Parker Reef off Whitsunday

O.M.Bugge
7th April 2009, 14:06
Is there any Aussies here who can tell me about the condition of the wreck of the Norwegian ship Slidre Timur? (IMO NO. 5043083)

She struck Parker Reef (20.32 S 149.45 E) when north bound for Northern Territories (probably Wipa, Groot Eyland and Gove) and Port Moresby on 02. Febr. 1971. Broke in two and sunk a couple of days later, I think.
Nobody was killed but some sustained miror injuries when lowering the lifeboats, as far as I know.

I was Ch.Officer on this vessel from Aug. 1969 to Aug. 1970 and know the basic reasons why she run aground, but nothing about the rescue of the crew and what happened to the wrack. Was it salvaged, or is it still there? Is it totally broken up, or still accessible for divers?

melliget
16th April 2009, 01:25
Hi.

Don't have any details on the wreck but I notice there is one file held by the National Archives of Australia entitled:

Australian Maritime Safety Authority - Wrecks and Salvage - "Slidre Timur" on Parker Reef

It's not available online but you could, if you wished, order a copy.
http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/recordsearch/index.aspx

regards,
Martin

trev jackson
16th April 2009, 13:53
An RAAF Neptune bomber out of Townsville flew out to find the ship after an SOS. On arrival at the source of the distress call the aircrew was unable to locate the ship visually due to heavy rain squalls that were sweeping the area. The aircrafts anti submarine radar was switched on and before long the stricken ship was located hard up on the side of Parker Reef, 100 kilometres east of Mackay. The pilots reported that they had located the ship at 9.30 am with water washing into her bridge. The ship’s crew were in a lifeboat sitting in the lee of the hull and were able to signal to the Neptune that they were all ok. Two other Norwegian ships were close enough nearby to be able to render assistance and before long one of them, the “Thors Cape” had retrieved the soaked and weary men from the lifeboat. The ship took the survivors a little further north to Bowen where they were placed on a ferry and ushered ashore.
In the days that followed there were several vessels dispatched to the scene of the wreck but all were turned back by tremendous seas and gales

When the Neptune landed back in Townsville the pilot reported that the vessel was aground on the southern end of the reef. Subsequent aerial inspections reported that the ship had all but succumbed to the sea and water was pouring through her upper openings, “Cargo and fuel were leaving a trail for miles to the north west of the reef, the ship was a goner”.
As for its condition today or whether its been salvaged, well I couldn't tell you, not yet anyway, but there are current plans to try to locate and dive her in the next few months

O.M.Bugge
21st April 2009, 05:06
Thanks Trever Jackson for taking the time.
From the Norwegian enquiry into the grounding both Mates were deemed negligent, was fined and lost their tickets for a period of time. The Master was fined and had to sail as 2nd Mate for a while, although he was asleep during the night and relied upon the two Mates to navigate in the relatively open waters off Whitsunday Islands. No Torres Strait Pilot were used on this ship as she was a regular on the run to Gulf of Carpentaria and on to Port Moresby with the last bit of cargo to comply with Cabotage rules.

Apparently they had two good cross bearing during the night, which showed that the vessel was being set to the East. No course correction was apperently done, however. If you draw a line between those two positions and extended it forward, it reportedly hit Parker Reef. That was where they ended up.
No wonder the two Mates were punished, but why the Master? He should be able to rely on his Mates to navigate safely under such conditions.
As far as I remember the two Mates both held Extra Masters tickets. It just goes to show that there is a difference between academic knowledge and practical seamanship.

trev jackson
23rd April 2009, 12:47
Do you knwo if there are any photos available on the web of the ship before she sank

O.M.Bugge
25th April 2009, 03:24
Do you knwo if there are any photos available on the web of the ship before she sank

No I have not found any yet, but I'm looking. If I find any I'll post it here.
For anybody else who may want to try; IMO No. 5043083 Former name; Berwick, built in moss, Norway in 1952.
The vessel used as my avatar is M/V Slidre, ex. Bomma, built in Oslo 1938 and on the same Australia to the islands run from 1968 to 1971. Sold to the Philippines and traded Hong Kong & Manila to the Mariannas until she sunk in a Typhoon off Guam in 1976. Known as one of the Goldships as she carried part of the Norwegian gold from Norway to UK and on to USA in 1940 to keep it out of the claws of the Germans and then from the Brits.
I sailed on her twice, in 1968 and 1969 and spotted her in HK in 1975, still on regular liner service.

