Bank Line Ship Design and Layout....

Alistair Macnab
16th March 2011, 20:49
Charlie Stitt has suggested we start a new thread with the above heading. Here goes!

In retrospective thinking, Bank Boats were pretty standard general purpose tween-deckers. This was necessary for the frequent bulk cargo tramp voyages that were necessary to connect up the liner services. Their deadweight, draft and cargo gear were entirely in conformance with tramp ship requirements of the day and eventually a Bank Boat was the typical requirement of most bulk cargo shippers by virtue of their number, availability and Baltic Exchange contacts.

But the liner attributes that were endowed to some of the ship units were significant. The principal feature was the six deeptanks forward and aft of the engine room, four forward (two over two) and two aft. These were, of course dictated by the "Copra Trade" carrying coconut and latterly palm oil from the Pacific Islands to Northern Europe. These tanks were also used for the outbound U.S. Gulf -Australia and U.S. Gulf New Zealand services with lube oils and lubeoil additives as well as certain vegetable oils and chemicals with flashpoints over 150 degrees. This feature became steady business in Houston and resulted in may nighttime moves to an oil berth and back again to work generals by morning!

Another feature was the provision of reefer spaces. This started in post WW11 years on the Compass Point class from Doxford. I never knew what the idea was or what cargo was in mind but the same features were extended to the "Beaverbank Class from Harland's. Someone once told me it was originally available for shellac from Calcutta to Africa and South America.

As for the poops. These were useful spaces for general cargo but why they were on some ships and not on others I have no idea. Again someone once mentioned that the poops and corresponding small hatch openings were a defense feature required on a percentage of British ships to enable a gun to be mounted in times of war. Bank Line, having a large fleet, obviously came under this requirement more than other operators. Do you remember that inside the poop hatch was a strong room for cargo?

As for the orlop decks in some ships. This was a useful measure when lower holds became too deep for general cargo.

Then there's the story of girder derricks. Other operators had girder derricks too, but Bank Line became noticable post-war by having so many ships that survived into the 50s and 60s with these superannuated fitments. I believe the last class of Bank Boat to be so fitted was the Eskbank Class from Doxford in 1937. So it wasn't just a Harland's quirk!

I'll keep this thread going if there's any reaction and clarification to Bank Line's unique ship features!

Duncan112
16th March 2011, 20:53
The third Hawse pipe to ease securing to a buoy and make hanging off the anchor a doddle.

Alistair Macnab
16th March 2011, 21:09
Good one, George/Duncan!
The other part of that equation was the chain leads aft for the Calcutta bore tides. I was always jealous of those ships (B.I.) that had after hawsepipes. The third hawspipe on the port bow was really designed for single point buoy mooring but as you say, it was most appreciated when called into use.

jimthehat
17th March 2011, 01:13
Good one, George/Duncan!
The other part of that equation was the chain leads aft for the Calcutta bore tides. I was always jealous of those ships (B.I.) that had after hawsepipes. The third hawspipe on the port bow was really designed for single point buoy mooring but as you say, it was most appreciated when called into use.

The isipingo/Inchanga had reefer spaces in no4 T/d,but in the two years i was on the Isipingo they were mainly used for the stowage of gunnies and jute.

jim

Alan Rawlinson
17th March 2011, 10:36
The isipingo/Inchanga had reefer spaces in no4 T/d,but in the two years i was on the Isipingo they were mainly used for the stowage of gunnies and jute.

jim

We used the reefer space for potatoes and for spices, cinnamon etc and can remember the machinery being used - shivering during tallying ops etc...

Re Bank Line ship design. I always assumed that the basic, bog standard, no frills design, was down to economy and sensible money management. The winches on the main deck always caused comment when other shipping lines with newer ships had them on mast houses, but eventually it changed. Wasn't it all down to the individuals with the final word, and their ingrained prejudices?

