Oregis

Ian
8th April 2004, 17:35
Houlders OREGIS, 6,858 grt built 1955, av. speed 12.5 knots.
Sister ships were OREDIAN, ORELIA, OREMINA, OREOSA and OREPTON.
In 1974 she was converted to a diving support vessel for North Sea operations and renamed Coupler 1 reverting back to Oregis in 1976.
The conversion entailed the fitting of a heli-pad over the forecastle head capable of landing a Sikorsky S61N.A Moon Pool in place of No 3 hold, and a complete
Saturation Diving Control unit and diving bell in place of No 4.Heavy gear included a
100 ton Liebherr crane amidships, and six anchor winches, 3 forward & 3 aft, each with 1/2 mile of 56mm cable and 10 ton Danforth anchor, being positioned on site by
anchor handling boats.

Pat McCardle
28th June 2005, 12:10
OREGIS on the Tyne 1980

thunderd
28th June 2005, 12:37
Houlders OREGIS, 6,858 grt built 1955, av. speed 12.5 knots.
Sister ships were OREDIAN, ORELIA, OREMINA, OREOSA and OREPTON.
In 1974 she was converted to a diving support vessel for North Sea operations and renamed Coupler 1 reverting back to Oregis in 1976.
The conversion entailed the fitting of a heli-pad over the forecastle head capable of landing a Sikorsky S61N.A Moon Pool in place of No 3 hold, and a complete
Saturation Diving Control unit and diving bell in place of No 4.Heavy gear included a
100 ton Liebherr crane amidships, and six anchor winches, 3 forward & 3 aft, each with 1/2 mile of 56mm cable and 10 ton Danforth anchor, being positioned on site by
anchor handling boats.
Thanks for the great description Ian. Whilst watching the operations of research vessels on the National Geographic TV channel I have often wondered how the mother ship stayed in position whilst they had the "mini submarines" cruising around ships like the Titanic.

The anchor winches must have been monsters to control the position of a ship with 1/2 mile of cable 56mm thick...awesome

non descript
4th February 2006, 23:20
John Houlder, whose brainchild it was, is 90 years old this year. Lloyds List should (if they co-operate and they say they will) write a nice piece about him shortly.

calvin
17th February 2006, 19:42
Rember the oregis after refit sailing down the tyne andengine conking out ended up on the black midden rocks at tyne mouth had laffs though as some of us got of after low tide sitting in the gibralter rock and the newscaster saying felt sorry for us stuck there liddle did they know we were downing complimentry pints . was on board when pulled of and taking to swan hunters for repair can you imagine having leave told you joining new vessel sts coupler 1 only to find it the oregis with name change took her to the ekofist field then change crewafter few weeks paid off lieth mind bloody big winches.

Robinj
17th February 2006, 23:52
Fond memories of the Oregis and a couple of her sister ships in the 1960's. Always fun ships.

tom nicholson
18th February 2006, 11:56
we were sent down every night from smiths docks to put shores under her as they got washed out with the tide,she was towed back to smiths and drydocked damage was nearly full bottom and a snapped skeg.
cheers tom (*))

non descript
22nd February 2006, 12:39
Always felt very sorry for John Houlder, who having dreamt up the plan to make the conversion of OREGIS from ore-carrier to a state of the art Off-Shore Support Vessel, only to have the doubtful pleasure of seeing his vision suffer with disabled main engine drift on to the Black Midden Rocks and get stuck, whilst he was flying overhead taking photographs of what should have been a happy event.

Tonga

calvin
2nd March 2006, 20:51
john houlder should of been on board as we were all looking to go to marsielles for fitting diving gear but suppose the black middens on tynemouth wasnt our dream holiday john houlder didnt come to see us though

RayJordandpo
2nd March 2006, 22:24
I am correct in saying that the Oregis was salvaged by the tug 'Statesman'
I was working for United Towing at the time and remember something about a deckhand being lost overboard during the salvage ops. I believe a zodiac turned over due to the propellor becoming fouled and a young deckie being lost.
Ray Jordan

calvin
5th March 2006, 15:02
corect but the tugs that eventually pulled us off rocks was smit tak the statesman tried time after time but the rocks held fast smit tak used two tugs to do the job.

non descript
3rd April 2006, 19:50
A particularly good photo of OREGIS in her Port Talbot days, by Peter Brewer is here:

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/18274/password/0/sort/1/cat/500/page/1


Thanks Peter, nice one.

