Esso Northumbria

Fairfield
14th May 2004, 14:39
None of these shots are mine-two from a friend who was her Master at one time and one from the mass of old press cuttings in my loft!
The first shows her under construction,then her launch-not the best quality I/m afraid and lastly a weather deck view off the South African coast in her first year of operation.
I think she still holds the record for the largest number of people to attend a launch on Tyneside.

jd0459
9th July 2007, 20:49
Is this the esso tanker that can be seen in the film GET CARTER

JD

fred henderson
9th July 2007, 21:35
I worked at Swan Hunter when she was built. A few things come to mind: -

The final sections of the bow had to be secured in place during a weekend because they were over the design office, which needed to be evacuated during the process.

She could only be launched on one day in March, to co-incide with the Spring tide. The unions naturally thought that this was going to be a bonanza for them, but they were completely outflanked by Tom McIver, the great Swan Hunter MD at the time. The local schools were invited to the yard for the launch and free beer in the Wallsend Boilermakers Club for the night after the launch.

It was the first launch performed by the Princess Royal and she was as excited as anyone.

A certain amount of the south bank of the Tyne had to be excavated to clear the launch path. Tom McIver was not entirely convinced about the calculation and he made the Director responsible stand on the the bank during the launch. The calculation was correct, but the stern wave surged over the bank and produced a very wet Director.

It was a very dank March day and all the launch photographs were rather poor quality.

Although a large number of people came to see the launch, far more turned out to see her depart for Lisbon for dry-docking. Well over 250,000 blocked all roads leading to the river.

She was built during a period of raging inflation and Swan Hunter lost about 20% of the sale price building her. We tried to obtain a contract revision, but got nowhere, but Esso took out their own insurance to cover 40% of the price of the ship in case she was lost before hand-over.

Fred(Thumb)

K urgess
9th July 2007, 21:44
The one seen in "Get Carter" is the Esso Hibernia, JD.
Northumbria's sister ship and just as bad as far as I can make out.
My last trip was on Northumbria and when I left her in Sembawang dry dock, Singapore, they were still trying to put her back together again.

Cheers

BlythSpirit
10th July 2007, 08:00
It was the first launch performed by the Princess Royal and she was as excited as anyone.

Fred - I can remember attending the launch of the Shell Tanker Narica at Swan's on the 25th April 1967, and Princess Anne launched that one.

John Campbell
10th July 2007, 08:36
I worked at Swan Hunter when she was built. A few things come to mind: -

The final sections of the bow had to be secured in place during a weekend because they were over the design office, which needed to be evacuated during the process.

She could only be launched on one day in March, to co-incide with the Spring tide. The unions naturally thought that this was going to be a bonanza for them, but they were completely outflanked by Tom McIver, the great Swan Hunter MD at the time. The local schools were invited to the yard for the launch and free beer in the Wallsend Boilermakers Club for the night after the launch.

It was the first launch performed by the Princess Royal and she was as excited as anyone.

A certain amount of the south bank of the Tyne had to be excavated to clear the launch path. Tom McIver was not entirely convinced about the calculation and he made the Director responsible stand on the the bank during the launch. The calculation was correct, but the stern wave surged over the bank and produced a very wet Director.

It was a very dank March day and all the launch photographs were rather poor quality.

Although a large number of people came to see the launch, far more turned out to see her depart for Lisbon for dry-docking. Well over 250,000 blocked all roads leading to the river.

She was built during a period of raging inflation and Swan Hunter lost about 20% of the sale price building her. We tried to obtain a contract revision, but got nowhere, but Esso took out their own insurance to cover 40% of the price of the ship in case she was lost before hand-over.

Fred(Thumb)

Fred,
I surmise that you were with Swan's when a "sister" vessel the "The Texaco Great Britain" was built. A real beast of a vessel to operate and only did so because we had officers and men who devoted hours of blood ,tears and sweat to get to grips with the bad workmanship and poor design of that vessel.
JC

raybnz
10th July 2007, 08:44
Fred ,my wife, three kids and myself were amongst those thousands who went down to Whitley Bay to see her sail out of the break waters. A very proud day for the locals.

