Could you kill a ship?

John Briggs
16th September 2011, 02:33
I was looking at a photo of the ex City of Pretoria heading for the breakers yard under a new name and flag and thought to myself, what a fine looking ship.

I then saw a very good photo of ships being demolished in a breakers yard and thought to myself, what a terrible shame, the slow death of some fine looking ships and I thought 'I could never do that job'.

Could any of you watch a lovely old lady of the sea arrive in fully functioning condition at the breakers and then be the first up the gangway with your oxy torch and start cutting her to pieces?

It would be the same if someone gave me a live chicken and said that was for lunch and all I had to do was wring its neck - I couldn't do it!

kingorry
16th September 2011, 07:39
Attempts at ship preservation have almost always been failures. Take the case of the MANXMAN. I sailed on her every year she was in Steam Packet service, and was her Purser in the early 1970s. When she finished her IOMSPCo service in 1982 she went to Preston, then to Liverpool, on to Hull and finished up in the Pallion Yard, where, for all I know, she may still be languishing.
The MANXMAN has now been out of service and derelict for much longer than she was in active Steam Packet service.
I prefer to remember her as a fine working ship, not as a failed nightclub venture - the 'Manxman Princess' she was called. So, yes, she should have been broken up in 1982, and I would have been the first to have taken the torch to her. It would have put her out of her undoubted misery, and would have been a dignified end.
When a ship, however fine and much-loved, has reached the end of her working life, she should be broken up, and I would be the first to start that process. The ship will then be remembered for what she was; not as a decaying derelict.
kingorry (R.783921)

dom
16th September 2011, 08:11
no,to see those ships in that state is not nice,better off sinking them at sea

G0SLP
16th September 2011, 09:33
I know where you're coming from, John, but OTOH there are certain ships where there would be a line of volunteers prepared to do the run to Alang/Aliaga etc...

Mark

Thats another Story
16th September 2011, 11:01
passing the breakers yard often along the dock road in Liverpool it is a very sad sight seeing ships being ripped apart for scrap the miles they have traveled the storms the sites but most of all it was your home weather good memories or bad. but most of the old are turned into new and the new adventures of the boats /ships that have yet to come?john

sparkie2182
16th September 2011, 12:32
No, I couldn't John.

We are, however, in the minority.

Shoresiders see ships as lumps of metal........nothing more.

Cisco
16th September 2011, 12:46
I've sailed on more than a few that should have been put down early and would never have been missed .... old ships, old cars , old women..... old is old.... to much trouble with the plumbing and pipework in all of them....

Sorry but I don't get wet eyed over old ships...

PS at least you can get $$$$ for an old ship......

Tmac1720
16th September 2011, 16:41
Couldn't agree more with your feelings JB, although I never sailed on any of the ships I helped build (sea trials and ferry trips don't count) All the guys I worked with always kept a "personal" interest in the fate of the vessels after they departed from the 'yard. In my own case I have a particular affection for yard number 1720 "British Steel" for several personal reasons as you know. As a large bulk carrier it could hardly be regarded as a beauty but the thought of taking the oxy cutter to any part of her gives me the heebee jeebees...

chadburn
16th September 2011, 17:59
I had a visit to nearby RAF Leeming sometime ago where they are scrapping Tornado F3's and they had the same problem, they had to use civilian's contractors as the RAF lad's who maintained them during the aircraft's flying life did not want to take the job/posting to return the aircraft to produce after they had removed "blue label" spare's.

holland25
16th September 2011, 22:59
Bit off track, but in the mid 1970s I worked at Heathrow in the BOAC computer centre at Hatton Cross. They had just done a deal with Boeing and I believe as part of the deal they had to scrap their fleet of VC10s. An area was set up next to the maintenance hangar and the planes were brought in one at a time and ripped apart and carted away as scrap. That caused a great deal of angst among the BOAC staff.I think some of the planes survived and were taken up by the RAF. In my opinion preserved ships have a sad feel about them, the only one that seemed, to me, to be happy, was the Jerimiah O'brien.

Donald McGhee
17th September 2011, 00:13
I think the only people who have a soft spot for ships are those who actually sailed on and lived on them, as said by John P, very true John.

Ships were not only your home, but your workplace and means of travel to distant shores, no question about it and to see where you once lived is just as sad as seeing your house, where memories were made, being ripped apart.

None of us who ever sailed the oceans will ever forget the living entities that were once our floating homes and work places. Ships were alive, call me daft, plenty have!


Briggsy, well said, I fully agree.

Hugh Ferguson
17th September 2011, 16:31
They killed this one after others had done their very worst to do likewise and somebody felt so cut up about it he/she wrote a poem in memorian.

Hugh Ferguson
17th September 2011, 20:58
See HERE (www.shipsnostalgia.tv/members/action/videolist/videonew/?cid=32) for how the business of killing ships goes on apace at Gadani Beach. Unfortunately, it takes a toll on the people who do it; on average one of them is killed every day doing this dangerous work!

Cisco
17th September 2011, 22:40
Some interesting photos here of Oriana and Canberra that I hadn't seen before... http://www.saintsweb.co.uk/showthread.php?20972-A-sad-ending-to-my-old-ship...
Surely it would have been better for Oriana to have gone to the knackers with her head held high?

spongebob
18th September 2011, 02:06
If you were lucky enough to serve aboard a ship where you had your own cabin, or even shared one with good mates it became a home away from home, a hideaway retreat for off duty hours and, perhaps carrying the mood too far, akin to a mother’s care with the attendant warmth and succour.

That is much the feeling that I remember of my ships in the fifties, in all a pleasant way of life and to transpose these memories to a point of the death of those vessels the act of breakage for scrap comes across as the cruelest fate that could become her.
Far rather a consignment to the deep at the end of a useful life but emotions aside, I guess this is now a world of recycling in all its forms

Bob

John Briggs
18th September 2011, 03:00
There is little man has made that approaches anything in nature, but a ship does.
There is not much man has made that calls to all the best in him, but a ship does.

