Navigational " No-Go " Areas

JamesM
14th May 2008, 11:32
This is one for the BP Navigating Officers mainly, but I'm sure other Companies had similar rules.

1) Did BP have a list of 7 areas where you were not permitted to navigate? From my memory these were 6 of them:-
Close to Ushant
Cape St.Vincent
Cascettes
Kuria-Muria Islands
Masirah Island
********?
"Hole in the Wall", Persian Gulf

2) Has anyone, apart from me, been through the "Hole in the Wall"?(EEK)

JamesM

trevflstn
14th May 2008, 11:53
I seem to remember on the British Energy in 1974 overhearing a heated debate between the OM and 2nd mate regarding trying the hole in the wall. Not suprisingly the old man won the arguement and that was as near as I ever got. Being a lowly cadet at the time my opinion was irrelevant (must admit age / experience now brings me frmly down on the side of the Captain)

paul0510
14th May 2008, 17:27
Hole-in-the-wall? Been there, done that, on the British Argosy. You got balls, no sweat!

makko
14th May 2008, 17:51
Please enlighten me: What is the "Hole in the wall"? I remember that we squeezed between Haiti and Cuba to avoid a hurricane, but not really a tight fit!
Rgds.
Dave

twogrumpy
14th May 2008, 19:26
Went through the Messina Straits on a fully loaded 250,000 tonner, when we didn't really need to.
Seemed a little dodgey to me being an engineer, was it a close thing??
twogrumpy

James_C
14th May 2008, 19:35
Came through the Sunda Strait and the Old man decides he wants to have a look at Krakatoa and take som piccies...
So off we go steaming in circles around the various islands with some smoke etc to be seen emanating from them, venturing less than half a mile off in some cases and then we happily go on our way again. Only later somebody noticed that you're not supposed to venture within (as I recall) 2 nautical miles off the islands due to the danger of new seamounts, volcanic activity etc...
Still, we got some nice photos!
LOL
(Hippy)

gadgee
14th May 2008, 20:16
JamesM
I was 3rd Mate with BP from 1969 to 1971 and your "no go" areas are new to me. I never heard about them. I always remember the Admiralty Pilot Book warning you away from Socotra though. Of the nine BP Tankers on which I served from 1966 to 1971 we never went through the "hole"!

paul0510
14th May 2008, 20:19
Dave,

the 'Hole-in-the-Wall' is a term used by many a tankerman, and probably members of the Strick Line clan, that designates an approx. 500 metre gap between an offshore islet and the mainland of Oman in the approaches to the Persian Gulf, Straits of Hormuz. See red-ringed area with enlargement. Definitely a 'no-go' area by anyone's standards but occasionally misused as a short-cut to avoid the routing system, save time etc. when loading at terminals in the southern Gulf, and at best only in ballast condition due to manoeuverability i.e. northbound. Actually of little excitement unless one encountered some other crazy sod hotlegging it southbound and, hence, according to some reports, a good remedy for constipation! Still, am proud to have been watch-keeping witness, 2M, to a rather naughty escapade. Tut, tut! (Thumb)

makko
14th May 2008, 20:48
Thanks, Paul. I had heard about Socotra, but not the H.I.T.W
Dave

JamesM
15th May 2008, 09:44
gadgee,
My old memory might not be as good as it used to be, 'can't remember what I did yesterday', but I'm pretty sure that I was told about those places by a BP Mate.
Then again it could have been the effect of the "Tennants"
Maybe some other ex BP lads will chip in.

JamesM

JamesM
15th May 2008, 10:02
Paul,
I was only on a 25,000 tonner, in ballast, when we went through the "hole"
and there were one or two rear-ends twitching, I can tell you!

But you were on a 100,000 tonner at the time, so whoever was the "Old Man ",(no names, no pack-drill), now that guy had bottle.
As you say, a little bit of excitement, unless you met some other lunatic coming the other way. That would sort out the men from the boys.
JamesM

PS Thanks for the explanation for Dave and the attached thumbnails, very clear.

DAR
15th May 2008, 10:03
I've been through the 'Hole in the Wall' in both directions several times in the early 70's on several different ships. 'Corporal, Statesman and Merchant.'
In my present company it was normal in the late 70's and 80's to rock dodge and it was common practice to go inside Bass Rock, Stroma and the Mainland (to see the Castle of Mey and wave at the late Queen Mother) and most of the Inner Minch Islands. I've even taken a ship twice (Quentin) between the Farnes and Seahouses on the NE English Coast.