Took us quiet awhile to drive back to Wallsend.

fred henderson
10th July 2007, 16:01
I suspect that all of the VLCCs that were rushed into service at the end of the 1960s were very much the same. Esso UK bought six sister ships. They were Esso Cambria from Verolme, which was scrapped 11 years after she was launched; Scotia from Weser and Caledonia from H&W both of which went after 12 years; Ulidia from H&W, Northumbria and Cambria from Swan’s which all lasted 13 years.

All were built on fixed price contracts at a time of sharply rising material and labour costs. All of the yards lost a lot of money building the ships. The Esso superintendents at Wallsend were particularly difficult. Shipbuilders have a lot of respect for owners’ representatives who are exacting professionals, but in my experience some of the Esso team were often merely obstructive. That is not the best way to obtain a quality ship.

One thing is certain Esso and Texaco got far more than they paid for.

Fred

K urgess
10th July 2007, 16:46
I did two trips on the Northumbria.
The first one started in drydock (Lisnave) and the second one ended in drydock (Sembewang).
I was told by the regular RO, who had been on her since maiden voyage, that they had no idea what they were doing when they built her. They just multiplied all the figures from the next size down that they'd built.
One of the chief stewards on her had been a welder when she was built and I'm surprised he dared to sail. She was falling apart when we went into Sembewang drydock with cracks across the main deck in way of the manifolds and very large "I" beams from under the deck found resting on the ribs at the bottom of a tank.
It was the first time I'd ever seen a special room full of strain recorders to try and find out how she would behave. She was certainly very flexible.

fred henderson
10th July 2007, 21:46
Kris

Are you saying that these problems were unique to Esso Northumbria? If so, why did Esso keep her in service longer than other members of the class? I suggest that most of the early VLCCs were too lightly built and the problems you refer to are due to design deficiencies. This would be well known to Esso, which is why the stress gauges where installed in the ship.

When an owner orders a class of ships from a number of builders, the owner supplies the design and specification for the class. The builder creates production drawings, which are submitted to the owner’s designer for approval. All these documents are also approved by the various regulatory authorities before construction starts. The problem with the leap to VLCCs was that neither the owners’ designers, nor the regulatory authorities, fully understood the structural problems involved.

Each steel plate used in shipbuilding has a quality test certificate issued by an independent authority and each individual plate is tracked to its exact position in a ship. This information is passed to the owner. Esso would know the exact characteristics of the individual cracked plates and it would be clear that the design of the ship was imposing stresses that were beyond the strength of the plates.

Like most VLCC builders, Swan Hunter had a Panel Line. Plates were automatically butt welded along their long edge to form a flat panel then the frames and stiffeners added. The “I” beams referred to were positioned by a machine that supported and rolled in each beam from the side of the line, clamped it into place, then automatically welded it to the panel. Sample X-Rays were taken from every panel to ensure the process was sound. In my view the beams could only have been dislodged by excessive flexing of the structure fracturing the welds.

Neither the Esso pair, nor Texaco Great Britain were the subject of unusual guarantee claims. I left Swan Hunter in 1972, but as far as I am aware there were no subsequent claims from the ships’ owners. I think that if there were a build problem, the American oil companies involved would have raised it!

Fred(Thumb)

John Campbell
10th July 2007, 22:58
Fred,
I have no doubt that Texaco were working to a very tight budget and screwed the yard down. The Texaco Great Britain had many fractures on her shell plating in No 1 Port Tank making more than a few calls at Capetown in ballast to repair. We had trouble with the Horse Shoe doublers in the Ballast tanks. She had a major structural failure in her port permanent ballast tank and had to be towed to the scrap yard on her final voyage. I was Master of her for a few years and once I learned how to handle her she was OK but she was hard work for all concerned. The main problems were design faults especially the Weir Pacific cargo valves and the hydraulic controls. I could go on and on but it was not the ship builders but the system that made the problems. The Bridge Wings had to have support posts built on her maiden voyage - the engines were good I must say and never once gave me a problem apart from the Bridge Control never working.
JC

K urgess
10th July 2007, 23:27
The first time I was on her was 1971, Fred. I joined in Lisbon in June 1971 which would be 2nd annual drydock. As far as I can remember there wasn't an awful lot wrong.
The second trip I did was March to July 1977 and by that time she was a bit of a mess with all the problems I mentioned before. I assume by then that she was out of warranty.
The drydock was a heavy one that included almost total replacement of a lot of capital equipment like radars and other nav gear. Also a very thorough de-sludging.
I have heard that she spent 4 months in Capetown when the rudder failed. I think that may have been after 1977.
I also heard that the Hibernia suffered bad cracking on her maiden voyage.