Anon

brvhrtjimmy
25th September 2011, 14:13
yes i couldnt do it i mentioned ships in the breakers yard in a previous thread,and i still maintain anyone with ship connection in any form should feel sad to see it happen i know i did
James Barr (Brvhrtjimmy)

Dickyboy
25th September 2011, 15:06
I think, for me it's not the inanimate nature of the ship that affects me. It's the fact that people not only worked in them, but also lived in them. It was our, or someone else's home, sometimes for long periods of time. A bit like seeing ones old house being knocked down. Unlike Cars, trains, buses or aeroplanes which go to the scrappy without hardly a mention. They don't have the emotional attachment that ships do. To us seafarers at least.
I wonder how many were affected with sadness when the worst ship they ever sailed on went to the breakers?

Pat Kennedy
25th September 2011, 15:22
To be honest I never had a great deal of emotional attachment to any ship I sailed in. Some I definitely liked more than others but at the end of the day they were just places I worked in, and lived in at the same time. Much like an oil rig I suppose.
I did however feel sad when, working in Cammel Lairds in the 70s, they hauled the floating crane, 'Cammell' up a vacant slipway for demolition, and I got the job of driving the cantilever crane lifting the scrap steel onto lorrys.
This floating crane was the crane driver's unofficial home from home, a place to go and relax when there was no immediate work for you. I had many a slap up breakfast in the commodious control cabin of the Cammell which was very like a railway signal box in design and size.
But, although I remember everyone of the 50 odd ships I sailed in, it never unduly bothered me when I heard they had gone for scrap.

jmcg
26th September 2011, 22:19
Now then chaps - its hard to imagine the inner feelings of one Joe Bates bosun of Alfred Holt's HECTOR from her slipway days of 1950 at Belfast to July 1972 when he took her to Sing Cheng Yungs yard in Kaohsiung

Bosun on her for 22 years - builders to breakers. Joe was a hard but fair man and no doubt a tear or two was shed on that fateful day in Kaohsiung.


BW

J(Gleam)(Gleam)

TOM ALEXANDER
27th September 2011, 09:01
no,to see those ships in that state is not nice,better off sinking them at sea

I don't know Dom. I was part of the delivery crew on the "Bird of Paradise", Greenock to Port au Spain, Trinidad in Feb 1960. She was brand new then. I see now she is wrecked, laying on her side on top of a reef just outside Port au Spain. I don't know what befell her, but it's a sad thing to see any vessel hung out to slowly rot and for all to see.

John Briggs
27th September 2011, 12:17
I agree with dom. Sunk at sea, not stranded on a reef, but consigned to the deep. A dignified and suitable end to a life spend plying the oceans.

Unfortunately as long as ship breakers pay good money for old ships that will never happen.

TommyRob
11th October 2011, 16:14
I walked into our local Co-op one morning to hear a group of women discussing what I imagined to be a feisty old acquaintance. "She knew it was the end and just refused take it" was the gist. They were actually talking about the Warspite on Cornish rocks on her last voyage and it was as if a family member was involved. Ever since then I have had a silent cheer when yet another ship foiled the breakers - as long as nobody got hurt of course.

Tom

gil mayes
12th October 2011, 10:38
Dear oh dear, such sentimentality, cut them up and start again, it has always been about recycling.
Gil.

John Briggs
12th October 2011, 12:03
Gil, you are obviously not a seaman!

Tmac1720
12th October 2011, 12:32
Dear oh dear, such sentimentality, cut them up and start again, it has always been about recycling.
Gil.

********!!! I think possibly you are on the wrong site...:@

gil mayes
12th October 2011, 14:00
Certainly does appear that way at times. Happy times in some ships yes, but progress makes the end inevitable and to submit to the cutting torch or sheers and see the material re-cycled is surely the best option.
Gil.

John Briggs
13th October 2011, 00:34
It may be the best option Gil but that does not alter the way some seamen feel about their ships. I only sailed with two companies at sea, with one it was two and a half year spells and the other was two year spells.

When you spend over two years on one ship she becomes very much, your home. You get to know her and maintain her from truck to keel and you get to know all her little faults as well as her strengths. She takes you safely all over the world through wild raging seas and idyllic tropical nights. There is nothing quite so reassuring as the sight of your ship as you come back to the wharf after a time ashore in some foreign and alien port.

So Gil, some seamen have a deep affinity with ships and find it somewhat sad to see non seafarers tearing them to pieces!

gil mayes
13th October 2011, 11:24
Non seafarers, John? In a previous life with 37 years service in the Royal Navy, I think that I might know a little about the sea and ships - Royal Yacht, ALBION, RECLAIM, UPTON, ALERT, KENT, HERMES, ARK ROYAL and all shore jobs, bar one BRNC, directly involving warships, submarines and RMAS vessels. My practical approach is probably coloured by the fact that for three years of my apprenticeship I marched past Shipbreaking Industries Rosyth yard and witnessed the breaking of many vessels first hand.
Gil.

John Briggs
13th October 2011, 11:46
My apologies Gil, no offence meant.
I just felt that your approach was rather cold and indifferent as many seafarers have a great affection for their old ships.

gil mayes
13th October 2011, 14:27
I well understand the feelings John, but in practical terms it is all about regeneration. No one is more steeped in nostalgia than myself with the building and updating of the Fleetwood Steam Trawler Database and Bosun's Watch website. www.fleetwood-trawlers.info
Gil.

RayJordandpo
15th October 2011, 15:01
I agree with dom. Sunk at sea, not stranded on a reef, but consigned to the deep. A dignified and suitable end to a life spend plying the oceans.

Unfortunately as long as ship breakers pay good money for old ships that will never happen.

I was once involved in sinking a ship. The vessel Mariner was aground on Alboran island. She was so badly damaged Lloyds considered her a total loss. We filled her tanks with compressed air, towed her out into the Atlantic and sank her. Although I had no real affinity with that vessel, watching her go down was a very strange feeling indeed. She went down stern first and seemed to linger before finally sliding under the waves, almost saying "I'm not going without a fight" a sad affair to say the least.