Tonga

GALTRA
3rd April 2006, 21:50
Memory a bit hazy, spent a wonderful year in the Hardington Hotel , Whitley Bay,with the crew during fit out. Remember Derick Brand c/o, I'll have to delve deep for other names, Capt. Magnus Tullock, deceased, Wesh bosun name?. Actuall ships name on conversion was HTS COUPLIER 1, The first crane fitted was a disaster, a second/hand Stoddart & Pitt, much too slow, top heavy and underpowered, on test it nearly capsized the ship and another shore crane had to be got to lift the test weight as the gears had locked and would not allow the ship to right. One of many similar events of the conversion and fit out.. Old Mr. John used fly up from London with his young engineer for regular meetings, hard to believe he's still alive.

non descript
3rd April 2006, 22:33
Galtra,

He's still alive and still piloting his own plane! A bit deaf apparently, but eyesight 20/20 ,which is quite useful I believe in terms of flying.

(*))

Kind regards
Tonga

norsea
4th April 2006, 20:59
The static crane and pipe handling hydraulic davits were later removed from the port side on Oregis and replaced by a 100 ton capacity Liebherr crane mounted aft of No 2 hatch, and a small stores crane on the stbd side just forward of the accommodation and beside the Comex Dive Control unit
Regards Norsea

non descript
13th April 2006, 09:55
Jeff Egan has kindly put up a newspaper cutting in the Gallery:

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=10362

Tonga

leo hannan
14th April 2006, 15:27
Galtra,

He's still alive and still piloting his own plane! A bit deaf apparently, but eyesight 20/20 ,which is quite useful I believe in terms of flying.

(*))

Kind regards
Tonga
His plane is that old it has an outside toilet
Regards Leo

non descript
28th August 2006, 21:50
I am indebted to David Burrell’s work wherein he makes the observation that the formation of Ore Carriers Ltd and also the design of the Oregis and her sister ships, was the direct result of a chance meeting at the quayside in Port Talbot, between John Houlder, Julian Spode (British Iron & Steel Corporation) and BISCO’s Director of ore purchasing. The three were watching the discharge of the Star of Egypt, an elderly tween-decker, which was being unloaded at Margham Wharf, where the grabs were doing their usual job of tearing fittings out of this general cargo ship – the result was a discussion as to whether the needs of the Receivers would not be better served by having a specially constructed Ore-Carrier. From this was born a successful series of 9,000 dwt ships that were an amazing success and the fore-runners of today's bulk-carriers.

JohnMac068
21st March 2007, 17:15
John Houlder, whose brainchild it was, is 90 years old this year. Lloyds List should (if they co-operate and they say they will) write a nice piece about him shortly.

Just a note to correct a few inaccuracies in this thread, a lot of it is hearsay, I know. JMH was 90 in February 2006, I was lucky to be invited to a party given to him by Houlder Offshore Engineering in the British Chamber of Shipping's building in the Barbican, where a good few former offshore staff were present. He is still flying, he has radar, auto pilot, auto landing equipment in his (old) King Air Aero Commander, he is a bit deaf, not sure about his eyesight, as he seldom looks out of the window when flying, mostly he reads the Times on passage.

The Oregis engine failure was caused by faulty injectors, they had been sent off for overhaul and testing, were refitted, and failed in a south easterly gale.

The six anchor winches were made by Stothert & Pitt, Bath. The first crane was a Butters land crane, totally unsuitable for offshore work. This was situated at the stbd after end of the main deck. The next crane was a Haaglund 20t pedestal crane amidships, this was later replaced with a Liebherr 100t crane capable of reaching the seabed. The Haaglund went to the Uncle John as a stores crane, the Liebherr is now on the CSO Orelia.

non descript
21st March 2007, 18:27
JohnMac,

Thanks for that, excellent input and update; all much appreciated.

Kind regards
Mark

JohnMac068
21st March 2007, 23:28
JohnMac,

Thanks for that, excellent input and update; all much appreciated.

