The BP "Service"

23rd May 2008, 11:30
Apologies if this has been printed previously. I thought it might be of passing interest for all of those who "endured". No claim of copyright, the version below was given to me by Capt. Harry Scott Dickens when I was cadet on the "Guardsman" in 197x?

I realise the formatting is no great shakes, but I do have this in the form of a MSWord document and such of the faithful who might wish to possess a copy; draw nigh and send your e-mail addresses. I will endeavour to supply same(A)

Approved Worship


This form of service to be conducted on board tankers of the BP fleet by those authorised by contract, long service, tankeritis or other affliction, to succour and support those less fortunate bretheren who take it all seriously.


Bee Pee our help in cargoes past
Our hope in ports to come.
Expedite our cargoes fast
And keep us on the run.

Despite the straining of our pumps
Thy lines shall dwell secure
Sufficient fifty pounds alone
Our bonuses secure.

Stretch out thine hand from Britannic House
And make our strippers strong.
Then help us when the pressure fails
To pass the buck along.

And those who sit aloft with thee
Make wise in water tubes.
That we may strive unceasingly
To carry Bee Pee lubes.

Be with us when our breakers arc
And feed pumps go awry.
Be with us in the Isle of Grain,
Be with us when we die.

And if we serve thee well in life
And Gabriel's trumpet sounds,
If we in heaven's harbour berth
Forget to turn us round.


The Old Testament reading is taken from the eleventh chapter of the book of Energus, verses 1 to 22.

1. And Noah said, Let us build an ark, for verily, whatever the weather and the wages we shall find men to sail in one.
2. And they built an ark, and she was one hundred and eighty cubits in length, twenty-nine cubits in width and from the bridge to the mess room was a Sabbath day's journey.

3. And Noah said, Let us build engines.

4. And there was one among the Medes, Persians and Panamanians. Babcock, son of Willcock, grandson of Allcock; a wise man, who spoke saying; It is written of man that upon his belly shall he go and dust shall he eat all the days of his life. Let us build diesels so that all that is written shall come to pass.

5. And Noah said, Who shall feed and sustain us on our travels ? And he chose Ham.

6. But there were those among them who murmured exceedingly against Ham, saying, We are not sustained.

7. And Noah said unto Ham, Get thee hence, I shall have no Ham.

8. And it was so, though coffee, kippers and curry powder were considered equals.

9. And the rain fell for forty days and forty nights.

10. But on the thirtieth day there came a man unto Noah saying, See the animals which are fed on manna from the skies can not return their droppings and lo we are already a cubit below our winter marks.

11. And Noah said, Let it be, all will be well.

12. But on the 35th day came the same man saying, All the animals save the Wildcat continue to make dung and the freeboard is but the span of a man's hand and soon we shall all perish.

13. And Noah said, Does not the Wildcat make dung also ?

14. But the man was wise in the ways of the beasts of the field and answered saying, Nay it can not, thus it is so wild.

15. And Noah girded up his loins and went forward unto the stem.

16. And it was even as the man had said for the freeboard was but the span of a man's hand.

17. And Noah said, Let all the droppings be laid upon the poop. layer upon layer of them, let they be laid.

18. And it was so.

19. And Noah said, Let the elephants be brought.

20. And they were brought, even unto the poop.
21. And Noah said, Let the elephants bow their heads and push, so that all may be cast upon the waters.

22. And it came to pass that thousands of years later Columbus discovered it.


Bee Pee make clean our tanks within us.

And take all our premium spirit from us.


The pumps that once were crowned with Shell
Are crowned with BP now.
And British this and British that
Adorn the tankers bow.

Where bottom ends danced cheerfully
Without unpleasant sound.
The turbines raise their banshee wail
And Bailey Boards abound.

But bless our strapped and welded hulls
And bless our eye-ties too.
Bless our Nalfloc. Bless our feed.
We do it all for you.


The New Testament reading is taken from the Epistle of St. Bolt to the Arabians; Chapter 1, verses 1 to 10.