Stevo
17th October 2011, 20:25
My old ship and one time home is still going strong but I did not have strong feelings for her. There are other vessels that I had a huge affection for including the old Isle of Wight ferry MV Southsea. A few months before her departure for scrap I had the opportunity to explore the ship by myself which was a surreal experience after 20 years since my last time onboard.

As much as I loved the dear old girl, Southsea was in a rough state and truly a dead ship. Southsea didn't feel, smell, sound nor look the same without a crew or passengers. So, although a ship might be considered as being put to death in a breakers yard in truth, its a graveyard nothing more. The ship is already dead and died when the engines were switched off for the final time and the crew left the ship. I would happily put a ship that I care about out of its misery rather then let it lose its dignity.
Bury the dead or they will stink the place out

The former Captain of the PS Ryde, (Eric Yealland) was gutted at seeing his former ship lying at Binfield Mill pond in the 1970s and would have preferred to see her broken up citing PS Sandown and Whippingham as the lucky ones getting scrapped. Looking at the Ryde today the Captain has been proven right, fortunately he passed away before the old paddler really fell to bits. Breaking can be kinder than the alternatives......

jamesgpobog
18th February 2012, 07:58
I took this pic 1/6/2012, when I was able to board my old ship, USS Mispillion, as she lay in drydock at Mare Island. I feel extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to go aboard her one last time. She has been sold for scrap, and has begun her last voyage.

The photo is of refueling station #6. This is where I fought my personal part of the Vietnam War, as small and relatively safe as it seemed at the time. In hindsight, it was an extremely dangerous job. I did not normally work on deck, being assigned to the boiler room, but when there were UNREP's (underway replenishments), this is where I would come.

My assignment was as a ship-to-ship phone talker. I would don a special sound powered phone setup that consisted of headphones and a breastplate with a mouthpiece mounted on an articulated arm. It plugged in to one of the terminals that you can see on the kingpost just below the diagonal shadow about 4 feet above the deck. The other end was a guy on the other ship wearing the same setup. It was essentially a sophisticated version of two tin cans on a string.

I mostly stood in the area of the deck at the base of the kingpost that is in shadow, but could move around the general area in the foreground. My job was to relay commands about the fuel transfer operation from us to the other ship and from the other ship back to us.

At first, I didn't think too much about the assignment, but after a bit, I started noticing how involved I actually was. I would realize that I was pumping jet fuel to an aircraft carrier 100 feet away as it was launching bomb-laden fighters off it's catapults, or pumping fuel oil to a destroyer that was also taking on a load of projectiles for it's 5" guns.

But all of that was a long long time ago in 1972. In the mid-late 90's Mispillion was laid up in the Suisun Bay ghost fleet, where she has slept since.

There is a strong belief among sailors over the ages that ships have a 'soul' that they give the aura of being alive. When I was in the Navy, I experienced that myself. I think it's part of the reason that sailors have such love affairs with their ships.

As much as I enjoyed going aboard Mispillion twice in January 2012, it was pretty darn bittersweet, because I felt no life in her at all. She felt and looked dead, badly beaten and left lying on the beach. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm just not as sensitive as others, maybe she's not really dead, but rather in a deep deep sleep or coma. That's really something to hope for, isn't it? That an old love is only in a coma? And I wonder... why do we assign human attributes to inanimate objects, and then react to the objects with human emotion? I'm still trying to figure that out.

I hope I'm wrong, I hope she's not dead, but still has a spark of life in her. We might even be able to tell. We'll see how her very last voyage goes. Will she fight? Will she be a rough tow? Will she make the breakers work to get her onto the killing grounds?

I'm not really sure what to wish for though. What is truly better,... for her to have died in her sleep, or to be eaten alive by the ship breakers?

I was very glad that I got to go aboard that second time a week later, because the first time I forgot to say goodbye to her. This time I did not forget. I took a few moments to talk to her and tell her how much I and all her crew loved her....and what a good ship she had been. I made it a point to touch her too, that cold hard steel that felt so lifeless now, but had served her crew and nation so well. Goodbye, old girl. Your crew still loves you and will never forget you.
.....

I have zero desire to see her or pix of her once the first cut is made or bite is taken. I'd rather look at human autopsy pix. Never, if I can help it.

Barrie Youde
18th February 2012, 08:14
#12

What a beautiful Memoriam for Glenroy!

Amen.

Barrie Youde
18th February 2012, 08:45
The emotional aspect attaching to this thread is something which I have experienced at first hand within the last few days. (Please see the thread "Schooner -Cheshire Lass").

I share(and always have shared) all the thoughts expressed in this thread, including the thought that usually the scrapyard is the better option. In the case of a wreck, frequently the scrapyard is not an option. Would I like to see Cheshire Lass raised and preserved? On balance, no, thank you. R.I.P.

Some presevation projects are of course invaluable in the public interest Victory, Cutty Sark etc. I remember in about 1967 standing on the poop of Cutty Sark and looking aloft at the maze of rigging (both standing and running) and the awesome sight of her bare yards. I was then a junior pilot aged 24. My thought was "Christ Almighty! Any man in charge of this lot needed to know what he was doing."

Great Britain is another worthy preservation, at Bristol.

I'm sorry that there is nothing similar at Liverpool. Within a few footsteps of my own office there is, however, a preserved German U boat. Have I been to see her? Er, no, thank you. I have no wish to pay to see something intended to kill my own flesh and blood. The very thought (that somebody is making money that way) makes me feel uncomfortable.

ssr481
19th February 2012, 02:35
.... the only one that seemed, to me, to be happy, was the Jerimiah O'brien.

I echo the sentiments here.. ships do have souls, as much as a hunk of steel can. I happen to have, when real life doesn't interfere, the privilege of working in the deck gang of the SS JOHN W BROWN. I don't live too far from where this grand lady is.. and when we're out on a cruise on the Chesapeake Bay, with WWII merchant marine and US Navy and other veterans, I can feel this ship smiling. To feel the vibrations of the engine.. to see the bow wave and see the trailing wake makes me feel privileged to be aboard.

