What happened in 1986?

mofnotmuff
24th January 2008, 20:18
I have seen references to BP shipping staff being made redundant/ given notice in 1986 - I left the company in 1985 after 5 years and 9 ships and have not kept in touch with anybody I sailed with and so i am unsure what happened- did all shipping staff get laid off and ships flagged out?

twogrumpy
25th January 2008, 15:35
The choice given was sign off exsisting articles, walk round the table and sign up again on FOC articles, or, take you money and run, only running after our Lords and Masters had actually found a replacement. Redundancy payments were identical whichever option one chose.

We were on our way to Swansea when the big message landed, there, two "gentleman" from HQ arrived to give us the full story. A combined meeting was held in the officers bar, first error, some moron of a seaman started bleating about the mail delivery on his previous ship........

Really we were lucky to be arriving in a UK port, must have been much worse for those deep sea and out of touch, all this before the days of satcom and so on.

The first thing one of our engineers who was on leave new about loosing his job was when the BBC TV news came on, and the first item was about BP's ships going FOC, nice.

The agency running our little group was MMS, understood this stood for Mickey Mouse Shipping, the mouth's from HQ did not appreciate this version.

Me, I decided to take the money and run. Five weeks or so later I was finally taken off when they managed to find someone to replace me, not sure that he had ever been to sea before. Think the "J/E" that arrived at the same time was a full time p*ss head so he slotted in well.

It would be interesting to know the breakdown of those signing on FOC and how long they lasted, and how many like me, took the money and ran as soon as possible.

twogrumpy

Col Robinson
17th February 2008, 00:58
I was on leave when I received my letter; and was one of the many who took the money and ran. I've been ashore ever since but often wonder how things turned out for those who took jobs with the new management companies and whether or not I did the right thing. Is there anyone out there who took advantage of the new positions and how did it work out?

Roberth1
24th March 2008, 16:27
I was on leave from Success having taken her new from Belfast as C/E.
I got my redundancy notice watching the BBC 6 o'clock news at home.

This was the great idea of Fleet Personnel to save the company money, i.e. no longer would seafarers have access to the pension scheme or the share scheme and you would only be paid during the time on the ship.

The problem was there were three manning companies selected
AcoMarit, Dorchester Marine and Wallems you had no choice as to which one you got as they each had a number of ships and you got the manning company which had your ship and then you were stuck with that manning company.

Of course BP thought everything would remain the same forgetting that we the seafarers no longer actually worked for them, although they liked to think that we did.
What happened to me, went to the B. Respect, I still had kids at school so could not suddenly leave, then had to leave at Gib with kidney stone so lost my slot and was told I would have to stay at home for about 5 months ( no pay) until I could fit in again.

Went to China Nav (Swire Group) for their steam VLCC Eriskay and suddenly found that here was a company who actually stilll wanted to employ there own staff, paid more than Bp via the manning agents and dished out an annual bonus.

I feel that BP perpertrated the biggest con ever with the redundancies no consulation with staff, I had worked for them for 28 years since joining as a cadet in 1958 but apart from the rundancy which they had to pay as per GROUP policy, no recognition at all, Heaslip was the perpertrator of the idea and the story always was that he had not realised that all the GROUP terms would have to be met.
R. Hodgson

Geoff_E
24th March 2008, 18:03
Very surprised when it happened, rather than shocked to the core. (It devastated some people!).

I heard about it in the evening via a phone call from our 2/0 (Sulair - so we were all on leave together), watched the late news and there it was. The "letter" arrived the next morning. In retrospect, it was a much easier let-down for the North Sea guys as we weren't stuck with a vessel for months before being able to exercise a choice.

I was gone within a couple of months and, after a shaky couple of years, haven't looked back. I did get a great training from them but the bitter after-taste of our "off-loading" still lingers.

twogrumpy
24th March 2008, 20:19
Interesting comment from Robert that BP thought everything would remain the same, can only assume they got a bit of a shock.

Would like to hear more from those who stuck it out for a few years, only bit of info. I got was about a local lecky who spent all/most of his leave in Spain to avoid paying income tax. Does not sound like much of a life to me.

Would have been a good chance to keep all their British officers and go for Indian crews, but by this time even they were starting to go downhill.
twogrumpy

Roberth1
25th March 2008, 11:47
I agree with Geoff, I did get great training with BP something which stood me well in the years after 1986 but the whole thing and the way it was carried out left a long and bitter taste in my mouth.

How could a company lke BP agree to carry out such a thing without any consultation.
I actaully remained in the system for two years going to China Nav in 1998.

What happened "Two Grumpy" in my experience was that as far as the officers were concerned fell into three broad groups.
1) Some of those old enough got a full pension and took the oppertunity and retired early.
2) Some like me at 44 got an ex-gratia kind of pension but it was not enough to live on so stuck with the system until I could find something better.
3) Younger guys like a lot of engineers who had been sailing in a rank but holding superior certificates suddenly found there were a lot of companies who wanted to employ them in a rank matching their certificates and left.

In other words a lot of good guys left, and suddenly out of the wood work came people from all over, not of the best I have to say. What BP had not realised was that no one was worried anymore, everyone had been sacked what was the worst that could happen, you would be sacked!!!
Towards the end of my time with BP I sailed on the Gas Enterprise and remember on joining the ship for my 28 days to complete the gas endorsement that the C/E was the only ex BP man out of all the engineers.

Robert

gdynia
25th March 2008, 12:02
It happened the other way for me I was sailing on Wallems Reefers when we learnt we were going to manage 13 BP Tankers. The same night I got a phone call from some Gent in BP in our office in the Isle of Man saying would i consider moving over to BP. I received the same money in pounds as i was presently being paid in Dollars so a very good pay rise overnight. I flew out to join the British Respect in the Gulf waited 14 days in a hotel in Dubai until she came out of the War Zone. There were 3 of us as we were termed Agency People so at first a bit of animosity onboard until the regular BP guys realized they were working for us and not us working for BP. They still tried to run the vessel BP style but no way were we going to pay for ships mail and dobbie dust. Problem was it was mostly the junior officers who took the money and ran. I also sailed on the Gas Enterprise for 9 months and was fortunate to have 6 ex BP Old Men onboard for Gas Training.