Over the years involved in various trades and services at all levels, I have come to the conclusion that simple is best, and the more ' bells and whistles ' are added to the design, the less suitable the ship in service and more importantly in the second hand tonnage market. You only have to look at the success of the Liberties and the SD14's. to see the truth of this statement.

The evidence is before us. On trades where specialised equipment and design is called for, i.e. a dedicated service with rock solid guaranteed traffic - yes, fine. For jack of all trades work, such as that the Bank Line engaged in - go for solid, dependable, simple, plain, bog standard kit that is always in demand.

pete
17th March 2011, 11:28
With reference to the 3rd Hawse Pipe I have an interesting little tale to tell. They were very useful for single point moorings and also for answering questions in Mates Orals. Sitting for same in London Dock Street I have reason to believe that the Examiner was himself being examined for his competence to be an Examiner. Half way through the Oral he asked "How do you hang off an Anchor?" I recited the way I had done it whilst mooring with Bank Line and the examiner was looking more and more perplexed. Having completed my answer he said "And just where did this 3rd Hawse come from?" A voice from behind me said "This man sails with the Bank Line!". The voice belonged to Capt. W.Piggott, Chief Examiner, Masters and Mates, London. I passed. .......pete

Joe C
17th March 2011, 15:15
We used the reefer space for potatoes and for spices, cinnamon etc and can remember the machinery being used - shivering during tallying ops etc...

Re Bank Line ship design. I always assumed that the basic, bog standard, no frills design, was down to economy and sensible money management. The winches on the main deck always caused comment when other shipping lines with newer ships had them on mast houses, but eventually it changed. Wasn't it all down to the individuals with the final word, and their ingrained prejudices?

Over the years involved in various trades and services at all levels, I have come to the conclusion that simple is best, and the more ' bells and whistles ' are added to the design, the less suitable the ship in service and more importantly in the second hand tonnage market. You only have to look at the success of the Liberties and the SD14's. to see the truth of this statement.

The evidence is before us. On trades where specialised equipment and design is called for, i.e. a dedicated service with rock solid guaranteed traffic - yes, fine. For jack of all trades work, such as that the Bank Line engaged in - go for solid, dependable, simple, plain, bog standard kit that is always in demand.

Surely the pre-war twin screw diesels were anything but "bog standard".I recall we used to surprise a few with our turn of speed when, for example leaving Panama on the Irisbank among other rather more modern looking ships.Being straight stemmed and counter sterned, it wasn't expected of us

Alan Rawlinson
17th March 2011, 16:56
Surely the pre-war twin screw diesels were anything but "bog standard".I recall we used to surprise a few with our turn of speed when, for example leaving Panama on the Irisbank among other rather more modern looking ships.Being straight stemmed and counter sterned, it wasn't expected of us

Joe,

The Ford Fiesta's of the shipping world, but with twin screws!

On reflection and sticking to the motor analogy - maybe the Bank Line ships were more like TOYOTA trucks or DODGE ' RAM's.?

jimthehat
18th March 2011, 01:03
Joe,

The Ford Fiesta's of the shipping world, but with twin screws!

On reflection and sticking to the motor analogy - maybe the Bank Line ships were more like TOYOTA trucks or DODGE ' RAM's.?
Clydebank,built 1924,twin screw ,10knots if we were lucky,in two years nwver remember having to bother with the overtaking rule,no running water mid ships ,apps having to carry fw from the aft peak every morning,I dont have the imagination to describe a ship like that ,but in my view the best and happiest ship in the fleet.,Wilkie Rutherford as mate and trader Holland as master.

jim

david harrod
19th March 2011, 09:22
We used the reefer space for potatoes and for spices, cinnamon etc and can remember the machinery being used - shivering during tallying ops etc...

Re Bank Line ship design. I always assumed that the basic, bog standard, no frills design, was down to economy and sensible money management. The winches on the main deck always caused comment when other shipping lines with newer ships had them on mast houses, but eventually it changed. Wasn't it all down to the individuals with the final word, and their ingrained prejudices?