trev jackson
26th April 2009, 13:21
No I have not found any yet, but I'm looking. If I find any I'll post it here.
For anybody else who may want to try; IMO No. 5043083 Former name; Berwick, built in moss, Norway in 1952.
The vessel used as my avatar is M/V Slidre, ex. Bomma, built in Oslo 1938 and on the same Australia to the islands run from 1968 to 1971. Sold to the Philippines and traded Hong Kong & Manila to the Mariannas until she sunk in a Typhoon off Guam in 1976. Known as one of the Goldships as she carried part of the Norwegian gold from Norway to UK and on to USA in 1940 to keep it out of the claws of the Germans and then from the Brits.
I sailed on her twice, in 1968 and 1969 and spotted her in HK in 1975, still on regular liner service.

I found a photo of the Berwick tied to a wharf. I downloaded it and then tried to get back to the page where i found it but cant remember the page address

trev jackson
26th April 2009, 13:28
found it
http://www.teesships.freeuk.com/aw090117berwick.htm

O.M.Bugge
22nd May 2009, 06:29
I eventually found a good picture of Slidre Timur, ex Berwick as she looked in Fred Olsen colours. Probably taken when new in 1952.
When sailing in the Karlander New Guinea Line in 1969 - 1971 she had all white hull and superstructure, yellow rigging. The funnel was yellow with a red band and a white K.
http://i566.photobucket.com/albums/ss102/OMBugge/My%20Ships/SlidreTimur.jpg

Has anybody dived on the wreck of this vessel near Parker Reef yet?

melliget
25th May 2009, 01:55
I visited the Queensland Maritime Museum last weekend and happened to notice a photo of the Slidre Timur at the time of her loss on the wall. Only had my mobile phone so quality is not the greatest.

Edit: Uploading image seems to have reduced it in size. Let me know if you want the larger one, though it's not any clearer.

O.M.Bugge
25th May 2009, 06:26
I visited the Queensland Maritime Museum last weekend and happened to notice a photo of the Slidre Timur at the time of her loss on the wall. Only had my mobile phone so quality is not the greatest.

Edit: Uploading image seems to have reduced it in size. Let me know if you want the larger one, though it's not any clearer.

Thanks for that. Dramatic images. Glad I was not one of them in the lifeboat, although I like to think that if I had still been the Ch.Mate at the time (I left her in Port Moresby a few months before this) she would not have ended up on Parker Reef (See post # 4)

trev jackson
1st June 2009, 13:20
I am currently anchored at Carlisle Island, about 30 miles from Parker Reef. I aim to dive the site while Im in the area, shouldnt be too hard to find as Parker Reef is less than a mile across. Will let you know what I find

O.M.Bugge
5th June 2009, 17:12
I am currently anchored at Carlisle Island, about 30 miles from Parker Reef. I aim to dive the site while Im in the area, shouldnt be too hard to find as Parker Reef is less than a mile across. Will let you know what I find

Thanks Trev. I haven't visited this site for some time and didn't notice your posting until today. Eagerly awaiting your "report" on your dive, if successful.
If not, I have what is suposed to be the accurate position of her grounding, if that would help in locating the wreck.

trev jackson
7th June 2009, 12:08
that would be fantastic actually, I am on a trip that is out hunting down wrecks, so far we have found four. We had a small change in itinerary and have headed slightly south to dive a ship called the Waverley in Thirsty Sound QLD. That will take a week, then its Parker Reef. The weather has to be perfect as I am expecting to find the wreck on the rough side. Given our success over the last fortnight I am fairly confident that we will find her, but ANY information that expediates that would be most appreciated

