British Comet

Willie Mac
17th March 2006, 12:17
I sailed on the Comet in 1972. Would apprecite any information on her history, where built, sister ships, when scrapped, etc etc. Would also like to know if it is possible to get crew lists anywhere from that particular time.

Regards

Willie Macfarlane

gadgee
17th March 2006, 13:05
Hi Willie
I worked for BP Tankers from 1966 to 1971 and sailed on the Beacon, a sister to the Comet. The Comet was delivered to BP in August 1960 having been built by C Riuniti Adriatico, San Marco, Italy. She was sold in June 1975 for demolition which started at Kaoshiung in September 1975. In the class there was the Light, Beacon, Signal, Star, Comet and Lantern. All six were bedevilled by mechanical problems and sold for scrap with 15 years.

A link to some crew lists:-

http://members.allstream.net/~wallaceg/

If you search the SN website in BP Tankers, you should find much reference to BP's "Light" class!!

James MacDonald
17th March 2006, 17:15
Hi Willie, Ive just signed in for the first time on this site. My first trip was on the British Comet as Deck Boy on the 29/05/1963 at Finart.Our Captain was S Butler.Our trip was Banious,Whitegate,Karg Is, Port De Bouc Kharg Is,Port De Bouc,Ras Tanura, Willemshaven & Falmouth.29/10/1963.
jamesmacdonald182@hotmail.com



undefinedHi Willie
I worked for BP Tankers from 1966 to 1971 and sailed on the Beacon, a sister to the Comet. The Comet was delivered to BP in August 1960 having been built by C Riuniti Adriatico, San Marco, Italy. She was sold in June 1975 for demolition which started at Kaoshiung in September 1975. In the class there was the Light, Beacon, Signal, Star, Comet and Lantern. All six were bedevilled by mechanical problems and sold for scrap with 15 years.

A link to some crew lists:-

http://members.allstream.net/~wallaceg/

If you search the SN website in BP Tankers, you should find much reference to BP's "Light" class!!

vix
18th March 2006, 07:01
Hi Willie, Ive just signed in for the first time on this site. My first trip was on the British Comet as Deck Boy on the 29/05/1963 at Finart.Our Captain was S Butler.Our trip was Banious,Whitegate,Karg Is, Port De Bouc Kharg Is,Port De Bouc,Ras Tanura, Willemshaven & Falmouth.29/10/1963. jamesmacdonald182@hotmail.com undefined
Hi Willie, I was on the Br. Comet Aug-Dec 1961...paid off in Suez with a broken wrist...had a good skipper...Capt Stibbs...always spoke to the helmsman first when he came on the bridge...as for engines etc...we did the first drydocking service after she was built...we had 3 weeks in Trieste...as we had only joined and sailed from the Isle of Grain...everyone was skint...when we were east of Suez...the officer's airconditioning 'irreparably' broke down...strange to relate...the crew's airconditioning broke down the following day and the officer's remarkably started-up again, only to break down again the following day then none of us had A/C! Our first reasonable port was Wilhelmshaven...there was an almighty punch-up there that saw 2 paid off and 1 jump ship...I might relate the whole story one day...if I get time...the one really good thing I remember was you could lock your door in the open position with a door hook...let air in...keep light fingers out...that was what saved me the night of the punch-up...Capt Stibbs was supposed to retire at the end of that trip...but I heard BP asked him to do a relieving trip on the Br Ambassador?? He was lost over the side at Aden I heard...rum affair...I enjoyed my time on her but, from memory, the food wasn't up to the usual BP standard. Vix (K)

Willie Mac
19th March 2006, 13:01
Hi Guys

Thanks for your replies. I have checked out Mr Wallace’s website, looks like its quite a while since it was updated and although it gives quite a bit of information on some BP ships I didn’t see any mention of the “Comet”.