Kind regards
Mark


Just as a follow on, after the grounding, the heavy cavalry arrived from London, in the form of Capt.Ron Hedger, Houlder Offshore's Marine Super, he arranged pumping equipment, the abortive try at lifting the stern by a SmitTak sheer leg crane, which failed when the crane barge touched bottom, causing the legs to fall across the dive shack, luckily no one was hurt. Ron became known as Capt "Hump a Pump" due to the number of salvage pumps scattered around the vessel, everyone worked really hard, and one misty night, they got her off, much to the dismay of the ice-cream sellers in the car park above the site. The double bottoms were full of rocks and sand etc, at least 75% was renewed, the skeg was welded using a catalytic process, and the rudder refitted. A great job by Smiths and their ship manager Lindsley Meadows. During this time an arrangement was made with an American Company, Hydrotech , who had a hydraulicly operated pipe joining device, called a Hydrocouple, for jointing risers to pipelines, and joining lengths of pipeline together. Put simply, the mechanism was hydraulically operated, then then, when the hydraulics had clamped the pipe at each end, the hydraulic oil was replaced by a resin mix, making a firm seal. Thus, Oregis became, for a while, the "Coupler 1"

Hope you are all enjoying this, its really stretching the old brain cells.

GALTRA
22nd March 2007, 00:26
Some off duty OREGIS crew and supporters!! Charley.

JohnMac068
22nd March 2007, 14:38
Good one Charley, though some may have been happier if you had kept it to yourself!!

Lefty
22nd March 2007, 16:35
Welcome to the site John! HW

marinero
22nd March 2007, 18:37
Some off duty OREGIS crew and supporters!! Charley.
Hi Charley.
Can you put the names to those in the photo as I recognise a few but cannot remember all the names? Was the picture taken in the Hartington Hotel, Whitley Bay.
Regards
Leo(Thumb)

tim frary
22nd March 2007, 19:14
Danny Harrington bosun is bottem left in the photo . tim

marinero
23rd March 2007, 12:54
Danny Harrington bosun is bottem left in the photo . tim

Cheers Tim, got that.
Regards(Thumb)

GALTRA
23rd March 2007, 16:19
Hi Leo, afraid I've no memory fo names either, Danny from Wales I do remember, really nice bloke. the guy in front in white shirt is a Dutchman who worked with us and the one with the check shirt is Niall Kennedy who I worked with, he passed away a few years ago. Charley

JohnMac068
23rd March 2007, 23:31
Thanks for the great description Ian. Whilst watching the operations of research vessels on the National Geographic TV channel I have often wondered how the mother ship stayed in position whilst they had the "mini submarines" cruising around ships like the Titanic.

The anchor winches must have been monsters to control the position of a ship with 1/2 mile of cable 56mm thick...awesome

Anchors and 56mm wires were early tech in this field, and were not any good for water depths in excess of 150 metres. Anchors and wires also presented a hazard to seabed pipelines, and oil companies became increasingly nervous about damage to their field infrastructures.The modern research vessels, diving support vessels, and even deep water drilling rigs all position themselves using computer controlled dynamic positioning systems (DP). This enables vessels to maintain position within a few metres in all except severe weather conditions. As far as I can recall, the first one was the Wimpey Sealab, (originally the Elizabeth Bowater) which had the first GEC system, and was still operating in the 90's by Fulgro. DP systems can use GPS, radio signals from line of sight systems(Artemis) , accoustic signals, taut wire systems, and no doubt many more since my days in the industry. So really, Oregis became obsolete soon after her start up, and was only suitable for jobs like SBM installations.

marinero
24th March 2007, 15:20
Hi Leo, afraid I've no memory fo names either, Danny from Wales I do remember, really nice bloke. the guy in front in white shirt is a Dutchman who worked with us and the one with the check shirt is Niall Kennedy who I worked with, he passed away a few years ago. Charley