James_C
25th March 2008, 12:43
9 months on the Enterprise?
Nev you have my deepest sympathies!

twogrumpy
25th March 2008, 13:12
As I said previously, I took the money and ran.

From what I have seen so far this was the wise thing to do, nice little wedge, and young enough to start again.

Got a nice number with a large pharmaceutical company in instrumentation/electrical work, even had a CHP plant with a biggish dual fuel Peilstick so much like being at sea, as my mechanical colleague was ex MN and most of the operators ex RN.

Did that for 11 years, then well and truly stuffed by the EU and the company, so the plant was shut down.

Never felt bitter about treatment from BP, but was very bitter about being stuffed by the EU.

twogrumpy

gdynia
26th March 2008, 04:37
James

Fantastic runs but breakdowns every other day

mofnotmuff
26th March 2008, 21:54
thanks to all who have contributed - it makes me glad i jumped when i did - i left BP and did 1 trip with BUE dive ships out of leith, 2 months off the rough gas field with occasional run to grimsby convinced me to swallow the anchor. I went to college to study building studies, I am now a chartered surveyor, fire engineer and have a degree in fire engineering. I wonder what i would have become if I had hung on like some of you.

MichaelGeorgiou
26th March 2008, 22:28
and now I fly the guys out to the rough field (and others) from Humberside. A lot of the old bp chiefs stayed and then took their pensions at age 55, stayed in rank on 50-60k/year equal time on and off. not a bad number. lots of turnover just before I left and many indians now employed.

neillg
2nd August 2008, 23:17
I once met a cook who had stayed on with the Agency, but said his leaves started getting longer and he could no longer afford the wait and came shoreside.

It was pretty evident that going down the Agency line was to placate the Government, and that further down the line we were going to be cast aside.
I recall a collision in the Channel with I think a River Boat and two or three crew were killed, and they were from West Africa.

mofnotmuff
12th August 2008, 20:19
I once met a cook who had stayed on with the Agency, but said his leaves started getting longer and he could no longer afford the wait and came shoreside.

It was pretty evident that going down the Agency line was to placate the Government, and that further down the line we were going to be cast aside.
I recall a collision in the Channel with I think a River Boat and two or three crew were killed, and they were from West Africa.

The ship in question was "British Trent" - she was registered in Bermuda and had british and irish officers and a sierra leonne crew and 2 wives on board. she was outbound from anwerp in thick fog, loaded with a cargo of petrol for italy. she collided with "western winner" which was panamanian and crewed by s.koreans. she was carrying copper dross. A fire started which claimed 9 lives on the trent - she was subsequently declared a total loss and srapped in turkey. western winner proceeded to discharge and repair - there were no casualties. the inquiry blamed human error for the collision and the fatalities on the open lifeboats which offered no protection to the crew escaping the trent.

Treborvfr
24th February 2010, 21:30
We were on our way to Swansea when the big message landed, there, two "gentleman" from HQ arrived to give us the full story. A combined meeting was held in the officers bar, first error, some moron of a seaman started bleating about the mail delivery on his previous ship........

....Really we were lucky to be arriving in a UK port, must have been much worse for those deep sea and out of touch, all this before the days of satcom and so on.


I was in a similar situation as you, I was Sparks on the Test at the time. I remember that I'd just showered and changed for dinner and on leaving my cabin I heard the Telex clattering away so I went to check it out. It turned out to be the notice about redundancies. When I left to go for dinner I locked the Radio Room, something I never did at sea, as the message was still printing out and I couldn't allow anyone to see it before the Old Man did!
I arrived for dinner late, and I was never late, so everyone in the room new something important may have come through but I couldn't say anything, it was very hard keeping a straight face and making up some story as to why my wife and I were late.

I too decided to take the money and run.

Like you I couldn't believe the guy they sent to relieve me. I left the ship in Swansea and spent 3 days trying to show him how to use the equipment, I seemed to spend as much time getting him out of the bar has handing over! He was a nice enough guy but he was seriously out of touch with the latest technology.

The ship sailed from Swansea to New York, it came as no surprise when I got a call from the new manning agency asking me if I'd fly out to New York and take over again. I refused but I had a mate who was between jobs and put them onto him, he flew out instead.

Bob

kevjacko
25th February 2010, 22:24
I was home on leave, saw the news and got the phone call the next day. I suppose the writing was well on the wall but I got offered 2nd cooks job next trip with Wallems which was a compensation for me. I stuck it out until 89 when they sold the Security. It was'nt all bad under agency as long as you accepted your time was nearly up, what did annoy me was some ex BP men coming back who had actually left BP before the redundancies and found themselves back via agency and did nowt but twist and moan. Sailed with a PO on the Respect who had to be possibly the most bitter and twisted man, with a massive chip on the shoulder I've ever had the displeasure of sailing with, he spoilt that trip for a lot of people. Golden rule in life. 'If you don't like who you work for, LEAVE'.
Still had some good trips under agency it's just a shame it was allowed to go so Pete Tong.

twogrumpy
26th February 2010, 09:36
I too decided to take the money and run.

Like you I couldn't believe the guy they sent to relieve me. I left the ship in Swansea and spent 3 days trying to show him how to use the equipment, I seemed to spend as much time getting him out of the bar has handing over! He was a nice enough guy but he was seriously out of touch with the latest technology.

Bob
I seem to recall of the three who eventually came to replace us, the J/e had bar problems, not sure if my relief, the Lecky, had ever seen a ship before, unable to remember what the third person was like.

