Which Ex Bank Line Ship is this?

Johnnietwocoats
21st September 2010, 04:52
Some of you may know, or may not know, that I was a Skipper (Pilot) on the Vancouver Fire Boat. (Photo later)
During the eighties I saw this ship called the Gulf Hawk and it reminded me of a Bank Line ship.
I think I went on board and discovered that it was.
Can anyone tell me which one it was.
Take care
JTC
(Smoke)

Johnnietwocoats
21st September 2010, 05:00
Here's Yours Truly. Proud Pilot on the old Vancouver Fireboat with my Engineer on the left and one of my crew on the right.
The Boat was sold to San Francisco in 1988 and is now called the Guardian.
One of the best jobs I ever had. Keeping a beautiful Harbour like Vancouver safe.
JTC
PS. I stayed in the Vancouver Fire department until my retirement in 2004.

Alistair Macnab
21st September 2010, 06:45
The "Gulf Hawk" was indeed a Bank Boat, the "Nairnbank" (1966) from Harland and Wolff. She was sold to Gulf Ship Owners of London in 1979. As one of the 15,000 tonners deadweight she was the third unit of the five ship Hazelbank Class.

simomatra
21st September 2010, 07:18
The "Gulf Hawk" was indeed a Bank Boat, the "Nairnbank" (1966) from Harland and Wolff. She was sold to Gulf Ship Owners of London in 1979. As one of the 15,000 tonners deadweight she was the third unit of the five ship Hazelbank Class.

Thank you Johnnie and Alistair

A great memory shot of one of my old ship, sailed on the Nairnbank on its second voyage in 1967. Ian Ian was also there.

Steve Taylor
23rd September 2010, 13:57
I joined the Nairnbank in Port Kelang just before Christmas 1978. She was completing discharge of Queensland sugar, following which we sailed to Singapore Eastern Anchorage for orders. After days idling about and visits from umpteen surveyors and inspectors we eventually learnt that the ship was sold, but prior to hand over to Gulf East there was to be a single voyage charter with a cargo found by the new owners. That's where the rot set in. Most of the crew began to think that would be the end of the road for us with Bank Line (we knew ships were being sold off at an alarming rate), with uncertain futures in seafaring for many of us. The galley telegraph poured out destinations almost by the hour, Japan for the UK, Philippines for the US, Queensland for God knows where, but as 2/O the idea of correcting charts from everywhere to everywhere else didn't sound like a lot of fun, so we just sat around getting more and more bored waiting and waiting.
Sydney for grain was it so we ambled down the Java and Timor Seas at around 10 knots (she seemed to be losing interest like the rest of us, or maybe it was just slow in comparison to charging around everywhere at 18 knots in the Teviotbank the trip before) to park up in Walsh Bay right below The Rocks to wait again. Why was no-one surprised to learn the Sydney wharfies had condemned the holds as unfit for a grain cargo, not even a sniff of extra cash as the degaussing cables were ripped out (a condition of sale to a foreign flag we were told). Four weeks doing nothing right in the heart of Sydney sounds great but a Bank Line salary (as it had become) didn't finance much extravagance, so you can guess it, boredom again.
Thevenard became the loading port, after a typically wild encounter with a 'Southerly Buster' in the Bass St. I remember the autopilot couldn't make the starboard turn so with a secunny on the wheel, we eventually picked a whole in the wind after about three hours of leeway towards Tasmania, to make the new course (should have filled the deep tank in Sydney, but the mate wanted it kept clean and dry). So a 24hour load had us bound for - Basrah, a four week crawl up the Indian Ocean.
The crowd's morale was rock bottom, food, water and beer was low and plummeted much further when we were informed we would be weeks at anchor off the Shatt al Arab. Old Man Bill MacDonald from Dundee organised a deck bbq to lift spirits (if Chief Jimmy Todd had not already drunk them all) as well as an apology for us litening to him practising the bagpipes, but the excesses led to a scrap among the engineers which was only stopped by 3/O Pete Cosgrove running down the boat deck shouting 'we're dragging'.
Run ashore in Basrah? not advisable since the Iraqi tempers were still high after their latest arguments with their neighbours across the river so the beer became rationed to last us until pay off in Karachi after dry dock. The final days saw us with green funnel, Gulf Hawk being painted stem and stern and I would advise against moaning about Bank Line food until you try Gulf East fayre!
So ended my final and by far worst trip with Bank Line, five and a half months (shortest also by far) of boredom and misery, one cargo carried, crew at each others throats heading for the scrapheap after the VC10 flight home. I'd hate to think of the excess baggage charges for the best duck canvas sea bags stuffed full of Bank Line towels, tools, first aid gear, nav gear, bar optics etc etc (funny how the hand over inventories for deck and engine room were pretty short).

Chris Isaac
23rd September 2010, 14:06
Great story Steve, but I bet you would do it all over again!

mwebster56
23rd September 2010, 17:04
This is very interesting Steve.
I sailed on the Nairnbank twice (9 months & 8 months trips) paying off the last time in Newport- December 1976.
I have requested details of the ship and what happened to her on occasions but this is the most comprehensive information I have seen.
In Dec 1976 Bank Line had ~ 50 ships. Didn't take long after I left for the rot to set in.
If you look in the gallery there is a photo I posted of the ship (plus the Hazelbank) at Salisbury Island, Durban, and she looked in a lot better nick than the pictured Gulf Hawk. Pretty sad seeing pictures like this really.
Mike

Johnnietwocoats
23rd September 2010, 18:58
When I boarded her from the Vancouver Fireboat the crew started to scuttle about everywhere.
They thought I was going to do a fire inspection.
Needless to say she was in rough shape but I was only interested in finding out if she was an ex Bank Line ship.
I think we were invited to stay for lunch but I declined.