In 1995, I was lucky enough to be aboard the submarine USS REQUIN (SS-481) in Pittsburgh for the 50th anniversary reunion of her crews from various eras. I saw her first commanding officer come aboard and I swear I felt that sub smile..the same thing whenever other former crew members came aboard. And the following day, when those at the reunion were on a river boat cruise, and as we sailed alongside this lady, I felt I could hear the submarine say to "her" boys.. welcome home.

So yes, ships do have souls, as do aircraft and others..

dom
19th February 2012, 03:26
Nicholas Monsarrat wrote one book as such, The ship that died of shame

Barrie Youde
19th February 2012, 08:55
For sheer poignancy, what about Sir Richard Grenville at Flores with HMS Revenge:-

Sink me the ship, Master Gunner!
Sink her! Split her in twain!
Fall into the hands of God,
Not into the hands of Spain!

Isn't it a matter of doing what seems right at the time? For as long as the ship has a useful working life, keep her going. At the end of that life, the knacker's yard is right and proper. Only the exceptional very, very few can be accorded the privilege of lying in state for ever.

Reality has to interject somewhere; and of course different rules apply in wartime as opposed to the peace which any sane man prefers.

jamesgpobog
19th February 2012, 09:50
For sheer poignancy, what about Sir Richard Grenville at Flores with HMS Revenge:-

Sink me the ship, Master Gunner!
Sink her! Split her in twain!
Fall into the hands of God,
Not into the hands of Spain!

Isn't it a matter of doing what seems right at the time? For as long as the ship has a useful working life, keep her going. At the end of that life, the knacker's yard is right and proper. Only the exceptional very, very few can be accorded the privilege of lying in state for ever.

Reality has to interject somewhere; and of course different rules apply in wartime as opposed to the peace which any sane man prefers.

I suppose bottom line you are correct, ships, just as humans, all face the same end. No one beats the reaper . But as with humans, I think there is a desire, a denial, for self or a loved one.

As for my ship, I would have loved to see her preserved. There are no preserved US Navy oilers. She would have been a good one, being the very last of the WWII-built oilers. There is a gentleman I know through my reunion activities by the name of Vern Bouwman (http://usnavyoilers.com/), who is very actively pushing for an oiler preserved as a museum. His old ship, Kawishiwi, is slated to be reefed off of Dana Point CA.

It's just so sad to see an old friend sail off over the horizon for the final time...

CEYLON220
19th February 2012, 11:32
Over the years I`ve seen quite a few of my old Navy ships being scrapped,maybe they were outdated but it still brought a tear to my eye when I saw them being ripped apart.These ships were my home,my work place and means of showing me the world and anyone who does`nt show emotion when they see their ship being put out service and scrapped have no heart----yes-- call me an old softy but I am not heartless,the navy and those ships were the best time of my life.

Barrie Youde
19th February 2012, 11:55
#40
#41

Hi, Chaps,

I share your emotions entirely.

By way of comfort (?) my Dad used to say of any ship sent to the scrapyard (and long before the word "recycling" had been coined) "She's razorblades, now".

jamesgpobog
19th February 2012, 19:25
#40
#41

Hi, Chaps,

I share your emotions entirely.

By way of comfort (?) my Dad used to say of any ship sent to the scrapyard (and long before the word "recycling" had been coined) "She's razorblades, now".

Oh, indeed.That was a common saying in the States too, that a ship was going to be turned into razorblades.

I am very glad that I was able to board Mispillion twice in January and salvage some items that I now consider treasures. That feels like I helped her cheat death a little bit, those parts of her will never see the scrapyard...

Burned Toast
19th February 2012, 20:55
It may be the best option Gil but that does not alter the way some seamen feel about their ships. I only sailed with two companies at sea, with one it was two and a half year spells and the other was two year spells.

When you spend over two years on one ship she becomes very much, your home. You get to know her and maintain her from truck to keel and you get to know all her little faults as well as her strengths. She takes you safely all over the world through wild raging seas and idyllic tropical nights. There is nothing quite so reassuring as the sight of your ship as you come back to the wharf after a time ashore in some foreign and alien port.

So Gil, some seamen have a deep affinity with ships and find it somewhat sad to see non seafarers tearing them to pieces!

Total agreement John, it was my home when onboard , I spent seven years on one ship and five years on another. nearly fifty years in the merch. Quite different I would imagine from the RN.

Ray(Smoke)(Thumb)

KIWI
20th February 2012, 01:59
My Aussie mate & I both happened to be in KG5 Docks on different ships at the same time & met up to go for a beer in the Round House.Going out we had to pass the Maloja which was berthed in her usual spot just in from the lock gates.Thinking there might be some still aboard we knew we climbed the gangway.There was nobody & talk about nostalgia it hit us both with quite some force.There had been a great bunch of fellow crew members aboard & she was indeed a very happy ship. A memorable part of my life.Our later sojourn in the Round House was a little more prolonged than intended. KIWI

Alan Rawlinson
22nd February 2012, 23:15
Attempts at ship preservation have almost always been failures. Take the case of the MANXMAN. I sailed on her every year she was in Steam Packet service, and was her Purser in the early 1970s. When she finished her IOMSPCo service in 1982 she went to Preston, then to Liverpool, on to Hull and finished up in the Pallion Yard, where, for all I know, she may still be languishing.
The MANXMAN has now been out of service and derelict for much longer than she was in active Steam Packet service.
I prefer to remember her as a fine working ship, not as a failed nightclub venture - the 'Manxman Princess' she was called. So, yes, she should have been broken up in 1982, and I would have been the first to have taken the torch to her. It would have put her out of her undoubted misery, and would have been a dignified end.
When a ship, however fine and much-loved, has reached the end of her working life, she should be broken up, and I would be the first to start that process. The ship will then be remembered for what she was; not as a decaying derelict.
kingorry (R.783921)

Couldn't agree more. Worse than the Oxy torches is the slow decaying end like the poor old Duke of Lancaster is suffering in N. Wales. It's an attack on all the memories, good and bad, and my preferred method of disposing of ships would be a watery grave in a nice deep part of the ocean. Minus the bell, and a few other goodies, of course!

jamesgpobog
22nd February 2012, 23:47
Couldn't agree more. Worse than the Oxy torches is the slow decaying end like the poor old Duke of Lancaster is suffering in N. Wales. It's an attack on all the memories, good and bad, and my preferred method of disposing of ships would be a watery grave in a nice deep part of the ocean. Minus the bell, and a few other goodies, of course!

