An Oil Man NOT a "G" Man

loylobby
11th October 2008, 10:27
In my time with Shell I have been on ships carrying Crude Oil, Products, Lub Oils, LNG, Bitumen, Palm Oil, Rape Seed Oil and even Refined and Semi-refined Fish Oils.

I have done lightening on the magnificent Halia, been on a ship that was "jumboised" so the centrecastle was half way up the aft accommodation (Zaphon), hit the wall hard in Panama Canal locks on the Velutina, carried oil on an OBO, loaded from the Brent Spar, been on the UK coast, been on Gulf to Europe slow steaming, have back loaded an "L" boat in Curacao on way to LOOP from the Gulf, have taken new ships out, took a ship to scrap and done various drydockings, plus much, much more. A pretty varied sea life.

I enjoyed every single challenge and experience thrown at me EXCEPT the 2 trips on the same "G" boat. (LNG carrier for non Shell readers)

Don't know what it was; just did not feel accepted as a "G" man (not that I wanted to be a "G" man as such). All I wanted was to have an enjoyable trip, do my bit.. work hard - play hard.

No matter how much interest I showed in LNG cargo and ballast operations, I was treated on a "need to know basis" so was only shown stuff applicable to my watch (because of their schedule I did virtually exactly the same stuff at loading and discharging). Maybe it was this routine that cheesed me off or maybe my face just did not fit.

It was as if they (the more senior bods) wanted to keep the mystique of LNG to themselves to somehow make themselves special; and listening to the patter on board, many of them did consider themselves to be the select few.

Was wondering what are others experiences of "G" boats or your likes/dislikes of types of Shell Tanker runs.

KEITH SEVILLE
11th October 2008, 11:06
Loylobby,

I wasn't a seagoing person but found your account of your seagoing days very interesting.
Could imagine your problems with the G boats, and sometimes the face doesn't always fit!
I worked shipping agency in Liverpool and it's quite likely I may have met you in the past if your ships called in the Mersey or Manchester Ship Canal.
Worked for over 30 years as a water clerk with Brinings Shipping Ltd.
We where taken over by OBC Shipping in 2000 and of course as you know results after a time in redundacy. Kept their own staff but got rid of most of us.

Best Regards
Keith Seville

loylobby
11th October 2008, 11:16
Keith.
I visited Stanlow and QE2 docks on the Halia and other ships. My wife used to keep in contact with the agents regarding ETA's, berthing etc. in anticipation of her ship visits. An invaluable service provided by your goodselves - many thanks.

loylobby
11th October 2008, 12:54
Having read my post again I would just like to add not ALL "G" men made me feel an outcast and unwelcome and I did get a few laughs.

KEITH SEVILLE
11th October 2008, 15:02
Loylobby

Can you give me your name, because can remember many skippers, chief officers, chief engineers who worked for Shell.

Regards
Keith

Albert Bishop
11th October 2008, 17:04
Did afew happy trips with Shell in the fifties, Velutina being one of them. Always got the impression that when she was built, they just took the plans for one of the H class ships and doubled the size of everything. Also remember when the Lembulus tarmacked the quay in Dublin after the discharging pipe blew off, Amazingly only casualty was the ships cat, caught in the blast and covered in hot pitch
Cheers Albi.

mikeg
11th October 2008, 17:44
I think it was that way in the very early days of the G Boats, it was then as if a few onboard acted as 'gods chosen few'. For example I was on the Gastrana twice with a gap between of 11 years, the first time was exactly like your experience, the second completely different and enjoyable as I was fully accepted then as a senior radio/electronics officer. Viva la differance....

loylobby
11th October 2008, 17:48
I enjoyed the Velutina and I tend to agree, everything was "H" boatish but bigger. Allegedly the first supertanker.

There were lots and lots of incidents on her; in 1970 going from the Caribbean to Europe she sprung a leak well below the waterline in the boiler room.

Apparently one afternoon the 5/E was doing his rounds and noticed a steady stream of water pouring down the ships side from behind a massive cob of rust. It took a good few moments to realise that this water was SEA and shouldn't be there.

Needless to say there was a mad rush to make the biggest, most secure cement box ever. The procession everyone carrying wood and cement bags going down the engine room was like a string of worker ants.

The cement box held and Shell decided to get divers to have a look so we called into Punta Delgada in the Azores and spent a few days there while the hole was inspected and a plate was welded on outside the hull.

While we were there we were a novelty and a tourist attraction, they didn't get too many fully laden 30000 ton tankers there.

Happy days.

KEITH SEVILLE
11th October 2008, 18:52
Hi Roy,
Thanks your reply.
I was looking after the Halia on her last voyage to Eastham.
Remember her being berthed at Queen Elizabeth II Dock, Eastham - Starboard
Side to Quay and sailing early hours of the morning after spending a few days in the dock. Flags were flying from bow to stern.
Fred Croxon was a former Shell Superintendent at Stanlow back in the seventies. His wife was from Southern Ireland. Wonder where he is now??

