30th January 2006, 19:11
Can anyone help me with information about the collision between T&J Harrisons Geologist,and the Liberian Ship Sunprincess.I believe that It happened off the Coast of Trinidad in 1955 and that 20 Seamen lost there lives in the collision.
I am asking because a friend of mine lost his Cousin who was 3rd mate on the Geologist,and has asked me for help after me telling him about this site
Thanks if you can help Lads
31st January 2006, 02:32
hi stevie i am casting my memory back some 47 years or so 1957 we had a captain on the journalist who took us round the land to glasgow and back to liverpool before we set sail on our main voyage he was a part time captain and his name was jackson i was told by my shipmates that he was the captain of the geologist when it sank in 1955 he went down with the ship but was miraculouslly saved alongside a couple of cadet officers who came back to the surface in some sort of air bubble a short time after that i sailed with an ab by the name of vinny da silva he told me and my fellow shipmates that he was a member of the crew of the sun princess when it was in collision with the geologist he told us that the duty watch on the sun princess were all under the influence of drink and he said he had testified in favour of harrisons to this effect now this may seem a bit corny but he told us he had a job for life with harrisons as part of his reward for testifying i dont know the exact date the geologist went down i seem to recall it may have been during the christmas new year period and this may be why the duty watch on the sun princess had been drinkinig if any of this is true can anyone out there enlighten me as i said befor i am remembering what i was told over 47 years ago bye for now lofty
31st January 2006, 11:42
Than'ks Lofty. Nice memorys about the collision.This is getting more and more interesting and I am determined to find out alot more and being an ex AB with Harrisons plus my friends interest has really wet my appetite with this
24th February 2006, 11:18
great interest in this event, because 7 years after the event I came to know the man responsible.
For a fairly full account, refer to the book "Harrisons of Liverpool" by Graeme Cubbin.
There is a complete file in the National Archives Centre at Kew.
The 2nd Mate of the "Sunprincess" was responsible due to intoxication.
His Master (FG) Certificate was cancelled.
In the Kew file there are copies of pathetic letters he wrote to the MOT in subsequent years pleading for his case to be reconsidered and for a junior grade certificate to be granted to him under probation in order that he could find seagoing employment.
There is also reference with letter copies to his later fraudulently obtaining employment with John Manners of Hong Kong as 1st Mate of their "East Breeze" which he joined in Singapore in 1961. He was caught out a few months later by an observant Aussie official when he tried to sign on another Manners ship claiming his certificate had been lost.
My interest in all this stems from the fact that I was 3rd Mate of the "East Breeze" when he signed on in Singapore. He was transferred to the "Adelaide Breeze" a few months later when he was caught out in Newcastle NSW.
During the time I sailed with him his behaviour was "dodgy" and I found myself doing his job for him frequently (I was 2nd Mate by this time).
We heard some odd stories about his antics in Sydney when standing by "Adelaide Breeze"
The penny only dropped about his identity about 6 months later. I was in HK for my Mate's ticket when he came into a bar I used in Kowloon (Victoria Bar)
I was with a 3rd Mate from P & O who had formerly been with Saguenay (bareboat charterers of "Sunprincess") who identified him and enlightened me.
I bumped into him on HK side a few weeks later and he tried to borrow HK$1000.oo from me!
I never saw him again, I presumed that he would be found "belly-up" by some
Many years later when sailing as skipper in coastal tankers I learned that he had found his way back to his native Hull and had ended up as Bosun in the "Humber Guardian." He died in 1975.
I have passed on all I know to Graeme Cubbin who told me that there are only one or two of "Geologist" survivors still alive.
I like to think that the guy managed to find some measure of redemption in the later part of what must have been an unhappy life.
24th February 2006, 11:50
Maybe you can get more info here, they have lately received a lot of documents from a donation, and is available at Merseyside Maritime Museum
24th February 2006, 14:17
Welcome Vic to the site, what a good thread to start the site with, most interesting.
You are now amongst the sea/ship loving fraternity most of us left years ago but our minds are still there.
24th February 2006, 14:35
Thank's to Vic Pitcher for the tale of the second mate of the Sunprincess.How on Earth could he Contemplate going back to Sea and especially standing a Bridge Watch ,Knowing that he had the guilt of 20 Seamans lives to live with through being drunk on watch
I will try and get a copy of the Book Harrisons of Liverpool having sailed on 5 Harrison boats
25th February 2006, 11:13
As Vic said the book "Harrisons of Liverpool" has exellent coverage of the incident. It is an extemely interesting book, I'm still finding items of interest even after a couple of years. Not cheap though - Does somebody owe you a birthday present, as it's well worth having. No I'm not on commission!
8th February 2012, 20:40
I suspect this thread has gone cold, but I sailed with Alex Gordon who was sparks on the Geologist several times in the 80s. He gave a very graphic acount of the loss of the ship. He was also on the Barbatia (Spelling?) a Shell tanker which was sunk during the Suez Crisis