Albright Explorer & Albright Pioneer

8th January 2006, 16:51
Way back in 1977 I had the "experience " of sailing on the Albright Explorer, which along with her sister ship the Albright Pioneer were I was told at that time they were the only two bulk liquid phospherous vessels at sea. They were managed by that well known Barrow in Furness outfit "James Fisher & Co Ltd."
They loaded the cargo at a place in Newfouldland called Long Harbour from there the only discharge ports were either Portishead in the UK near Bristol and Kinura Ko in Japan. near Kobe.
I was wondering what happened to this ships and how is this cargo now shipped as the plant in Long Harbour closed down in 1989, well it was in the middle of nowhere.
It was an interesting voyage to Long Harbour to load then through the Panama Canal to Japan the back to Canada to some place I can't remember except that we loaded rubble and rock for stability purposes in one hold before returning to Avonmouth.
As far as I was concerned it was my first and last voyage for various reasons including the the nature of deck cargo in barrels and a captains bond (booze variety) which led to friction and ill feelings between crew members.
Anyway I digress but they were slightly unusual ships having one or was it two bulk holds followed by a deckhousing containing atop the manifolds for loading the cargo into two 1200 ton crucibles which were always full either with water which was then displaced by the phospherous or vice versa. This cargo had to kept from the air as it exploded into flame, rounding off this housing was for all intent and purpose a domestic bath which was to be dived into if you came into contact with the phospherous as it burnt intensily. Then there were three or four bulk holds before the accomodation, looked like a small bulker apart from odd deck housing.

So over to all of you out there I'm sure you will satify my curiosity as to the fate of these ships

9th January 2006, 12:42
Following a period in lay-up at Barrow both ships were sold to Piraeus-based Sougerka Mairitme and converted into dry cargo vessels by the removal of their phosphorus tanks. Albright Pioneer became the Bright Pioneer whilst Albright Explorer was renamed (you've guessed it) Bright Explorer. For unknown reasons, but presume some kind of mechanical failure, the Explorer was sold to Indian breakers in 1991. The Pioneer was not demolished until 2001 by which time she was named Raider. Hope that assists.

10th January 2006, 19:30
Thanks for that info. I am surprised they lasted that long as the explorer was not exactly young when I was onboard although I don,t know where or when they were built.

11th January 2006, 08:31
Certainly these were golden oldies by then, having been delivered from Vickers' Newcastle yard towards the end of 1968.

28th August 2006, 15:20
Nice pic in my gallery of the two together.

24th September 2008, 22:30
Does anyone remember Captain Wise?

15th June 2009, 03:33
Does anyone remember Captain Wise?

Good day,

(sorry for the late reply! - only just spotted your post)

Yes - I remember Captain John Wise well. Sailed with him on the North Atlantic run - Albright and Wilson. I believe that he lived somewhere near Portishead???

I was Ch/Off with him for several voyages.

Barnaby Perkins

(Now in New Zealand)

15th June 2009, 22:28
hi i had the luck of sailing on the albright pioneers first cercumnivigation of the world run in 1977 [sorry if spelt wrong ] but must admit only 17 at the time dave

bob millard
16th November 2010, 20:17
does anyone remember reg woodford who was on the pioneer in 1974

Pat McCardle
16th November 2010, 20:26
Me o'shipmate Claus Rosseler was 2nd Engineer? with them at that time & always spoke highly of all on board.

17th November 2010, 23:06
Interesting to note Niggle's comment about loading rock in a hold for ballast. I am fairly sure that was not a condition in the stability book, for which I was given the task of shading the diagrams with coloured pencils whilst an apprentice in Vickers' design office!

22nd November 2010, 21:46
To Vectiscol

After stirring the brain cells it was definitely Canadian rubble loaded in Dalhousie into the hold next to the one nearest accomodation. I hope you used a brown pencil to match the colour of the rubble and rocks.

Regards Niggle

5th December 2010, 16:49
Captain John Wood was an old friend of my father, and latterly worked on Albright and Wilson ships. In the 1960's, he retired to Stonehaven, Scotland. I remember him showing us photographs of Albright's specialist ships. I can't recall their names: if RobW is right in saying that Explorer and Pioneer were delivered in 1968, then perhaps the ships that Capt. Wood commanded were earlier ones.

6th December 2010, 11:21
For information I remember these ships in port at Portishead where Albright and Wilson Ltd. the chemical manufacturers had facilities for storage of the phosphorus. The ships were specially built for transporting the phosphorus from their Long Harbour plant producition. On of my jobs in the early 70s was to go down to Portishead and check the atmosphere in the tanks as they were pumped out to clean them prior to inspection. one of life's boring jobs as the operation took two or three days and the atmosphere had to be sampled every 3 or 4 hours.

1st April 2011, 08:20
I sailed on both of these ships between Jan 1977 & July 1987, as second mate & mate, John Wood was Master on both of these vessels until he retired in 1979 good seaman if somewhat eccentric though most of us who end up on these ships could be described as eccentric, the rubble loaded whilst Niggle was on the Explorer was zinc concentrate for the Avonmouth smelter. As far as I was concerned they weren't the best of ships or the worst either, the deck and engineroom officers got on well, once we got away from overtime and Sundays at sea etc the money was fairly good, the permenant crew was good sometimes we picked up a dud from the pool but the lads soon sorted them out.

Can't say I regret spending ten years on them

Wally H

Julian Calvin
8th April 2011, 14:39
Joined the "Pioneer"as second mate a couple of months after passing my ticket. After an Elders/Blue Flue background always remember asking the old man did he want to do a great circle or rhumb line to Newfoundland. (I was preparing charts). Always remember his reply, "Eh lad, I wait 'til I get south of Ireland then just sniff the air"
Can't remember his name but seem to recall that there was a footprint marked on the bridge that we had to stamp if we needed him, something to do with alarm bells upsetting him.

9th April 2011, 01:12
There is one ship I've sailed on that I couldnt remember the name.
This thread brought back the missing vessel - Albright Pioneer.
I went up on the night train from London to Newcastle in 1968. Long taxi ride. Signed articles and joined the ship for sea trials as R/O for one day.
Back to London that evening.

The Baxman
30th September 2012, 14:38
I sailed on Allbright Pioneer in 1973 from Portishead to N/foundland rtn paid off on general strike day in uk took 24 hours to get back to Manchester
Not a pleasant memory of the trip, was freezing in St johns ,coldest Ive ever expeerienced

10th February 2016, 16:45
A Rare photo - the 'two sisters' together at ERCO Long Harbour, Nfld, Canada in the late 1960's.
As I understand, the Explorer came to Nfld for her first load of P4 (Phosphorous). The load was off-spec and she had to wait until more product was made. In the mean time, the Pioneer arrived for her load. Thus, a rarity, both 'sisters' in Long Harbour at the same time !

Julian Calvin
10th February 2016, 17:13
Crossing N. Atlantic on Albright Pioneer in 1972 experienced worst wave during my time at sea (although later was in more severe weather).
On midnight to four watch looked way, way up to see breaker just curling over (can't remember height of eye). Crashed on deck and down, down we went. Seemed to take forever before we shuddered and slowly surfaced. Never forgot that moment.