That's a good point. All these emotions are new to me, but I agree it is very sad to see a ship you once knew wasting away.

I sailed on SS Catalina when I was a kid. She now sits in the mud of Ensenada, Mexico. I hadn't known she was there, and was surprised to see her there when I came in port on a cruise a few years ago...

marinemec2004
23rd February 2012, 03:49
My first ship was HMS Lowestoft, and she was finally sent to the bottom of the ocean by a torpedo-during live firing excercises in the states! Unfortunately they did not remove her Pennant number, and it was so sad to see her end up like this.
I dont believe anyone who went to sea - especially Deep Sea who says they have no interest in what happens to their old ships. We spent so much time on them, and no matter how "hard" or uncomfortable they may have been, they were part of our lives. I was working in Chittagong many years ago and some years after leaving the Merchant Navy. I got the afternoon off, and went down to the breakers yard to have a look around. There was one of our old super tankers Shell Leonia being cut up. Never sailed on her, but sailed on two of her sisters, Lanistes and Lima. Also, I saw the container ship Morecambe Bay, which was the old and beautiful ACT 2! -Last of ACT's Steam Container Ships. All the others were renegined I believe. ( Steam to Diesel) I spent 8 months of my life on ACT2! She was a lovely ship, with a great crew, and she took me to Aus and NZ! Only time I ever went. I went over to her, and believe me there was a sadness in my heart. A ship is special - only fellow seafarers can appreciate it, why do you think they are referred to as She's???? I take an interest in all my old ships, every one of them played a big part in my life and I have so many fond memories from all of them , and of the guys who I had the distinct pleasure to sail with.

Wribbenhall
23rd February 2012, 08:20
That's a good point. All these emotions are new to me, but I agree it is very sad to see a ship you once knew wasting away.

I sailed on SS Catalina when I was a kid. She now sits in the mud of Ensenada, Mexico. I hadn't known she was there, and was surprised to see her there when I came in port on a cruise a few years ago...

I hope you had the respect to remove your Groucho Marx mask !

jamesgpobog
23rd February 2012, 09:04
I hope you had the respect to remove your Groucho Marx mask !

Different cruise.

Here's the truth about the Groucho's.

I have a Harley and belong to an online riding club. We had a 'Rite', that if you wanted to qualify, you had to don the Groucho's in public, and take a pic, then post it on the club site. I had so much fun getting that original pic (taken on the cruise) that I continued the gag for the whole cruise. There's a whole series of them...

Wribbenhall
23rd February 2012, 16:37
Different cruise.

Here's the truth about the Groucho's.

I have a Harley and belong to an online riding club. We had a 'Rite', that if you wanted to qualify, you had to don the Groucho's in public, and take a pic, then post it on the club site. I had so much fun getting that original pic (taken on the cruise) that I continued the gag for the whole cruise. There's a whole series of them...

Oh heck,James,I've been trying for 70 years to understand you Americans,but I'm no nearer.There was a time I think when I thought you were 'almost getting there',but,no disrespect meant,when I say you are all too much of a muchness.
But then again you're American,and I'm British,and that says it all.
As George Bernard Shaw wrote, "We are two nations-separated by a common language".

Let us know which cruises you'll be taking in the years to come- but I'll apologise in advance here if I can't quite make it on the same ones !

All the Very Best(Frogger)
W.B.H.

PatriciaAnnT
23rd February 2012, 17:03
Oh heck,James,I've been trying for 70 years to understand you Americans,but I'm no nearer.There was a time I think when I thought you were 'almost getting there',but,no disrespect meant,when I say you are all too much of a muchness.
But then again you're American,and I'm British,and that says it all.
As George Bernard Shaw wrote, "We are two nations-separated by a common language".

Let us know which cruises you'll be taking in the years to come- but I'll apologise in advance here if I can't quite make it on the same ones !

All the Very Best(Frogger)
W.B.H.


Please don't lump us altogether! (Cloud)

Wribbenhall
23rd February 2012, 17:30
Please don't lump us altogether! (Cloud)


Only if you promise not to wear your Groucho mask whilst cruising !


x

Andrew Craig-Bennett
23rd February 2012, 18:11
I once signed a contract to scuttle a ship in deep water. She was the "Universe Defiance", a Ludwig tanker that had suffered a serious explosion and was unsalvageable.

It was an odd feeling.

On the other hand, I had to dispose of CNCo's "Coral Princess". One possible buyer was the HK Government who planned to use her to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese boat people. I and several others didn't like the idea of our little old cruise ship, which had given an awful lot of happiness to many, doing that work.

Anyway, they did not buy her and she went for further trading. We got a stunningly good price. A colleague remarked that, in her new role, she could have been renamed economically by painting over the first letter of her name. She lasted another ten years.

marinemec2004
24th February 2012, 06:14
Nicholas Monsarrat wrote one book as such, The ship that died of shame

Read it! Excellent book and Excellent author!

jg grant
24th February 2012, 09:22
Until recently I had this woolly notion that'my' ships still plied the oceans somewhere. Google told me that the Abbotsford was wrecked off Panama and the SS Stanrealm was wrecked near Hong Kong. Then I happened to tune in to a TV programme and see my old ammo/ supply RFA being ran up on the beach at full speed in India. Got a lump in my throat at that one. Razor blades and Hondas, maybe that's best. Ronnie.

racco79
26th February 2012, 15:59
Isn't it a matter of doing what seems right at the time? For as long as the ship has a useful working life, keep her going. At the end of that life, the knacker's yard is right and proper. Only the exceptional very, very few can be accorded the privilege of lying in state for ever.


My sentiments exactly - hate seeing things go for disposal/scrap when they have many more years left in them. If they are not fit for purpose then one has to accept the inevitable, but just reading or hearing about when young ships go - terrible. Reading this thread I see how upsetting it can be for people who have served on the vessels concerned. I couldn't do it, I know fully well how it feels having seen one of my favourites consigned to Esjberg (have I spelt that right?) horrible.

