Benarty broken down in Red Sea.

ian keyl
15th September 2007, 00:00
I am recalling an event which took place to the Benarty heavy lift ship told to me by an engineer and mate who were on the ship at the time.
This the benarty VI built 1963, a six cylinder sulzer engine.
This v/l was owned by E.G.Thomson and she had a hydrofoil type launch on board for Mr Ted but very rarly used.

The old man was Chas Donnely and the v/l had broken down in the main shipping channel south of the straits of suez, she had blown a piston and cracked a liner. So as not to put the vessel in any danger Chas decided he would have the vessel towed nearer the shore and out of the congested channnel but alas no tugs were summoned and no passing be was flagged down for a tow he was going to tow her with the two lifeboats.

I understand the l/boats were normal grp and sods to handle they were to be fuelled up and ballasted to give max thrust and braced together with hatch boards.Using doubled up head ropes for the tow

The mates ,cadets and gingerbeers were to take in turn in the burning mid day sun to tow Benarty with the l/boats. Thet were releaved by other staf who came alongside in the hydrofoil launch.
I cannot remember how long it took but they told me it worked but it was a b*** ache grinding job,the fumes off the exhaust the noise from the engine and gear box made it like hell. There was no wind just light airs and a blazing red sea sun.
The only thing anyone got out of it was a good bronzy and a few beers when they got back on board.

If I recall from the mate she was towed about 4 miles. The engineers still had to slog away in the e/room and complete the repairs as well as keeping the l/boat engines running .
I wonder what the HSE would have made of some of these types of adventures that were engaged in in the days when you had to make the best of a bad job.
This may not be totally accurate and maybe some of you old Ben men can expand on it or put it straight.
Rgds ian.

john fraser
15th September 2007, 10:50
I was told the same story from an AB who was there he reckoned. Chas Donnelly had the lifeboats towing the Arty. If I remember correctly Ted Travers name was mentioned as being mate at the time.

wully farquhar
15th September 2007, 13:26
I was aboard the Benarty at the same time John,remember we were working what was called tropical working hours,we had to turn-to early in the morning and we had a couple of hours break when the sun was at it's highest,phew and it was hot!!!!!!!!!

ian keyl
15th September 2007, 22:37
Yes ,Ted travers was the mate i worked with ashore in Ben HQ and then in Ben Line containers where he was operations manager .I was working with ACT's a company that carried out all the UK landside work for BLC as they were share holders in ACTS.
I later worked with Ted in EAC Ben when I had been made redundant by P&O buying ACTS and I went to EAc Ben as project manager. Ted had a very dry sence of humour . He was also a film star on the bow of the Benreoch transiting Keppel harbour in Singapore in the Ben Line Eastern Sisters.

Keep the stories and the tales coming.

Rgds Ian

oldman 80
9th May 2012, 05:06
I was cadet on the Benarty at the time. Chas Donnelly the old man, Jimmie Ritchie (Arbroath) Chief Officer, Alastair Ross (Aberdeen) 1st Mate, 2nd Mate - I cant remember his name at this time, 3rd Mate - Donald Barr - I think. Tom Rowatt Senior Cadet , Ian (Pompey) Alexander No. 2 Cadet; Me, No.3 Cadet; Willie Walker (the beast) bosun, Jimmie Dickson - Chippy (Burntisland in Fife) Charlie Mc Nair EDH, Willie Crook AB - and the Chief Engr was a guy called Henderson. (those are the names I remember - oh yes, & probably Willie Farquhar EDH - as well.
As I recall the event occured near the bottom end of the Red Sea and the damaged engine part was despatched to Aden by tug for repair and returned sometime later. I don't think it was a damaged cylinder or Piston though, I seem to recall it had something to do with a rotor of some kind, serving the scavenge/exhaust gas system.
Chas Donnelly had the "brainwave" whilst frantically pacing the starboard side of the boat deck - as he so often did. I remember that moment particularly well - I had just emerged from the cadets alleyway onto the boat deck and was abruptly dispatched "at the double" to find the bosun.
Most guys on board thought he (Chas) had gone right off his rocker, but Chas knew what he was doing - and it worked - all be it long and drawn out.
He was a fine seaman turned shipmaster was Chas - and that is what matters, at the end of the day.

oldman 80
12th May 2012, 05:51
Sorry Guys :- for stbd side read port side of boatdeck !!!!!!!!!!
Ref: Chas pacing the deck.

wully farquhar
12th May 2012, 16:28
He also paced round the front of his accom.oldman80,he was a very particular mannie

oldman 80
12th May 2012, 23:43
(Wave)He also paced round the front of his accom.oldman80,he was a very particular mannie

Well hello there Wully, long, long, long, time no see.(Wave)
Aye you are right, he was indeed a very particular mannie.
Today, I'd rate him as one of the best, lets face it, he was very much the self made man. Coming out of the focsle, and rising to Master was no easy journey in those days. Besides, what he didn't know, really wasn't worth knowing.
I did about 4 or 5 voyages with him as cadet, - it was a bit harsh, and then a few years later I did 1 voyage with him when I was 2nd Mate. As one of his own former cadets, we got on very well together -I thought, - he left me alone, and was always exceptionally civil toward me. Damned if I can remember which ship that was on though, - it wasn't one of his regular ships I recall, he was only there giving the Master a voyage off.
Were you on Benarty when we picked that elephant up in Ceylon (Homeward) and when we lost that Fleet Air Arm Sea Vixen (ex-H.K.), overboard, - about the same time as the Suez Canal searchlight door got smashed open near Socotra ?
How are you these days, and what have you been up to in the last 47 years ? We are of similar age, so I suppose you are now retired, and I hope, enjoying good health.
Isn't this web site just remarkable ?

Best regards,
P.S. Front of acc. ? no understanding that one - walking on air ?????

wully farquhar
14th May 2012, 18:45
Yes thats right matie,no was not on the Arty when those incidents happened,i did two trips on her with Chas,joined the first trip April 65 came back to London end of July same year and signed on for another trip(a bit of leave in between) then i paid off Nov. 65,went on and did three trips on the Benloyal.
The last trip i did on the Ben-Boats was on the Benlomond,then i went for a change and got a Salvesen boat the Salmela finished up in the MN end of 1968 and came home and went to the fishing.Aye aye the good old days eh!!!
PS. Have sent you a PM

oldman 80
14th May 2012, 23:56
O.K. Wully - I think I've worked out what you meant by "the front".
I think you meant the front - when looking aft from the boat deck, or looking forward from No. 4 Hatch. ( ie Chas pacing the aft end).
I think we'll have to brush up a bit on those Nautical terms !! (egg)

Great to hear from you after all these years.
I was permanent on Benarty from Voyage No. 2 through to July 65, so we only did the one voyage together. I remember you very well though, - similar ages, and we worked together quite a lot, probably because of that factor.
I have recently noticed your involvement with the RNLI since those days.
Well done - I salute you, - absolutely I do.

oldman 80
15th May 2012, 03:40
Benarty :- Maiden Voyage Cadets 1963. (Deck)
No.1 Cadet. Ian Henderson - Final voyage as cadet - completed his sea time for 2nd Mates. (Dundee Area)
No. 2 Cadet. Tom Rowatt (Glasgow Area)
No. 3 Cadet. Ian (Pompey) Alexander ( South of England)