Orbitaman
15th May 2008, 10:05
Went through the Messina Straits on a fully loaded 250,000 tonner, when we didn't really need to.
Seemed a little dodgey to me being an engineer, was it a close thing??
twogrumpy

The Messina Straits are about five miles wide at the narrowest point, so I wouldn't be getting excited about going through in a 250,000 tonner.

Where were you heading to/from if you thought you didn't really need to?

Dave Wilson
15th May 2008, 12:17
Been through the hole in the wall several times. I would say however, that if you want to experience some really 'scary stuff' try taking the missus for a cruise on the 'Hurtigruten'. Now you will see some ship handling in narrow places. All the more frightening in that if one makes a mistake it willl not be sand you will be touching but unforgiving Norwegian rock. Furthermore some of the less scary stuff is all done by computer.

JamesM
15th May 2008, 13:48
James_C,
What is it about "Old Men" and Volcanoes??

My previous post about the "Hole" concerns a certain vessel and her Master.

Earlier that trip ,that same vessel and Master, decided to take a close look at an active volcano, Stromboli to be precise.We altered course accordingly and headed straight for the island. I and a few others had gone up to the Monkey Island to get a good look.
Boy, did we go close!! I'm not sure how far away we were but the 2nd Mate, who's watch it was, had a distinct look of impending disaster.
Fortunately there was no disaster and we resumed our course, but one or two of the Mates had temporarily lost their tans.:sweat:

James_C
15th May 2008, 14:03
James,
Aye you're not wrong! From what I remember it was late afternoon so there was the usual throng down aft with beer in hand etc and we all made our way to the monkey island for the spectacle. Being 4-8 it was the 2/Os watch and he was out there with the Old Man, snapping away. This all led to the usual cry of "who's driving then?".
LOL
Name of the Old Man withheld to protect the innocent but he was a top bloke!

Tony Crompton
15th May 2008, 15:13
The Messina Straits are about five miles wide at the narrowest point, so I wouldn't be getting excited about going through in a 250,000 tonner.


I do not think the problem with Messina Straits is the width but the unpredictable tidal eddies and whirlpools that that form there, could even turn a ship round if unprepared.

I was last through a couple of years ago on Snowbows Maritime Memories cruise on "Discovery" and the ship took a Pilot to go through. Looked like the Gulf of Corryvrekan (sp?) with its infamous whirlpool.
-------------------------------
Tony

MM˛
15th May 2008, 16:33
Anyone been through Corryvreckan ? It might be a tight fit for a 250,000 tonner.

McCloggie
15th May 2008, 17:10
MM2 asked:

" Anyone been through Corryvreckan ?"

Certainly not on the ships you lot are talking about (!) but have sailed through and have taken small ships - Minesweepers and Patrol Boats - through many times.

McC

JamesM
15th May 2008, 17:38
DAR,
First time I've ever heard of someone doing the "Hole " southbound. And if you include all those other places, you are a " Rock Dodger " supreme. Respect.(Thumb)

MM˛
15th May 2008, 19:33
Certainly not on the ships you lot are talking about (!) but have sailed through and have taken small ships - Minesweepers and Patrol Boats - through many times.

McC
Reply


I went through it in my UFO27 in 1985ish. It was a nice day. It took over an hour on a broad reach in Force 3/4.

twogrumpy
15th May 2008, 19:53
Orbitman
Seemed narrow enough to me, and as Tony said, they took a pilot going through on a passenger jobbie.
We were headed for NW Europe form the Canal, with a chance of some port on the north coast of Sicily, so the OM thought he would go that way.
twogrumpy

de paor
30th May 2008, 22:58
have been through the hole in the wall but truly cannot remember the ships name but it was a BP tanker and in the 60s

oceangoer
30th May 2008, 23:05
I don't know about BP's "no-go" areas but I do know that they published the most complete set of distance tables I've ever seen.
Very useful when a tramp Master is required to give an ETA "by return" at a port you've never heard of. :)

JimC
1st June 2008, 19:00
Anyone been through Corryvreckan ? It might be a tight fit for a 250,000 tonner.

