Bank Line charters.

Jim Harris
9th June 2009, 10:18
In the early 1970's, I was on the 'Nessbank' when she
was chartered to T & J Harrison.

What liner companies that you know off, ever chartered Bank Line
ships?

And in reverse....

In spite of its huge fleet at the same time.... did Bank Line
ever have to charter other vessels?

Regards,

Jim.

Alistair Macnab
9th June 2009, 14:20
Bank Line regularly chartered out to other liner companies to position their ships to where they were needed for a Bank Line service. Thus, Harrison's, Grancolombiana and Venezuelan Lines were regular customers for their one-way voyage to the West Indies and Caribbean area, where the Bank Boats were closer to the U.S.Gulf for the Gulf-Australasia services.
Other chartered-out ships were the "Siena" and the "Sibonga", new temporary names of the "Cloverbank" and "Firbank" chartered to our UBC friends, the Danish East Asiatic Company, when they were trying to determine the configuration of their new building programme for a transPacific service.
Chartering-in was usually only engaged in if there was a noticable gap in Weir's liner services when the customary manipulation of the fleet failed to position a unit to the right place at the right time. I recall a Larinaga ship chartered into the Gulf-Australia service when there was no Bank Boat available. There were others from time to time for one-way voyages from the Gulf where at least three ships per month were required for loading outwards.
Latterly, though, several "handy" "container-friendly" ships were taken on time charter for the Europe/U.S.Gulf container service. These have recently been identified in the SN Gallery and all carried traditional Bank Line "T" names for the duration of the charter.

johnb42
9th June 2009, 17:21
Did the same Harrison charter on the Elmbank in '72. Joined the ship in Liverpool discharging sugar, washed her out and loaded general for the West Indies for T & J. Then loaded sugar again in Georgetown, Guyana for UK. From there loaded UK/Continent for South Pacific, even went to Tahiti that trip. Remember the UK/Cont bit very well as the coasting Master was Bertie (Trader) Holland. A real gentleman.

China hand
9th June 2009, 18:11
Hamish will know the answer to this.

Was it true that the boast in Bury Street was "give us a good prospect at any port in the world, we'll have a ship there within three days".

There must have been a lot of chartering back then, even with 50 odd ships.

Alistair Macnab
9th June 2009, 19:42
Moshe..... To put an empty and ready-for-loading ship anywhere in the world for a good fixture within three days is a tall order! I heard that one too, but the reality was more like ten days which was often do-able and still competitive. The fleet never was much greater than 50-55 and at one time (when the "Empires" and "Sams" went), was actually down to 39 units.

jimthehat
9th June 2009, 22:45
in the late 50s whilst on the isipingo we were sent to Chittagong empty and ready for loading for 5 weeks to hold the berth awaiting a jute and gunney cargo,a very boring experience,good thing we had lots of cold beer.
JIM

Jim Harris
10th June 2009, 09:09
The Oakbank had discharged a cargo of gunnies in
B.A. and was scheduled to load grain and return to India.

Just before loading commenced, the orders were changed and
she steamed light ship round the horn and loaded in Chile,
Peru and Ecuador for Europe.

Would this have been a P.S.N.C. charter?

Regards,

Jim.

purserjuk
10th June 2009, 10:35
Black Star Line (Ghana) chartered their "Keta Lagoon" to Bank Line who named her "Tynebank" for the period of the charter (1980 to 1981). Does
anyone have a photo of her under that name?
John

johnb42
10th June 2009, 10:48
in the late 50s whilst on the isipingo we were sent to Chittagong empty and ready for loading for 5 weeks to hold the berth awaiting a jute and gunney cargo,a very boring experience,good thing we had lots of cold beer.
JIM

Jute and Gunnies, remember it well. Used to go to those five well known ports LM Hearts, LM Clubs, LM Spades, LM Diamonds and LM Plain. Never went to South Africa of course. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
For non Bank Line people, the politics of the era I am referring to, sixties/seventies, meant that East Pakistan (Bangladesh) did not trade with South Africa, so all exports of Jute and Gunny went to "Lourenco Marques".
In fact what happened was that cargo, say for Durban was marked (and manifested) LM followed by a Heart symbol, Capetown with a Club, East London with a Spade and Port Elizabeth a Diamond. Cargo actually for Lourenco Marques had no card suite symbol, just plain old Lourenco Marques.
I may not actually have the correct symbol assigned to each SA port but this is the way the system worked in those days.
Everyone knew what was going on, but this thinly disguised subterfuge satisfied a few political egos at the time. Funny old world is'nt it.
There was also the Rhodesian cargoes shipped through LM, but that is another story.

