Cape Town Castle Explosion

Rod F
6th October 2009, 04:35
Does anyone remember the engineroom explosion around 1966/7? I left her in Soton shortly before it took place. Apparently someone put the wrong oil in the air-start valve lubricators which caused the big bang. The correct stuff was green - can't recall the name of it right now.

R58484956
6th October 2009, 10:04
Some where on this site all the details are shown. Mods can find it.

Steve Woodward
6th October 2009, 11:44
A thread like this is easy to find, check the 'Engine Room' forum and run a search on Capetown Castle and you find : THIS (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=28396&highlight=capetown+castle)
Steve

double acting
6th October 2009, 12:35
The green oil was a synthetic oil,(don't ask me what that means the inhouse chemist, my son, is in Australia) - non flammable. It was introduced after the Capetown Castle explosion

wharferat
6th October 2009, 19:31
I sailed with Ronnie Crook who was appointed to the ship a few months later as chief engineer, & I seem to recall he told me that it was something to do with freeing up sticking air start v/v's, hydraulically.
Ah, found the M Notice. If I've done it right, it should be attached.

Rod F
6th October 2009, 21:36
Thanks Wharferat et al - my memory for the date is obviously affected by the declination !

I have a full sectioned drawing of the "new" CT Castle if anyone is interested.

Chris Isaac
10th October 2009, 10:47
The attached picture is from the Company's Magazine of February 1963

Fred Field
25th March 2013, 16:05
As I recollect the synthetic oil was called Haugtosafe? Not quite sure of the spelling but it was a wonderful paint stripper!

David Barton
26th March 2013, 22:04
I f I recall correctly, the Capetown Castle was manoeuvring out of Las Palmas after taking bunkers. An air start valve stuck open on one cylinder, but as in those days mineral oil was used in the start air compressors there was an light oil carry over which lined the air start piping. The combustion heat from the cylinder ignited the oil in the air start system, and the flame carried back to the start air receivers, which caused a massive explosion. Resulting from this disaster flame traps were fitted into air start lines. The green oil mentioned was indeed Houghto-Safe, which may have been synthetic, but was an explosion proof oil. I have seen some photos of the engine-room after the explosion, and anything aluminium, like De Laval purifier covers, had completely disappeared leaving just the steel pipe-work - not a pretty sight. All the staff in the engine-room were killed I believe, and as it was standby there would have been more than the normal watch-keeping complement, except for one who was in the toilet at the time and may have lost his job because of it!

Rod F
17th April 2013, 17:40
It was called autosafe, a green non-flammable oil - as a junior is was my job to 'blow the cocks' and after the first time I had to go change my skivvies!

Chris Isaac
27th June 2013, 17:53
More info here:
http://www.bandcstaffregister.co.uk/page1349.html

Jack Hill
5th March 2014, 08:07
Hi I am Jack H I was 7th Engineer on Capetown castle at the time of the explosion. I can tell you that it was ordinory hydraulic oil use. Unfortunately 1 air start valve stuck open at same time the madter duplex valve stuck upen on top of that by a million to one chance the oil residue that had been used to clear the air start lines was at an unfortunate explosive level these even5s led to flames reaching the air start reservoir with the tragic consequence.
I was in the unhappy position of having to identify my comrades who had died and attended all the funerals to represent the Company

DURANGO
5th March 2014, 08:41
I was EDH in the Rothesay Castle we lay alongside you in Las Palmas for ten days following the accident I believe we where used to power the Capetown Castles generators very sad time as I remember best regards Dave .

Chris Isaac
5th March 2014, 09:28
More info here:
http://www.bandcstaffregister.co.uk/page1349.html

That link is now incorrect and should now be:
http://www.bandcstaffregister.co.uk/page188.html

Hails for eric pell
8th May 2014, 17:04
Hi all, i've found this fabulous forum via online searching when i was looking up information about Cape Town Castle, my fathers uncle Eric PELL from Hartlepool was aboard this ship at this time. My father recalls him telling him in 1960 when he was only 10 years old and he had " messed up " face or what one would describe as a broken jaw perhaps and wounds. He thinks he worked as a stoker? Reading your many posts about this im wondering if anyone recalls his name or this incident. Eric passed away June 1996 Hartlepool.
thanks Hayley

Douglas Denny
12th July 2014, 01:09
Hi I am Jack H I was 7th Engineer on Capetown castle at the time of the explosion. I can tell you that it was ordinory hydraulic oil use. Unfortunately 1 air start valve stuck open at same time the madter duplex valve stuck upen on top of that by a million to one chance the oil residue that had been used to clear the air start lines was at an unfortunate explosive level these even5s led to flames reaching the air start reservoir with the tragic consequence.
I was in the unhappy position of having to identify my comrades who had died and attended all the funerals to represent the Company

Hello Mr.Hill,

I wonder if you can solve a mystery for me, the origin of which stems from my teens - I am now 66 years old.

I was born and bred in Barrow in Furness and had a friend called Alan Ogden who worked in Vickers Shipbuilders who was keen on motorcycles.
He in turn had a friend who lived in Stavely near Kendal who was a marine engineer, also keen on motorcylces. He had three or four Brough Superior M/cycles and was also keen on Morgan three wheeler cars with Jap engines. I met him a couple of times when my friend and I visited him on my friend's Vincent 1000 Rapide. We went over to Stavely for visits to talk motorcycles/engineering when he came back from his duties aboard ship - though I never knew what shipping line or ships he was on.

I was sorry to hear from Alan that the chap in Stavely had been killed by an explosion in the engine room of his last ship - something to do with "a compressor that exploded" was the story.

By co-incidence I related this story to a chap today (11 July 2014) who is also keen on motorcycles too, and also happens to be an ex-marine engineer (that is why I mentioned the explosion when I said "ships engine rooms must be fairly dangerous places .. I knew of a chap who was killed with an explosion in a ship...") and he came up immediately with the Cape Town Castle disaster - which is of the same time-frame, so must be the one.

I am fairly sure the chap from Stavely must have been one of the casualties. Can you confirm this from the information I have given you please?

I remember I was very sorry for his wife, and he had two or three young children too, and have wondered when it has poped-up in my mind how terrible such a thing must have been for them and if they managed to cope with such a tragedy. The children will be middle-aged themselves now.

I cannot even remember the name of this poor chap - though Peter seems to filter down somehwere in the brain cells.

Douglas Denny. Chichester.

R58484956
13th July 2014, 11:54
Greetings Douglas and welcome to SN. Bon voyage.

Chris Isaac
14th July 2014, 07:22
Douglas
A list of those lost can be found here:
http://www.bandcstaffregister.co.uk/page2342.html