Amanita
18th March 2012, 10:40
It's been a while since I posted here, and now I come across this thread..

I may be no sailor, but I do consider myself an Animist, and the soul of a ship that many seafarers speak of- it's there, for sure. Even some of us shore-bound types can sense it. I still remember the mighty Saipem 7000 coming into port here, she had a presence I'll never forget. With those two cranes of hers working in synchronicity, she was truly a living being. And when I was lucky enough to go on board and explore her, that presence made a deep impression indeed. Years later, I see her in my dreams occasionally.

I remember being fascinated with Supertankers when I was a kid, and toting around a National Geographic featuring them, wishing there were more pics to admire. Years later, I remember feeling sadness when I realized that the end had already come for these ships, and what short lives some of them had had.
I love the poem posted in this thread, and wish I could find a book of mine that seems likewise appropriate. I'll look for it a bit later.

Although an end in the breaker's yard seems more fitting than being allowed to rot, I couldn't pick up the torch and do it either.

DAVID ALCOCK
3rd April 2012, 10:54
Look on the bright side every ship at ALANG feeds hundreds of families for a few weeks in an area where poverty is widespread

Alan Rawlinson
9th April 2012, 16:33
Look on the bright side every ship at ALANG feeds hundreds of families for a few weeks in an area where poverty is widespread

Agree. Scrapping is infinitely preferable to preservation or conversion etc, which is the worst solution of all. The reason for this is the sentiments experienced by those involved in the working life of the ship. It's not just the physical steel structure etc, but the 'buzz' of active life on board and the coming together of a way of life which remains in the head. Even a well preserved ship ( Queen Mary?) will still look very sad to any ex crew walking round - like a decaying corpse.

DAVID ALCOCK
9th April 2012, 17:57
we stayed on qm twice in the 90s as she was swapping owners ,we just wandered arround no restrictions/security at all ,the cabins were nice but the rest virtualy abandoned

stevekelly10
9th April 2012, 21:32
Having taken one ship to her final resting place after having sailed on her and her sister ship (which soon suffered a similar fate) numerous times over the preceeding 13 years. It is not a thing I ever want to do again! When the telegraph rang F.W.E for the very final time, I found it very emotional even it was just a lump of metal (Sad)http://www.aukevisser.nl/supertankers/id104.htm

Alan Rawlinson
10th April 2012, 10:34
Having taken one ship to her final resting place after having sailed on her and her sister ship (which soon suffered a similar fate) numerous times over the preceeding 13 years. It is not a thing I ever want to do again! When the telegraph rang F.W.E for the very final time, I found it very emotional even it was just a lump of metal (Sad)http://www.aukevisser.nl/supertankers/id104.htm

Thinking about empty ships etc I recall being the only person on a passenger ship laid up in a strike ( many moons ago) The empty feeling and eerie atmosphere left the ship feeling a bit sad, as I wandered around all the spaces normally humming with activity.

DAVID ALCOCK
10th April 2012, 11:43
Thats what QUEEN MARY was like !minimal staff and we did not see more than half a dozen other people round the whole 83000 tons ship.

SuperClive
9th August 2012, 12:39
Having taken one ship to her final resting place after having sailed on her and her sister ship (which soon suffered a similar fate) numerous times over the preceeding 13 years. It is not a thing I ever want to do again! When the telegraph rang F.W.E for the very final time, I found it very emotional even it was just a lump of metal (Sad)http://www.aukevisser.nl/supertankers/id104.htm

Hi Steve and All

We all felt choked when she was renamed 'Philoctetes' for that final departure from Birkenhead in Dec 1972. But we flew a lonnnng pennant from the masthead as we sailed down the Mersey that last time and the Rea tugs gave us a final salute.

Yes, I agree, that final FWE as we went full astern up the beach in Kaohsiung was something of a tear-jerker after 3 years as my home. As I've put on another post elsewhere, some days out from the breakers, we found a couple of unopened boxes of Brasso in the 2/E's stores. She absolutely gleamed down below that final fateful watch. Yes, landlubbers cannot see what we seafarers mean when we say our former, loved homes / workplaces / ships that took us to see foreign lands had hearts and were alive. When I pulled the string I'd rigged from the ER door to the DO day tank dump valve and waited a few minutes until the genny faltered, died and the lights went out, I knew I'd killed the old girl. We marched off past the bow section of her sister, Perseus, she'd arrived 3 weeks earlier and that's all that was left of her. A very odd feeling indeed.

BFN

Clive

A.D.FROST
9th August 2012, 13:34
Do they still go for "Razor Blades" these day's now most them go to Bangladesh rather than Taiwan(?HUH)

DAVID ALCOCK
10th August 2012, 09:48
the ROTTERDAM is still alive as a hotel-just ,i could see the start of maintenance problems and lack of use ,on a sunny saterday in august she was busy but by no means full.
all the staff/hotel and tour were brilliant BUT she is way too far from the centre

Manxman 52
26th August 2012, 23:39
A thought envoking thread, having served in the submarine service who's job in time of war is to "kill" ships, I have to admit seeing my old boats being broken up and one laying dormant in Barrow whilst they decide her fate (she will be probably sold for scrap) I got a bit upset by the sight of these once fine submarines in various states of being broken up (Wave) and no I couldn't take a torch to them (Sad)

Stevo
29th August 2012, 12:10
I hate to tell you this Manxman but the Onyx is indeed going for scrap owing to the failure of preservation attempts. Rumours are she will go to either Liverpool or Swansea for breaking.
What I reallly don't understand though is that Onyx would be an ideal replacement for the HMS Alliance at Gosport. The latter needs millions spent on her repairs and is in a dire state, whereas Onyx is in reasonably good state and museum prepped in addition she has a history whereas Alliance has no war career despite being advertised as a WW2 sub.