Certainly have - went for a 'spin' you might say. Actually you can do a trip in a tourist boat from Crinan Harbour. Can't remember it's name. I went through in a 14' Capri with a 28hp Yamaha outboard. No big deal.

trotterdotpom
2nd June 2008, 00:08
Came through the Sunda Strait and the Old man decides he wants to have a look at Krakatoa and take som piccies...
So off we go steaming in circles around the various islands with some smoke etc to be seen emanating from them, venturing less than half a mile off in some cases and then we happily go on our way again. Only later somebody noticed that you're not supposed to venture within (as I recall) 2 nautical miles off the islands due to the danger of new seamounts, volcanic activity etc...
Still, we got some nice photos!
LOL
(Hippy)

En route from Singapore to Christmas Island on Cape Otway, we also went through the remains of Krakatoa. Everyone thought the Old Man was mad, but it was worth a look.

Straits of Messina, 100,000 tonner - piece of cake (quickest way to Trieste).

John T.

JimC
2nd June 2008, 23:48
Just remembered another one! In 1960, not long after the Seaway was opened - there were not too many pilots around. They also had traffic separation systems then - a bit like a one-way street system. Our old man decided he didn't like the idea of that so took us the wrong way down one of them - even after being advised of the consequences - Lots of 'brown trousers' that morning I can assure you but he got away with it. So did I - I'm writing this (I think?) Auld Timer's disease!!

harvey19a
30th July 2008, 07:38
You are quite correct - BP's QA system lists areas where Company vessels are NOT to go, and some where you may go, but only under certain circumstances.

Of course, the final decision is down to the Master, and if circumstances dictate (avoiding a typhoon, for instance) then his decision will be respected.

....as for the HITW - never been through, but almost everyone I meet claims to have been there!!!

However, in the carefree days of '74 I laid off courses to take the Rapallo inside Ushant, northbound, but the O/M chickened out at the last moment!!

Bill Davies
30th July 2008, 07:46
I believe the QA systems in National Bulk Carriers were ahead of their time and better than elsewhere I sailed in foreign flag. Lots of guidance and 'no go areas'. A well established SMS when I joined in 69 and we all know that ISM only came in in July 97.

Bill

J Boyde
30th July 2008, 08:40
Interesting views. I noted the one between Cuba and Haiti, did that one when the US and Cuba were have a disagrement, thats a few years back, and they still have lousy communicatoins between them. I have been through the hole in the wall in NZ but that is strictly small craft stuff, great none the less. Smallest gap in a port I entered was at Marlyian in Queensland. Nothing like have a good look on the rocks on each side.
Jim B

Brian Locking
30th July 2008, 09:12
Try some Norwegian Ports. Make a mistake and it is ROCK and no sand.

JamesM
30th July 2008, 09:22
harvey19a,
Thank God! I thought for a while that I had finally gone senile and the old memory was playing tricks on me. Many thanks for the conformation.
JamesM

PS Can you supply the missing one from my list?

12-4
24th January 2010, 16:10
Many years ago I was 2/m on the Odabo (a small chemical coaster). On arriving on the bridge at midnight (I was 12-6) I found that the Mate (John Neil) had laid the northbound course inside Ushant to save time and catch the right tide. I thought the course had been approved by the Captain (whose sleeping cabin was on the starboard side).

Going inside Ushant one gets very close to the light house - its no exaggeration to say you can almost feel the heat of the light - Anyhow as the ship came abeam of the light the Old Man was woken by the light beam flashing through his port hole - he must have one hell of a fright - By the time he got to the bridge it was too late to say or do anything. Exciting times

rodhaigh
28th January 2010, 11:14
My one and only experience of transiting the HITW (as far as we knew a 'no go' area) was in-bound in the early '60s in one of the 12's coming to the end of her shelf life.
The passage through was OK and v interesting (also it was on my watch), but about 1 hr later there was a VERY loud bang from down aft, a column of black smoke out of the funnel and a 3 hr wait under 2 black balls.
A salutory lesson in the advantages of passage planning expecting the worst
RodH

John_F
28th January 2010, 17:38
There's a photo of the Hole in the Wall here:
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=6889
Kind regards,
John.