Over the years involved in various trades and services at all levels, I have come to the conclusion that simple is best, and the more ' bells and whistles ' are added to the design, the less suitable the ship in service and more importantly in the second hand tonnage market. You only have to look at the success of the Liberties and the SD14's. to see the truth of this statement.

The evidence is before us. On trades where specialised equipment and design is called for, i.e. a dedicated service with rock solid guaranteed traffic - yes, fine. For jack of all trades work, such as that the Bank Line engaged in - go for solid, dependable, simple, plain, bog standard kit that is always in demand.

I could never understand why the prime space in the ship for stowage - midships in the parallel middle body , perfect for pallets etc- was taken up with deep tanks...liquids can go anywhere...

Alistair Macnab
19th March 2011, 17:09
The point about deeptanks located in the best 'square' space aboard Bank Boats is a good one. At first the thought was that they would be adjacent to the engine room for temperature and steam heating connections but by the time the Corabank Class came out, it was realized that this was unnecessary as witness No1 DT in the forward part of No.1 hold (a sow of a place to stow generals and a good use of awkward space) and Nos 2 and 3 DTs at the forward end of No,2 hold but essentially under the coaming and clear of 'drop in' cargo stow. Of course, this latter space was also the tank space for water ballast and when you think about it, the deeptanks for cargo were just an extension of their original use as ballast tanks for light ship passages.

Remember: the deeptanks were also used for the stowage of general cargo on the outwards Gulf- A-NZ services. Those of you who had the jobs of laying/connecting or uncoupling/lifting of heating coils will remember somewhat ruefully, the dual role of Bank Line deeptanks as convertible cargo spaces! Even on the Corabank Class, it was envisioned that the four of the six deeptanks in No,5 hold would be convertible for dry/liquid cargo. Thankfully, this was never put to the test in the U.S. Gulf as these spaces were used for liquids or left empty.

Waighty
25th March 2011, 12:40
I remember on Moraybank (Dominic Martin, Master)when we were West bound from Panama and about three days from Suva our first outward port. We received a message from Sydney office originating from Suva agents to advise us that there was a cargo of "frozen fuit juice" for UK. Given that No5 was mostly full of general as were the freezer lockers we had our work cut out in the time scale available. Everyone turned to to shift cargo around to clear a workable space in No5 TD, then to empty out the freezer lockers that were full of cartons and boxes of assorted general, then to clean said lockers whil the 2nd Engr and his team sorted out the firdge process.

On arrival in Suva all was ready and the lockers were down to -23 degrees if memory serves. When Dominic mention this to the agent he received a blank look. Tracking down and tracing the original message in the Suva office eventually revealed that the original text had said "Passion fruit juice" in cartons!!!!!

jimthehat
26th March 2011, 01:49
Clydebank,built 1924,twin screw ,10knots if we were lucky,in two years nwver remember having to bother with the overtaking rule,no running water mid ships ,apps having to carry fw from the aft peak every morning,I dont have the imagination to describe a ship like that ,but in my view the best and happiest ship in the fleet.,Wilkie Rutherford as mate and trader Holland as master.

jim

Slightly of course with this one ,but remember one trip bound NZ from panama we received a message to divert to raratonga to pich up a deck load of tomatoes forAukland,arrived at about 0800 cargo came out in barges and loaded onto nos 345 hatches,often wondered if the toms had to be washed as i imagine that they would have picked up a fair amount of salt on th trip.

jim

Alan Rawlinson
26th March 2011, 11:19
Irisbank in the 50's

en route down to Fremantle to load grain in bulk...

Someone ( presumably in Head Office) decided that we could erect shifting boards in the holds prior to arrival to save time and money. ( Can't recall where the timber came from, but the 2/0 3/0 apps, and chippy swung around the holds in the middle of the Indian Ocean doing a passable job, working from a plan) The Master ( Palmer) was a very reticent type so we never got the story how this came to be ordained, but we just got on with it.