Well out of it.
(Cloud)

kevjacko
27th February 2010, 10:41
Did a double header on the Wye first trip under agency and when the first crew were releived it was mainly agency guys who joined. They hit the bar like a whirlwind. There had been no real big spirit drinkers amongst the crew who were leaving, but boy did this lot clear the optics in record time. We had a night watch on at the time coz we were MOD charter alongside in Portsmouth (or could have been Plymouth). Anyway the mate came down mid afternoon and says to the Bosun "who's night watch tonight"? Bosun points to prone figure flat out on bar floor and says "he is chief". Yep Definetly a culture change.

Jon Vincent
2nd March 2010, 01:07
I was listening to two new BP tanker talking on the VHF in the gulf of Mexico last week, they reverted to their native language "RUSSIAN". How far the mighty have fallen, at least they have brand new ships to screw up. I don't think even now they think they made a big mistake in 1986. In 1988 I had to turn down one of our own river class ships for loading a single grade of gasolene, they were arrested after a rain storm as the deck hydraulics leaked into the the Houston ship channal. It was a very frustrating night trying to explain to our Commonwealth brethern that it was normal for deck officer to fix the leaking deck hydraulics in BP, not in their contact job description I was informed.

twogrumpy
2nd March 2010, 19:09
. How far the mighty have fallen, at least they have brand new ships to screw up. .

Sums the whole mess up pretty well Jon.
(Cloud)

Satanic Mechanic
2nd March 2010, 19:25
I was listening to two new BP tanker talking on the VHF in the gulf of Mexico last week, they reverted to their native language "RUSSIAN". How far the mighty have fallen, at least they have brand new ships to screw up. I don't think even now they think they made a big mistake in 1986. In 1988 I had to turn down one of our own river class ships for loading a single grade of gasolene, they were arrested after a rain storm as the deck hydraulics leaked into the the Houston ship channal. It was a very frustrating night trying to explain to our Commonwealth brethern that it was normal for deck officer to fix the leaking deck hydraulics in BP, not in their contact job description I was informed.


Oh it was 1986 that brought that on - it came much later. Whether you like it or not what happened in 1986 saved the fleet, What happened later, around 2000 onwards got rid of the Brits. Russian though - I don't think so. Polish much more likely.

If you thought things were bad in '86 you should have seen what they became later - I seethe even thinking about it. Apparently we were dragged into the 21st century - which is a new way of saying constructively dismissed. (Cloud)

I am actually getting angry here just typing about it. If you get the chance to get a hold of The Flag aka Pravda the in-house organ of propaganda especially from a few years ago read it and weep for the demise of a once great company.

Longfellow
11th March 2010, 00:24
Well now.....

I came through '86, and the three "nights of the long knives" which preceded it, starting to lose staff selectively around 1980 onwards. I was actually seconded to BUE anchor handlers for 12 months, so was completely out of the loop - came home January from the North Sea run, and saw a 1-minute clip on the lunchtime news - first news I'd had. All the Office phones were "off the hook" for days; even the Union couldn't make contact. I have to say, in the couple of weeks thereafter, I chased a number of alternative jobs at sea, but as soon as you got to "who was your previous company", the phone went dead. Word was out, I still believe.
Anyhow, I stuck it out, and am still here. Terms and conditions are about level with the field, so unless you have a serious beef with the management, or a yen to try different trades or tonnage, there's not a lot of point moving at my time of life.

So, where are we now?
No Russians.
Some 55 or so ships, plus 4 Chinese Steam LNG's on a manning/training agreement.
Officers are a mixture of Brits, Polish, with one or two Kiwi, a couple of Aussies, and a lot of Southern Irish lads.
Crews are universally Filipino (Chinese LNG are a completely different deal).
The first maybe two years after the change of life saw some real rough staff all round, but they were relatively quickly weeded out, and the three-agency deal came down to one, Dorchester maritime, after around 4 years. They were finally dropped about 3 years ago, BP now having their own agency, BPMS - BP Maritime Services, working out of Singapore, with an IOM Office.
We are still regarded by the Office as BP employees, while remaining exclusively on "Agency" terms and conditions. Pensions, redundancy, etc, all finished in 86, and won't be back.
On top of that, there are still selected managers who feel that all the 86 crowd should be dumped for "souring the pot" for the new guys.
I love that - "stop calling us heartless, or you're all fired".

Anyhow, with not more than a couple more years to run, it's not such a bad place to be, and there's always other outfits for a Senior British ticket, so there's a lot less angst about the whole affair than there was in the old days.

And it's true enough; the radical shake-up did save the company - it ran down to about 20 ships for some years (aforementioned Gas Enterprise virtually kept it running; everything lost money at the time). But conditions could have eased as the recovery came in..but those same senior managers who hate us remembering 86 still keep to the 86 principle themselves - don't get into that position again, vis-a-vis Group terms, pensions, etc. Upshot is that the whole outfit now owns zero ships (all bareboat chartered), employs zero staff (all Agency), and owns zero offices (all now Group Offices) - the whole lot could disappear overnight at the stroke of an accountants pen.

So there we stand. Roll on retirement!

Longfellow.

Jon Vincent
11th March 2010, 14:17
Longfellow. I am not up in Eastern block languages, they could well have been Polish. Russian/Polish you have totally missed the point that most people have made under the title of what happened in 1986. BP ceased to be the shipping company that nearly all the people here talk about, namely an owner operator of ships. BP is and never will be the company it once was by your admission it owns nothing and technically employs no one. I too an still working, as a mooring master in the Gulf of Mexico, it that capacity I board over approx 70 vessel a year and interface through my job with well over a hundred, believe me there is a big difference in staff employed by owner operators and angencies and the vessels they serve on. You can tell the difference just on the walk from the gangway to the accomodation. Agnecies are only interested in your ceretificate nothing else, they know you won't stay long but migrate to the next compay that offers promotion or a dollar more per day, the ships will be less well looked after because they might never see it again, especially the junior staff. I draw my BP pension every month and look back on happy days spent with great crews and well looked after by a company whose motto was " From the cardle to the grave with BP". They shattered that in 1986. So get real BP was the best run, most rpofessional company in the world. That company ceased to exist in 1986. Thankfully I work for an owner operator that is far larger than the regurgitated version of BP that exists today.