I joined the “Comet” as an S.O.S. in Finnart in July 71. First night on board (Vix) because of the heat and lack of air in the cabin left the door on the so called safety hook, woke up in the morning to find that my Seiko watch (bought trip before in Yokohama) was gone? Never did figure out how!

Spent the next five months in the Medi, apart from one trip down to Bonny in Nigeria, mostly loading at Baniyas in Syria (loading buoy about three miles offshore) and discharging in Turkey and Italy. Thirty one ports in five months. Finally got a cargo for Antwerp, everyone was delighted as there was a chance of going to the UK and pay off but hopes were dashed when the company announced that we were to go straight back to the Medi after discharging. Strange things began to happen while in Antwerp, resulting in some major damage to the propeller, (rumours of sabotage abounded). Whatever caused the problem resulted in us having to go to Liverpool for repairs. Nearly crushed in the stampede to pay off. First and last tanker in my sea going career.

gadgee
19th March 2006, 13:32
Willie
Yes , noticed Wallace's site was neglected. I have asked him whether he is still running it.

vix
20th March 2006, 08:10
Hi Guys I joined the “Comet” as an S.O.S. in Finnart in July 71. First night on board (Vix) because of the heat and lack of air in the cabin left the door on the so called safety hook, woke up in the morning to find that my Seiko watch (bought trip before in Yokohama) was gone? Never did figure out how!
Willie Mac. Some smart a**e had probably worked out how to by-pass the system in 10 years!!??
Part of that infamous punch-up will live with me forever: We had a Scottish EDH/AB by the name of George ****...I was told to go to his cabin because the German St John were going to look at him...I went to his cabin and he was lying in what I later learned was called the foetal position...he was facing away from me and had his hands on his head.,,he was moaning but very softly...I asked him what was the matter but received no reply...the next thing I knew the two Germans arriving...What I am about to tell you is as true as I can remember after 45 years. One walked up to him and said...'What is the matter?'...with that he pulled George's hands off his head and you could see a gapping hole with clear liquid around it...the German took one look and said...'You come ashore with us'...it wasn't a question it was a statement of fact...George said...'I don't want to go'...to cut a long story short...one German bent over George, who was only very slightly built, and jerked him off the bed...that orderly grabbed his shirt one side...the other grabbed the other side and they frogmarched him off the ship...I can still hear George's plaintive calls as they dragged him down the corridor...'I don't want to go'...but go he did...never to be seen again...I was detailed to pack his gear...which was pitifull...and it was put ashore along with his discharge book and documents...I have never seen an injured man treated in that manner before nor since...I've seen animals treated far better! Vix

Graham Wallace
10th May 2006, 23:31
Willie
Yes , noticed Wallace's site was neglected. I have asked him whether he is still running it.

Ouch, that hurts to think my site looks neglected, I'm still alive and kicking, still digging up old engineering apprentices and others. just getting a little slower thats all.
I always thought if anyone wanted to contact me direct it would be easy using the info on the website. I'll have to rethink it!
I'll get my daughter ( webmaster) to put in a present update.

Graham Wallace

rushie
11th May 2006, 10:31
Hi to Gadgee, Willie Mac, Vix and James....and any other readers.!

Can you help me please..?

I'm trying to put together a book on life at sea with BP and would appreciate any stories, tales, memories (good or hopefully not too bad), anecdotes etc about your seafaring times with company. I've got some members on board assisting already, but the more info I can get...hopefully the more interesting the book will be for all. See thread -Major Project, I need your help in the BP section.

Anything you can tell me would be most appreciated.! (Use private mail if you prefer)

Looking forward to hearing from you..!

Cheers,

Rushie.

gadgee
12th May 2006, 10:14
Hello Graham
Welcome to SN - just found your post. Sorry If I hurt you. I tend to look at "last updated" dates on websites and I noticed yours was August 2005 so I feared the worst. I keep on thinking about producing my own web site but never yet got around to it, so I have respect for people like you who have started one!