sidsal
30th January 2010, 21:20
Never went through the HITW but had narrow squeaks in T2 tanker OWYHEE where master, mate and C/E were permanently drunk ( walked off in Le Havre because I feared for my ticket - I was 2nd Mate with Mate's ticket).
Master insisted on laying courses very close inshore. Monks on C St Vincent could have p****D down the funnel. One night on Arabian coast of 12 to 4 saw white line ahead - breakers - hard astarboard> Another time I had pulled out 5 degrees on pm watch as I thought we were setting towards the land just east of Aden and there was Palinurus shoal showing on the chart. When the old man staggered up just before 4 he put ship on original course and said 2nd Mates were b*** useless. About 5 I felt the ship shudder alll over as she went hard over so I rushed up to the bridge to find the old man with shaking knees looking at a patch of smooth water just off the bow. I said - "Useless 2nd Mates - eh captain " Mate was demoted captain - ran his ship onto Green Island just after dropping the canal pilot at Suez> Esso were desparate for staff then.
Happy days !

mikeharrison
31st January 2010, 11:57
I cannot remember a list of "no go" areas, but the "Hole In The Wall" was certainly frowned upon in later years. Going close inshore up the South African Coast, to miss the Agulhas current, was good fun too but also frowned upon later.

Regarding throngs , navigating through the Stockholm Islands on a BP Tanker during summer was particularly taxing , with people appearing on the Bridge who had never before ventured so far up. I can recall my binoculars being grabbed from me by a 3/E who was very anxious to have "a closer look at the shore" , including the pair of lovely women who were nude sunbathing on it! <smile>


Warmest Wishes, Mike Harrison

lakercapt
31st January 2010, 15:37
. I've even taken a ship twice (Quentin) between the Farnes and Seahouses on the NE English Coast.

DID THAT SEVERAL TIMES ON "DRYBURGH" WHEN THE TIDE WAS RIGHT

Pat Kennedy
31st January 2010, 15:53
Did any of you ever sail between The Skerries and the Anglesey coast?
I heard of a couple of Blue Funnel masters who did, but I believe it is a particularly difficult passage.
Pat

ROBERT HENDERSON
31st January 2010, 17:05
Did any of you ever sail between The Skerries and the Anglesey coast?
I heard of a couple of Blue Funnel masters who did, but I believe it is a particularly difficult passage.
Pat

I have as Master on coasters, it is not too bad in daylight as there are or were unlit buoys through there, but, I certainly would not attempt in hours of darkness.
I was mate on one of Everards where the master always went between the Longships and the land, that was scary.

Regards Robert

Steve Birkenhead
3rd February 2010, 21:13
Sailed between Ramsay Island, on the Welsh coast, and the land with one particular skipper on the Hilary Weston, apparently he did it on a regular basis until getting a call on the VHF from the Coastguard reminding him of the risk he was putting others into.

sidsal
3rd February 2010, 21:23
In Esso we used to sail from Aruba to the UK -calling at Avonmouth to discharge about 4K tons and then up to Stanlow for the rest. It was quite usual to go inside the islands - Ramsey, and, if I recall rightly after 60 years inside Skomer and Skokholm.
Mind you memory plays tricks but we definitely went inside some of them.

Ron Stringer
4th February 2010, 16:53
Does anyone know how much water there is inside the Fastnet rock? On one trip the old man took E & F's 'Golfito' inside Fastnet so that the passengers could get a close look at the lighthouse. Impressed them (and me) no end.

callpor
4th February 2010, 17:21
In Esso we used to sail from Aruba to the UK -calling at Avonmouth to discharge about 4K tons and then up to Stanlow for the rest. It was quite usual to go inside the islands - Ramsey, and, if I recall rightly after 60 years inside Skomer and Skokholm.
Mind you memory plays tricks but we definitely went inside some of them.

Sidsal,
Even though being ashore for many years I can assure you that since the late 1970's Esso/Exxon vessels have been forbidden to navigate close to any land, this includes a number of narrow passages around the globe, such as Messina Straits, inside the Minch etc. These Navigational Procedures were introduced following a number of serious incidents due to Masters taking "short cuts". The instruction was based upon sound logic - to give the vessel a 6 hour drift margin from any grounding line - it became known as the 20 mile rule. If the Old Man wanted to go closer then he was instructed to first, look at all the alternatives, secondly to carry-out a risk assessment and thirdly to get HO endorsement of his final decision. The rules were somewhat diluted for those of us trading coastwise in European waters, but we still had to follow the same princials and stay well off headlands etc. To the best of my knowledge these rules are still in force today. Incidently, these rules also applied to any vessel on charter to Esso/Exxon in additional C/P clauses. Interesting, as these navigational procedureswere in place long before the Exxon Valdez grounded on Bligh Reef. Regards, Chris

