Houlders Gas Ships

DerekC
28th March 2006, 20:14
Hi everyone,

I am trying to build a journal of my days on the gas ships of Houlder Brothers. Found a couple of nice pictures already on this excellent forum, but would like to know if anyone has any more they would like to share. I lost all my own shots years ago and have nothing to show my kids. Maybe, there are some salty dogs out there who knew me and took some piccies. I'd especially like to hear from them. To help focus in, here is a brief list of my trips...

Clerk-Maxwell - 9/73 till 1/74 - Houlder Brothers Capt Pugh(?)

Humboldt - 5/76 till 8/76 - Capt Jacques

Wiltshire - 3/79 till 4/79 - seconded from Bibby Line.

(I moved to Bibby Line and ended up with another year's sea time on the Lincolnshire, sistership to Faraday)

Any piccies at all would be a great help. Hope to chat soon.

regards
DerekC
(Thumb)

Santos
28th March 2006, 21:30
Worked on the Faraday when she was new. Very impressive ship. Always felt though, that I was on a time bomb.

Chris.

DerekC
29th March 2006, 12:32
You said it Chris,

One trip I had to put out a fire on the forward gas riser after a lightning strike, luckily we were in the Houston ship canal at the time, USCG did not see the joke...! Great times though, hard working, hard playing, real seamanship.

DerekC

gdynia
29th March 2006, 13:22
Hi everyone,

I am trying to build a journal of my days on the gas ships of Houlder Brothers. Found a couple of nice pictures already on this excellent forum, but would like to know if anyone has any more they would like to share. I lost all my own shots years ago and have nothing to show my kids. Maybe, there are some salty dogs out there who knew me and took some piccies. I'd especially like to hear from them. To help focus in, here is a brief list of my trips...

Clerk-Maxwell - 9/73 till 1/74 - Houlder Brothers Capt Pugh(?)

Humboldt - 5/76 till 8/76 - Capt Jacques

Wiltshire - 3/79 till 4/79 - seconded from Bibby Line.

(I moved to Bibby Line and ended up with another year's sea time on the Lincolnshire, sistership to Faraday)

Any piccies at all would be a great help. Hope to chat soon.

regards
DerekC
(Thumb)
Derek

www.shawsavillships.co.uk/humboldt.htm
www.shawsavillships.co.uk/maxwell.htm

The two Bibby Line vessels can be found on Google by Typing in Bibby Line Shipping Company and brings up numerous websites

glenn
29th March 2006, 18:12
You said it Chris,

One trip I had to put out a fire on the forward gas riser after a lightning strike, luckily we were in the Houston ship canal at the time, USCG did not see the joke...! Great times though, hard working, hard playing, real seamanship.

DerekC
I can remember that thought it was going in to Boston tho, or did it happen more than once

DerekC
29th March 2006, 20:21
Hi Glenn,

Probably more than once...or was it a different ship...maybe it was just a recurring nightmare. No, I remember, it was when I was on the Clerk-Maxwell, not Faraday. She used to produce a few nightmares...

regards
DerekC

wsumg04
29th March 2006, 23:15
You want a nightmare, try the Joule!I joined her in Bremen drydock where she was in for storm repairs.........Her bloody rudder fell off somewhere out of Valpariso,and she was towed across the pond with a full load of gas.Ship was rotten,always broke down,rusted through and full of roaches..........Great times were had by all especially on a trip we did to France.I sailed with the finest crew a lad could sail with......I dont think my liver or kidneys could of handled another trip on the Joule with those guys!I really would like to see a picture of her again,so if anyone has one,would you mind sending it to me or posting it.
Pete.

DerekC
30th March 2006, 10:40
Gas tanker nightmares, I think we have found another good subject to chat about...

When I was on Clerk-Maxwell I remember there were some tales about the Joule and I could never understand why the tale teller had a shiver down his spine every time the name came up, Pete's story could explain that a bit! Tough ships, tough crews, they had to be to keep the things going, but a great time as well. Look forward to reading some other experiences.

regards
DerekC

Mick quinn
30th March 2006, 20:34
You may want to see my own puny contribution under Houlder Bros on this website.

non descript
30th March 2006, 21:48
You may want to see my own puny contribution under Houlder Bros on this website.