Charlie Stitt
10th June 2009, 10:50
In the early days I think Andrew Weir Shipping and Trading Co were more interested in trading their own bulk cargo's than charter. I remember in 1955, on the Myrtlebank, loading a Weir's cargo of grain in BA , we sailed towards Europe while the cargo was being sold. When sold the Master got his orders where to proceed for discharge, Hamburg it was for us.. Those were the days when it was really interesting to sail on a Bankboat was it not?

Jim Harris
10th June 2009, 11:51
Did the same Harrison charter on the Elmbank in '72. Joined the ship in Liverpool discharging sugar, washed her out and loaded general for the West Indies for T & J. Then loaded sugar again in Georgetown, Guyana for UK. From there loaded UK/Continent for South Pacific, even went to Tahiti that trip. Remember the UK/Cont bit very well as the coasting Master was Bertie (Trader) Holland. A real gentleman.



Was your voyage from Guyana a 'Booker Line' charter?

Central America seemed to be their stomping ground.

Regards,

Jim.

johnb42
10th June 2009, 12:23
Was your voyage from Guyana a 'Booker Line' charter?

Central America seemed to be their stomping ground.

Regards,

Jim.

It may have been a subcharter as we were still under "Time" to T&J until completion of discharge of the sugar. The reason I remember this is because we carried the Harrison supercargo for the entire period.
I was Mate at the time so only got to know the intricacies of who we were working for on a need-to-know basis.
Regards

johnb42
10th June 2009, 12:29
Appropos of not much at all, I remember we got the Harrison charter because there had been a fire on their own ship that was to take the berth. One of their supers (and there seemed to be a lot) believed that it had been set deliberately. It was in a hold with tobacco and he reasoned that the dockers were looking for big bucks to discharge sodden, smelly tobacco.
Strange what one remembers when the membory bank is given a jolt.

Jim Harris
10th June 2009, 12:43
It may have been a subcharter as we were still under "Time" to T&J until completion of discharge of the sugar. The reason I remember this is because we carried the Harrison supercargo for the entire period.
I was Mate at the time so only got to know the intricacies of who we were working for on a need-to-know basis.
Regards


I wonder if it was the same Harrison supercargo, because our
times are similar?

The man did nothing but rubbish and ridicule Bank Line, and
caused so much friction onboard.

Did you change funnel colours at all?

Regards,

Jim.

johnb42
10th June 2009, 12:48
Do you know, I can't remember if we changed funnels or not. I do remember the supercargo though, a Purser, name of Jim Peacock. Thought it strange at the time that the supercargo was not a Mate, particularly as we carried heavy lifts.

Alistair Macnab
10th June 2009, 15:41
All the above anecdotes reflect Bank Line's flexibility in doing business. Voyage and Time Charters were always sought to fill in what would otherwise be an empty non-revenue positioning voyage and if there was an extended period of charter it was probably because there was no immediate Bank Line berth for what would be an "extra" ship and the possibility of earning a profitable voyage was always uppermost in the minds of the Chartering Department. I would add that they were very good at this, especially in Mr. Hawkes days but Messrs.McEwen and Peters carried on the tradition in great style.
Placing a ship ahead of the loading date as in the "Isipingo" case above was always something that was a possibility in the gunny trade. Originally the Calcutta Conference excluded Bank Line and they had to fight to get in. This meant placing a "fighting ship" on the berth at lower freight rates ahead of the Conference members (Clan, Hall, Harrison, BI) and scooping up as much cargo as was not contractually tied to the Conference. Eventually Bank was let into the Conference and was given the non-UK pieces of the business, i.e. Brazil & River Plate, Chile Peru and Ecuador,and East and South Africa. All this was accomplished in the early years of the 20th. Century.
Even after Partition and even after the founding of Bangladesh, the historic conference carve-up still applied. It only came to an end when the Indian shipping companies sued to get into the Conference and the importance of the jute business declined.
Fortunately, with the Indians and the Bangladeshis not liking Soiuth African aparteid policies, Bank were able to hold on to the East and South African trades based on gunnies, jute and tea long after the other trade routes had collapsed. LM hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades references this.
I remember the "Keta Lagoon" arriving in the U.S. Gulf. She was one of the early Time Charters for the Bank Line Transatlantic Service. Also remember the "Miss Chandris" on charter from the Gulf to Australia.