Cheers
Kris

Steve Hodges
17th July 2007, 12:46
I watched the launching of the"Texaco Great Britain " from the south bank of the Tyne opposite the slip - I was on Tyneside for "workshop training" as part of my BP cadetship. The police moved everyone back from the sea wall by quite a long way as they clearly knew what would happen. They allowed a couple of photographers through the cordon - who clearly didn't know what would happen - and proceeded to set up their gear on the sea wall. The brute was sent on its way and came charging across the river towards us. The stern got bigger and bigger and bigger, and eventually , with the sky almost blotted out, the photographers' nerve broke and they grabbed their kit and ran like f**k! Just as well they did, because the wash that followed very shortly afterwards would have made a mess of them and their equipment.

Anyway, it was a most impressive sight, and probably not one that can be witnessed nowadays. Does anyone, anywhere still launch VLCCs from slipways?

Steve

raybnz
18th July 2007, 07:53
The wife ,sister in law and myself were lucky to get tickets to the launch of the "Texaco Great Britain". Certainly was a awesome sight to see something as big as her take to the water. The drag chains took out power cables added to the atmosphere.

Sometime later the family moved out to NZ and we were able to watch it on tv here.

quietman
3rd October 2007, 20:55
The first time I was on her was 1971, Fred. I joined in Lisbon in June 1971 which would be 2nd annual drydock. As far as I can remember there wasn't an awful lot wrong.
The second trip I did was March to July 1977 and by that time she was a bit of a mess with all the problems I mentioned before. I assume by then that she was out of warranty.
The drydock was a heavy one that included almost total replacement of a lot of capital equipment like radars and other nav gear. Also a very thorough de-sludging.
I have heard that she spent 4 months in Capetown when the rudder failed. I think that may have been after 1977.
I also heard that the Hibernia suffered bad cracking on her maiden voyage.

Cheers
KrisI joined her just out of drydock and she still was not right we limped across the indian ocean due to engine problems picked up parts off the African coast can't remember which port. then we had an oilspill whilst loading which I believe was down to a stuck valve.

captkenn
3rd October 2007, 22:30
None of these shots are mine-two from a friend who was her Master at one time and one from the mass of old press cuttings in my loft!
The first shows her under construction,then her launch-not the best quality I/m afraid and lastly a weather deck view off the South African coast in her first year of operation.
I think she still holds the record for the largest number of people to attend a launch on Tyneside.

I've attached copies which might be a bit clearer - I hope you don't mind

pete the pirate
29th November 2007, 18:14
The Northumbria i seemed to remember was actually the worst in the VLCC fleet, I do remember her limping back down the west coast of Africa with failed steering gear.

The story i heard was the engineering department did a superb job of rigging a up steering gear system involving a 50 gallon oil drum as a header tank to a locally steered jury rigged hydraulic pump system, to get her to a repair port.
She was actually put out as a navigation warning at the time.

The rest are right ,these ships where built with every expense spaired.

Another thing i heard, the Esso Dalriada and Demetia, where built in Malmo Sweden, where the Swedes actually turned around to Esso and said you can cut costs and corners with the accomodation, but not with the basic design and build, which they seemed to be able to do with the UK built ships.

As said, it was a time of strikes and massive inflation, and Esso cost cutting on the build of these ships.

Dalriada and Demetia both came out with twin boilers not single, and did seem to be a lot more reliable.

So i don't think it was bad building on the British yards part, but more bad management, in allowing Esso to make so many cost cutting changes.

I sailed on the Esso Dalriada,Ulidia,Scotia(twice) and Hibernia,(circa 1975-77, as cadet and third mate) and Dalriada was definitely the best of the bunch to me.

Anyone remember A. Holt,( i think it was Alfie), catering officer on the Scotia? he signed me off twice,and it sticks out in my discharge book.

Pete

callpor
2nd December 2007, 10:38
Been following this thread with some interest as I came ashore from the Esso fleet in 1979 and recall the results of a study, done jointly by Esso and Lloyds into the cracking on these ships. As a layman I don't fully remember all the details, but seem to recall that one finding was that the class contruction rules for racking and shear stresses were under calculated by three orders of magnitude. That is to say, the peak stresses in practice were 1000% greater than those assumed by the class rules at the time of construction. Probably explains a lot.

