Ocean Bridge

Fairfield
8th September 2004, 13:28
In 1971 this Bibby ore/oil carrier suffered an explosion which sadly cost the life of her Master.She arrived in Greenock in October to enter the Firth of Clyde Drydock for repairs which lasted approx.one year.
These shots show the damage and the repair work under way.
In later years she actually came back to the Clyde and was laid up.She received a traditional Bibby Line name in due course before sale and eventual scrapping.

shipmate17
20th January 2006, 18:11
Just seen your letter.
My late brother in law Tom Phillips was R/O on board then,he had only left the bridge and gone for a meal when the explosion happened.Have a cutting from the local paper of him and crew coming back to Birkenhead.

shipmate17
20th January 2006, 18:26
Hi,
Anyone got a photo of the Ocean Bridge.
Cheers.

Allan James
20th January 2006, 20:17
Isn't she the sister of the ill fated Derbyshire

Allan

Billy1963
21st January 2006, 01:13
Fotoflite (ex Skyphotos) has a photo for sale of her:

http://www.fotoflite.com/

Name when taken:Ocean Bridge
Vessel type: MB
Aprox. Gross Tonnage: 65000
Year of Build: 1970
Dated: 6-June-1977
Negative No.: 276231

Taken from the Red Duster site: http://www.red-duster.co.uk/BIBBY15.htm There is a black & white jpg of her there

OCEAN BRIDGE/GLOUCESTERSHIRE (3) was built in 1970 by Sumitomo Shipbuilding and Machinery Co. at Yokosuka with a tonnage of 66057grt, a length of 849ft 10in, a beam of 134ft 1in and a service speed of 15.5 knots. Bibby's first OBO (ore, bulk, oil) carrier she was launched on 21st November 1969 and delivered in the following March for charter to the Seabridge Consortium. On 8th March 1971, during a voyage from Rotterdam and Pepel, she stopped off the coast of Spain to assist the British Tanker Co.'s British Comet which was taking water in her engine room. As the Ocean Bridge stood by there was an explosion in her No.9 hold which destroyed her pumproom and blew a hole in the starboard side forward of the bridge the size of a tennis court. A resulting fire destroyed the bridge superstructure and on 19th March she was towed into Huelva by the tugs, Pacific and Heros, both owned by Bugsier and Smit's Hudson. On 25th April she arrived under tow in Gibraltar Roads where she was patched up and sent to M****illes for dock repairs. She was subsequently towed to Scott Lithgow Drydocks Ltd at Glasgow where she arrived in the October to have her after section rebuilt. The repair which cost 2,500,000 was reputed to be the most expensive on a British merchant ship. In 1977 she was renamed Gloucestershire and in the following year sold to Sevenseas Navigation Transport Inc. of Monrovia who renamed her Oceanic Victory. She was owned by Chiu Lung Investments of Monrovia in 1984 who sold her to the Chinese Petroleum Corp. of Taiwan. Renamed Ocean Victory she was transferred to the Chinese Maritime Transport co. of Taipei who changed her name to China Victory. On 17th July 1986 she sailed from Tubarao bound for Kaohsuing where she arrived in the October to be broken up.

shipmate17
21st January 2006, 11:00
Thanks for that information.
cheers.

Rennie Cameron
10th November 2006, 19:16
Interesting footnote I recall was that shortly after her arrival at the SL Drydock the CO2/Halon (??) was cut or accidentally set off and there were several peole killed in the Engine Room.

non descript
10th November 2006, 22:58
A sad story indeed. - The history given above is very accurate, although she was bought by CMT (rather than transferred), as CPC is the state oil company and CMT is (or was at that time) a private company and they made a normal market purchase of the vessel. Her final voyage was on a voyage charter for the other state company China Steel Corp (CSC), before being sold locally for scrap (at a time when scrapping was still permitted in Kaohsiung).

non descript
14th December 2006, 16:08
An excellent image of the ship in happier times has been added by Shipmate

here:

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/43204/limit/recent

M29
30th April 2007, 10:52
Just seen your letter.
My late brother in law Tom Phillips was R/O on board then,he had only left the bridge and gone for a meal when the explosion happened.Have a cutting from the local paper of him and crew coming back to Birkenhead.

Hi
I was R/O on Atlantic Bridge and copied the messages of the Distress situation between British Comet and Ocean Bridge. We were too far away to render any assistance. Tom did a brilliant job handling the Radio Distress traffic especially as the R/O on British Comet had no power apart from his emergency batteries.
The British Comet R/O was sending an SOS update to say that all was ok and that Ocean Bridge was standing by them when all of a sudden he stopped, then sent "just blown up". There was a stunned silence around all ships listening, we were not sure if he meant British Comet, then he commenced to send a new SOS naming Ocean Bridge in distress.
I met Tom Phillips a few months later when I relieved him on "Oxfordshire". He told me that they had all their boats swung out to assist Bristish Comet if necessary, as it happened, this was fortunate as it allowed them to abandon ship more easily.
I believe the Indian helmsman was also killed in the explosion. The fact that most were at Dinner saved many lives as the Saloon faced aft on those ships.
Regards

Alan Melia

Don Matheson
30th April 2007, 15:27
Did a diving job for my cousins company in at the Greenock Drydock when the Ocean Bridge was there being repaired. Always remember standing at the dock looking through the ship and seeing over towards Helensburgh across the river. Certainly brought home the damage done to the ship.
She seemed to have been towed to the Clyde with plates welded across the holes but not filling the hole just plateing high enough to keep the sea out. Think the shipyard had cut out part of the hold on the port side but could be wrong it could have been caused in the explosion.
Don

M29
30th April 2007, 16:11
Hi Don
We saw Ocean Bridge when she was anchored in Gibralta after the disaster.
We could see right through her so assume the explosion took port and starboard sides out. We were delivering Mr Bibby to Gibralta after a Med Cruise. He chose to leave at Gib so as to see the ship.