O.M.Bugge
8th June 2009, 09:10
Sorry, the position I have is for Parker Reef and only in full minutes. 20.32S 149.45E. As Parker Reef is only 0.5 m.miles in diam. that is probably not much help.
I had a look on Google Earth and there is an indication that could be a wrack on the NW side, but that is not likely to be the Slidre Timur, as she was coming from the south and heading north. She would then most likely have hit the reef on the SW or South side.
I looked at the area to refresh my memory and it becomes even more surprising that they managed to run her on this reef in the wide open waters this is. They would have had a very good position when passing Penrith Island, which is only 30 n.m. south east of Parker Reef. There is a straight course from there to off Hayman Island, a distance of approx. 78 n.m.
The nearest island on the west side is Calder Island, which is 14 n.m. from Parker Reef. If you cannot navigate safely in this kind of open water you should not be on small island trampers.
Even if heading to/from Port Moresby we usually took this route to have better weather. The passage is fairly open for the first 600 n.m. or so, from Sandy Cape to Fitzroy Island, where most ships heading for P.M. would go out through the well marked passage.
From there to Thursday Island is another 500 n.m. or so with more difficult navigation, especially since the radar on Slidre Timur hadn't been working for the last year or so. (The Owner was looking for a good second hand radar)
If going to P.M. we would be leaving the reef through Cook's Passage, just north of Cookstown. This passage is easy to find going out, but more difficult to use when entering from the open sea as there are several openings, but only one leads through to the inside passage. You had to arrive at dawn to get a good star fix and then have the sun behind you to see the reefs on the way, until reaching the marked channel going North/South.
This was long before GPS.

Hope you have luck in locating the wreck and I'm looking forward to hear in what condition it is. Maybe some pics as well?

trev jackson
23rd June 2009, 03:05
Just heading into por tafter having been to Parker Reef for the last two days. We did not find the wreck. The reff flat is about 700m by 500m and dries completely. After scouring the top of this for about four hours yesterday, i can safely say that there is no evidence of any shipwreck on the top of the reef. In my experience this is unusual if a ship has gone up hard aground. The anomalie you may see on google earth on the northwest edge are rocks. HOWEVER, all is no lost. The entire Sw edge of the reef is a sheer cliff that drops away from the surface to 40 or 50metres. If the ship went up there, she could ahve easily dropped off the edge after a day of two and be sitting there virtually intact on the bottom. I have already started organising a bigger team of divers so we can go back out within a month or so to scour the depths along this edge. Stay tuned

O.M.Bugge
24th June 2009, 11:40
Just heading into por tafter having been to Parker Reef for the last two days. We did not find the wreck. The reff flat is about 700m by 500m and dries completely. After scouring the top of this for about four hours yesterday, i can safely say that there is no evidence of any shipwreck on the top of the reef. In my experience this is unusual if a ship has gone up hard aground. The anomalie you may see on google earth on the northwest edge are rocks. HOWEVER, all is no lost. The entire Sw edge of the reef is a sheer cliff that drops away from the surface to 40 or 50metres. If the ship went up there, she could ahve easily dropped off the edge after a day of two and be sitting there virtually intact on the bottom. I have already started organising a bigger team of divers so we can go back out within a month or so to scour the depths along this edge. Stay tuned

Thank you very much for that report.
As far as know she broke in two and slipped off the reef a couple of days after grounding, so she is likely laying in at least two pieces somewhere to the SW or South off the reef edge. If the wreck is not totally broken up it should be detectable by Echo Sounder/Fish Finder.
If water depth is less then 50 m. the wreck should be within range for Scuba divers without problems, or need for major equipment.

Looking forward to your next "report" and thanks again for your effort.

trev jackson
24th June 2009, 12:02
It looks as though we may be back as early as next week. The depth is not an issue, and since the reef is so small, i expect we will find it.

trev jackson
6th July 2009, 10:16
Well we went back out there and got blown out by the first afternoon without success. Only managed two search dives which simply wasnt enough. Our reearchers turned up a few facts after we left so we arent giving up just yet. I havent seen them yet but there are in existence some photgraphs showing some salvage efforts that occured a day or two after she struck.
A local tourist boat operator by the name Tom Maclean took one of his boats out there and relieved the ship of the alchhol she was carrying on board. Big holes were cut in the side of the ship to facilitate this process. They described the ship as having broke in half and sunk in 30 metres beside the reef. The two sections are about 40 metres apart. As for her current condition, well we are not giving up on that just yet

O.M.Bugge
6th July 2009, 15:57
Thanks for your report.