Best Wishes
Keith

mikeg
11th October 2008, 19:14
Hi Roy,
Thanks your reply.
I was looking after the Halia on her last voyage to Eastham.
Remember her being berthed at Queen Elizabeth II Dock, Eastham - Starboard
Side to Quay and sailing early hours of the morning after spending a few days in the dock. Flags were flying from bow to stern.
Fred Croxon was a former Shell Superintendent at Stanlow back in the seventies. His wife was from Southern Ireland. Wonder where he is now??

Best Wishes
Keith

That must have been a sad time Keith. I enjoyed my trips on the Halia very much, a good ship all round. Glad to hear the old girl had a proper send off.

Mike

loylobby
11th October 2008, 19:57
Taking the Halia to scrap was a very emotional time.

When we "berthed" at the scrap yard at San Estiban de Pravia it was alongside the sister ship of the Atlantic Conveyor. There was minimal if any fendering and the pilot just CRUNCHED the Halia alongside her. Fred Croxon was upset by this treatment of his beloved ship. There were no dry eyes on that bridge when F.W.E. was rung for the final time.

Due to a delay in money transfers, Shell wanted 3 of us had to "Maintain A Presence On Board".
We took turns to stay on board at night, the ship was totally, totally dead, no shore power or anything.
I can assure you it was the longest night of my life, listening to every creak and groan and noises I can't even describe. Very spooky indeed.
Some thieves came on board from a boat but I managed to scare them off by sounding like a troop of marines, bashing rails and shouting.

KEITH SEVILLE
12th October 2008, 06:56
Thanks for informing me of your experience with the Halia.
She was one of the most loved of the Shell ships and for me I spent many happy times on her.
On one occasion I was looking after her during a bank holiday when we had a strike with the Liverpool Tugs.
I was persuaded by the Captain Arthur Porteous to sail out to Lynas and witness a lightening to a larger vessel, in this case the Atlantic Prince.
They put a large ladder across and I can remember having to scramble on all fours with the Master to the other ship, what an experience. The Master of the other ship was very surprised to see his agent and gave me a large bag of ships mail to post. It also was a time when Captain Porteous gave me the wheel to steer the ship outwards. Happly memories.

Best wishes
Keith

loylobby
12th October 2008, 09:58
They put a large ladder across and I can remember having to scramble on all fours with the Master to the other ship, what an experience.

That was my least favourite task. Had to do it every lightening to get the papers signed, BOL, Crew Lists etc. In some weathers it was no joke. All my lightenings were down at Lyme Bay.

James_C
12th October 2008, 10:45
Don't know what it was; just did not feel accepted as a "G" man (not that I wanted to be a "G" man as such). All I wanted was to have an enjoyable trip, do my bit.. work hard - play hard.

No matter how much interest I showed in LNG cargo and ballast operations, I was treated on a "need to know basis" so was only shown stuff applicable to my watch (because of their schedule I did virtually exactly the same stuff at loading and discharging). Maybe it was this routine that cheesed me off or maybe my face just did not fit.

It was as if they (the more senior bods) wanted to keep the mystique of LNG to themselves to somehow make themselves special; and listening to the patter on board, many of them did consider themselves to be the select few.

Was wondering what are others experiences of "G" boats or your likes/dislikes of types of Shell Tanker runs.

loylobby,
I was never with Shell, but a similar attitude existed in BP within the Gas fleet. They seemed to see themselves as the 'elite' since they were in the 'clean' fleet as compared to us mere mortals who sailed on the 'dirty' fleet (oil ships).
Not that it matters now though, like Shell, BP have cleansed most of the Oil fleet of Brits/non Indians and moved them all to Gas, leaving the oil fleet to our cousins from the subcontinent.

Jim Glover
24th December 2008, 19:55
Sailed on the Gastrana and Gari as 3/E,found nothing special about these boats as all it really was a bit dual firing with oil and gas .spare parts were no bother at all .,compared to being on the L class of Shell Tankers.Certainly came across a couple of "G Men",but all they had was a big ego.

mclean
25th December 2008, 00:10
As an apprentice in the late 1950,s spent a large portion of my time out east,(Si
ngapore office controlled ships). Happiest time was spent on the NATICINA. A great little ship with a great bunch of lads. A few ports come to mind....Balik Papan,Miri,Pulo Bukom,Sambu,Pladju,Surabaya,and not forgetting a few Japanese ports...Niigata,kobe,Tokuyama,Yokohama,Moji,Shimot su. A wonderful era... Colin

loylobby
22nd November 2009, 19:21
Just watched a Nat Geo or a Discovery Channel programme about building an LNG tanker for MISC.
Saw some aerial shots of other LNG ships including the Bubuk which used to be the Genota; when did they remove the Aft Loading Platform (ALP). I also saw the Lumut loading jetty, which still has the praying mantis loading arm. Any one know when the ALP's became defunct.

scottcrookes
3rd May 2010, 22:28
I did my first trip on Bilis (Geomitra) in 1994 and they had just finished using the ALP then.