A recent thread inn the same vein "Really good tanker resource site" introuced by Tacho, referred to the new book The Tankship Tromedy by Jack Devanney at the Center for Tankship eXcellence, which can be read/downloaded on line from their website at www.c4tx.org . This polemic book contains the facts and explains a lot about what went on in the construction of these VLCC's and goes on to predict the impending disaster in Tankers. It's a good read for those interested folk safe at home.

Chris Allport

Fairfield
3rd December 2007, 09:09
Did anyone sail with Alan Eadie?

Shieldsman
11th April 2008, 15:04
Did anyone sail with Alan Eadie?
Was the Esso Hibernia also built at Swan Hunters?

bisonphil
11th April 2008, 15:15
Yes she was also built by Swan Hunters,1970 and scrapped
in 1983!
Phil.

Shieldsman
11th April 2008, 15:21
Yes she was also built by Swan Hunters,1970 and scrapped
in 1983!
Phil.
Cheers Phil, that has settled an argument i had with someone who said the Hibernia was built in Belfast by haarland and wolfe, i thought i was right, i was one of the children who were given the day off school to see the Northumbria being launched, i was six at the time, i can still remember it. awesome.

bisonphil
11th April 2008, 15:27
The ESSO ULIDIA was built at Harland and Wolff's 1970.

Phil.

Shieldsman
11th April 2008, 15:30
The ESSO ULIDIA was built at Harland and Wolff's 1970.

I was aware that Swans and H&W were both contracted at the same time to build supertankers, maybe thats my friend got mixed up. Thanks again for your help.

Cheers Paul.

harvey19a
14th April 2008, 10:48
The Northumbria was certainly not a great testament to British shipbuilding. I remember her at Fawley when I was Shift Super there in 81/82 - she had a metre of solidified crude in 2 wings ballast tanks, permanently in place, ensuring that those tanks could never be completely filled or emptied.

Of course, as Chris Allport rightly said, the stresses weren't completely understood at the time, but there has to be an element of penny-pinching when the 2 x Esso and 2 x Texaco were ordered - they needed scrapping relatively quickly, but another of the series, layed up after building as Tyne Pride but eventually renamed Thermidor, was a fine ship which lasted much longer than the Northumbria. I inspected this ship, and it was hard to believe it had come from the same yard as the Northumbria - suggesting to me that you get what you pay for.

I sailed on the Scotia (bit of a wreck - lots of holes in the stripping system for Neville Humble and me to fix); the Demetia (beautiful ship); and the Caledonia (too dreadful for words)!!

quietman
4th May 2008, 17:29
The Northumbria i seemed to remember was actually the worst in the VLCC fleet, I do remember her limping back down the west coast of Africa with failed steering gear.

The story i heard was the engineering department did a superb job of rigging a up steering gear system involving a 50 gallon oil drum as a header tank to a locally steered jury rigged hydraulic pump system, to get her to a repair port.
She was actually put out as a navigation warning at the time.

The rest are right ,these ships where built with every expense spaired.

Another thing i heard, the Esso Dalriada and Demetia, where built in Malmo Sweden, where the Swedes actually turned around to Esso and said you can cut costs and corners with the accomodation, but not with the basic design and build, which they seemed to be able to do with the UK built ships.

As said, it was a time of strikes and massive inflation, and Esso cost cutting on the build of these ships.

Dalriada and Demetia both came out with twin boilers not single, and did seem to be a lot more reliable.

So i don't think it was bad building on the British yards part, but more bad management, in allowing Esso to make so many cost cutting changes.

I sailed on the Esso Dalriada,Ulidia,Scotia(twice) and Hibernia,(circa 1975-77, as cadet and third mate) and Dalriada was definitely the best of the bunch to me.

Anyone remember A. Holt,( i think it was Alfie), catering officer on the Scotia? he signed me off twice,and it sticks out in my discharge book.