Longfellow
11th March 2010, 15:23
Hmm.

It's a long time since I was told to "get real".....this is as real as it gets, and it is really not that bad. OK, the "cradle-to-grave" philosophy did exist, no question, but mixed in with the dedicated and professional "good guys" were an awful lot of "cradle-to-gravers" who couldn't see straight from 10 in the morning to collapse in the evening, and a lot of guys who were not worth their salary but knew they would not be fired. Beware the rosy specs job - it was different, certainly, but by no means the nirvana sometimes expressed here with hindsight.
BP, for all their faults, still see themselves as a "state of the art" company; they see their serving staff as BP staff, rather than agency, and the standards of appearance, maintenance, performance and staff training are, in my opinion, higher now than they've ever been, whatever you think about the outfit as an entity.
Sure it's not the company it once was, but the world has changed, and the market has changed radically, along with the legislation that goes with it. Whatever the particular circumstances, even if the "old" BP had carried on, it would have been a radically different beast anyway.
I still take a pride in the ship, it's appearance, and it's performance, as do all the crews I've sailed with bar those couple of years straight after 86. I just regret the lack of security and I suppose "status" that goes with Group emloyment, and the apparent fragility that goes with the "own nothing" approach.

Hope that's put my view in perspective - I'm neither praising nor slagging off the old regime, and equally the new - it's just different, and over a lot of years, I've come to terms with it.

Longfellow.

twogrumpy
11th March 2010, 19:23
Well now.....

I came through '86, and the three "nights of the long knives" which preceded it, starting to lose staff selectively around 1980 onwards. I was actually seconded to BUE anchor handlers for 12 months, so was completely out of the loop - came home January from the North Sea run, and saw a 1-minute clip on the lunchtime news - first news I'd had. All the Office phones were "off the hook" for days; even the Union couldn't make contact. I have to say, in the couple of weeks thereafter, I chased a number of alternative jobs at sea, but as soon as you got to "who was your previous company", the phone went dead. Word was out, I still believe.
Anyhow, I stuck it out, and am still here. Terms and conditions are about level with the field, so unless you have a serious beef with the management, or a yen to try different trades or tonnage, there's not a lot of point moving at my time of life.

So, where are we now?
No Russians.
Some 55 or so ships, plus 4 Chinese Steam LNG's on a manning/training agreement.
Officers are a mixture of Brits, Polish, with one or two Kiwi, a couple of Aussies, and a lot of Southern Irish lads.
Crews are universally Filipino (Chinese LNG are a completely different deal).
The first maybe two years after the change of life saw some real rough staff all round, but they were relatively quickly weeded out, and the three-agency deal came down to one, Dorchester maritime, after around 4 years. They were finally dropped about 3 years ago, BP now having their own agency, BPMS - BP Maritime Services, working out of Singapore, with an IOM Office.
We are still regarded by the Office as BP employees, while remaining exclusively on "Agency" terms and conditions. Pensions, redundancy, etc, all finished in 86, and won't be back.
On top of that, there are still selected managers who feel that all the 86 crowd should be dumped for "souring the pot" for the new guys.
I love that - "stop calling us heartless, or you're all fired".

Anyhow, with not more than a couple more years to run, it's not such a bad place to be, and there's always other outfits for a Senior British ticket, so there's a lot less angst about the whole affair than there was in the old days.

And it's true enough; the radical shake-up did save the company - it ran down to about 20 ships for some years (aforementioned Gas Enterprise virtually kept it running; everything lost money at the time). But conditions could have eased as the recovery came in..but those same senior managers who hate us remembering 86 still keep to the 86 principle themselves - don't get into that position again, vis-a-vis Group terms, pensions, etc. Upshot is that the whole outfit now owns zero ships (all bareboat chartered), employs zero staff (all Agency), and owns zero offices (all now Group Offices) - the whole lot could disappear overnight at the stroke of an accountants pen.

So there we stand. Roll on retirement!

Longfellow.

Thanks for that Longfellow, it is the best description of what the situation was post 86 I have seen. After the first couple of years things could only get better eh?

86 was a good time to get out, never felt any ill will towards BP, cannot say the same when I went through the same thing again some years later with a major Swiss pharamceutical company.
(Cloud)

Richard Gough
11th March 2010, 21:15
I was working in Fleet Personnel during the changes that took place in 1986. Well for some of us in Fleet Personnel it was the last half of 1985 when all the discussions and final decisions were taken.

If I recall correctly it was on the day that the letters were sent out that ALL BP Shipping staff attended a meeting in the conference centre in Harlow to beformally told about the transfer of sea staff to the 3 agencies.

There were other cuts within the shore staff of BP Shipping

Whilst we attended the meeting in the conference room letters were placed on our desks to indicate if you were redundant or not. Fortunately I knew what was going to happen to me.

There were tears.......

I stayed on until June 1986 and moved to my current job.

I wonder what has happened to all the sea staff who were involved at that time.

Richard Gough

twogrumpy
12th March 2010, 19:01
I wonder what has happened to all the sea staff who were involved at that time.