Not puny at all Mick, and well recounted - thank you for posting.

By the way, which was the more scary, Curacao Hospital of the BOAC Flight ? (*))

Regards
Tonga

glenn
30th March 2006, 22:33
Hi Derek
Was definetly Faraday did 2 trips on her 1st I hated 2nd different crew one of the best trips ive done even tho it was on a firey kipper ( remember funnel )

non descript
31st March 2006, 22:40
Hi Derek
Was definetly Faraday did 2 trips on her 1st I hated 2nd different crew one of the best trips ive done even tho it was on a firey kipper ( remember funnel )

Ah, well done Glenn, I had forgotten that name - I always thought the "firey kipper" was a very friendly beastie. I also thought the Gas Ships were probabaly the very best of the fleet.

As for stories... well the Humboldt and the venting of the propane on the final run down to Riga was always a good one.....

(*))

DerekC
1st April 2006, 17:58
Glenn,

I remember the stories about Faraday flares...but we also had one on the Clerk-Maxwell. We sent an AB up the riser on a bosun's chair to stick a fire hose down the top. The water froze at the bottom and sealed the leak. He was a volunteer of course, but we made him buy the next slab, in case he got to thinking he was a hero or something.

regards

DerekC

DerekC
1st April 2006, 18:06
COme on everyone...I know there are some great stories from the annuls of Houlders gas ships...Stir the memories and join in.

Look forward to hearing from you.

regards
DerekC (Thumb)

non descript
1st April 2006, 18:18
The names and dates have been ommited to protect the innocent... on one occasion we changed grades by pulling a vacuum (instead of the tedious business of going via a Nitrogen stage). All very safe and relatively harmless, unless when the shore personnel decide to open the valves to their new cargo, they use the wrong tank and instead of taking vapour from another pressure tank, the good ship Humboldt took an entire tank load from an atmospheric tank. The result was one totally flattened shore tank and a lot of bits of dust and scrap metal sucked down the loading manifold.

Happy days when the entire gas tanker industry was learning new tricks

Tonga

glenn
1st April 2006, 23:05
My mate who was 3rd mate on the Cavendish told me this.They where in the States discharging when somebody from ashore asked if they had a gas detector handy.My mate sent the cadet off for the Houlders pantented gas detector,he duely came back with a washing up bottle filled with sugee & started squirting it all over manifold.The yank looked on in disbelife and wondered off shaking his head

non descript
2nd April 2006, 09:44
That sounds spot on, although the Cavendish was relatively normal in terms of gas leaks (as in just a few), not so the Joule, which was quite appalling. You could not enter the compressor room without a full BA set most of the time, so the idea that the USCG was going to inspect her, was a bit too much to bear and called for appropriate action.

Having met the USCG Inspector and discussed how important their job was and how amazingly intelligent they must have to be in order to cope with inspections of modern ships, we set off to inspect the “pump room” – well that what the (temporary) notice on the door read. We entered this space to see rows of gleaming “pumps” and a wonderful clean air with no trace of ammonia – not even a trace reading on the draeger meter ! - The fact that we were standing in the electrica motor room with its positive air lock system might have been part of the reason.

Joule passed her inspection and we were allowed to continue our hazardous voyage un-interrupted. Disgraceful and quite unacceptable, but things were different then.

Tonga

DerekC
2nd April 2006, 17:43
Once, in Japan, when we were having quite severe fridging problems, or rather, over pressure problems. We had a team of Japanese engineers down to try and find out the problem. About 20 of them turned up all bristling with slide rules and books of tables and design sheets and they went through our fridge plant with several fine tooth combs. After 24 hours they were madly calculating, specific heats, latent energy losses, saturated vapour pressures and everything. But, as all good gassers know, these ships were never meant to be logical. The next day our new Chief Officer arrived on board and listended to the story. He walked down to the compressor room and picked up a 5lb lump hammer, gave each of the expansion valves a light tap and stood back. Sure as eggs is eggs, we started getting liquid cargo in the sight glasses. The expression on the Japanese experts faces was brilliant. As our new Mate remarked later...there is nothing like a bit of precision engineering to make these ships work!!