On arrival we proudly opened up the holds to show off our handiwork of DIY shifting boards - and caused a major row. The local shipwrights immediately started strike action and worse, and we had to dismantle our creation. Hard to prove, but the local surveyor sprang a surprise inspection on our wooden lifeboats and condemned one, ordering repairs on the others. The outcome - we had a few weeks in lay up , close to the beach, whilst a new boat was shipped in, and the shipwrights had plenty of work on the boats...

Everyone was happy, except of course, the poor soul who came up with the original idea.

Alistair Macnab
26th March 2011, 18:42
The Bank Line White Ships were renownded for many things including the elegant angle of the raked masts. Whilst in Calcutta towards the end of the "Inchanga"s career the loading of gunnies into No.5 Hatch caused some anxiety as the more the winch driver reeled in the runner, the more the gunnies on the end of the union purchase dropped down towards the deck between the ship's rail and the hatch coaming where the licentious measurers were waiting with their scales and yardsticks..

Reason was soon apparent. The mast was coming down. Having bent at about ten feet above the deck, as the winch drivers reeled in the runners, the table top was coming down, not fast, but nevertheless in a steady fold over that eventually resulted in the entire mast, mast table and cargo gear coming to rest across No.5 Hatch.

Pandemonium!

But nobody was hurt as the collapse was so slow even as it was so complete.

Looking back, it was quickly discerned that the galley chimney that was adjacent to the mainmast had been issuing smoke and other corrosive stuff for many years and had weakened the mast to where it eventually folded. Outcome was that loading was suspended because there was no longer any ship's cargo gear to work Hatches Nos.4 and 5.

Repairs were carried out involving the cropping of the two parts of the mast and sleeving them together but in the mean time, looking at "Inchanga with just the single raked foremast and the corresponding rake to the funnel she looked like a different ship and quite attractive with no sign of top hamper aft of the funnel. Took 20 years off her!

Alistair Macnab
16th April 2011, 19:20
When I joined in new "Fleetbank" in 1953 at Belfast where she was fitting out, I knew nothing about ship construction and tonnage measurements. One of the features I marveled at, however, was the fact that in the upper tween deck (the actual shelter deck), you could walk all the way forward from the engine casing up to the collision bulkhead without encountering a bulkhead. True, there was the reefer machinery casing between hatches two and three but that was inboard and one could walk passed this structure on both sides.

I suppose "Fleetbank" was a true 'open shelter decker' and I suppose that "Beaverbank" and "Nessbank" built in the same year from the same yard was built in the same way.

Interesting enough, when we got to Calcutta, a steel bulkhead was constructed between Hatches one and two (and between Hatches five and six aft) which were called 'fire bulkheads'. They still had fitted wooden shifting boards in channels port and starboard and I often wondered whether the original openness of the upper tween deck was an original mistake in the ship's design?

The "Cedarbank" of the same class coming out from the shipyard two years' later presumably had these additional bulkheads fitted; the "Laganbank", the last of the class, certainly had because I sailed on her from Belfast.

Alan Rawlinson
17th April 2011, 08:57
When I joined in new "Fleetbank" in 1953 at Belfast where she was fitting out, I knew nothing about ship construction and tonnage measurements. One of the features I marveled at, however, was the fact that in the upper tween deck (the actual shelter deck), you could walk all the way forward from the engine casing up to the collision bulkhead without encountering a bulkhead. True, there was the reefer machinery casing between hatches two and three but that was inboard and one could walk passed this structure on both sides.

I suppose "Fleetbank" was a true 'open shelter decker' and I suppose that "Beaverbank" and "Nessbank" built in the same year from the same yard was built in the same way.

Interesting enough, when we got to Calcutta, a steel bulkhead was constructed between Hatches one and two (and between Hatches five and six aft) which were called 'fire bulkheads'. They still had fitted wooden shifting boards in channels port and starboard and I often wondered whether the original openness of the upper tween deck was an original mistake in the ship's design?