Richard Gough

Seriously thinking about retirement, thats for sure.
(Cloud)

Jon Vincent
13th March 2010, 00:10
Longfellow. You have a lot of valid points but this sitr is called "Ship's Nostalgia", I spot a lot of basic errors in proples messages, but let them go because they are looking back some forty years or more and a few over-sights are permissable, remember in the time frame we are talking about being a heavy drinkers were the norm not the exception. Most companies went dry in the early 90's when the "Sire" inspections started. I like you sailed with many of the "Untouchables" who spent the full six months or more horizontal, to complain about them got you a black mark in the office, many had survived the second world war. Sailing as second mate under one taught me more about product carriers them any sobero ne could have because I did his job as well, the same applies to sailing of the coast under as C/O under a master with the same tendencies. You miss the point because the old BP never fired these guys and never gave up treating them ashore for their addiction, we had a marvalous personnel deptmant, no problem was too small for them, they flew me from Australia for my sons birth, they were a great company. I most probaly board more BP tanker in a year than you do. in my job as we frequently use the new "Tree" class as service vsls, and lighter the new "P" class, BP is one of my companies biggest customers, they are good to work with but noy the same company and you are very aware that the personnel are agency employed, they let me know that as soon as I board, yes I do meet the occasional disgruntaled Brit freewheeling to retirement, but they usually were never employed by the old BP, and I never bring the subject up delibrately as they would never understand. The difference is that on my company"s vsls very often I have know the Masters from when they were junior officers or in some cases cadets. I apprecate where you are coming from, I have nothing but happy memories of the old BP, leaving in 1983 because my son became a Diabetic at the age of 7, I came to the states with my family and became manger of a refinery in Texas City, a radical change, going back to the seafaring business in 1993 as a mooring master, I enjoy my work and everything I was taught in the BP is used every day I put large tankers together.

kevjacko
13th March 2010, 09:34
Is it true the Iolair is still going [B]AND[B]still has some of the original BP crew on her, well up until a few of years ago that is. Reason I am asking is that I know a guy who joined her out in South America (again a few year back) and he claimed that the crew had just kept toupying (sic) the terms and conditions of their contracts over from owners to agency etc, or however it had went. If so they should all be in clover by now surely.

Billieboy
13th March 2010, 10:32
Is it true the Iolair is still going [B]AND[B]still has some of the original BP crew on her, well up until a few of years ago that is. Reason I am asking is that I know a guy who joined her out in South America (again a few year back) and he claimed that the crew had just kept toupying (sic) the terms and conditions of their contracts over from owners to agency etc, or however it had went. If so they should all be in clover by now surely.

I was at Lithgows one day long ago at lunceon in the Board room with a couple of guys from BP who were just buying Iolair, (getting the building contract signed). Great lunch, but I was too busy with Niarchos who were buying two VLCCs with an eight million quid discount; each.

Sarky Cut
14th March 2010, 03:13
I have read through this thread and can only say that I worked for BP from 1963 through to the Iraq/Iran nastiness, I could not see much future in being on a Iranian flagged ship trading between Bandar Mash and Bandar Abbas.

The company put me through college for my T5 that has stood me in good stead.

I went where ever they sent me and did the trips that were the lot of the ship I was on at the time. Many of them were pure s88t, Mina to Aden on old 32's sans A/C were memorable for the weight loss.

The Satahib runs were not fun filled either.

I asked for a transfer having completed three years up the gulf and was told "I was an important member of the team"

I may have been gullible but not that gullible, I resigned and got an appointment on a transatlantic container ship. Food was four star but my fellow officers knew how to drink and use the bar.

There was a minor stir at the Falklands when the ships were earmarked for the conflict but as they were designed for cold water running it was deemed a rather silly thing to take them as they would not have got there. We had enough trouble keeping them running in the Gulf Stream for a day or two let alone at tropical temperatures.

I am now retired and draw a very good pension from BP and truthfuly can say in 16 years that I was with BP I still only keep in touch with one other employee on a regular basis and couple of others at birthdays and Christmas.

Graham Wallace
20th March 2010, 03:38
Is it true the Iolair is still going [B]AND[B]still has some of the original BP crew on her, well up until a few of years ago that is. Reason I am asking is that I know a guy who joined her out in South America (again a few year back) and he claimed that the crew had just kept toupying (sic) the terms and conditions of their contracts over from owners to agency etc, or however it had went. If so they should all be in clover by now surely.

Frank Cabrie an Ex BP Engineering Cadet was C/E on Iolair 2002/07. Down Mexico way , guess BP had sold her.

Graham

BillH
20th March 2010, 12:04
Frank Cabrie an Ex BP Engineering Cadet was C/E on Iolair 2002/07. Down Mexico way , guess BP had sold her.

Graham
IOLAIR
Self propelled semi-submersible Fire-fighting, diving support vessel.
O.N. 376461. 11,019g. 5,513n.
Rectangular platform 334' 8" x 194' 5" x 105' 11"
Service draught 50'1" with 19,362 tons displacement.
Six, 18-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. (250 x 300mm) M.A.N. 18ASV 25/30 type engines, (each 4,800 B.H.P), made by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Belfast, each driving a generator connected to four electric motors (each 3,000 S.H.P) geared to twin screw shafts, and four positioning thrusters (each 2,000 S.H.P).
23.4.1979: Keel laid by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow (Yard No. 1200), for B.P. Oil Development Ltd.
6.4.1981: Launched.
6.1982: Completed.
12.8.1982: Delivered to B.P. Oil Development Ltd & British National Oil Corporation (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
1990: B.P. Shipping Ltd., (Offshore Group), assumed management.
1990: Transferred to B.P. Exploration Operation Company Ltd., (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
History incomplete.

