame to the gage during repair, destroying the expensive and critical water level indicator.  Mr. Folster was thereafter known irreverently as SNAP, which is why I do not remember his first name.  Most of the Engineers aboard had Chief Engineer Licenses and mistakes were not suffered lightly.

Early 1968 -- Boiler Control Board is pictured here.  The gages on this board are critically important to the Engineer in charge of keeping watch in the Fire Room because they remotely indicate the level of water in each of the three boilers.  (Courtesy of John Farrell.)


Another ship's tale as told by John Farrell while he was Apprentice Engineer at the time:  The engine controls and boiler controls are located in separate compartments aboard the S.S. Brasil, each accessible to the other through a water-tight door on the after bulkhead of the Engine Room.  The three boilers are located aft of the Engine Room compartment in the Fire Room.  This design helped segregate potential tragedies in the Engine Spaces.  That segregation did not prevent other tragedies from occurring, such as the night I was instructed to open a sea water valve in the Engine Room fiddlee (upper reaches) by the Chief Engineer.  Mr. Manion had instructed two of the ships' plumbers repairing this particular salt water line to work through the normal dinner time period and restore this line to service before knocking off.  Somehow these two men misunderstood the order from the Chief and knocked off at dinner time and never completed the task.

When the Chief instructed me to open the valve that supplied salt water to the after-deck swimming pool at 2200 hrs., neither I, nor the Watch Engineer had any idea of the remote repair that had been left adrift and subsequently flooded two passenger staterooms with sea water.  At 2400 hrs. my watch partners and I visited the Officers' Lounge after being relieved to find a most unusual gathering there of Chief and most of the Engineers in a morbid silence.  The Chief stood to leave lamenting to the Staff Chief on his way out, "I don't know why I keep this job!," to which Staff Chief Ernie Smedgaard replied, "Let me know when you're ready to leave!"  After they left the room the explanation of events was passed to us.  Suddenly I realized I had opened the valve which caused the destruction.  I must have turned a shade of crimson as my head fell into my hands, and "Oh my God!" sputtered from my lips.  Realizing my extreme distress, the lead Engineer of my watch vindicated my action by relating that I had followed an order and I would not be held responsible.  The two plumbers were fired, the passengers were moved to better quarters, the mess was cleaned up by 0200 hrs, the swimming pool was back in service by 1000 hrs., and I learned a lesson I would never forget -- DON'T ASSUME, GO LOOK!



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