Hugh Ferguson
29th August 2012, 13:01
Oh heck,James,I've been trying for 70 years to understand you Americans,but I'm no nearer.There was a time I think when I thought you were 'almost getting there',but,no disrespect meant,when I say you are all too much of a muchness.
But then again you're American,and I'm British,and that says it all.
As George Bernard Shaw wrote, "We are two nations-separated by a common language".

Let us know which cruises you'll be taking in the years to come- but I'll apologise in advance here if I can't quite make it on the same ones !

All the Very Best(Frogger)
W.B.H.

I can't begin to imagine what kind of a life you would be living now were it not for Americans.
I've never read such insufferable sentiments as those, ever!

Coastie
29th August 2012, 14:19
I can't begin to imagine what kind of a life you would be living now were it not for Americans.
I've never read such insufferable sentiments as those, ever!

He only spoke the truth!(*))(Jester)(Jester)

Sister Eleff
29th August 2012, 15:00
I can't begin to imagine what kind of a life you would be living now were it not for Americans.
I've never read such insufferable sentiments as those, ever!

Well said Hugh.

Hugh Ferguson
29th August 2012, 18:08
Please don't lump us altogether! (Cloud)

Just ignore it, Pat. It's a strange mixture of bigotry, prejudice and ignorance.
Several of that persuasion truly believe that the Americans bled us white in paying for all the war material, Lend Lease and much else, quite forgetting that the heaviest loss of life suffered by the U.S. marines ever, in a single operation, occurred in the taking of Tarawa and returning it to us, gratis.
Not to mention the service rendered by the U.S. Navy in sinking virtually all of the Japanese supply ships carrying war material to their beleaguered armies in Burma and Malaya.
That gave our 14th Army huge assistance defeating the Japanese forces occupying Burma, and later, enabling us to re-occupy places like Hong Kong and Singapore without any loss to our military.
I was astonished, just recently, to learn that an armada of cargo carrying Dakotas, that flew over us once in Akyab (Burma), was flown by U.S. personnel-on their way for an air-drop of supplies to elements of our 14th Army which had just broken the will of the Japanese 3rd Division at Kohima!
The fact of the matter is that our debt to the Americans is beyond being payed for in dollars and always will be.

Hugh Ferguson
29th August 2012, 21:28
#12

What a beautiful Memoriam for Glenroy!

Amen.

Click HERE (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/45467/title/glenroy/cat/500) for a fine photo of said ship; with 27 comments!

spongebob
29th August 2012, 21:55
A liitle off the beat of the thread but "Killing of a Ship" reminds me of a novel published, perhaps in the 1960's, about a cargo ship steaming along at full speed when it hit a partially submerged container which ripped the hull open from stem to stern.
She sunk in a matter of minutes with all hands and the story revolves around the compressed traumas and events suffered by the vessel and its crew.
The author must have been a well versed merchant seaman as his dialouge had a ring of accurate realism as to the way the disaster unfolded.
It may not of been a best seller but it was certainly a great bit of descriptive writing for people familiar with ships.
Does anyone recall this novel , its name or its author?

Bob

James_C
29th August 2012, 23:42
Bob,
The book you're referring to is "A Ship is Dying" by Brian Callison. You're right in that the author was indeed well versed in shipboard life as he'd been a Blue Funnel midshipman and 4th Mate.

needadditionalinformation
29th August 2012, 23:47
Attempts at ship preservation have almost always been failures. Take the case of the MANXMAN. I sailed on her every year she was in Steam Packet service, and was her Purser in the early 1970s. When she finished her IOMSPCo service in 1982 she went to Preston, then to Liverpool, on to Hull and finished up in the Pallion Yard, where, for all I know, she may still be languishing.
The MANXMAN has now been out of service and derelict for much longer than she was in active Steam Packet service.
I prefer to remember her as a fine working ship, not as a failed nightclub venture - the 'Manxman Princess' she was called. So, yes, she should have been broken up in 1982, and I would have been the first to have taken the torch to her. It would have put her out of her undoubted misery, and would have been a dignified end.
When a ship, however fine and much-loved, has reached the end of her working life, she should be broken up, and I would be the first to start that process. The ship will then be remembered for what she was; not as a decaying derelict.
kingorry (R.783921)

The opening statement just couldn't be more incorrect, at least as any reflection of typical reality. I'm sorry things went the way they did for the Manxman, but that's not usually the end for ships in preservation.

To have a look at just how atypical this is, just have a look at this: http://hnsa.org/location.htm

That list of ships is mostly just warships, the 1886 Full-rigged Ship Balclutha of San Francisco (among many others) isn't even listed!!

A conducive environment is needed, but it's anything but fait accompli that a preservation effort will end in failure.

nav
30th August 2012, 01:22
Moshulu (Pennsylvania)
Glenlee (Glasgow)
Pommern (Finland)
Falls of Clyde (Honolulu)

are others in arious stages of restoration.

Alan Rawlinson
30th August 2012, 09:10
Hi Guys,

Would like to add my tuppence worth to this thread....

There is a fate worse than death - for ships too..... Just look at what has been done to the ' Cutty Sark ' ! Millions and millions spent by, no doubt, well meaning luvvies, only to be condemned to be propped up in space on sticks like a sack of potatoes. A maritime space shuttle with masts. She is, in effect, a ghost ship of new frames holding together the old iron and timber. Money has been lavished on this project to create a beautifully looking clone, and a totally artificial effect for gawping tourists.. A flying ship suspended in space so unnatural and alien for a thing of maritime beauty.

I suppose it could be argued that this is better than slowly rotting away like my old ship the ' Duke of Lancaster ' on the Welsh coast.

For my money, I would have preferred the millions to be spent keeping the Cutty Sark in a wet berth with regular dry docking for maintainance - that is before the fire. That way she would have been a ship in her element, radiating her natural elegance, and would have been a great history lesson for all to see, especially the youngsters. Maybe they should have called it a day after the fire, rather than spending all that obscene money massaging the egos of the great and the good who get attracted to such projects, like moths to a flame. Common sense seems to desert them.

chadburn
30th August 2012, 18:19
I have to agree with you Alan in regard's to the Cutty Sark, apparently the Chief Engineer walked off the project in protest at the vessel being in a "suspended mode". In his view this mode will cause structural problem's in the future. At least when vessel's were re-furbished at Hartlepool they have the ability to FLOAT

BobClay
1st September 2012, 10:52
http://sixsentences.ning.com/profiles/blogs/bitter-end

I suppose I've posted this link just to save myself a bit of typing. Needless to say she has now gone, towed around to Yelland Quay and cut up as far as I know.
Quite sad end for this little ship.