sidsal
4th February 2010, 22:20
Chris: Times have changed. You may have read my earlier thing about the Owyhee where the drunken master who insisted on laying courses only a mile or two off, for instance, the Arabian coast where even then most masters would keep 15 to 20 miles off because of the uncertain charting.
Mind you I think separation lanes etc made for a boring life for watchkeepers. In my day it was great to pass a few cables from ships going on a reciprocal course. One got a good look at fellow seafarers and the night watches could make for interest through signalling by morse lamp. It was a bad day when HO could contact the master anytime thus robbing the master of his final authority.
Some years ago we were on the Oriana steaming up Biscay with a RN frigate about a couple of miles off going the same way. The master came on the tannoy and said it was HMS London on the way home from the Gulf and that she was going to make a close pass to the Oriana. We could see a puff of smoke as she wound up her engines and came creaming towards us with a bone in her teeth. I said to the wife that we would see the RN at its best expecting the frigate to come close alongside etc. In the event she passed a good couple of cables astern of us and then turned back and resumed her course. When I told the Captain later of my disappointment he said it was the Health and Safety consideration.
I don't know waht's happened to us as a nation - the failure to tackle the Somali pirates who captured that yachting couple is symptomatic of our present parlous state, I'm afraid.
Cheers
Sid

Hoppy
22nd November 2010, 13:04
..Your forgot ..the engine room !

david freeman
1st December 2010, 19:55
My first trip as an EA was on the mv BR Security buit 1948 she could do 9knots and an onion, and passing Ushant and Gib the master then used the tidal charts as the tide could be more forceful than the engine power, and I remember coming out of the 'hole' and admiring Cape St Vincent and its lighthouse, Gib he again in and out of the Meddi (our orders were to Load Banias and return LEFO), used the tidal flow to obtain the best pasage.

matthew flinders
2nd December 2010, 18:50
[QUOTE=Tony Crompton;216510]I do not think the problem with Messina Straits is the width but the unpredictable tidal eddies and whirlpools that that form there, could even turn a ship round if unprepared.

Only been through the straits of Messina once - the trace on the radar of the overhead power cables were a bit alarming.

Dickyboy
21st January 2011, 22:40
This is one for the BP Navigating Officers mainly, but I'm sure other Companies had similar rules.

1) Did BP have a list of 7 areas where you were not permitted to navigate? From my memory these were 6 of them:-
Close to Ushant
Cape St.Vincent
Cascettes
Kuria-Muria Islands
Masirah Island
********?
"Hole in the Wall", Persian Gulf

2) Has anyone, apart from me, been through the "Hole in the Wall"?(EEK)

JamesM
I was on the wheel one time when we went through the hole in the wall, can't remember which ship now. Somewhen in the late 60s mid 70s. Another time, on another ship we took the normal route through the Quoins, we had a rain downpour, right at the tightest point. Blanked out the radar, couldn't see the main deck from the bridge wing. That was scary as well. The Captain didn't appear to bat an eyelid. :o

Paddy Power
6th October 2011, 12:52
This is one for the BP Navigating Officers mainly, but I'm sure other Companies had similar rules.

1) Did BP have a list of 7 areas where you were not permitted to navigate? From my memory these were 6 of them:-
Close to Ushant
Cape St.Vincent
Cascettes
Kuria-Muria Islands
Masirah Island
********?
"Hole in the Wall", Persian Gulf

2) Has anyone, apart from me, been through the "Hole in the Wall"?(EEK)

JamesM

I joined the British Power as 3rd. Mate in May 1967. The Captain ( I can't remember his name) was on his final trip before retirement. Heading along the coast before the Gulf he decided to do a detour and so we had a little trip inside Masirah. Then as we approached the Straits he asked me had I ever been through the "hole in the wall". I had'nt a clue what he was talking about but he showed me the little passage. After viewing it for a few minutes and seeing no ships coming he said lets go and through we went. So that was 2 down and 4 to go. That with a murder on board later in the trip (thats another story) I was quite an interesting last trip for him
Mike