Painted MacGregor Hatch Covers + Comings Corabank Class

25th April 2009, 16:23
Picking up from Alistairs thread - When I joined the Meadowbank in 1975 none of the hatch comings or covers had been painted - at this time the vessel had been in service for a few years. On our return across the Pacific - Lae to San Francisco the old man collared the three apprentices ( it was my first trip ) on a Saturday morning and together we all painted number 5 hatch with a coat of red lead - I did my own extra decorating by dropping a 5 gallon tin of red lead while climbing the steps up from the main deck in front of the bridge - much to the amusement of the 'first appy'.

The following week the deck crew was tasked to complete the job and by the time we had retuned to Liverpool - through the Panama Canal and via New Orleans , Houston and Newark all the hatches were buff.

In the years to follow I served on and visited the majority of the Cora class and often wondered why we started this paint job - with the opening and closing of the hatches - the banging of the individual pontoons together- not to mention the number of containers bouncing off the combing and landing on covers the hatches required a lot extra painting.

Alistair Macnab
26th April 2009, 20:20

You must have been aboard one of the ships that also loaded for USA ports. This was a promising effort and we went all out to make sales of islands produce - coconut/palm oil, coffee and cocoa beans - in the USA. It was part of a strategy to develop a "round south pacific loop" U.S.Gulf-New Zealand- Australia-Solomon Islands-Papua New Guinea-Fiji-Samoa-U.S.West Coast-U.S.Gulf-(U.S.East Coast on inducement).

This was not pursued despite a promising start because the Bank and Savill strategy came up instead.

Interesting to note that Swire Shipping now has a direct service from Indonesia-Papua New Guinea-Fiji-Samoa-U.S. Gulf!

As to the painted hatch covers. Yes, they came from the shipyards unpainted but protected with some form of "steel pickling" that apparently wore off and required eventual painting to preserve the steel. Scrapes and dings were inevitable resulting in regular touch-ups and overall painting.
I always thought the "pickled" hatch covers were unsightly and that the painted ones were much better looking! Captain Gale thought the "pickling" would last much longer than it aparently did.