Pete

This has just reminded me of my time on this ship, picking up the pilot at Le Havre, starting to weigh anchor when the steering gear failed. I was on the wheel at the time.I remember reporting the helm failing to answer. The skipper practically had a baby. Apparently one of the steering motors failed and started to work in opposition to the other. We took her in the next day on one steering motor after being told not to mention the fact to the pilot.

david young
12th May 2008, 14:53
hi
i was on esso hibernia when she went to scrap,being in the catering department i was not aware of build problems,but had many a good voyage
on her as well as northumbria,demetia,ulidia,scotia,when hibernia was scrapped i remember we could not pay off because a writ had been put on her from the people that bought a previous esso ship and a story of missing anodes
regards

McCloggie
12th May 2008, 16:14
I know very little about these ships or the times in whcih they were built, but seems strange that they had a life of only 10 -13 years.

My company (the company I work for!) ru an ex Maersk D class ship as an FPSO in the North Sea and she has been there for over ten years meeting all UK standards. The current rumour is that after she comes off field this year she has another contract as well.

Other Maersk D class tankers now FPSO include the Curlew which is still going strong.

Is it just because we in the oil game can pay for the Repair/Life Time Extension costs for these ships or were they actually better built to start with?

Other companies building FPSOs almost always use existing ships - even ex-RFAs as I have recently seen.

McC

jimmys
12th May 2008, 19:48
I am like yourself McCloggie I know nothing about these ships. I sailed on the Texaco Great Britain a number of times. I was on her when she was young and I was on her when she went to scrap. She steamed to scrap, a Mate and four engineers steamed her to scrap. I was the lead engineer. Her back was broken like the MSC Napoli. She was not a ship she was a steaming hulk. She could not be towed any further, she was in the Malacca Straights at the back of the Salvageman. We flashed a supertanker off Penang dangling at the back of a tug. The Mate was in the engine room as we cut the blocked shaft free his words were " If you are not out of the engine room I will be there with you". The Mate and every engineer were fully qualified. It was not a ship it was a hulk, a steaming hulk.
We were given the choice about the ship and everyone chose to steam her to scrap. I was the sole dissenter the three engineers wanted to steam I was against, the Mate said "You are steaming I go where you go". We went and made it I dont know how. I still dont know how.
Dont put any off these ships in the North sea they are different.

regards

gyca
8th August 2008, 13:52
I worked at Swan Hunter when she was built. A few things come to mind: -

The final sections of the bow had to be secured in place during a weekend because they were over the design office, which needed to be evacuated during the process.

She could only be launched on one day in March, to co-incide with the Spring tide. The unions naturally thought that this was going to be a bonanza for them, but they were completely outflanked by Tom McIver, the great Swan Hunter MD at the time. The local schools were invited to the yard for the launch and free beer in the Wallsend Boilermakers Club for the night after the launch.

It was the first launch performed by the Princess Royal and she was as excited as anyone.

A certain amount of the south bank of the Tyne had to be excavated to clear the launch path. Tom McIver was not entirely convinced about the calculation and he made the Director responsible stand on the the bank during the launch. The calculation was correct, but the stern wave surged over the bank and produced a very wet Director.

It was a very dank March day and all the launch photographs were rather poor quality.

Although a large number of people came to see the launch, far more turned out to see her depart for Lisbon for dry-docking. Well over 250,000 blocked all roads leading to the river.

She was built during a period of raging inflation and Swan Hunter lost about 20% of the sale price building her. We tried to obtain a contract revision, but got nowhere, but Esso took out their own insurance to cover 40% of the price of the ship in case she was lost before hand-over.

Fred(Thumb)

Fred,
Do you happen to remember who the launch controller was for the Northumbria?

Ghost
10th August 2008, 00:52
Northumbria, Hibernia and Great Britain all broke there backs. How strange.

Harrygrimsby
18th August 2008, 01:19
...re the loss of steering...I was on her at the time and down in the engine room working the 'wankey wankey' as we called the makeshift steering rig was murder...I was also on her when the rudder started to drop off and resulted in a few weeks alongside in Capetown...oh.and the ac never worked...Harry Greenwood AB

Jim Bullough
22nd October 2008, 17:10
I remember seeing her bows on the slip at wallsend when the Tyne tunnel was opened in 1967.I was in the Northumberland Hussars TAVR unit from Blyth and part of the opening ceremony honor guard.Who would have guessed i would be part of the trials crew as a JOS in 69.We left the slip with no ballast,no fuel and no supplys of any kind.The ship had 5 tugs on her,3 on the bows and 2 on the stern,i think there was 2 more standing by.As we went down the tyne i could not belive how many people had turned out to watch her.As we proceded to go thru Tynemouth Jettys,we had 1ft to spare on either side.We anchored offshore and proceeded to take on supplys and fuel/oil for the main engines and generators to get ready for sea trials.

lesliedobson
20th February 2009, 16:15
I did two trips on the Northumbria and don't recall her being any worse than others including the 'D' boats. Think the second trip was shortly after the rudder episope and remeber a photo of her under repair with her stern in the air. Anyone got a copy to post? Got a couple of old Mariners with crew lists in - could try and post these if anyones interested.