The "Cedarbank" of the same class coming out from the shipyard two years' later presumably had these additional bulkheads fitted; the "Laganbank", the last of the class, certainly had because I sailed on her from Belfast.

Can't recall which vessels, but it was often possible to walk, not only to the ER casing but around it and continue on past it to the bulkhead at the after side of No 5 hatch, butting up the poop bulkhead. Maybe the old Ernebank? I seem to remember you could do this in the Liberty ships - anyone know for sure?

Alistair Macnab
9th May 2011, 19:15
Bank Line always had a couple of ships that were basically similar to other contemporary ships of the fleet but had a higher-powered engine.
The "Foylebank" and "Laganbank" of 1930 from Harland's in Belfast were two ships that were altogether faster than their near sisters, the "Irisbank", "Lossiebank", "Taybank" and "Tweedbank" also from Belfast in 1930 but from Workman Clark's.
All six were to strengthen the American and Indian Line and the American and Oriental Line, the "Round the World" service to compete with Silver, Prince and Chambers Lines.

Also, in 1957, the "Northbank" from Doxford's was fully a knot and a half faster than her sisters and in 1966/1967, Doxford's produced the faster "Shirrabank" and "Teviotbank" which stood out from their sisters as far as engine power and speed were concerned.

Do you think these higher-powered ships were Admiralty directed? Or were they just fitted with these special oil engines because the engine builders had them already built and were looking for hulls to put them in?

I understand that in a large fleet of ships like Bank Line, there had to have been some contribution to national defense and I wonder if a certain number of ships of a higher speed was one of the requirements? I have asked SN members for some insight into the provision of raised poops with a small hatch serving only tween deck space including a strong room whether this was also a defense feature that was an Admiralty requirement as a percentage of newbuilds?

So far, I have not received any enlightenment regarding specific defense feature requirements on newbuilds except the built-in degaussing system which used to run all the way around the ship's interior at tween deck level. When was this discontinued?

Duncan112
9th May 2011, 20:34
Can't help you with the date of last degaussing installation except Meadowbank & Clyderbank had it (built 1974) and Troutbank did not.

China hand
10th May 2011, 19:54
We pulled the wires out of one in one of my last trips as mate. I'm checking through my records to see which ship it was. It wasn't very scientific, lots of brute force and ignorance. Someone made a load of money, I'm sure.

IBlenkinsopp
11th May 2011, 08:55
Use windlass to remove wires 1980, sold for scrap in Sunderland, for many beer tokens

Waighty
29th May 2011, 20:04
I never grapsed the logic of deep tanks either side of the shaft tunnel on the Cora class. They were an absolute sod to clean and devilish hard to climb around in. That said B.L. made their money out of them so I guess the rationale was there!

Having served in Ben Line (palm oil and/or latex) as a cadet where, on the later vessels, the tanks were stainless steel and all frames, longitudnals, brackets etc. were on the outside of the tanks, B.L. was a shock to the system. Cleaning stainless steel was a doddle compared with the caustic soda in old evaporated milk tins at various vertical intervals! Still life was much easier on the Cora class with coated tanks and Butterworth/Gamlen machine wash systems, unless of course they parted company with the pipelines!

Ben Line of course, on fixed runs, employed "Wong's Virgins" in Singapore who did the tank cleaning by hand after rigging scaffolding and platforms inside the tanks. After discharge in Europe however, and if the tanks were to be used for outward cargo, it was down to the cadets and maybe some crew if you were lucky.