DAVID ALCOCK
1st September 2012, 12:20
their are many disasters in the preservation movement worldwide
in the US - OLYMPIA (NATIONAL TREASURE) TEXAS (SINKING DESPITE A RUMOURED 23MILLION$ IN THE BANK) NEW JERSEY (DESPITE STATE SUPPORT) for starters
EXETER museum the steam tug at Cardiff HMS ALLIANCE even CUTTYSARK allower to virtually rot away before a RIDICULOUS anount of cash was found and even HMS VICTORY is often reported to be desparate for mainterance cash
in SOUTH AFRICA the tug ALWYN VINTCENT is now on her 7th or 8th rescue attempt 408km from the sea and is being restored to working condition AGAIN

Alan Rawlinson
1st September 2012, 12:58
their are many disasters in the preservation movement worldwide
in the US - OLYMPIA (NATIONAL TREASURE) TEXAS (SINKING DESPITE A RUMOURED 23MILLION$ IN THE BANK) NEW JERSEY (DESPITE STATE SUPPORT) for starters
EXETER museum the steam tug at Cardiff HMS ALLIANCE even CUTTYSARK allower to virtually rot away before a RIDICULOUS anount of cash was found and even HMS VICTORY is often reported to be desparate for mainterance cash
in SOUTH AFRICA the tug ALWYN VINTCENT is now on her 7th or 8th rescue attempt 408km from the sea and is being restored to working condition AGAIN

Interesting comment...

set me thinking about restoration in general. Isn't it strange that in the aircraft industry, restored aircraft often fly ( OK, some crash) but with restored ships , they rarely sail??? I suppose the liberty ship, Jeremiah O.Brian, is an exception.

Given that the high profile ones i.e. Cutty Sark; Queen Mary, Brittania, etc often attract barrow loads of cash, it should be possible to find a role afloat and preferably make token voyages, just like the WW11 bombers and spitfires do. I am aware that the hull certification and insurance might be a big hurdle, but the aircraft boys seem to be able to overcome this.

needadditionalinformation
2nd September 2012, 11:33
their are many disasters in the preservation movement worldwide
in the US - OLYMPIA (NATIONAL TREASURE) TEXAS (SINKING DESPITE A RUMOURED 23MILLION$ IN THE BANK) NEW JERSEY (DESPITE STATE SUPPORT) for starters
EXETER museum the steam tug at Cardiff HMS ALLIANCE even CUTTYSARK allower to virtually rot away before a RIDICULOUS anount of cash was found and even HMS VICTORY is often reported to be desparate for mainterance cash
in SOUTH AFRICA the tug ALWYN VINTCENT is now on her 7th or 8th rescue attempt 408km from the sea and is being restored to working condition AGAIN

Well, as for the USS Olympia, the guy who ran that museum has been, as I recall, convicted & sentenced to prison for?... embezzlement I believe? It was quite a bit of money, too.

As for the USS Texas, I don't know the problem, but she apparently needs to be looked after.

Real Estate isn't the only thing for which "location, location, location" is critical.

I was involved volunteering with both the SS Jeremiah O'Brien and the S.F. Maritime museum/ Hyde street pier ships. The J.O.B. was moored for years at Fort Mason, a little further away from fisherman's wharf, in S.F. After moving to Pier 45, in the heart of Fisherman's wharf, I was told she pulled in more money per weekend in visitor ticket sales than after several months at Fort Mason. That's part of what I meant about the ships needing a conducive environment.

Like I said, those ships in that list the link points to in my last message are just a very partial listing of the ships in preservation.

Inferentially comparing a few ships with problems, against the comparatively massive number in preservation, would seem to be a hasty generalization.

Alan Rawlinson
3rd September 2012, 08:34
Interesting to read about the ' Jeremy O'brian' and the importance of location...

Of course, funding and the flow of funds is paramount, but in the case of the ' Cutty Sark ' my point is that funds were available but the wrong decision was made for the future of the project. The location in Greenwich, similar to Fisherman's Wharf in S.F. ensures a steady stream of dosh as the gawpers stroll onto the quay.

I appreciate that the decision to hang her in space must have been a majority decision by well meaning people. I stick to the view, however, that this was nothing short of a disaster from a maritime perspective. It was almost ' Disneyfication' - a fate she did not deserve...

DAVID ALCOCK
5th September 2012, 20:51
the"EXPERTS" say that CUTTY SARK was "spreading "due to lack of water preasure and that the current display was the best long term solution!???no doubt we will find out in 10-20years!!when the next solution needs funding!

chadburn
6th September 2012, 14:04
It seems a bit daft when they employed a Qualified Engineer and his Deputy (who also walked out) and then overuled them, a bit like employing a Qualified Master for your Motor Yacht and then totally ignoring is advice on the best routing to the Port of your choice. I am sure your right David in your observation's, only time will tell. Unless there is another fire!!

Alan Rawlinson
7th September 2012, 08:28
It seems a bit daft when they employed a Qualified Engineer and his Deputy (who also walked out) and then overuled them, a bit like employing a Qualified Master for your Motor Yacht and then totally ignoring is advice on the best routing to the Port of your choice. I am sure your right David in your observation's, only time will tell. Unless there is another fire!!

There may be a technical issue. The craftsmen have created a beautiful reproduction really, using the very best materials. I am sure every effort had been made to create the Cutty Sark in all her original glory - especially as there were ridiculous amounts of money available. Whether she lasts or not however, my objection is aesthetic, regardless of the technical considerations. Even on her best passage - 'flying along' was a figure of speech only! I doubt she ever left the water completely to take to the air like she is now. In my view, which admittedly is only one, it was simply the wrong choice.