John Campbell
11th June 2009, 10:28
It was in the mid fifties when on "Eskbank" light ship bound US Gulf we were mid Atlantic when we were radioed to stop and await orders - three days stopped and we ran a sweep of where we were to go to next.Nobody won as we were told proceed to Puerto Ordas - many miles up the Orinoco River and load a full cargo of iron ore for Mobile.we We had to remove the spar ceiling in the lower half of the lower holds and line the tunnel with hatchboards ffrom the tween decks to prevent grab damage. It was a great experience going up that river and loading such a small amount of bulk ore compared to the three giant ludwig ore carriers that used to plough up and down to the USA. The grab damage and calf dozer damage done during discharge swasw considerable but it was all paid for and cost Weirs nothing.
JC

Jim Harris
12th June 2009, 11:20
Do you know, I can't remember if we changed funnels or not. I do remember the supercargo though, a Purser, name of Jim Peacock. Thought it strange at the time that the supercargo was not a Mate, particularly as we carried heavy lifts.



We sailed from Liverpool in Harrison colours.

At the end of the charter we were in Grenada, and the deck Serang had arranged and organized his men....
Exactly at noon, the 'Nessbank' gave a long blast on her whistle,
and they took to repainting the funnel with a vengeance!

It very quickly returned to the old, buff and black, and up went
the house-flag.... and I felt so happy and proud that I was
once again sailing for Bank Line!(Thumb)

Regards,

Jim.

China hand
14th June 2009, 19:59
Looking back through my bits n pieces, I reckon that at least 50% of my time with Bank Line was on charter voyages, either time or voyage. It all made for a very interesting insight to other firms' practises which often their own staff did not have - and it worked both ways, as in another firm, I was chartered IN, and found newspeak. Tramping was a wonderful experience in general/breakbulk days.

Mike Lindsell
23rd June 2009, 15:16
My first voyage as a first trip apprentice was on the new build Beaverbank in 1953 which was on a Blue Funnel Charter UK Ports to Aussie (Fremanle, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.

Al W
24th June 2009, 01:50
Jute and Gunnies, remember it well. Used to go to those five well known ports LM Hearts, LM Clubs, LM Spades, LM Diamonds and LM Plain. Never went to South Africa of course. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink....

.....Everyone knew what was going on, but this thinly disguised subterfuge satisfied a few political egos at the time. Funny old world is'nt it.
There was also the Rhodesian cargoes shipped through LM, but that is another story.

I remember on the Lossiebank with a load of Jute and Gunnies heading into LM when HMS Eskimo (I think) come flying over the horizon and the Old Man went into a fit about wasting British Tax Payer's money. He did everything he could to avoid going bridge to bridge, attempting to swing the Lossiebank about like an FI race car but had to finally admit defeat, yelling at me to get down to the poop deck and dip the flag. We were ordered to heave to and prepare for a boarding party. A boat came from the Eskimo, I remember thinking how well turned out they where, white putties and hobnail boots. They came on board and handed over their mail sack and asked that we deliver their mail.

johnb42
24th June 2009, 09:34
They were there to blockade Rhodesia during the Smith regime. I remember them being stationed off Beira too. Supposed to prevent Rhodesian exports (Asbestos and copper were two items) being shipped through Mozambique. As I remember, it was usually a courteous radio call to ask what cargo you were carrying and a request for you to take their mail to South Africa for posting.
Your Old Man was right about it being a waste of tax payers money, but then the Navy had to be somewhere and it had to appear that Wilson (I think) was doing something. Remember the world was much bigger in those days and Rhodesia and Mozambique were probably "over there" for a lot of people.