I'm not surprised that somebody managed to get to the alcohol carried on board. We used to carry a lot of XXXX for the guys working in Gove, especially in the early days of construction. One of the reasons why we were allowed to carry cargo on the Australian coast in a Norwegian flagged ship was because a National Line ship got delayed by strike and they had to fly XXXX into Gove to avoid a riot in the camp.

I remember one trip where we carried a CocaCola Truck bound for P.Moresby on deck, which we had to put down on the wharf, known as Mission Pier, in Gove to get to the Gove cargo. Naturally, in the evening I just HAD to take a joy ride around the camp, which caused some comments from the workers at the Bar Tent. They were not too enthusiastic about the CocaCola emblem all over the truck though.

Sounds like you have got heavily involved in the venture of finding the wreck of Slidre Timur. Looking forward to you next attempt and report.

I've also got the former Captain on her with me here in Singapore. (Not during the grounding) He is looking forward to "see" his old ship.

trev jackson
7th July 2009, 09:57
There is a team of five of us working on this project and the more we get in to this particular ship the more interesting it becomes and the bigger the team becomes. I will be receiving by mail some more photos of the ship on the reef on Thursday which I will endeavour to post here for you. I note that the Master of the vessel was Captain O. Amponsen, do you know what the "O " stood for?

O.M.Bugge
7th July 2009, 13:47
There is a team of five of us working on this project and the more we get in to this particular ship the more interesting it becomes and the bigger the team becomes. I will be receiving by mail some more photos of the ship on the reef on Thursday which I will endeavour to post here for you. I note that the Master of the vessel was Captain O. Amponsen, do you know what the "O " stood for?

Good to hear that she is finally attracting some interest from the diving community in the area. Hopefully there are enough left of her to make for a good dive site in the future, once located.

I cannot remember the first name of Capt. Antonsen but I can try to find out.
We actually sail together a few months on Slidre Timur, but my memory is not what it used to be. (In fact, it probably never was)

There may be some vintage Whiskey or Wine still in the holds, but any XXXX beer would most likely be undrinkable by now. Good hunting.

trev jackson
9th July 2009, 10:00
The local paper on Feb 27 , 1971 said:

"The crew of the Norwegian vessel Slidre Timur battled against heavy seas in a vain bid to release a lifeboat following the grounding of their ship on a reef off Mackay early yesterday morning. In Bowen last night , tired crewmembers told how one man was crushed by the lifeboat against the side of the ship but the heavy padding of his life jacket saved him from serious injury.
The 24 seamen were brought into Bowen about 7.30pm by a launch which met the rescue vessel Thors Cape about 5 miles off the coast near Gloucester Island.
The injured man was treated by a doctor but was not admitted to hospital.
The Slidre Timur went aground on Parker Reef about 45 miles north east of Mackay, at 4 am, in heavy seas.
“There was a crunch’, one seaman said ‘and the ship just stopped dead”
“The bottom was cut open by the coral and the water was coming in’ he said
For tow hours the crew remained aboard the ship as heavy seas pounded her. They finally abandoned ship aboard the ships other lifeboat which was lowered down the protected starboard side.
The ships master, Captain Olav Amponsen said he had not given the order to abandon ship until 6am because there was not enough water on the reef to launch the life boat. By daylight the arriving tide allowed the crew to launch the boat capable of carrying 34 men. Threatened by heavy seas dashing against the reef they were forced to shelter on the lee side of the ship.
“We sent out an SOS as soon as we went aground’, Captain Amponsen said, ‘and we stayed at the radio until we left the ship”
Four hours later the wreck was located by a RAAF Neptune bomber from Townsville.
“There was no panic’, he said,’the crew behaved very well.
By that time the Thors Cape, captained by Thor Thorvaldsen and another ship believed to be the Thors Orient were close to the grounded vessel.
“We did not see them until about 10.30, because they were on the other side of our ship’, Amponsen said.’The Thors Cape stood off about two miles away’
Almost seven hours after the ship had run aground, the crew rowed away from the wreckage."

O.M.Bugge
19th July 2009, 03:53
Thank you very much for that Trev. Interesting reading.
It also confirms the first name of the Captain as Olav, which is what I thought, but have been unable to confirm. His family name is misspelled however, actual name Antonsen, as mentioned in my last post.

I have met the two Indonesian crew members, the Bosun and Carpenter, since the accident and knew that one of them had been slightly injured when they got in the Lifeboat.