Regards
Alan Melia

Don Matheson
30th April 2007, 19:47
Alan
Thanks for that information. Was pretty sure she was damaged port and starboard but an earlier part of the thread mentions only damage on the starboard side. Started to think I had got it wrong and what I had seen had been done during repairs.
Despite the deaths and the devastation caused by the explosion I am sure you will agree with me that it was an awesome sight to look straight through her.
Don

M29
1st May 2007, 10:49
Don
Yes it certainly was a sight. After the disaster she was down by the stern, the draft aft was apparrantly 110 ft! When we saw her in Gib, she had been pumped out, also she was light ship, so the view was dramatic. At the time of the explosion she was tank cleaning and she was not fitted with Inert Gas system. Mr Bibby and the fleet in general were very shocked at the time because we had an excellent safety record in Bibby's. As you probably know, Bibby's was not a huge fleet so almost everyone knew someone who was directly involved. This was especially true later when the "Derbyshire" disaster took place.

Alan

twogrumpy
10th May 2007, 14:27
Was on the Comet at the time, a very bad day all round.
I believe the only person killed on Ocean Bridge was the master.
French Navy did a good job evacuating the most seriously injured, we landed the rest of the survivors at Corunna.
twogrumpy

Stubbsy5050
11th July 2007, 12:01
The master of the Ocean Bridge was Captain Henry (Harry) Wilson Pyle. After evacuating his crew he stayed on board with a volunteer helmsman. Captain Pyle went to investigate the fire and was killed in a second explosion. Amazingly he was the only fatality on board, however one of the salvage crew subsequently died when their dinghy overturned.

We recently visited Captain Pyle's grave at Huelva in Spain. He was my father-in-law.

Any further information, anecdotes, photos etc. would be greatly appreciated.

John Stubbs

Gulpers
11th July 2007, 14:06
I'm pleased to see that you found this thread John. I really hope you get some interesting comments about your late father-in-law.
Good luck. (Thumb)

MartynS
27th December 2007, 16:10
This has been a real trip back down memory lane as Ocean Bridge was my last ship over 30 years ago as 3/O.

The repair may have been the most expensive ever carried out on a British Merchant ship at the time, but even after a few years of salt water exposure, I remember that the repaired area stood out like a sore thumb and no amount of chipping and painting made it blend in.

Martyn Sutton



Fotoflite (ex Skyphotos) has a photo for sale of her:

http://www.fotoflite.com/

Name when taken:Ocean Bridge
Vessel type: MB
Aprox. Gross Tonnage: 65000
Year of Build: 1970
Dated: 6-June-1977
Negative No.: 276231

Taken from the Red Duster site: http://www.red-duster.co.uk/BIBBY15.htm There is a black & white jpg of her there

OCEAN BRIDGE/GLOUCESTERSHIRE (3) was built in 1970 by Sumitomo Shipbuilding and Machinery Co. at Yokosuka with a tonnage of 66057grt, a length of 849ft 10in, a beam of 134ft 1in and a service speed of 15.5 knots. Bibby's first OBO (ore, bulk, oil) carrier she was launched on 21st November 1969 and delivered in the following March for charter to the Seabridge Consortium. On 8th March 1971, during a voyage from Rotterdam and Pepel, she stopped off the coast of Spain to assist the British Tanker Co.'s British Comet which was taking water in her engine room. As the Ocean Bridge stood by there was an explosion in her No.9 hold which destroyed her pumproom and blew a hole in the starboard side forward of the bridge the size of a tennis court. A resulting fire destroyed the bridge superstructure and on 19th March she was towed into Huelva by the tugs, Pacific and Heros, both owned by Bugsier and Smit's Hudson. On 25th April she arrived under tow in Gibraltar Roads where she was patched up and sent to M****illes for dock repairs. She was subsequently towed to Scott Lithgow Drydocks Ltd at Glasgow where she arrived in the October to have her after section rebuilt. The repair which cost 2,500,000 was reputed to be the most expensive on a British merchant ship. In 1977 she was renamed Gloucestershire and in the following year sold to Sevenseas Navigation Transport Inc. of Monrovia who renamed her Oceanic Victory. She was owned by Chiu Lung Investments of Monrovia in 1984 who sold her to the Chinese Petroleum Corp. of Taiwan. Renamed Ocean Victory she was transferred to the Chinese Maritime Transport co. of Taipei who changed her name to China Victory. On 17th July 1986 she sailed from Tubarao bound for Kaohsuing where she arrived in the October to be broken up.