ted nutt
26th June 2009, 09:56
Morning,mid 70s did a charter onthe Rowanbank (Capt Gerstel) for Messageries Maritimes,loaded in various French ports Discharged East Africa,Madagascar,Reunion,Mauritius.Back loaded S Africa for Morocco and French ports,hit the quay in Bordeaux when engine refused to go astern.Supercargo with us all trip,flew the MM houseflag.

m shann
4th July 2009, 10:03
Hi Jim
I was 3rd mate on the Teviotbank on a UAR charter to the Gulf 1971 I think
Capt BJ Peterson in Command. I was still onboard when she had 2 limpet mines attached in Chalna. Any one out there remember that
mike

johnb42
4th July 2009, 11:11
Hi Jim
I was 3rd mate on the Teviotbank on a UAR charter to the Gulf 1971 I think
Capt BJ Peterson in Command. I was still onboard when she had 2 limpet mines attached in Chalna. Any one out there remember that
mike

Remember the story of the limpet mines, Mike. We were up in Chalna some time after it happened - Elmbank or Marabank, can't remember. There were tales from other ships that followed you, of armed soldiers were being posted on board and one of them firing off at the bubbles from an overboard discharge, thinking it was bubbles from a scuba tank.
I seem to remember the ship was holed and the Super (Smith ?) was quite ill afterwards from spending time in the water. Is that right? It was a long time ago.
John

m shann
6th July 2009, 23:46
Remember the story of the limpet mines, Mike. We were up in Chalna some time after it happened - Elmbank or Marabank, can't remember. There were tales from other ships that followed you, of armed soldiers were being posted on board and one of them firing off at the bubbles from an overboard discharge, thinking it was bubbles from a scuba tank.
I seem to remember the ship was holed and the Super (Smith ?) was quite ill afterwards from spending time in the water. Is that right? It was a long time ago.
John

Hi john
the only members of Officer Class to get wet was the 2nd Mate and I. We did 12hr shifts ,with sand bags down No 5 hatch or Supervising the construction of massive wooden patchs to put over the large holes in the shell plating to each side of No5, The blast blew holes into the D/Bs, No 5 hatch and shell plating pierced the tunnel,flooding same and putting the vessel out of actiion, after a few weeks of futile attempts with the patchs ,I suggested to BJ that we should send the diver down the tunnel escape to locate the holes in the tunnel. He told me in his usual superior manner that was crazy, I later overheard him suggesting same to the Super. The diver went down located the small holes in the casing and 5 hour later the tunnel was dry, the engineers welded boxes over the wooden plugs and flushed out the shaft bearings but,Lloyds would not allow us to sail to Singapore under our own power, by this time the Englishman was alongside, with some very nerves men on board,nobody had told them what had happen to us. We were lucky a
small tanker up steam blew up and capsized.
We had armed guards onboard,with Bludderbuss, yes Blunderbuss. one evening some unfortunate soul fell overboard upstream and attached himself to our gangway,being mistook for a diver with more limpet mines he was blasted with a Blunderbuss. The Super was from Calcutta the Indian chap can't remember his name. For our troubles we all got one months extra pay for me that was 147 something. Happy Days, it was the last Bank boat I sailed on
mike

johnb42
7th July 2009, 00:37
Hi john
the only members of Officer Class to get wet was the 2nd Mate and I. We did 12hr shifts ,with sand bags down No 5 hatch or Supervising the construction of massive wooden patchs to put over the large holes in the shell plating to each side of No5, The blast blew holes into the D/Bs, No 5 hatch and shell plating pierced the tunnel,flooding same and putting the vessel out of actiion, after a few weeks of futile attempts with the patchs ,I suggested to BJ that we should send the diver down the tunnel escape to locate the holes in the tunnel. He told me in his usual superior manner that was crazy, I later overheard him suggesting same to the Super. The diver went down located the small holes in the casing and 5 hour later the tunnel was dry, the engineers welded boxes over the wooden plugs and flushed out the shaft bearings but,Lloyds would not allow us to sail to Singapore under our own power, by this time the Englishman was alongside, with some very nerves men on board,nobody had told them what had happen to us. We were lucky a
small tanker up steam blew up and capsized.
We had armed guards onboard,with Bludderbuss, yes Blunderbuss. one evening some unfortunate soul fell overboard upstream and attached himself to our gangway,being mistook for a diver with more limpet mines he was blasted with a Blunderbuss. The Super was from Calcutta the Indian chap can't remember his name. For our troubles we all got one months extra pay for me that was 147 something. Happy Days, it was the last Bank boat I sailed on
mike
Mike,
Thanks for your post, that was some story. You must stil get a kick out of relating it.
I was really intrigued by the wooden patches bit. I seem to remember learning the theory of this in The Bosun's Manual or was it Munro's Seamanship, when I was serving my time. It went with things like, lowering the telescopic topmast.
Chinese Whispers take their toll of all second hand stories, which is why is was so good to get it first hand from yourself.
Thanks again for the real story.
John