Regards
DerekC

Mick quinn
13th April 2006, 22:33
Tonga

Without a shadow of a doubt the "Hospital" at Curacao. All of the staff refused to speak English to me, I knew very little Dutch. Imagine being bed-bound and needing a potty!!! A nightmare that I would wish on no-one.
Thank you for your kind words, much appreciated

leo hannan
14th April 2006, 13:44
Anybody remember Captain Tom Woolcot, I think he just about wrote the book on gas tanker ops. He was also famous for his parties, he would shout down the alleyway "BANZAI" and everyone knew there was a party in the offing. We were joining the Cavendish in Japan(Chita) Jan. 74. Capt. Parkin had given him a cine camera to make a movie of the life of the cadets on board a ship to be shown in schools as a recruitment drive. At one of his parties he got legless and we stripped him naked and dumped him in a locker videoing at the same time. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when the office staff played that
particular movie back. He also knew every dirty sea shanty ever wrote. A great character.
Leo

non descript
14th April 2006, 15:04
Leo,

You have it in one, Captain Woolcot was almost a pioneer of the Gas Tanker Operations and did indeed write a book on the subject; until you mentioned the word BANZAI, I had forgotten that part of his chartacter. Legend has it that he left one of the gas ships when he was the Captain, just to visit a local watering-hole (and explain the workings of Gas-Tankers no doubt) but was stopped from rejoining his ship because it was on fire as it lay alongside discharging propane.... rather unfortunate to be the Master and yet be made to “Stand behind the tape Sir, until we have it all under control”..

Tonga

leo hannan
14th April 2006, 15:59
Again on the Cavendish Tonga. He refused to take the ship up to Buenos Aires because of something he called squat and the amount of cargo we were carrying. He rang the Supers in London who told told him to take it up. He was really concerned, so I said tongue in cheek to ring John Houlder and bugger me he did. Next thing, we got orders to anchor and the Archimedes came down to lighten us. When we got into BA the office staff were all over us but Capt. Tom stood his ground and saw them off. What a marvelous bloke

non descript
14th April 2006, 20:20
Again on the Cavendish Tonga. He refused to take the ship up to Buenos Aires because of something he called squat and the amount of cargo we were carrying. He rang the Supers in London who told told him to take it up. He was really concerned, so I said tongue in cheek to ring John Houlder and bugger me he did. Next thing, we got orders to anchor and the Archimedes came down to lighten us. When we got into BA the office staff were all over us but Capt. Tom stood his ground and saw them off. What a marvelous bloke

Leo,
A funny old world and one has mixed emotions when faced with certain scenarios. Without a doubt this desire by “The Office” to direct operations from afar is not a healthy option in my view and Tom was a wise old bird and well entitled to make his own judgment as to what was safe for his ship; that said it is deeply worrying that a Houlders Man would ever hold back from going TO Buenos Aires.... coming AWAY, yes that is of course well worth making a fuss about.... (*))
Kind regards
Tonga

NINJA
10th May 2006, 19:53
Sailing on the Faraday on its first voyage we went if I recall to Texas City, but before we could go back to the states we had to go back to the Tyne and anchor in the river at Tyne Dock and all the welds on the gas lines were stress relieved. Another trip on the Cavendish we had notified that the sister ship Gay Lussac had floated a cargo tank up into its deck when a ballast tank cracked. As for Captain Tommy Woolcott you needed characters on board gas tankers especially on the Mina - Al - A - Madi Japan run.

non descript
15th May 2006, 13:57
A Cavendish story which has echoes of man’s inhumanity to man, or rather, the torment of the younger generation by the old regardless of the nation...

We were discharging propane in Japan at the refrigerated standard of minus 32 degrees when a very young shore technician arrived in the control room demanding a sample of the cargo and proudly proffered a rubber bladder for it to be collected in. Clearly he had been warned by his mates that British Gas Tanker Crews could be full of fun and had been given strict instructions that he was to insist on liquid, however much the crew tried to fob him off with “vapour”. Far from being unkind, we were friendly and suggested it really should be vapour, and not liquid.

