Read page 21 of the Sunday Express and weep!

7th June 2009, 10:16
Salaams all you Bank-boat men!

Phil Roe here, ex-Brock's Engineer.

I've just posted a Thread on "Mess Deck", about a report, in todays "Sunday Express" (page 21) concerning the "Boularibank" successfully repelling a pirate attack which was brilliant.

Then it says "The combined effort by the 42 on the freighter----a mainly Russian crew----".

Russian crew!!! On a Bank-boat?

Enough to make all you Bank Line men weep I should think!! Burra salaams, Phil (Hippy)

Charlie Stitt
8th June 2009, 14:43
Phil, the Boularibank is no longer a Bank boat, Bank Line wound up a few years back and their Russian ships taken over by Swire and managed by Andrew Weir. If you saw these Russian ships you would say the Russian crews are welcome to them as they are the most ugly looking ships I have ever seen, no tears will be shed for them, but many have been shed for the loss of the cargo liners built for the Bank Line just prior the the Company's demise.(Sad)

Alistair Macnab
8th June 2009, 15:42
The problem is designing a ship that will be suitable for breakbulk cargo, heavy lifts, project cargo, containers and the occasional bulk parcel (wet or dry).
Such a trade-specific purpose-built ship would be very expensive to build yet would surely provide a satisfactory return on investment. The Pacific Islands, Indonesia and even secondary ports in the developed countries would seem to be candidates to be served by such ships as inland transportation facilities will never provide comfort for containers and anyway, there is a great deal of cargo tonnage that does not fit into a container.
New 2008 numbers here in the USA:
Capital Goods (excluding autos):36.1%
Industrial Supplies and Materials: 29.8%
Non-food consumer goods (excl. autos): 12.4%
Ro-Ro, engines and parts : 9.3%

Industrial Supplies and Materials: 36.9%
Non-food Consumer Goods (excl. autos): 23%
Capital Goods (excl. autos): 21.6%
Ro-Ro, parts and engines: 11.1%

[Q: How much of the above needs to be in containers?]

These percentages of the total shipments would seem to support that cargo liner services using multipurpose ships could be successfully mounted to and from the USA - the main driver of container services along with northwest Europe.

Bank Line (and most "cargo liner" companies) lost their way in the headlong rush to embrace containerization. Most of the other operators were investing in container consortia and were told not to maintain breakbulk/unit load competing services. But Bank Line was not a member of any container consortia. Those of you in the know will recall that Lord Inverforth when invited to be a partner in ACT said: "All they want is my money!" and declined the invitation.
Thus it was, that if any British shipping company had a reason and a no-competition position to maintain and develop breakbulk services, it was Weirs.
They even had the ideal poster child of a service that could not successfully be fully containerized: the SoPac Service.
"Corabank" Class could have been updated; the Russian ships not bought and similar but better multipurpose ships built by Bank Line. British Shipbuilders drew up a general layout for Weirs but it was never pursued. Personally, I think the ideal ship could have been built elsewhere at a more comfortable price.
[This is my favourite hobby horse. If it is boring and much too late to bring up these thoughts now, look at projected trade growth numbers and new-building statistics.]

8th June 2009, 17:19
I must confess that my father and my grandfather must be turning in their graves and I certainly feel uncomfortable with the Idea of Swires running Russian built Bankboats. When you consider the fact that three generations of my family served with and worked hard for Andrew Weir, well say no more.
Alistair, did the Chief Marine Superintendant of the day have any say in the decision about the new designs?????? .............pete

Alistair Macnab
8th June 2009, 19:11
The British Shipbuilders general arrangement plan for new Copra Boats to serve in the expected growth and eventual partial sophistication of the service was delivered to Captain Brian Rodgers, Chief Marine Superintendent at the time, who shared its details with me. We discussed the plan between us and made some changes, especially in the location of tweendeck bulkheads and w/t bulkhead openings to maximize ro-ro capability and create a working rotation of ro-ro stow, i.e. first-in, first-out. Other refinements were a container side transporter on rails on deck (like some of the forest product ships) at hatches 3 and 4 and careful attention to the handling of 40 ft containers. Teu was at 1200 overall @ 8'6" high below the upper deck and 3-high on deck, and the heavy lift was at No.2 with 200 SWL.(The type of H/L equipment was not settled but I wanted an offset crane. Likewise the starboard quarter stern ramp was not finalized) Deeptank individual piping and pumping were clustered as in parcel tankers.
Discussed also with Messrs. McEwen and Peters of the Chartering Department and a new port rotation considered that would include the US. Gulf as well as Queensland and Northern Territories.
I still have the plan and its amendments here in Houston.

Steve Woodward
8th June 2009, 21:10
Just had a look thru SN, I pilotted the Tikeibank, one of the ex Russian jobs, into Hull - HERES ( the view from the bridge

9th June 2009, 18:34
Alistair.........Thanks for the information. I knew something was being mooted even though I was delared redundant in 1980. I was and still am inordinately fond of Weirs'. I have my Father's Photo Album dated from 1935 and I will publish same when I can get a decent Scanner. Thanks again..............pete