CLIFF BETTS
12th September 2009, 16:14
Hi John,
I was the third engineer on the Teviotbank that day, I have no idea of the date but remember that it was a Sunday evening, we had been anchored in the river at Chalna for a day loading jute etc, I was in my cabin when the first mine went off, my first thoughts were that a small ship had collided with us, the ships horn started sounding in continuous bursts, but at that time we were not sure what had happened. The second engineer came to my cabin and we both went to the engine room to check the bulkheads, all were in tact with no damage found, we then went to the tunnel entrance to check the tunnel, just as I entered the tunnel the second mine exploded I saw a small flash of the explosion as it broke through the tunnel wall about 10 meters or so from the far end of the tunnel, we immediately shut the water tight door and went on deck to report our findings. I was then tasked to go back into the tunnel via the crews quarters tunnel ladder to open the bilge valves. I still remember this, having seen the flash of the explosion and not knowing if any other mines were going to explode I was very nervous, anyhow I climbed down the ladder into the tunnel, on the port side of the tunnel a few meters away I saw two holes in the tunnel wall, one was as I remember it about 12" in diameter the second hole was smaller about a foot away from the first, water was pouring into the tunnel from the two holes, but at a slow rate. I located the bilge valves opened them and made a swift departure from the tunnel, wasn't I glad to see daylight again! Has any one got any photo's of the Teviotbank in dry-dock at Singapore?
That was also my last trip with Bank Line.

Regards,
Cliff Betts

johnb42
14th September 2009, 09:04
Hi Cliff,
Many thanks for adding your own story to this.
John

Joe C
14th September 2009, 19:28
I sailed as a first trip Apprentice on the Moraybank in 1954 (Captain Townsley),we refitted in Rotterdam where we celebrated two new year binges,one at U.K.midnight and the other at European midnight,whichever came first.We headed for the Gulf but since they had removed a ballast tank from No.5 in Rotterdam we had to put into Port Everglades for bunkers having spent far too long making very little headway across the Atlantic.I can vouch for this having spent most of it cleaning up in No.1.However having followed the fairly standard trip,we did two phosphate runs then followed a Shaw Saville "cargo liner"around the New Zealand coast collecting the cargo it left behind in order to keep to its schedule.We then made for the U.S.east coast intending to make it to the St Lawrence which inconveniently froze over and we ended up at Halifax.I assume we were chartered to Shaw Saville for this trip.From Halifax we loaded coal at Newport News for British power stations,discharged into "Flat Irons"in Antwerp.Short Trip,twelve months!

Alistair Macnab
24th September 2009, 01:37
Back to "Bank Line Charters"
Is there a SN contributor who can enlighten me on the reason why the "Meadowbank" became the "Toana Niugini" and the "Moraybank" became the "Toana Papua"? It was obviously for commercial reasons related to Papua New Guinea business. Was there any change in Port of Registry or funnel colour? Or was it just something of a gesture by Bank Line to closer identify the company with their customers?

boatlarnie
25th September 2009, 20:28
In the early 1970's, I was on the 'Nessbank' when she
was chartered to T & J Harrison.

What liner companies that you know off, ever chartered Bank Line
ships?

And in reverse....

In spite of its huge fleet at the same time.... did Bank Line
ever have to charter other vessels?

Regards,

Jim.