Iolair46
20th June 2012, 18:56
[QUOTE=BillH;411664]IOLAIR
Self propelled semi-submersible Fire-fighting, diving support vessel.
O.N. 376461. 11,019g. 5,513n.
Rectangular platform 334' 8" x 194' 5" x 105' 11"
Service draught 50'1" with 19,362 tons displacement.
Six, 18-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. (250 x 300mm) M.A.N. 18ASV 25/30 type engines, (each 4,800 B.H.P), made by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Belfast, each driving a generator connected to four electric motors (each 3,000 S.H.P) geared to twin screw shafts, and four positioning thrusters (each 2,000 S.H.P).
23.4.1979: Keel laid by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow (Yard No. 1200), for B.P. Oil Development Ltd.
6.4.1981: Launched.
6.1982: Completed.
12.8.1982: Delivered to B.P. Oil Development Ltd & British National Oil Corporation (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
1984: B.P. Shipping Ltd., (Offshore Group), assumed management.
1990: Transferred to B.P. Exploration Operation Company Ltd., (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
Purchased in 1995 by Reading and Bates, an American Drilling company.
Taken over by Transocean and then sold on to Exeter after transferring to Mexico in December 1999.

Now owned by Bahamas company Exeter Shipping and working in Mexico since 2000.
Not one of the old school still onboard. Only a few Europeans left now and taken over by the local staff.
A very well designed vessel which still puts todays DP vessels in the shade. For 1980s technology this was a class act. DP2 but more like DP3. I have been on some DP2 vessels which were lucky to be classed higher than DP 0.5. And they are still operating!!

DAVELECKIE
20th June 2012, 21:07
[QUOTE=BillH;411664]IOLAIR
Self propelled semi-submersible Fire-fighting, diving support vessel.
O.N. 376461. 11,019g. 5,513n.
Rectangular platform 334' 8" x 194' 5" x 105' 11"
Service draught 50'1" with 19,362 tons displacement.
Six, 18-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. (250 x 300mm) M.A.N. 18ASV 25/30 type engines, (each 4,800 B.H.P), made by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Belfast, each driving a generator connected to four electric motors (each 3,000 S.H.P) geared to twin screw shafts, and four positioning thrusters (each 2,000 S.H.P).
23.4.1979: Keel laid by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow (Yard No. 1200), for B.P. Oil Development Ltd.
6.4.1981: Launched.
6.1982: Completed.
12.8.1982: Delivered to B.P. Oil Development Ltd & British National Oil Corporation (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
1984: B.P. Shipping Ltd., (Offshore Group), assumed management.
1990: Transferred to B.P. Exploration Operation Company Ltd., (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
Purchased in 1995 by Reading and Bates, an American Drilling company.
Taken over by Transocean and then sold on to Exeter after transferring to Mexico in December 1999.

Now owned by Bahamas company Exeter Shipping and working in Mexico since 2000.
Not one of the old school still onboard. Only a few Europeans left now and taken over by the local staff.
A very well designed vessel which still puts todays DP vessels in the shade. For 1980s technology this was a class act. DP2 but more like DP3. I have been on some DP2 vessels which were lucky to be classed higher than DP 0.5. And they are still operating!!

I was one of the original Leckies on her, stoodby the building at Lithgows etc etc.
Spent several weeks in Norway at the manufacturers [Kongsburg]of the DP System doing a training course on the system.
Have to admit never gave us any problems in service, the accuracy of the system paticularly the taut wire was uncanny. She would sit on a sixpence no matter what weather the North Sea threw at us.

Dave

sparks69
25th June 2012, 21:30
Looking back on "the night of the long knives" it all fell butter side up for me. After 6 months as "agency" my son was v ill so came ashore. The redundancy money kept us afloat over the years he was under treatment and eventual recovery. The pension clicked in as he went to uni. So on the whole twas good for me.

GrahamWeifang
1st August 2012, 07:19
I was on leave when I received my letter; and was one of the many who took the money and ran. I've been ashore ever since but often wonder how things turned out for those who took jobs with the new management companies and whether or not I did the right thing. Is there anyone out there who took advantage of the new positions and how did it work out?
.
I was just about to start S.L. so it worked out well,
I took the money, and started a new job within a few weeks.

Gra.
(I am sure it was pretty damn impressive redundancy money at the time)

ninabaker
3rd August 2012, 22:08
This all happened long after I had left the sea, but I am beyond aghast at what happened to you all. Terrible terrible way to treat anyone.

twogrumpy
4th August 2012, 15:27
This all happened long after I had left the sea, but I am beyond aghast at what happened to you all. Terrible terrible way to treat anyone.

Well it must have been a bit of a shock for those on leave, settling down to watch the six o'clock news on the Beeb and the first item tells you that you are being made redundant.

2G
(Cloud)

Uricanejack
4th August 2012, 19:48
Hi

I didn‘t last until 86. The knight of the long knifes When I joined BP during the interview I was led to believe it was a job for life with a secure big company and excellent career prospects.

I went to Shields and got a great pep talk from the head honcho about how we were the smallest intake in decades and we would be in high demand with great prospects. The Company was still called BP Tankers Ltd. I joined my first ship . The general feeling was much as I said before. I remember the 2nd Engineer saying to me you’re a tanker man now. And will be long after he gone.refering to a winging 3rd Mate. About a year later it all started to change
First they Changed the Name to BP Shipping. Gab King had been the man now it was someone else. We were to be a shipping company surviving on our own not part of BP Oil. I seem to remember this was round about when Maggie Thatcher and her ideas took hold of he whole country.

Well every year there were big redundancies and ships for sale at bargain prices usually chartered back right away. We were uneconomic it was more economic to leave one of our ships at anchor and charter another one to carry BP oil. But we struggled on. Every ship I was on I would hear about redundancies.

At First it was Voluntary. Then it was. who didn’t fit the age rank profiles the “professional thirds”. Then those who had poop performance reports, reps for poor conduct bozo . Then Just seamed to be by luck of the draw.

When I returned to collage most of the lads from other companies were already starting to hear there might not be a job at the end but BP was still saying don’t worry there will be a place for you all here.. By the time I returned to shields for the last bit in September 83 most of the 3rd Mates I had sailed with during my last year were receiving redundancy notices. I had my doubts about a job at the end I was just sticking it out so as not to quite with nothing to show for it.