Alistair Macnab
4th June 2011, 17:16
The deeptanks on either side of the shaft tunnel on the Corabank Class were there because there was nothing else that was possible in this space. With two tanks on top of two tanks on top of two tanks for six deeptanks in all, the late Captain Gale wanted to give the outwards Gulf loading the facility of several tank capabilities and capacities for parcel bulk liquids. He even provided openings in the top four for loading non-liquid cargo if required but we always made sure that this was never put to the test and the tank lids remained firmly bolted down! Remember, parcel tankers were not common at the time these ships were conceived and smaller bulk liquids parcels to Australia were always being offered at good freight rates. It became one of the exclusive Bank Line service marks to be able to carry these although as time went on and bulk liquids became more varied, our standard tank coatings were not always suitable. That's why No.1 deeptank was only uncoated mild steel and could handle certain chemicals that the other ten tanks could not. At one time we talked about making one of Nos 4 or 5 deeptanks into a speciality tank but I don't think anything came of this.

conall.lavery
20th June 2011, 22:42
I sailed on the Shirrabank in in 1978. The radio shack was in the front of the funnel and was hot as hell. I was told that when they designed the ship they forgot to put in the radio shack and had to retrofit it into the funnel. I don't know if that is true but I thought it was a good story.

John Dryden
20th June 2011, 23:00
I was in Bank Line too,and the memory of that shack lives on.I was on the Shirrabank a few years before you but I do recall even the door was hot and the sparkie was sort of perched above when I opened it and not much room in there.If I am correct the sparkie I sailed with was from County Clare and went by the name of Liam Bluett,a real good guy.

conall.lavery
20th June 2011, 23:04
As a sparkie we never got to meet each other unless we went to college together. I can't really remember the crew from my trip but if I saw a crew list I would remember them. Is it possible to get a crew list from somewhere?

Alistair Macnab
28th August 2011, 20:38
Here's one for the White Ship brigade.
Do you remember the extra shipside gangway that went from the main deck to the promenade deck externally located just abaft the main accommodation ladder? It was used, as I remember, to accommodate first class passengers boarding to access the bureau and their berth assignment directly without passing through the first class dining room and ascending the grand staircase.

David E
28th August 2011, 23:59
Here's one for the White Ship brigade.
Do you remember the extra shipside gangway that went from the main deck to the promenade deck externally located just abaft the main accommodation ladder? It was used, as I remember, to accommodate first class passengers boarding to access the bureau and their berth assignment directly without passing through the first class dining room and ascending the grand staircase.

Yes-Remember it well. In '50-'52, Durban was the only port where it was rigged, usually when there were a large number of first class passengers. A question, were any modifications carried out when passenger numbers reduced to twelve or were the cabins just left empty?

David E

Alistair Macnab
29th August 2011, 18:13
When the Inchanga's passenger certificate was withdrawn, there was no change in the accommodations. We rattled around with all these lovely staterooms vacant and still lived in the third mate's aft-facing cabin which was merely an extension of the alleyway.

stores
29th August 2011, 19:38
Never having sailed on a Bankboat , to my dismay, can you explain what GUNNIES, are, ? also to me Bankboats seemed to have a unique peofile, very low, looked sturdy ships.

John Dryden
29th August 2011, 20:02
Gunny sacks made from jute,stores.

stores
29th August 2011, 20:12
Gunny sacks made from jute,stores.

THANKS FOR THAT.

Alistair Macnab
1st September 2011, 17:47
Not talking about sloppy flag etiquette here but the installation of an ensign gaff on the mainmast. Bank Boats didn't come from the builders yards with one but several ships were noted and photographed with a gaff proudly flying the red ensign when under way.

On one of the "Beaverbank" Class, either the "Lagan" or the "Fleet" we fixed up our own gaff by the simple expedient of using one of the light booms which were secured to the lower part of the mast and setting it into one of the removable "Manchester" bolt holes of the topmast and fitting it out with a topping span, fixed stays and a signal hallyard.

It looked great and we always made a point of transferring the ensign from gaff to stern when the first line went ashore. My ship's reputations for bullsh1t was amply earned! We even did a five minute pennant at the Hooghly Moorings at colours every morning. Nearby Bank Boats were predictably cynical and no doubt scathing in their comments!!