Sometime in the 90's, Bank Line and Safmarine tied up to form a service between USA and South Africa. Two Safmarine vessels were chartered by Bank Line and named Rosebank and Rowanbank whilst the service was in operation.
Whilst I was in Bank Line, 3 ships I sailed on were chartered out; the first, the Irisbank, was chartered in 1957 to Brocklebank for a cargo, mainly tea, from India and Ceylon to the U.K.
In 1965 I was on the Marabank when we were chartered to load general cargo out of Glasgow and Birkenhead for Pakistan and India, then in 1970 whilst on the Laganbank we were chartered by KLSN to load general from Europe to South America.

Johnnietwocoats
26th September 2009, 03:08
The "Eastbank" was on a Brocklebank Charter in July 1960. Loaded Hamburg/London for Suez, Port Said, Jeddah, Assab, Dijbouti, Aden, Seychelles, (What a wonderful place for a first trip Apprentice), Colombo, Vizag, Madras and Calcutta.

TC

Abbeywood.
26th September 2009, 06:26
Sometime in the 90's, Bank Line and Safmarine tied up to form a service between USA and South Africa. Two Safmarine vessels were chartered by Bank Line and named Rosebank and Rowanbank whilst the service was in operation.
Whilst I was in Bank Line, 3 ships I sailed on were chartered out; the first, the Irisbank, was chartered in 1957 to Brocklebank for a cargo, mainly tea, from India and Ceylon to the U.K.
In 1965 I was on the Marabank when we were chartered to load general cargo out of Glasgow and Birkenhead for Pakistan and India, then in 1970 whilst on the Laganbank we were chartered by KLSN to load general from Europe to South America.

Quite right, me ol' shipmate.
T'was an Ellerman charter, if the memory serves and the funnel was painted in Ellerman colours. Quite impressive on the Marabank's style of funnel, - well I thought so.
Visited the delightful ports of Karachi, Bombay, and Calcutta. Also made a call at Visakhapatnam but can't remember if that was while on charter, or at Bank Line's orders. Then of course no voyage would be complete without a call at Chalna, and Chittagong.

boatlarnie
26th September 2009, 09:10
Quite right, me ol' shipmate.
T'was an Ellerman charter, if the memory serves and the funnel was painted in Ellerman colours. Quite impressive on the Marabank's style of funnel, - well I thought so.
Visited the delightful ports of Karachi, Bombay, and Calcutta. Also made a call at Visakhapatnam but can't remember if that was while on charter, or at Bank Line's orders. Then of course no voyage would be complete without a call at Chalna, and Chittagong.

Thanks for reminding me who the charterers were, I had forgotten and had not recorded it in my logbook. Checked this I see we discharged at Karachi and Bombay and at the former port the stevedores were selling bottles of whisky on the quay from our cargo which they had stolen from the warehouse, not from the ship!! After coming off charter, we received orders to proceed to Calcutta, re-routed to Mombasa, re-routed again to Chittagong and finally arrived in Chalna some 10 days after departing Bombay. We then loaded there, Chittagong, Rangoon and Colombo for East and South Africa; the rest, as they say, is history for that was the trip we caught fire in LM, spent 2 weeks in Durban to discharge the damaged cargo and undergo temporary repairs.

boatlarnie
26th September 2009, 09:12
The "Eastbank" was on a Brocklebank Charter in July 1960. Loaded Hamburg/London for Suez, Port Said, Jeddah, Assab, Dijbouti, Aden, Seychelles, (What a wonderful place for a first trip Apprentice), Colombo, Vizag, Madras and Calcutta.

TC

Hi TC,
I have a faint recollection of meeting up with the Eastbank and being regaled with stories of the wonderful time you had in the Seychelles, especially with the golden lovelies!!?? Was Dave (Paddy) Ramsey on that trip??
Boatlarnie

Alan Rawlinson
26th September 2009, 15:48
Anyone have details of the SIBONGA (was it FIRBANK?) I believe she was time chartered as opposed to a single voyage charter, and the whole thing went ' belly up ' when the double rescue of Vietnam refugees took place and months were lost.