BlythSpirit
21st February 2009, 13:18
I remember seeing her bows on the slip at wallsend when the Tyne tunnel was opened in 1967.I was in the Northumberland Hussars TAVR unit from Blyth and part of the opening ceremony honor guard.Who would have guessed i would be part of the trials crew as a JOS in 69.We left the slip with no ballast,no fuel and no supplys of any kind.The ship had 5 tugs on her,3 on the bows and 2 on the stern,i think there was 2 more standing by.As we went down the tyne i could not belive how many people had turned out to watch her.As we proceded to go thru Tynemouth Jettys,we had 1ft to spare on either side.We anchored offshore and proceeded to take on supplys and fuel/oil for the main engines and generators to get ready for sea trials.


Jim,
I think your memory is fading a bit, the distance between the piers at the mouth of the Tyne is 1200 feet - not even the Northumbria was that wide(Jester)

Cutsplice
21st February 2009, 20:06
Agreed BlythSpirit It perhaps looked is if a foot either side was spare as one approached the piers. I think you could turn her short round between the piers, but I would not like to try it.

Jackaroo
16th April 2009, 10:25
In all my years with Esso the Northumbria was the biggest load of crap that was my misfortune to sail on she could be a nightmare to work. All that class had problems but Northumbria took first prize. regards Jim B.

R893891
21st April 2009, 21:02
I never sailed on the Northumbria, but I flew out to Aruba with a Captain Steele, his last ship was the Northumbria. We were joining the Lincoln, this was in the early seventies, I was 3rd mate. Due to a cock up in the travel arrangements we missed the Lincoln and spent a (very enjoyable) week in Aruba. I also served on the Demetia and a couple of the coasters, Brixham and Woolston (not very enjoyable being a deep sea man).

arthurryan
28th April 2009, 17:07
I sailed on Scotis, Ulidia, Caledonia, Northumbria. The Scotia was my favourite, of course she was a continental build, Holland I think. She was one of the first British ships to have satellite navigation on trial. About 12 accurate positions in 24 ours if i remember correctly. I was with Esso from 1969 to 1974, i enjoyed their 3 month trips, i had only done 2 trips before on trampships, a 4 year trip and a 2 year trip !!!!!. The benefit was that i was 3rd. mate at 17 1/2 years] Arthur Ryan

Ahab
7th October 2009, 18:39
Did anyone sail with Alan Eadie?

I did on my first trip as Cadet on the Dalriada Jan 75. He relieved Capt Ian Smith. Never sailed again with him!

bill connolly
9th October 2009, 23:21
The Northumbria cost 4 million pounds to build. When she drydocked in Lisbon after a year, one of Swan Hunter engineers who was involved in the construction, was sent out to help sort out some of the problems. I remember pointing out that three brackets supported the extended spindle from the deck to the vale in the forepeak tank. He said" what do you expect for the money".
A large number of the cargo valve spindles were off line with the deck actuators.
We found that the cargo sea valve chest was only about 3mm thick in places due to corrosion, (anodes were placed in the chests)

Bill Connolly

AJC
11th October 2010, 17:13
I sailed on Scotis, Ulidia, Caledonia, Northumbria. The Scotia was my favourite, of course she was a continental build, Holland I think. She was one of the first British ships to have satellite navigation on trial. About 12 accurate positions in 24 ours if i remember correctly. I was with Esso from 1969 to 1974, i enjoyed their 3 month trips, i had only done 2 trips before on trampships, a 4 year trip and a 2 year trip !!!!!. The benefit was that i was 3rd. mate at 17 1/2 years] Arthur Ryan

Hello Arthur, think I was on the Scotia with you, many moons ago, Ian smith was Master, think the Chief was bob Butchart!
Regards
Alex Chapman

arthurryan
8th February 2011, 14:51
I sailed on the Ulidia as Mate and the Northumbria as !st. Mate but to the best of my recollection, the Esso Hibernia was also built in Belfast as was the Ulidia.