Alan Rawlinson
1st September 2011, 19:03
Not talking about sloppy flag etiquette here but the installation of an ensign gaff on the mainmast. Bank Boats didn't come from the builders yards with one but several ships were noted and photographed with a gaff proudly flying the red ensign when under way.

On one of the "Beaverbank" Class, either the "Lagan" or the "Fleet" we fixed up our own gaff by the simple expedient of using one of the light booms which were secured to the lower part of the mast and setting it into one of the removable "Manchester" bolt holes of the topmast and fitting it out with a topping span, fixed stays and a signal hallyard.

It looked great and we always made a point of transferring the ensign from gaff to stern when the first line went ashore. My ship's reputations for bullsh1t was amply earned! We even did a five minute pennant at the Hooghly Moorings at colours every morning. Nearby Bank Boats were predictably cynical and no doubt scathing in their comments!!

Interesting, Alaistair.... I am with you on the flag etiquette business. Not sure what a ' five minute pennant ' is, though?

Several times during my Bank Line spell, I ran across ' issues ' over flags. Dropping a national flag on the deck during lowering there was always a 50/50 chance for an argy bargy with local sensitivities. Then there was the time ( related elsewhere on these threads) in Cuba when we were all arrested and taken ashore from an R and R lifeboat that was flying the red ensign with no courtesy flag displayed. The second mate in charge ( Rule Brittannia, and all that) could have defused the situation by taking down the ensign, but predictably refused.

On another tack, I have always been impressed and in awe almost at the U.S.A use of the stars and stripes in offices and flown proudly at all public events. In Texas, at the rodeo I attended near you, the lights were lowered and a blonde girl on horseback, with hair streaming behind her, galloped round the ring with the lights lowered and with a spotlight on the stars and stripes she was waving. Very moving and unforgettable.

Alistair Macnab
5th October 2011, 17:24
Here's another White Ship feature to recall and perhaps comment upon:
The four lifeboats on the boat deck were sitting on sliding chocks that could be slid outwards to the edge plate of the boat deck with the davits raised to the vertical position. This exercise placed these lifeboats half-over the ship's side with their keels parallel with the deck edge plate so that a greater expanse of boat deck would be available for passengers' convenience. The very wide deck space created was used for a challenging deck golf course and quoits rink.

Also, as Third Mate, and responsible for the nine lifeboats when I was on "Inchanga" I noticed that the two aftermost boats were sitting on steel girder tracks that went from one side of the ship to the other. Was this arrangement so that the port and starboard lifeboats could be launched from either side, presumably the lower side when the ship was sinking by sliding the boat from the higher side to the lower side across the deck on the tracks for launching?

Why should this question come up after more than half a century?
Nostalgia no less!

Duncan112
5th October 2011, 17:29
Also, as Third Mate, and responsible for the nine lifeboats when I was on "Inchanga" I noticed that the two aftermost boats were sitting on steel girder tracks that went from one side of the ship to the other. Was this arrangement so that the port and starboard lifeboats could be launched from either side, presumably the lower side when the ship was sinking by sliding the boat from the higher side to the lower side across the deck on the tracks for launching?



Just out of idle curiosity were the capacity requirements met with a lesser number of lifeboats because the boats were "easily transferable" from port to starboard?

Alistair Macnab
5th October 2011, 17:58
As originally built, the ship had 6 lifeboats a side / 12 boats in all for a passenger certificate of 570 and about 130 crew for a total of around 700 persons. Thinking how these wooden clinker built boats would not hold more than 70(?) persons each then there was a sufficient number of lifeboats for all persons on board in keeping with a passenger ship certificate that counted ALL boat capacity in its calculation.
The question arises, however, in the rule, about which I am hazy, of boats located near the stern of the ship as the two on "Inchanga" were. Wasn't there some rule that specifically applied to lifeboats less than a certain distance from the stern?