Healey Martin was the master, and he had his wife Mildred with him. They both had a grim time with the casualties etc.... Healey had been apprentice with me when I was mate of the SOUTHBANK, but there was only 4 years between us and we stayed friends. He told me later that some of the refugees had named children after them and after the ship in gratitude for the rescues. I was by this time in a senior position ashore in another shipping company which shall be nameless, and I was ( and still am) friendly with the Ops Director who gave clear instructions to all the vessels to avoid the refugee boats - something which I am led to believe was common in many shipping companies at the time.

johnb42
26th September 2009, 17:51
A fellow Master in one Company I sailed in (not Bankline), attempted to get the Fleet Manager to commit himself to a Party Line in respect of Vietnamese boat people. The response was a long-winded epistle on law of the sea and the Mariners duty to assist those in danger at sea, but ended with the sentence "in any event no time should be wasted in trying to contact this office before making a decision and taking action".

Abbeywood.
4th April 2010, 07:07
My second trip in the 'Marabank' (7/4/65 - 13/5/66), began from Birkenhead, on a Hall Line, (Ellermans), charter to the sub-continent. Karachi, Bombay, Vizakhapatnam, & Calcutta, with, I think.!, as stop in Genoa, out-bound. The charter ended in Calcutta, which left the ship ideally placed to load jute and gunnies in Chalna and Chittagong, for East & South Africa, then on to the west coast of S.America.
From the UK to Calcutta the ship had her funnel painted in Ellerman's colours and flew a Hall Line flag.
I seem to think that the crew changed in Chittagong, which, with Bank Line logic, involved the Indian crew being subjected to the homilies of the Pakistani Customs, and which probably lightened the baggage load of the charter aircraft back to Calcutta.
It was during the East Afican part of the voyage that the ship suffered a fire in No 4 hold, (for the derails, see threads elsewhere)
'Boatlarnie' was the 2nd Mate at the time, so will be able to correct any errors that may exist.

Johnnietwocoats
4th April 2010, 11:46
Hi TC,
I have a faint recollection of meeting up with the Eastbank and being regaled with stories of the wonderful time you had in the Seychelles, especially with the golden lovelies!!?? Was Dave (Paddy) Ramsey on that trip??
Boatlarnie

Hi Boatlarnie...
Dave (Paddy) Ramsey was indeed on her. He was my Senior Apprentice and later my Brother in Law.
Where did you meet up with us...?
Can I ask who you are?
Happy easter
John

Waighty
6th August 2010, 15:11
In the early 1970's, I was on the 'Nessbank' when she
was chartered to T & J Harrison.

What liner companies that you know off, ever chartered Bank Line
ships?

And in reverse....

In spite of its huge fleet at the same time.... did Bank Line
ever have to charter other vessels?

Regards,

Jim.

While sailing on Riverbank 1980s (Pat Grist (El Gristo) was Master) chartered to CMB (Belgium) with a run to East Africa carrying mainly US aid cargo to inland African countries. Much of this was "held" in Dar es Salaam until presumably the right "fragrant grease" was paid! From there lightship to Singapore and taken on charter by CAVN for one trip from Far East ports to Colmbia and Venezuela - the pilfering at the South American end had to be seen to be believed.

Shirrabank circa 1978 (Geoff Thornhill was Master of which the less said the better) charted to an Indian company with sewer pipes and endless bundles of re-bars for Iran (Shatt al Arab) and Dubai. What a trip eh?

I heard tell of a Port Line ship being chartered by Weirs for an outward New Guinea run and apparently the outturn was diabolical with no attempt by the Port Line mates to actually go into a hold!

Birchbank 1977 (Don Young was Master) chartered to Chargeurs Reunis of Marsailles (called cognac line because of their five stars on the funnel - they painted ours at any rate). Round trip Med ports to South Africa and back - excellent trip all round. We just beat a Messageries Maritime ship into London on Christmas morning - our French supercargo was tickled pink that he wouldn't have to spend two days swinging on the hook while rolling in the swell. He enjoyed the typical Bank Line Christmas fare as well.

Loads more I fail to get my ageing brain cells to recall.

Alistair Macnab
6th August 2010, 17:01
The Chartering Department at Bury Street were charged with providing a Bank Boat at all of the berth loading ports on the advertised date. This formerly entailed getting five ships a month to Calcutta (two to load for east and south Africa; One to load for West Africa on the ED berth; one for the RiverPlate and one for the West Coast of South America); One ship in Durban for the Oriental African Line; One ship in the Far East for the Oriental African Line; Four ships a month in New Orleans/Houston for Australia or New Zealand; One ship per month in the North Continent for the Direct New Guinea service and one ship per month for the Western Pacific Islands loading to the UK/Continent and one ship per month for the Central Pacific Islands loading to the UK/Continent.