Hi Charley.
I can see Derek Brand, the guy in the tie & suit I think was the Chippy(not sure) Is that John Mac. at the back left? The person behind the bloke in the suit I think might be Mike Waterton. Come on guys, there must be loads of you out there who know more names.
Regards(Thumb)

captkenn
19th October 2007, 11:58
Thanks for the great description Ian. Whilst watching the operations of research vessels on the National Geographic TV channel I have often wondered how the mother ship stayed in position whilst they had the "mini submarines" cruising around ships like the Titanic.
The anchor winches must have been monsters to control the position of a ship with 1/2 mile of cable 56mm thick...awesome
The ones you see on these programes use Dynamic Postioning where the Computer works the ships engines and thrusters to maintain a position fixed by Satelliite Navigation. However sometimes anchors are used when possible here is an enlarged section of those fitted to the Seaforth Monarch.
The complete vessel can be seen here:- http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=83105

captkenn
19th October 2007, 12:16
DP systems can use GPS, radio signals from line of sight systems(Artemis) , accoustic signals, taut wire systems, and no doubt many more since my days in the industry. So really, Oregis became obsolete soon after her start up, and was only suitable for jobs like SBM installations.
Some twenty five years ago we used a laser bearing. I believe it was the first time it had been used.

ALAN TYLER
29th October 2008, 17:31
Hi Charley.
I can see Derek Brand, the guy in the tie & suit I think was the Chippy(not sure) Is that John Mac. at the back left? The person behind the bloke in the suit I think might be Mike Waterton. Come on guys, there must be loads of you out there who know more names.
Regards(Thumb)

I,m sure the chippy in the picture is Stan ( the man) Baker from Fleetwood. Around this time there was a few crew from Fleetwood..John Rogers and Harry Farrar to name two.
Regards Alan T.

David Menzies
2nd January 2009, 15:52
Hello Ian.I was an apprentice on the Oregis about 1961 & 3rd Mate on the Ormenia.
I started on the Duquessa, then Newburty Orgegis & Shaftesbury. 2n Mates exams yjen Westbury & Oremina. Cheers. Dave Menzies.

George Simpson
4th June 2009, 18:00
Memory a bit hazy, spent a wonderful year in the Hardington Hotel , Whitley Bay,with the crew during fit out. Remember Derick Brand c/o, I'll have to delve deep for other names, Capt. Magnus Tullock, deceased, Wesh bosun name?. Actuall ships name on conversion was HTS COUPLIER 1, The first crane fitted was a disaster, a second/hand Stoddart & Pitt, much too slow, top heavy and underpowered, on test it nearly capsized the ship and another shore crane had to be got to lift the test weight as the gears had locked and would not allow the ship to right. One of many similar events of the conversion and fit out.. Old Mr. John used fly up from London with his young engineer for regular meetings, hard to believe he's still alive.
The Welsh Bosun would be Danny Harrington.

David Menzies
4th September 2009, 10:48
Hi. Have just posted a picture of the Oregis at Fords Dagenham on cargo ships, dated August 1965 which I have just " found"
Dave Menzies.

non descript
4th September 2009, 13:20
Thanks David, a nice reminder of a nightmare berth... on the bouys and onto the berth.. not a lot of fun. (Ouch)

David Menzies
7th September 2009, 18:03
Picture of Oregis in Thames posted under Cargo ships last week picture dated 1967. Dave Menzies.

ALAN TYLER
22nd February 2012, 13:48
Just having an afternoon of nostalgia and came across an article that was in the Jarrow and Hebburn Gazette. it was published just last November and has a picture of the Oregis on the Black Middens with the Northsider tug. www.jarrowandhebburngazette.com

MAScott
24th August 2014, 12:08
Hi Charley.
I can see Derek Brand, the guy in the tie & suit I think was the Chippy(not sure) Is that John Mac. at the back left? The person behind the bloke in the suit I think might be Mike Waterton. Come on guys, there must be loads of you out there who know more names.
Regards(Thumb)

Hi

Just come across this photo. I was a sparky on the Oregis for three years. Harry Farrar is back far left. Derek Brand holding his pint. Stan 'the man' Baker, chippy, in black tie with Mike Waterton behind him. Is that John Macadam far right only because it could be his son Simon..spitting image. If I am not mistaken at the very back with his head above everyone else is Jim 'the yard dog' Gilchrist, then second mate...recognised by his shoulders and leather jacket. Low and behold that is me, Mike Scott' behind Derek Brand with my hand on his shoulder.

Definitely the Hartington Hotel. Spent winters laid up in the Tyne and all of my £6 a day offshore allowance in the Hartington Hotel.

Other sparkies at that time would be Kev Bisby and Eddie from Spain.