JTC

(Smoke)

Steve Taylor
24th September 2010, 11:33
Great story Steve, but I bet you would do it all over again!

Chris

All the other Bank Line trips without a doubt, but Nairnbank I don't think so. Five months with a crowd expecting the sack, doing almost nothing waiting to get off, led to an unholy atmosphere always ready to boil over, which it often did. The mate became a recluse in his cabin painting birds (RSPB afficionado), C/E Jimmy Todd was well down the path of drinking himself to death (he succeeded some time later - I kept in touch with him since we sailed together on Teviotbank also and looked him up in Aberdour to be told the drink had got him). A couple of the engineers were always up for a scrap after a beer so the bar became a place to avoid, most just drinking in their cabin. Just goes to show what happens when idleness and uncertainty for the future get mixed. By the way I was getting married after the trip ended so postponing it three times whilst waiting for pay off was not going down too well at home either. Definitely the one trip to forget.
Shirrabank, Teviotbank - best ships Bank Line had, fast, big accommodation, no copra, easy to work - different world.

Steve

mwebster56
25th September 2010, 19:50
Chris

All the other Bank Line trips without a doubt, but Nairnbank I don't think so. Five months with a crowd expecting the sack, doing almost nothing waiting to get off, led to an unholy atmosphere always ready to boil over, which it often did. The mate became a recluse in his cabin painting birds (RSPB afficionado), C/E Jimmy Todd was well down the path of drinking himself to death (he succeeded some time later - I kept in touch with him since we sailed together on Teviotbank also and looked him up in Aberdour to be told the drink had got him). A couple of the engineers were always up for a scrap after a beer so the bar became a place to avoid, most just drinking in their cabin. Just goes to show what happens when idleness and uncertainty for the future get mixed. By the way I was getting married after the trip ended so postponing it three times whilst waiting for pay off was not going down too well at home either. Definitely the one trip to forget.
Shirrabank, Teviotbank - best ships Bank Line had, fast, big accommodation, no copra, easy to work - different world.

Steve


Steve
I cannot agree with you about the Shirrabank. I did a 5 month trip down the West African coast on the ship and it was a nightmare. I couldnt wait to get off it. The engine room vent system was the same spec as that for the 4 cyl LB Doxford ships despite the fact that the J Type in the Shirra was nearly twice the bhp. I spent my sea watches staggering round the engine room trying to stop myself from flaking out. ( even saying all that, the Shirrabank was a lot better than the Sprucebank, so musnt grumble!)

The AC system for the accomodation was good though and the 4ths cabin was big and comfortable. The trips I did on the Nairn were the best. Reliable machinery, reasonable accomodation, happy crews. It was fantastic and I would definitely do it all again if I was transported back in time to 1974.
I understand your point though, it sounds like a preview of Hades to me.
All the best
Mike

Johnnietwocoats
25th September 2010, 22:29
Steve
I cannot agree with you about the Shirrabank. I did a 5 month trip down the West African coast on the ship and it was a nightmare. I couldnt wait to get off it. The engine room vent system was the same spec as that for the 4 cyl LB Doxford ships despite the fact that the J Type in the Shirra was nearly twice the bhp. I spent my sea watches staggering round the engine room trying to stop myself from flaking out. ( even saying all that, the Shirrabank was a lot better than the Sprucebank, so musnt grumble!)

The AC system for the accomodation was good though and the 4ths cabin was big and comfortable. The trips I did on the Nairn were the best. Reliable machinery, reasonable accomodation, happy crews. It was fantastic and I would definitely do it all again if I was transported back in time to 1974.
I understand your point though, it sounds like a preview of Hades to me.
All the best
Mike

You had AC?

(Smoke)

John Dryden
25th September 2010, 23:26
It was always cool on the bridge of the Shirrabank flying along at 21 knots!

mwebster56
27th September 2010, 16:02
You had AC?

(Smoke)

Yes we did.
All the Bank boats I was on had AC and it was the best maintained kit on the ship.

kwg
11th July 2011, 10:10
A old thread I know...some might not have looked at this site and the forum "British Companies", Andrew Weir, some very nice pics....

http://www.oceaniashippingforum.com/index.php

Alan Rawlinson
12th July 2011, 12:48
Would be nice to see a gallery of ex Bank Line ships in their new livery. The only one I know is the Tamamina ( ex Crestbank ) pictured here in the Fal where she was laid up for something like 8 years. Owned by the JCB boss and sold on in the last 2 years when she traded cement to the Gulf.

Any other interesting snaps and stories of ex Bankboats?

Waighty
12th July 2011, 14:20
This is very interesting Steve.
I sailed on the Nairnbank twice (9 months & 8 months trips) paying off the last time in Newport- December 1976.
I have requested details of the ship and what happened to her on occasions but this is the most comprehensive information I have seen.
In Dec 1976 Bank Line had ~ 50 ships. Didn't take long after I left for the rot to set in.
If you look in the gallery there is a photo I posted of the ship (plus the Hazelbank) at Salisbury Island, Durban, and she looked in a lot better nick than the pictured Gulf Hawk. Pretty sad seeing pictures like this really.
Mike

I joined Nairnbank in Newport in December 1976 - my first ship as Mate - only coastwise though, I had to go back to college to complete Masters Ticket. Frank Abel was the skipper and a great fund of anecdotes. We lay in Newport for a couple of days unable to work cargo because of heavy snow; it took the agent a while to get down to the ship as he was fighting through 4 to 5 feet of the stuff. I left her in Rotterdam a month or so later.