When I got to the collage everyone from every other company had already been told there would be no job. Texaco had actually managed to dump their cadets mid stream. A couple of smaller companies had folded with their lads having to be sent by shipping federation with other companies. Shell cadets had told there would be no redundancy just 2 weeks as 3rd Mate each so it would be stamped in your book.

Esso was just good by. About 3 to 4 weeks before we did our exams the head of cadet training came by and met with us all to give us the official news we had suspected for some time. There would be no jobs for any of us a couple of lads were quite shocked they had excellent records were well thought of and keen.

I had been expecting it but was still shocked I was no longer keen but still determined to finish. The offer was actually considerably better than most. Severance would be 5000 pounds if we passed and left right away. Or one.3 month trip plus leave as 3rd Officer with no severance.

I did some quick arithmetic and came to the conclusion 3 months as 3rd Mate plus leave added up to about 4500 pounds so it seamed obvious which to choose. I left officially in February 1984 with a brand New Class 3 and no idea what the heck I was going to do except it would not be at sea.

In the short time I had been with BP everything had changed we had gone from the worlds largest shipping company where you would pass another company ship almost daily. To a company with less than half the no of ships, Thousands had heft through redundancy. For some they were only to glad to accept redundancy. Attrition had always been high. For others it was a shock when it reached them.

For me a year or so of messing about trying to figure out the future direction of life an offer from Strathclyde and several other Universities. 4 years as a cadet followed by 5 as a student. When I received a call asking if I would like to join a ship as 3rd Mate it sounded better.

I went back to sea with a New Castle Company Souter Shipping. After about a year in the Mist of my 2nd trip as 3rd Mate. We went through the same process. Many of the company guys felt a deep betrayal myself I did to.
What we were presented with was all the competition is doing the same. If we don’t we wont survive. I stayed on drank the coolaid and stayed a further 5 years.
Officially we were working for Pent Marine a Hong Kong front for P&O .Over the few years I stayed some of Souters old boys who had quite returned to what was still oddly quite a small family.
From time to time an Old face from BP passed through none I recall sticking around. In the end I left the “Deep” sea when I married and had a reason to stay home.

My time with BP Stood me in good stead a few times. I had a great deal more knowledge than many others I met after elsewhere. I went for my first job interview in Canada the 6th on a Short list. I was asked only one question. Tell me a bit about your experience. I just started with I was a Cadet with BP. When the interview stopped and I was asked if I had any gear with me I said no just what I was wearing. |He looked at his watch and asked his secretary to call and hold the ship. He drove me down to the dock and introduced me to the Master His final words were do a round trip if the Captain agrees you have the job.
I had always heard it meant something. I guess it did. Less than 2 months Later I was asked to work as Chief Officer.

The entire industry changed during the 80’s. Many companies disappeared entirely other disappeared only to reappear overnight offshore. 1980 when I started was the last large intake of cadets fleet wide not just BP. There were a few cadets taken on by BP in 81 hardly any in 82 and none for years after. In 1986 souters had the distinction of the largest no of cadets in the UK. Six 3 deck and 3 Engineers.

I left Souters in 1990. They were still going but I believe they have fallen to the pressure of economics as well. A few years ago I was amazed to hear a Familiar name on the radio. British Holly. I had never sailed on the original. I was excited to hear just the same. One of the new Tree’s came into local shipyard. Some of my new colleagues went for a visit. Invited by an ex BP Chief who works for my current employer. He is Indian and so were the entire crew of the tree. I work with another Master who is also ex BP from India. A nice chap obviously well trained in the classical manner.

The world has changed.

stevekelly10
4th August 2012, 19:50
I must have been one of the lucky ones as prior to the redundancies being announced I had actually resigned from BP! They kept pestering me on a weekly basis to rescind my resignation which i was unwilling to do unless I could go back to the north sea! eventually I capitulated and agreed to go back "deep sea". I was scheduled to join the "Tenacity" on the forthcoming Saturday. Friday afternoon I get a phone call, telling me not to join. If I wanted to know more look up page such and such on ceefax. they also said they would contact me Monday. On checking ceefax, there it was 1700 officers made redundant from BP tankers! Monday morning I get a phone call asking if I was still willing to join the "Tenacity" the answer of which was "no" !
I will be enternally gratefull for whoever it was persuaded me to rescind my notice, otherwise I would have lost over 27000 and I would not have been a happy chappie!

twogrumpy
5th August 2012, 15:07
Quite a good deal really, same wedge if you took the money and left, or walked round to the other side of the desk and signed on again.

Never had any ill feelings towards BP other than to the two talking heads that they sent down to Swansea to explain it all to us.

2G
(Cloud)

derekhore
5th August 2012, 20:43
I left BP in 1977 after passing my writtens and failing my orals!
I was advised then that there was to be a clear-out & those who failed their tickets could be the first to go - so told if you want to get out now before the market is flooded then do so .. I did and joined Wallems (UK), best thing I could have done and my BP training put me in good stead.

ninabaker
8th August 2012, 00:28
I left BP in 1977 after passing my writtens and failing my orals!
I was advised then that there was to be a clear-out & those who failed their tickets could be the first to go - so told if you want to get out now before the market is flooded then do so .. I did and joined Wallems (UK), best thing I could have done and my BP training put me in good stead.

By 1977 I had migrated to Bibbys and, despite what you say about a clear-out, I got two separate letters from BP asking me to go back. Flattering of course but I had had enough of tankers by then.

derekhore
8th August 2012, 07:43
By 1977 I had migrated to Bibbys and, despite what you say about a clear-out, I got two separate letters from BP asking me to go back. Flattering of course but I had had enough of tankers by then.

Guess they were just glad to get rid of me!!

btw Nina - did you ever come across 2 BP Deck cadets at Plymouth or at sea ... John Murray & Andy parsons? Andy was sadly gassed down a tank part way through his Cadetship, but they both did their college time at Plymouth.