It was always considered 'bad form' to require a lengthy light ship passage or to have a ship arrive early for a berth position and to wait around idle for days/weeks. (Overdue drydocking might solve the last mentioned problem!)

Accordingly, our ship and cargo brokers, Chadwick Weir in London and Boyd Weir in New York, were tasked with lining up charter voyages to occupy 'positioning time and expenses'. This entailed long term commitments to the British Phosphate Commissioners, the Queensland Sugar Growers/Colonial Sugar Refining charterers, Anglo-Lautaro in Chile, Bunge y Baun in Argentina with whom a certain annual tonnage of product was committed for transport with Bank Line slotting one of their ships in as needed but committed to ship the annual agreed tonnage within the agreed time frame. There were, of course, other 'one-offs' picked up here and there and drawn from the Baltic Exchange trading floor.
Voyage (or even Time-) Charters were often arranged with other liner companies to fill positioning gaps, especially to the Caribbean with Harrisons, CAVN, Grancolombia and earlier KNSM for the obvious reason that this took care of the light ship transatlantic passage from Europe to the U.S. Gulf. But there was also the need to obtain gainfull intermediate employment when too many ships got bunched up or looked like they were going to be bunched up in Calcutta or New Orleans. The Baltic Exchange always came to the rescue of the Chartering Department next door at 21 Bury Street! Weirs had a private door into the Baltic through the connecting wall and the Baltic lunches were pretty good, too!

As for chartering in, the same situation applied as well. When someone like Captain Macnab complained that the so-and-so Bank was running late and we could not afford competitively to let the booked cargo for Australia slide back to the following ship as it was fully booked as well, then a charter in vessel was organized to fit into the berth service. We had the "Ramon de Larinaga" (an SD14); "Miss Chandris" (a Doxford Bank Boat 'clone') and several other similar ships and owners. Towards the end, Weirs had many chartered in ships that were more 'container friendly' than their own but see Part VII of the Bank Line Story accessible from the front page of SN).

In the mean time, stories of chartered voyages are most welcome and tend to confirm the success of the Chartering Department as the ships always ended up where they were needed for the Bank Line's own liner services! This also explains the necessity for Bank Boats to be flexible and suitable for tramping and liner cargoes - at least until the concept of the 'multipurpose' ship was superceded by container ship for liner and bulkers for tramp voyages.

david harrod
9th August 2010, 10:23
Anyone have details of the SIBONGA (was it FIRBANK?) I believe she was time chartered as opposed to a single voyage charter, and the whole thing went ' belly up ' when the double rescue of Vietnam refugees took place and months were lost.

Healey Martin was the master, and he had his wife Mildred with him. They both had a grim time with the casualties etc.... Healey had been apprentice with me when I was mate of the SOUTHBANK, but there was only 4 years between us and we stayed friends. He told me later that some of the refugees had named children after them and after the ship in gratitude for the rescues. I was by this time in a senior position ashore in another shipping company which shall be nameless, and I was ( and still am) friendly with the Ops Director who gave clear instructions to all the vessels to avoid the refugee boats - something which I am led to believe was common in many shipping companies at the time.

Alan; I was mate on the Sibonga/Firbank for a couple of trips on the EA charter, we did a round trip Singapore/Malaysia through SE Asia finishing in Japan to West Coast Canada and USA; 29 ports in 40 days or thereabouts. Breakbulk cargoes with increasing numbers of containers. The ships were not right for the trade as the Danes wanted it; manual derricks and a container lashing system that worked on tiers instead of slots...fun tho. I was on her in Longview the day Elvis died; we had wharfies (longshoremen, sorry) crying as they swore about the gear...funny thing; Elvis was seen three times in town that night!. I was not on her when the refugee thing happened, I had moved to the Siena/Cloverbank on the same run. I believe Capt Martin got a gong...nasty business boat people; it's not about humanity when the lawyers and politicians get involved..recall the Tampa?