27th January 2011, 21:31
Were the Piako and the Somerset sister ships ?

27th January 2011, 21:38
In short........yes.

27th January 2011, 23:27
any further info ?

Jim S
28th January 2011, 19:56
Hi Govanbill,
Yes Piako and Somserset were sister ships and as far as I know identical - or as identical as two ships from different yards can be. Piako was built by Alexander Stephen at Linthouse in 1962 and Somerset by John Brown at Clydebank in the same year. The pair were both around 10,000 gross tons and 488 feet in length.
An eight cylinder Sulzer engine gave a service speed of 16 knots.
Maybe some of the NZS guys can tell us whether the engine was directly coupled to a single screw or through reduction gearing as some other of the company's ships were.
Piako was sold in 1979 and was renamed Reefer Queen under the Greek flag.
She was broken up at Shanghai in 1984. Somerset was sold the same year and renamed Aegean Sky again under the Greek flag. She was broken up at Chittagong in 1984. Before adopting the P&O colours Piako carried New Zealand Shipping Company colours and Somerset those of Federal.

Tom Haywood
29th January 2011, 09:13
Sailed on the Piako from 27/01/69 to 28/03/70 as 1st Refrig Engineer on the MANZ run (east coast Australia to East Coast USA/Canada. She was my last deep-sea NZSC0 ship although I stayed on the payroll a little longer doing coastal runs and a stint in the RAD dock-office.
The Piako was my first Freon 12 refrigeration system after years of the old Hall Thermotank CO2 units and those engineers who remember a seperate reefer flat. The actual refrigeration machinery was in the engine room. Compressors on a top flat on the port side and evaporator room on the starboard side. She had 450,800 cubic feet refrigerated space which was never utilized to the full while on the MANZ run.
The Piako had a slightly higher refrigeration carrying capacity as the Somerset was registered at 449,100 cfR.
The Piako was my first (and last) air conditioned ship and guess what, my cabin got almost no air/con. She also had a full set of McGregger hatches and that was also the responsibility of the 1st Refrig.Very little nights ashore when working cargo.
She was laid up at Birkenhead 31/01/1979 and then sold to the Blue Ocean Cia Maritime SA, Piraeus and renamed Reefer Queen.
She was a very smart looking unit on the US coast and especially in Montreal.

30th January 2011, 21:20
Both the Piako and Somerset where single screw. Sulzer RD engines directly coupled, no reduction gears or magnetic couplings.

Jim S
30th January 2011, 22:36
Doxfordman - Thanks for the info on the engine type on these ships as an RD type Sulzer. - The figure I saw was eight cylinder - would that be correct?

Jim S

31st January 2011, 20:49
I do believe they were 8 cylinder engines with a 760 mm bore (RD76) and a rotory exhaust valve. The next class of ships, the "T" class had RD 90's which is the next size up at 900 mm bore.

Jim S
31st January 2011, 21:00
Hi again Doxfordman,
Thanks for the further info on the above. The later T-class with 900mm bore engines would obviously be quite speedy.

Jim S

1st February 2011, 19:55
I sailed on Tongariro on the maiden voyage, about 21 kts. hardly anytime to NZ and then a very quick turnround and we were home before we knew we had left UK. start of a change of the way of life at sea.

alex page
3rd February 2011, 21:27
The piako engine broke down a lot during early voyages. I remember being held up in Panama getting cylinder heads metal locked. The Somerset was reputed to be a much better built ship.

Gerald Jackson
14th May 2013, 14:25
Tom Haywood Gooday Tom , did you sail on th Hinakura?
Gerry Jackson

alan dd
14th May 2013, 21:59
Did a coastal on the Piako in 1976, hated it, then got appointed to the Somerset and did almost six months on her from Feb '77, including a dry-dock in Falmouth. Not much fun as a junior engineer, 4 on 8 off at sea with a fourth or third engineer, and 12 on 24 off single handed in port - the latter was a killer as you couldn't get into a sleep pattern, especially as we had this for six weeks while waiting for cargo that voyage in Dunedin. Had one afternoon (4hrs) off during the whole trip.
Manual jacket, piston and lube oil coolers meaning much running about on standbys. All D.C generators/motors accommodation had 100v D.C. - the only A/C power was in the Radio Shack (with a feed to the bars for tape decks hehehe), although they did have air conditioning.
Worst job on nights in port (1800 to 0600) was the one line phrase, prepare no.xx exhaust valve for lifting. In the top of the scavenge by yourself trying to get the effing securing bolts out, emerging several hours later knackered and very dirty. No dead man alarms or checking on you after 2200 when the 'duty engineer' came down to check that you weren't skiving, if anyone had an accident after then he would never be noticed until late morning probably as the night junior had to call his relief and in turn he called all the rest of the dayworkers, and in those days if they didn't get a shake, they didn't get up.

Tom Haywood
23rd June 2013, 02:57
Hi Gerald, only did two coastal runs on the Hinakura.
1st in June 1965
2nd in December 1966