No, I want liquid....

OK, then that’s what you will have.

We plugged his rubber bladder into the liquid line and drew off a 100ml of liquid propane for a shore-side sample and he went off proudly holding his grapefruit sized rubber bladder. By the time he had arrived at the top of the gangway it had grown into a foot-ball and half way down the ladder it was more like a large water-melon. He was last seen rounding the end of the shore terminal with a bladder about the size of baby-elephant, closely followed by the sound of a loud bang...

He was back a bit later with a fresh bladder, asking for a “sample of vapour please”

Happy days...
Tonga

Tony Breach
31st July 2006, 00:01
Greetings to you Houlders gas guys.

In February 1979 I was on a Liberian flagged small reefer named PLAYAS at Boele's yard in Bolnes repairing heavy weather damage. A Houlders gas boat, (I am not sufficiently qualified to know the correct term), named JOULE was also there for docking & we had a night out with the yard people at the local ten pin bowling alley, a nice meal & plenty of booze where we played a team against JOULE & lost. We then had a Micky Mouse darts contest hosted on our ship which we also lost. Then JOULE hosted another Mickey Mouse evening at which we lost again. Before we sailed Boele's gave us all a very nice clock which was NOT inscribed to the world's greatest Mickey Mouse losers - mine stopped a couple of years ago & they tell me it will cost £50+ to get it going again!

Just wanted to know if anyone remembers us & the Mickey Mouse tournements - we were a bunch of UK & Dutch guys working for an American outfit. I have to tell you Houlders people that you were great Mickey Mouse people which upset us as we really beleived that we working for the worlds foremost Mickey Mouse company.

I promise I'll come to the next contest.
Tony

non descript
31st July 2006, 14:04
Tony,
I was C/O on the Joule during her stay at that yard in 1975, but my lasting memory of the time in dry-dock (well floating dry-dock) was (a) the Joule catching fire and being attended to by the Bolnes Fire Brigade, and (b) spending an inordinate amount of time in the ballast tanks applying thistlebond to the various cracks in the ballast tanks.
I also remember having 50 tons of concrete poured into the ballast tanks to help contain the leaks from the hull; not easy on the calculations for refloating, and that was my excuse for the ship taking a 2 degree list when she came off the blocks.
There was also a large off-shore construction vessel, I think called Ocean Builder, lying alongside us and I remember they were interviewing for a crane driver, which involved a practical examination of their skills with some scary jib swinging.
I must have been sub-standard, I didn’t get a clock :@
Kind regards
Mark

Nova Scotian
1st August 2006, 14:22
I have some bitter-sweet memories of Clerk Maxwell. In the summer of 1966 I was standing by the Hardwicke Grange in Falmouth and looking at seeing my time in on that vessel. I was suddenly transferred to Clerk Maxwell and joined her in Southampton. The Maxwell was relatively new in those days and a learning experience at every corner. As an apprentice, I spent a great deal of time in the compressor room manually operating the compressers and condensers. At that time every cargo operation seemed fraught with challenges and events that were out of the ordinary. Aground off BA for four days. A week in Riga loading 20 tons of Butane. Gas-freeing was a long process with Master and 3/O keeping the bridge watch and 2/O and C/O on deck "puddle-heating". Although ammonia was the worse cargo to carry, butane would often give us a condition of loll that would result in many of the crew paying off at the first opportunity. I would hope that many of the problems we had were resolved as time went by. I was eventually pushed up to 3/O (U) for the last four months. I left the Clerk Maxwell in Middlesborough in February 68. The masters I sailed with were Glover and Hedger. I believe the mate was Jerry Lovell from RFA.

NINJA
1st August 2006, 14:31
Hello Nova Scotian,

You can rest assured things did not improve on the "Black Max", I sailed on her in 1975, equivalent to a posting to Afghanistan.

Regards

Ninja.