arthurryan
8th February 2011, 14:57
Hello Alex,
Sorry for the delay in responding. I have been away from this site for some time now I thought your name was familiar, and yes Ian Smith was Master on the Scotia during my time there and Bob Butchart was the Chief. I think Jackie Aalen was the mate and we also had a supernumery Mate who later was involved in developing training courses. His name excapes me at the moment , but I do recall he had Esso blood running through his veins.Lovewd my time on the Scotia.
My wife Ann did a trip with me on the Scotia.

arthurryan
8th February 2011, 15:03
I also sailed with Captain Steele on a few occasions. He insisted on taking his own sights regardless of how efficient his navigatring officers were.He usually took to his cabin as soon as we neared the channel after an ocean passage, he was a pleasant guy though. I met him many years later in Bantry where I was Marine Supervisor for Gulf Oil and he was a guest at one of our seminars/Displays . He was then Examiner for Masters & Mates ion Belfast.

NoelK
25th October 2011, 16:58
I’ve just discovered ‘Ship Nostalgia’, and am fascinated by the many posts which are critical of the ‘Northumbria’. I was closely involved with some research in the months before she was launched, and hope the following may be of interest.

A number of posters have hinted at the huge step forward in the size of this vessel, and I would like to emphasise this because everyone at the time was very aware of it! Factoring up the design from smaller tankers may in the end not have proved adequate, but little was available by way of an alternative. Computerised stress analysis was fairly well developed in theory, but was still severely limited by the computing power then available. The most up-to-date computer analyses of ship structures in Britain had only recently been completed by the Admiralty, and the British Ship Research Association (also based in Wallsend) was in close and confidential touch with them. As a result, Britain’s largest engineering consultants were engaged, in effect to try and predict the stresses within all parts of the hull. However, these predictions were restricted to the effects of static forces, ie excluding complex dynamic effects arising from the vessel’s normal environment! Seems strange, but that was where naval science was in the 1960s.

In parallel with the above research, Swan Hunter permitted BSRA to place a huge number of strain gauges at critical locations within the hull and, as noted by one poster, this may well have been the first time a control room was set aside on a vessel for the purpose of monitoring those gauges. I believe that post-launch and pre-commissioning an extensive set of tests were carried out at sea, and that in fact the strain gauge readings corresponded well with the computer predictions. That latter part of the research was published at the time by BSRSA and may now be in the public domain.

The ‘Northumbria’ was designed and built right on the leading-edge of computational analysis, and it is perhaps of interest that, simply onf the grounds of computational scale, the above research had to be done (albeit by an English company) using an American computer at a German university! The progress and outcome of that research were watched closely by the interested parties, which included both European classification societies (Lloyds Register and Det Norske Veritas).

I had the privilege of descending from the deck into the bowels of the hull for a short visit when the strain gauges were being placed, perhaps a rare instance of a ‘civilian’ being allowed close to the workface so to speak. The ‘Northumbria’ and her sisters still stagger when viewing the contemporary photos while under construction, and I can confirm that she was even more impressive when viewed from within!

(Sorry if some of the above uses some non-nautical terminology).

tailgunner
7th September 2012, 00:47
I sailed on the Northumbria......we lost our cadet overboard on trip.......very sad time....but apart from that she was a good ship to me.

Mike Hemmington
18th September 2012, 23:44
I did the maiden voyage on "Big Geordie", Joined her in Lisbon day before being handed over to Esso.
Didn't have too many problems on first voyage apart from Canal Searchlight cover having being ripped away from the hull, it was re-welded back in place,the second problem was having to strip down the Emgy Fire P/P up for'd as seas had gone down the for'd facing exhaust and been too much for the drain to cope with and filled the R/R engine with seawater.
We also had a problem with the main radiant roof boiler which had to be shut down at sea and we used the auxy boiler to sail along making just a few knots.
Another serious incident was after the maiden voyage was the furnace fire we had while in Fawley while flashing up, which melted some of the primary superheater tubes, consequently that superheater had to be by-passed and we sailed without it.
Those were just a few of the problems I can memember on the first 4 months of service of "Big Geordie".
Mike

stewarthird
9th April 2014, 11:47
The Northumbria i seemed to remember was actually the worst in the VLCC fleet, I do remember her limping back down the west coast of Africa with failed steering gear.

