British ?

Hugh Ferguson
20th January 2009, 19:55
Some few years ago I boarded a British tanker to pilot her to Grain. All of her stern quarter's accommodation had been burnt out, and she had called at Gib. for Scotland Yard officers to come aboard and investigate.
I wonder if anyone knew what that was all about!?

20th January 2009, 21:10
Could this have been the British Queen? I know that she had a fire in her stern quarters & I believe there was some talk of arson. I have enclosed a cutting about the fire which is not very legible as it has had to be reduced in size for the forum. You may have tp play about with it a bit in order to read it. I will certainly do my best & try & post it in the gallery.
Kind regards,

trevor page
21st January 2009, 14:31
Wed, 21 January 09 14:25

Hi,this is interesting I was on this ship at the time May 29th 1965, took all night to get the fire out, eventualy boarded by Rn personnel from HMS Ashanti, arrived Daz Island a couple of days later. Fire started in accomodation by Engineer Aprentice who was later remanded in custody at Bow street Magistrates Court charged with unlawfully and malisciously setting fire to said ship on the high seas, will mention no names.

Regards Trevor

21st January 2009, 19:16
I was in Aden sometime in 1965, and there saw a tanker with the aft accommodation burnt out, must have been the year for such activities. Regards, Stein.

21st January 2009, 19:35
I think the tanker you are referring to was the Esso Norway. She had an explosion and fire aboard and was towed to Aden where she stayed for quite a while.
There are photos of her in the gallery.
Regards, Richard.

Hugh Ferguson
21st January 2009, 20:46
Sorry to say, John_F, even when enlarged I still cannot read the cutting.
However, Trevor Page's post took me to 1965 when, according to my diary, I piloted the British Queen from Dungeness to Grain on the 21st Ap.. Unfortunately there are no other details appended other than the usual navigational. But it was one of the many hundreds of ships piloted that I remember something of-what a horrifying thing to do!

21st January 2009, 21:29
Yes - the vessel that lay at Aden was the Esso Norway - I saw her there when on that awful run (Gulf-Aden)

The 'Queen' incident was a shocker, especially when it emerged later that the person responsible had been involved in another well-publicised incident when he was in college at South Shields, where he was feted a hero after rescuing a child from, I think, the digs he lodged at. Restrospectively it would appear it was himself that started that fire too.

I thought he was a Junior Engineer on the 'Queen', but note from Trevor's posting that he was in fact an Engineer Apprentice. Frightening concept to have someone on board with that illness, especially when the vessel's an oil tanker.

22nd January 2009, 08:17
Thanks Eriskay and Richard. Interesting to have some facts to go with things one remembers. Found this on the net: Regards, Stein.

22nd January 2009, 09:15
seem to remember a similiar incident on the Matco Avon in the early 90's when a junior engineer started a fire in after accom with the purpose of being a "hero".Fire rapidly spread and out of control.Luckily no one was injured but could have been a very serious loss of life.Some dangerous people around.

trevor page
22nd January 2009, 13:18
I remember the incident on the Queen very well. I had turned in at 2200 hrs being on the 4-8 watch when after a short while smoke started coming through the the ventilation system, followed a few seconds later by the Alarm. Following a speedy exit from my cabin I had a look into the Engine Room on passing the door, full of smoke but no sounds of activity, the fire it transpired was in the Engineers accomodation and started in the Chiefs Office, we had in fact got the fire out by morning but coulnt go inside due to the heat, it was then that the "Ashanti" turned up and crew from there came on board with Asbestos suits. Those of us who were berthed Aft lost most of our kit due to smoke damage but the Company did give us 2 weeks wages extra for saving the ship. The perpetrator of the deed was locked in the ships hospital, more for his own safety than anything else, and was put ashore at Gib. After discharging at Grain we took the Vessel to Greenock where it was drydocked. This being my first trip on a Tanker it was an experience, but I must say everyone pulled together in the emergency, we were all in the same boat so to speak.

22nd January 2009, 16:14
Thanks for all the details. I thought that I had heard something about the Queen & arson. I'm trying to find the original newspaper cutting which Alastair is going to work the Photoshop treatment on but having trouble at the moment.
Incidentally, I did one trip on the Queen as Senior Nav App before being promoted to uncert 3/0. That was in June 1962. A very comfortable ship with loads of space.
Kind regards,

david freeman
25th January 2009, 11:30
Some few years ago I boarded a British tanker to pilot her to Grain. All of her stern quarter's accommodation had been burnt out, and she had called at Gib. for Scotland Yard officers to come aboard and investigate.
I wonder if anyone knew what that was all about!?
It is a sad story. The fire started of the Quoins (Light Ship In Ballast Gulf For Orders of Loading), HMS Ashanti came to assist and boarded after most of the fire had been extinguished. The Queen sailed to DAS Island there Two Detectives (From Scotland Yard) boarded, and sailed home with the vessel. The culprit was reprehended;Locked in the ships hospital, and I do not know if the ship put into Gib Or Malta, but the problem was extradition of the culprit over foreign soil, and the powers of arrest that the Scotland Yard Detectives held. Hence the vessel sailed into British waters UK where the culprip within the 3 mile limit was arrested and discharged under police custody at I think IOG (Grain).

25th January 2009, 18:34
Many thanks for this additional information. Its really amazing the wealth of knowlege available on this site & how memories recuperate with just a little prodding.
Many thanks once again.
Kind regards,