1. And it came to pass that a certain seamen journeyed unto Falmouth to join his ship.

2. And he came nigh unto Plymouth, and tarried there that he might drink wine.

3. And their came unto him a certain woman of those parts saying, Wither goest thou ?

4. And he said, Unto Falmouth, where a certain ship awaits me.

5. And she spoke saying, Are not the women of Plymouth as fair, aye fairer, than the women of Falmouth ? Tarry a while and thou shalt see.

6. And he tarried all that night.
7. And he knew.

8. And he said unto her, Silver and gold have I none, for all that I had I have given unto thee.

9. And she said unto him, Silver and gold have I none likewise, and all that I had I have given unto thee. Get thee to an Apothecary, lest worse befalls thee.

10. And he went, exceedingly sad, saying, Would'st that I, like St. Peter, had toiled all night and caught nothing !


A Prayer.
Oh Mighty Bee Pee, who out of thy bountiful goodness hath divided the earth into clean and dirty oil, and hath compassed the sea with pipelines, routes and shuttles until day and night come to an end.
Let not thy servants strive in vain against thine enemies. Because the Doxford, the Devil and the Amplidyne go about like roaring lions, seeking those that they may devour amongst them that remain steadfast in thy contracts.
But make the turbine thy chariot. Ride always upon the crossheads of thy diesels, that we, surely trusting in thy defence, may not fear the loss of vacuum, nor the all-consuming fire of scavenges.

All this we beg for our sakes.


The Benediction:

The peace of Britannic House, which passeth all understanding, preserve thy minds in lethargy, thy souls in coma and thy bodies in inertia.
Henceforth and forever more.



23rd May 2008, 18:40
Ameeee...en! First time I heard that one, Geoff.

23rd May 2008, 18:56
Very good! :D

Pat Thompson
23rd May 2008, 19:19
Greetings All,

It must have taken an awful lot of bees to fill your tankers (exclam).


Pat Thompson

You can't get enough photos of "O'Boats"

john elcid
24th May 2008, 11:52
Thanks for that Geoff_E. Made my day.
How well I remember my first Sunday at sea, on Beacon, being told to put steam on the organ.
Another was being told to ask the storekeeper for a long weight.
Luckily I was too much of a disbeliever so they became good excuses to go topside for a smoke.
On another tack, does anybody have the words for Eskimo Nell? I've lost mine. I remember someone who could recite it faultlessly after a few jars, standing on a table. His name was McClusky (not Sam), a Welshman. I sailed with him on the Swift in '65. Anybody remember him?

25th May 2008, 14:51
My first sunday at sea was on the br.commerce 1968, 3rd told me to go and see the chief and get the hymn books. Like john took it all with a pinch of salt.

de paor
26th May 2008, 17:47
very very good. never heard it before but i do remember when lightering at Bonny on the Br Resource the lads on the Shell tankers saying "yours may BP but ours is petrol"

26th May 2008, 18:14
In latter years after the company bought its first LNG carriers there was quite a bit of rivalry between the two fleets. The Gas Boat men thought themselves superior to those of us in the 'dirty fleet'.
I recall being in Fujairah once on a mighty S boat and found one of the NGSCo gas carriers (manned by BP) there too.
A prepared banner was thrown over the side (facing the gas boat) as we approached with the words "We might be full of black sh*t but at least we're not full of gas" in 3 foot high letters. This was followed by the ceremonial throwing of beer cans and abuse directed at said gas buggy.
LOL (Hippy)

17th May 2012, 23:54
My word that brought back memories. Not of an actual service of course but the songs were definitely sung round the bar. I think i may have the words somewhere or other in the house.

18th May 2012, 10:19
On another tack, does anybody have the words for Eskimo Nell?

There is a set of lyrics for Eskimo Nell here - but whether they are the ones you are after I know not!!

18th May 2012, 21:51
Thanks, Geoff. I've been looking for that for ages.

18th May 2012, 22:48
I found my copy of this, handwritten in the back of an old exercise book. It is almost exactly the same but unfortunately I didnt record where I got it from. As I was with BP 72-77 I guess it is pretty much contemporary with Geoff's. I am wondering if perhaps it was reprinted in one of the nav apps newsletters that lingered on several ships I was on.

18th September 2012, 10:23
Very good! Don't remember the words but have fond memories of my time with Captain Scott-Dickens in the 70's, a true gentleman and one of lifes characters.