Graham Wallace
8th August 2012, 15:50
btw Nina - did you ever come across 2 BP Deck cadets at Plymouth or at sea ... John Murray & Andy parsons? Andy was sadly gassed down a tank part way through his Cadetship, but they both did their college time at Plymouth.[/QUOTE]

Derek,

Just for the record, Andy Parsons (ABP) and Andy Gibbon both died in tank gassing ? Andy ex Plymouth?

Graham

derekhore
8th August 2012, 15:55
Thank you Graham ..

Yes, Andy Parsons was ex-Plymouth, we were at college together, it was a great shock at the time.

Andy Gibbon - I knew the name but not actually in person.

kevjacko
8th August 2012, 20:49
Guess they were just glad to get rid of me!!

btw Nina - did you ever come across 2 BP Deck cadets at Plymouth or at sea ... John Murray & Andy parsons? Andy was sadly gassed down a tank part way through his Cadetship, but they both did their college time at Plymouth.

Hi Derek,was he one of the poor souls on the Renown?

derekhore
8th August 2012, 21:29
Yes, I think it was the Renown if my memory serves me well.

Graham Wallace
8th August 2012, 22:43
Yes, I think it was the Renown if my memory serves me well.

Derek and Kev,

Again for my record, an incident happened on the Rnown and more than one person lost their life?

Can you give me some idea if year and month if possible ,and what happened to whom?

I do not think I have ever heard of this incident before in any other reference.

Graham

stevekelly10
8th August 2012, 23:06
If memory serves me correctly, It was the "Renown" 3 people died during a tank entry, one was a 3rd mate, one was a cadet and possibly the 3rd fatality was the mate? Cant remember exactly the date, but the incident was attributed to the BA sets not being positive pressure and one of the casualties had a beard. So after the incident BP replaced all their BA sets with positive pressure sets made by Chubb and if you had a beard you shouldn't wear one! the third casuality was also reported to have died when he saw the two in the bottom of the tank in trouble and he entered the tank to help without having a BA set on himself.

ninabaker
8th August 2012, 23:10
Thank you Graham ..

Yes, Andy Parsons was ex-Plymouth, we were at college together, it was a great shock at the time.

Andy Gibbon - I knew the name but not actually in person.

The names dont ring any bells with me, but I am rubbish at names and faces anyhow.

But I do recall that when we did our 2 week pre-sea induction course a Plymoth in Summer 1972, they told us that at least one of us would probably not be alive by the time the rest got their 2nd mates tickets. I think that did actually come true but I cant remember who or what circumstances. Sobering thought to a bunch of teenagers who naturally thought of ourselves as immortal.

derekhore
9th August 2012, 07:18
I think it was Andy Parsons who had the beard - and that report of the event rings a lot of bells so I guess most of it is true.
As for the year, possibly 1973 because I don't think Andy made it back to Plymouth for Phase 3.

Treborvfr
9th August 2012, 10:12
Steve's report is pretty much as I remember it.

I think it was later than 1973 as I didn't join my first ship with BP until November 1974, this incident happened whilst I was at sea.

Bob

DAVELECKIE
9th August 2012, 16:51
I was on the Renown shortly after this terrible incident occurred.
Two Nav cadets were working down one of the forward tanks on the air line BA System.
This was for those who cannot remember a trolley with BA bottles and an airline on a drum connected to a mask.
At the end of the line there was a provision to link another mask to the system.
Therefore you had two people down the tank working on the end of one airline.
The exact cause was never dis covered but it was believed that because the cadets were doing quite hard physical work the demand for air was exceeding what could be supplied and it was thought that possibly the cadet with the beard did not have a good seal on his mask due to the beard.
Subsequently one of the cadets collapsed, followed by the other.
The lookout positioned at the top of the tank saw what had happened and summoned the mate [c/o] by walkie talkie.
He "legged" it along the deck and donned a CABA set at the top of the tank and descended to the bottom of the tank.
On reaching the bottom he checked the two lads and made a decision to take off his set and put it on one of the cadets. He then made a run for it up the ladders but halfway up he was overcome by gas and fell back to the bottomk hitting a ladder on the way.
Both cadets and the mate died.
The subsequent investigation banned the use of the airline self contained system but this was subsequently lifted but was to be used by one person only.
I believe it happened around 1977.

derekhore
9th August 2012, 17:08
Many thanks for that - it seems to be a rather unpublished event on the internet.

stevekelly10
9th August 2012, 17:59
Thanks Dave

Your recollection of the incident is far more accurate than mine understandbly and 1977 sounds right, As I didn't go 3/E untill then.
After the incident 3rd eng were given the responsibilty of maintaining the BA sets and I can remember commissioning a large No of the Chubb BA sets on the "Ranger". They also supplied a new trolley set also made by Chubb, which basically consisted of two bottles, an airline reel. It also could be connected to the ships compressed air system. The previous "Y" connectors we were instructed to throw over the Wall!
The incident also showed the the tank entry procedures were woefully inadequate and were drastically changed! A safety trolley had to be on the deck at any tank being entered. with extra BA sets, Lifelines etc. The smoke helmet operated by bellows were also scrapped. The bridge had to be informed by walkie-talkie of the time and No of personnel entering the tanks and the time they exited.

Satanic Mechanic
9th August 2012, 18:02
Just as an aside Airline breathing apparatus (ALBA) is still in use but and very importantly you do not share a line and it is connected to a full CABA set you are wearing.

The Smoke Helmet apparatus was not actually scrapped, believe it or not it was still a legal requirement to carry it up until a few years ago - never seen it used once.

Tank Entry procedures - still fatalities every year, most of which end up in 2 fatalities due to people diving in after there mate collapses - a very sobering stat for all you anti HSE peeps out there

DAVELECKIE
9th August 2012, 20:16
After further thought on the Renown accident I believe it definately was 1977.
She was not delivered until sometime in 1974.

Dave