Ouch, that hurts to think my site looks neglected, I'm still alive and kicking, still digging up old engineering apprentices and others. just getting a little slower thats all.
I always thought if anyone wanted to contact me direct it would be easy using the info on the website. I'll have to rethink it!
I'll get my daughter ( webmaster) to put in a present update.

Graham Wallace

vix
31st May 2006, 10:14
Hi to Gadgee, Willie Mac, Vix and James....and any other readers.! Can you help me please..? I'm trying to put together a book on life at sea with BP and would appreciate any stories, tales, memories (good or hopefully not too bad), anecdotes etc about your seafaring times with company. I've got some members on board assisting already, but the more info I can get...hopefully the more interesting the book will be for all. See thread -Major Project, I need your help in the BP section. Anything you can tell me would be most appreciated.! (Use private mail if you prefer) Looking forward to hearing from you..! Cheers, Rushie.
Kia ora Rushie, sorry to be late in replying to this request: I am trying to write my own memoirs, been doing it for years, first the computer crashed with all my info...then the new discs became corrupted...then I got writers block...now I am working again and ain't got the time...but I'll persevere just so my kids and grandkids know what I did for at least 8 years of my life. (Although I still can't decide whether to put EVERYTHING in or not?) If you have any questions that I can answer I would be delighted to help you. I can honestly say I met some real B******s on BP but...by the same token...I met some real Gentlemen...funnily enough...out of all of the ships I sailed on I only ever kept in touch with 1 man, from my first ship, and last year he died in a tragic accident, almost 50 years to the day. Vix

twogrumpy
24th April 2007, 21:46
Does anyone remember the Ocean Bridge incident??

twogrumpy(Cloud)

Fraserbetts
25th April 2007, 04:10
Hi to Gadgee, Willie Mac, Vix and James....and any other readers.!



Can you help me please..?

I'm trying to put together a book on life at sea with BP and would appreciate any stories, tales, memories (good or hopefully not too bad), anecdotes etc about your seafaring times with company. I've got some members on board assisting already, but the more info I can get...hopefully the more interesting the book will be for all. See thread -Major Project, I need your help in the BP section.

Anything you can tell me would be most appreciated.! (Use private mail if you prefer)

Looking forward to hearing from you..!

Cheers,

Rushie.
my one claim to fame, if you can call it that, was to bring a new meaning to the phrase 'dropping anchor'. Joined the Argosy as choff and had to take over fairly quickly as the outgoing needed off in a hurry. Berthing in Skoldvik, Finland, I was standing at the break of the focsle as we were running ropes away when I felt the deck jump, I looked round and noticed chippy was standing at the windlass just about to tighten up the brake which had already been flogged tight as hard as possible; I just had time to see the anchor hit the mooring boat which was waiting for the next ropes to be passed, on its way down. Fortunately it caught the boat a glancing blow but enough to turn her over. The boat crew were none too pleased as you can imagine; water temp was only just above freezing. Later I learned that the ship had a history of anchor problems including losing the whole set off Cape Town. Apparently bad design and brake linings made it almost impossible to keep the anchor on the brake. Unfortunately due to the short handover etc no one bothered to mention this. On my way back aft I noticed two rather bedraggled boatmen on the jetty; I dont understand Finnish but I can guess what they were saying; the one time when I was glad the crew were slow in putting the gangway down. It transpired that the terminal had just invested in a brand new boat.

We sailed from Skoldvik and had just dropped the pilot when there was an almighty bang from the engine room. This was the TA trying to escape; someone had screwed down the safety's. We limped through the N Sea and channel to Falmouth. My time was spent trying to get the ship to 19 ft even keel with only the ballast pump running. Managed it with about four hours to spare.

Got alongside and landed the TA rotor which was slightly bent. On returning it, the yards workshop managed to bump it and bend it again. So back it went.The office must have been wriggling in their seats because the old girl was trying to get to Taiwan for scrap. She obviously didn't want to go. Eventually I believe a new rotor was discovered lying in Cammel Lairds workshop. The only one in existence. The ship went on to carry another cargo before eventually going to rest. I left in Falmouth to join the Kiwi, fitting out in Rotterdam to go to the Forties field as the Forties Kiwi.