I haven't been on this Forum for some time and only noticed your post just now. I'll be checking in more frequently when possible.
Good luck with the "hunt" for the wreck and looking forward to hear of any development.

O.M.Bugge
2nd August 2010, 12:14
There haven't been any activity on this thread for over one year.
I would like to bump it back up the pages a bit, in case there are some news on the attempt to find the wreck of Slidre Timur on/near Parker Reef.

Trev, if you are still visiting this forum, I would be pleased to hear of any development in your search for the wreck.

trev jackson
2nd August 2010, 14:21
wow there is a coincidence, I havent looked at the thread for over a year to as I've been involved in some other ship research and location much farther north. Any way suffice to say I havent been back to Parker Reef in the meantime but we are finally putting together a trip due to head out there in November. Will keep you informed

O.M.Bugge
6th December 2010, 14:44
wow there is a coincidence, I havent looked at the thread for over a year to as I've been involved in some other ship research and location much farther north. Any way suffice to say I havent been back to Parker Reef in the meantime but we are finally putting together a trip due to head out there in November. Will keep you informed

Hi Trev,
November is here and gone. Did you go out to Parker Reef?
If so, did you find anything???? If you did, WHAT??????

trev jackson
24th June 2011, 08:15
OM........the wreck is on the east southeast side of Parker Reef in about 6 to 8 metres of water. Its pretty much smashed to bits and has been obviously salvaged to a greater extent than we would have expected, perhaps back in the mid 70s. The prop is gone, shafts still visible, a lot of railway track type metal about the place. There are lots of plates of hull all lying about in the coral but no real structure to it left due to the fact that the site gets pounded by southeasters pretty much all the time. There is a small bulldozer on the site, or maybe its a forklift. Metal all over the place

O.M.Bugge
13th September 2011, 15:40
Hi Trev,

Thanks for that report. Sounds like somebody have got to this one. Not surprising in such shallow water, although on the surf side of the reef.
From your description I don't think this will be a popular wreck dive site.

Thanks again for your effort and good luck in finding more attractive wrecks.

Regards,
O.M.Bugge

reefrat
14th September 2011, 07:38
Nice to see you were successful, and its true about the S.E. weather on Parker Reef

madaxe
1st January 2013, 02:55
There haven't been any activity on this thread for over one year.
I would like to bump it back up the pages a bit, in case there are some news on the attempt to find the wreck of Slidre Timur on/near Parker Reef.

Trev, if you are still visiting this forum, I would be pleased to hear of any development in your search for the wreck.

Hi guys,

just found this thread. I was visiting my father in hospital when one of his friends came in to visit also. We all got talking about fishing and they began talking about this wreck at parker that they fished on back in the 70's and 80's. PJ (my dad's mate) began to tell the story of when it went down in heavy seas in '71 and how she broke apart. He said that on a good day you can see her from the surface, and that there was 2 massey ferguson tractors laying on their backs in about 20m of water along with some compressors and generators etc.

So i came home and began doing some research and this is where i ended up. He told me where it lies in relation to the Cay and the reef, but looking on the charts and Google earth it doesn't sound exactly right. He will be intown again around Easter so he promised to come out with me for a run and show me where it is. in the meantime I will go for an excursion when we get good weather with neap tides to have a look and see if i can't find it myself.

I'll let you all know what i find.

Cheers

Jason

O.M.Bugge
7th March 2013, 02:49
Hi there Jason,

I had almost given up on any more news about the Slidre Timur.
Nice to hear that there is still some interest and "new" info coming in here.

If you find anything out there during Easter I would be please to read your report or, even better, see some pictures of what is left.
She has been on the bottom for 42 years now, so there may not be all that much left. But she was a well built and sturdy ship, built at a time when they used heavy steel plates and frames to construct ships, not paper thin plates like today.

Have a good Easter trip!!

Regards,
O.M.Bugge

Dave Marshall
8th April 2014, 07:30
Believe it or not but there was no beer on the ship that we found only every kind of spirits you could think of,we ended up swapping a few cases of spirits for about five cartons of beer with a navy patrol boat that stopped by.

trotterdotpom
8th April 2014, 10:21
Welcome to SN, Dave. I see you're Downunder. Were you by any chance on Cape Otway in the ANL times?

John T