The story i heard was the engineering department did a superb job of rigging a up steering gear system involving a 50 gallon oil drum as a header tank to a locally steered jury rigged hydraulic pump system, to get her to a repair port.
She was actually put out as a navigation warning at the time.

The rest are right ,these ships where built with every expense spaired.

Another thing i heard, the Esso Dalriada and Demetia, where built in Malmo Sweden, where the Swedes actually turned around to Esso and said you can cut costs and corners with the accomodation, but not with the basic design and build, which they seemed to be able to do with the UK built ships.

As said, it was a time of strikes and massive inflation, and Esso cost cutting on the build of these ships.

Dalriada and Demetia both came out with twin boilers not single, and did seem to be a lot more reliable.

So i don't think it was bad building on the British yards part, but more bad management, in allowing Esso to make so many cost cutting changes.

I sailed on the Esso Dalriada,Ulidia,Scotia(twice) and Hibernia,(circa 1975-77, as cadet and third mate) and Dalriada was definitely the best of the bunch to me.

Anyone remember A. Holt,( i think it was Alfie), catering officer on the Scotia? he signed me off twice,and it sticks out in my discharge book.

Pete

Sailed on them all except the two D Boats down the Engine Room - they were very Hard Work . The Hibernia had only 3mm of plate left underneath her , not good .
Was it Arthur Holt ??? Dark brylcream hair ? A Gentleman ...

stewarthird
9th April 2014, 11:50
The one seen in "Get Carter" is the Esso Hibernia, JD.
Northumbria's sister ship and just as bad as far as I can make out.
My last trip was on Northumbria and when I left her in Sembawang dry dock, Singapore, they were still trying to put her back together again.

Cheers
She was my First Ship in 79 - she was a Nightmare down below - had a Great Time though and strangely very Proud of her ....

chadburn
9th April 2014, 15:28
All very true Noelk, as the largest vessel ever built by the Yard was launched and Fitted Out the lessons were passed on to the next even larger vessel ever built by the Yard and so on. I liked the space and the facilities that were provided on the V.L. Vessel's having moved across from Tramps. However, in my case witnessing two Hull failures and hearing about the explosions in a very short period of time left me feeling very uncomfortable which led me to make a move away from them.

jmbrent
9th April 2014, 15:47
Hi all, this thread was very interesting to me, I helped to build this vessel and all of the 8 VLCC's built by Swan Hunters. I was a foreman fitter installing all machinery in the engine room including piping systems, the 2 Esso and the Texaco ship had father and son boilers, and huge Lungstom air heaters, the other 5 tankers had 2 boilers and conventional air heaters, if I remember correctly only the Texaco ship had a large diesel generator and 1 turbo alternator all the rest had 2 turbo's. Some of the ships had Coffin turbo feed pumps and some had those wonderful Weirs TWL feed pumps, frightening things in a blackout situation, unable to stop them until a main condensate pump was restarted otherwise they would seize up. The Northumbria spent 2 weeks at anchor off the Tyne doing stability trials prior to sea trials and she did have some problems with her LP turbine which required the replacement of the LP rotor. Esso were being a little awkward just prior to hand over and the director in charge for Swans told them all to leave the ship and come back when they were willing to sign to accept the vessel.
All the criticism seems to be about the poor build and non about the way these vessels were operated, this seems a bit unfair, could the cracking not be the result of the loading and ballasting proceedures, and the solidified sludge must be down to the crew.

Micky

chadburn
9th April 2014, 16:28
JMB, I have to say I was referring to upsizing of vessels by Yards in general rather than the particular vessels already under discussion.

jmbrent
9th April 2014, 16:46
Hi Chadburn, my comments were not aimed at you but comments in general on this thread which appear to be aimed at the ship builder

chadburn
9th April 2014, 19:43
Hi Chadburn, my comments were not aimed at you but comments in general on this thread which appear to be aimed at the ship builder

Having served my time in a Shipyard I still think it is a remarkable turnaround from a load of flat steel plate in the Stockyard to a superb ship on its way down river and off to sea, designed and built in the pre computer age.(Thumb). Mistakes were made but we were at the beginning of a new age in Shipbuilding in both the building and sailing of such large vessel's.