Cable Laying on CS Mercury, 1973

CableHistory
1st March 2006, 14:15
On my Cable History website, David Watson continues his Memoirs of an STC Project Engineer with an article on laying the CANTAT cable from CS Mercury in 1973:
http://atlantic-cable.com/CableStories/Watson/CANTAT/index.htm

Bill

KevinR
15th February 2009, 18:21
I was 3/Eng, then 2/Eng. on the Mercury 1962 -1965. She was a great ship with British Officers and Spanish crew and had a superbly equipped engineroom workshop. I attach a pic. of the 1:100 scale model I made while serving aboard the ship.

Pat Kennedy
15th February 2009, 19:08
As a matter of interest, I was working in Cammell Lairds when that Mercury was fitting out. One day there was a commotion up on the boat deck, and ambulances arriving etc. I found out later that three shipwrights had been on hands and knees caulking the deck planks, and the crane lifted a sling of steel plates on edge right over them. A plate slipped out of the slings and like a guillotine blade, cut the three of them in half.
The worst accident I ever heard of in Lairds, and there were plenty in that yard. Health and Safety was not on the agenda those days.
Pat

KevinR
17th February 2009, 20:23
As a matter of interest, I was working in Cammell Lairds when that Mercury was fitting out. One day there was a commotion up on the boat deck, and ambulances arriving etc. I found out later that three shipwrights had been on hands and knees caulking the deck planks, and the crane lifted a sling of steel plates on edge right over them. A plate slipped out of the slings and like a guillotine blade, cut the three of them in half.
The worst accident I ever heard of in Lairds, and there were plenty in that yard. Health and Safety was not on the agenda those days.
Pat

What a horrific accident, Pat! First I have heard of it, though I joined "Mercury" in Birkenhead during the final phases of fitting out, and subsequently sailed on her for the next 2 years.
My most vivid memory of that time was lunchtime when all the workers swarmed over the road to the pub (forget it's name) and every horizontal surface had a pint of beer on it - hundreds of pints - and everybody knew exactly where their beer was! We used to get in there early to get a drink before the rush.....

Pat Kennedy
17th February 2009, 20:33
Kevin,
That pub was the Royal Castle and I've had many a pint in there.
Now called the Hotel California it is still going strong but mainly as a very noisy heavy metal type pub for youngsters.
A good photo of it here;
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/630873
Regards,
Pat

janmarsh
10th March 2009, 13:16
Hello all,
Search Youtube "C.S. Mercury Tasman Lay 1975" for some crude cine converted footage of this lay.
Regards, Marshall.

Ray the lecky
2nd January 2013, 04:26
I missed the 1973 Lay, (on leave) but did complete 2 commissions before and after. I am new to this site but I sailed with KevinR and Dave Watson. Are there any other C&W marine staff members?
Ray

Pat Kennedy
2nd January 2013, 08:54
Here is a photo of Mercury on her sea trials in 1962.
She was a good looking ship.

Ray the lecky
2nd January 2013, 17:18
Many thanks for that photo Pat. She certainly was a good looking ship and was always kept in top order.
Fond memories.

Pat Kennedy
2nd January 2013, 19:44
Cable laying ships have become much more functional in design since Mercury was built.
Here are some pics of the Cable ship Nexans Skaggerak undergoing a refit in Cammell Lairds about three years ago.

Ray the lecky
10th February 2013, 06:40
With reference to the Youtube footage (janmarsh 10th March 2009) there was an Australian professional film crew that sailed with us on that lay, filming every aspect of the operations from loading to slipping the final and life at sea . If you look closely at the youtube footage you will see them filming using a tripod shooting aft. They had a collection of their work with them and showed us one that they had filmed of an alligator farm in Australia. Excellent.
Pity that the film of the lay was not available.
Regards.
Ray

Ray the lecky
10th February 2013, 06:41
Maybe Dave Watson knows of the films existance.
Ray

Blackal
12th February 2013, 02:57
Cable laying ships have become much more functional in design since Mercury was built.
Here are some pics of the Cable ship Nexans Skaggerak undergoing a refit in Cammell Lairds about three years ago.

If I remember correctly - the Skaggerak was (prior to 2009 at least) - about 1m narrower down one side (around the C/L) where it had been 'shaved' to get it through some canal (corinthian?).

Al

Ray the lecky
17th February 2013, 03:50
Did I say alligator farm in Australia? I meant obviously a crocodile farm.
Ray

john flower
4th April 2013, 08:15
G-day all. just caught up with the thread. served as 2R/O on the first voyages laying COMPAC, offloaded to Retriever in the middle for six months in Suva and Honolulu. What a life for single young man. Great company, great ships, wish Id stayed for another shift. Have still got photos of the Radio Room somewhere
John Flower

Ray the lecky
10th April 2013, 21:44
Hi John.
I sailed at various times with R/Os: Des Gallagar, John Oxley, Derek Steele, Paul Money, George O"Brian, Shaun Hasslett, some of whom were around during your stint with C&W.
Ring any bells?
I agree that it was a great company in those days.
Ray

john flower
1st May 2013, 08:58
Hi Ray,, Thanks for note on Mercury R/O's. John Oxley was No1 when I joined at Greenwich before the first Compac lay, Capt Reynolds

ben27
2nd May 2013, 01:57
good day cable history,2end,march.2006,00:15.re:cable laying on cs.mercury.1973.a most interesting thread,i have just watched your link.most informative.you certainly sailed with good mates.having a collection for you.and you having a non stop party in return.thanks for posting.ben27

kenjamo
25th September 2013, 12:14
Hi all,
I'm new to this site, and not sure how it all hangs together.
I was with C&W from 1970 to 1980.
I was Junior Eng. on the Sentinel based in Bermuda 70/72. 3rd Eng. on the Mercury 73/74 laying the CANTAT 2.
3rd/2nd Eng. on the Retriever in Honolulu 75/76. and again on the Mercury in 78/79.
I agree with the comments above it was certainly a great company. Happy times.

ninabaker
25th September 2013, 22:20
Hi all,
I was very briefly with C&W in 1979, as one of 4 3/Os on Cable Venture laying cable off Libya. I hope that isnt too off topic for this thread. I may have some pics somewhere.
nina

JOHN.D.COTTON
4th December 2013, 20:15
Rather new to this forum. I was RO on Mercury for two 'tours' after
standing by at Lairds - maiden voyage 1962 - laying Compac.
I well remember a few names -Alan D. Law, Sid Bayfield, John Patterson, Ian Bosworth, John Neal, Mike Forshaw, Capt Paddy Garrett, John Oxley (my boss), John Peck, Kevin Routledge,John Flower. We had a 5 months stint alongside in Suva to repace the Retriever. Wow a good company and many memories.

Forbes1922
21st February 2014, 18:37
Hi John.
I sailed at various times with R/Os: Des Gallagar, John Oxley, Derek Steele, Paul Money, George O"Brian, Shaun Hasslett, some of whom were around during your stint with C&W.
Ring any bells?
I agree that it was a great company in those days.
Ray
Did u see Paul money as Rob pilot on the tv Quest channel when they go u nd a ship in the channel'with $200 million in silver bars they are now selling them on eBay. Paul was due to retire after that find