Willie Mac
29th April 2007, 13:12
Does anyone remember the Ocean Bridge incident??

twogrumpy(Cloud)

The incident happened on the 8th March 1971. The British Comet was taking in water in her engine room in the Bay of Biscay and the Ocean Bridge (OBO built in 1970, 66,057 grt. length 850 ft, beam 134 ft) went to her assistance. As she drew alongside there was an explosion in one of her pumprooms and No 9 hold.

After ordering his men off onto the British Comet, the master went to assess the damage and was killed by a second explosion.

Even though there was a massive hole blown through the starboard side of the ship and the bridge was destroyed in the subsequent fire, the vessel was towed to Scott Lithgows on the Clyde where she was repaired. She was renamed the Gloucestershire (her sister ship the Derbyshire was lost with all hands in 1980) in 1977, but was sold the following year. She was scrapped in Kaohsuing in July 1986.

I took an interest in this story as I joined the "Comet" in July 1971.

Willie Mac

M29
30th April 2007, 17:57
Hi everyone
See also thread "Ocean Bridge" in the Bulk Carrier forum
Alan Melia

r.hirons
16th July 2007, 22:38
I remember sailing on the Comet in 68 and of her being the most unreliable ship ever, with maybe the exception of the Captain. Whilst serving onthe Gull in 73 i remember we towed her for approx two weeks after she suffered a major black out off the coast of Ceylon. Those Birds were the best ships ever sailed on 4 of them.

Stubbsy5050
21st August 2007, 10:27
The incident happened on the 8th March 1971. The British Comet was taking in water in her engine room in the Bay of Biscay and the Ocean Bridge (OBO built in 1970, 66,057 grt. length 850 ft, beam 134 ft) went to her assistance. As she drew alongside there was an explosion in one of her pumprooms and No 9 hold.

After ordering his men off onto the British Comet, the master went to assess the damage and was killed by a second explosion.

Even though there was a massive hole blown through the starboard side of the ship and the bridge was destroyed in the subsequent fire, the vessel was towed to Scott Lithgows on the Clyde where she was repaired. She was renamed the Gloucestershire (her sister ship the Derbyshire was lost with all hands in 1980) in 1977, but was sold the following year. She was scrapped in Kaohsuing in July 1986.

I took an interest in this story as I joined the "Comet" in July 1971.

Willie Mac


The master of the Ocean Bridge who was killed was my father-in-law Captain Henry (Harry) Wilson Pyle. During her recovery two members of the salvage crew including the tug captain drowned when their inflatable overturned.

She was towed to Huelva where Captain Pyle was buried, then Cadiz, Gibraltar and Marseilles for emergency repairs. At this stage her deck was awash and she was drawing 100ft at the stern. Her bridge was completely burnt out. The explosion had torn a hole the size of a tennis court through the hull and daylight was visible through the ship.

Amazingly it was decided to send her to the Clyde for repairs, which were to cost £2.5m and the lives of more men who were killed in an accident during welding operations.

It was also discovered that there had been fatalities during her building in Japan.

After repairs she was laid up for many months at Loch Striven, renamed Gloucestershire in 1977, sold in 1978 and renamed Oceanic Victory, then Ocean Victory, then China Victory. Finally broken up 1986.

After commanding Bibby's bulk carriers Pacific Bridge, Atlantic Bridge and Ocean Bridge, Captain Pyle would have been the obvious choice to command their biggest ship the Liverpool Bridge, launched a few years later. Renamed the Derbyshire, she sank with the loss of 44 lives in 1980.

Attached pics show the Ocean Bridge and a French helicopter lifting off survivors from the British Comet.

Thanks to Alan who pointed me in the direction of this thread.

John