Nutty Taylor
2nd October 2006, 22:50
Hi Tonga,
I was on the Joule on that day she had her slight list (2nd trip deck boy), If I remember rightly whilst we were travelling across the channel we had a collision with a trawler which punched a hole in her side, we then berthed at Leith for temporary repairs.
It was also on this trip that the tank started to float (somewhere between Japan & Indonesia) Unfortunately the containment space could not be pumped out due to the insulation blocking the pump suction this is when some holes were drilled from the cofferdam into the containment space to allow the water to flow through to be pumped out however this didn't work for the same reason (insulation blocking the holes) The answer was myself & the JOS had to spend shifts stuck in the cofferdam keeping the holes clear until the water had been cleared. (I got all the best jobs) Other than this I had a great trip on the Joule (except when I broke a rib but thats another story) If I remember correctly the Bosuns name was Gerry who was a huge man with a bald head & beard

non descript
2nd October 2006, 23:51
Hi NT,

Your experiences are very interesting, as there are many coincidences:

A) The Joule clearly had an enthusiasm for the two activities you “enjoyed”.... She managed to take a huge list, unaided by any human intervention, this time caused solely by the accidental operation of her hydraulic ballast valves, which opened all by themselves (whilst I was in the shower and watching the water run over the side instead of down the waste! – very scary) ) and thereby allowing a free transfer from Port to Starboard and as a result, a very exciting list – a brief mention of this was made on an earlier thread: http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=7055&highlight=carrier at post # 16


B) Not only was she keen on developing lists, she also had an ability flood the containment space - http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=3128

These two thing happened seven years earlier than yours, so she was making quite a tradition of it!

C) You had much more experience than I did, for I see you enjoyed the LNG carrier Methane Princess in the Spring of 1980 – well done, I would have loved to have been on her or her sister.

D) Finally, you managed to be on King Charles at the end of 1980 when I was fixing her for trans-Atlantic Ore and Coal trading...

It’s a small world.

Kind regards
Mark

saltyswamp
31st December 2006, 20:02
hi NT joule didn't go to leith she ended up at Middlesbourgh for repairs and gassing up. Then LEFO then Lasalina then Houston. regards stuart

Nutty Taylor
2nd January 2007, 15:08
Hi salty
Thanks for the memory jog, Do I take it you were onboard her at the same time.
Also would you have the all elusive photo of the Joule that everybody is searching for ?

saltyswamp
8th January 2007, 23:12
Hi Nutty
Sure was, I have a photo but scanners not working at the moment, but there's more than one way to skin a goat.

tim frary
28th February 2007, 01:03
i goined the faraday as deck boy in lehave jan 72 paidoff in the gulf june 72 capt was Hedges ,first mate dickie bird the boson was frank Dobbs .all the best tim(Thumb)

non descript
28th February 2007, 08:41
i goined the faraday as deck boy in lehave jan 72 paidoff in the gulf june 72 capt was Hedges ,first mate dickie bird the boson was frank Dobbs .all the best tim(Thumb)

Tim, it is possible that the Captain's name was Hedger. (Thumb)

NINJA
28th February 2007, 09:47
Ron Hedger was also the Master on the Maiden Vovage in 71 with Roy Southgate as 1st Mate.

marinero
28th February 2007, 14:03
Tim, it is possible that the Captain's name was Hedger. (Thumb)

Good morning Tonga/Ninja/Tim
Capt. Hedger, now there's a blast from the past.His son did quite well in the North Sea with Houlders and a very decent lad. I believe Ron Hedger started off as a baker. He sailed with the "Ferncarrier" when she piggy backed the "High Seas Driller" from Korea to Invergordon. He always said what an interesting trip that was. I joined the HSD in Invergordon then stayed there for the next two years.
Regards
Leo(Thumb)

non descript
28th February 2007, 22:18
Just back from the sad occasion of Captain Jerry Lees’ funeral, he was only 65 and too young by a long way to be called in. The service was very dignified and there was a quality eulogy by Captain Mike Smith, and a strong reading from the New Testament by David Gazzard. There was a large contingent of Houlder Gas Tanker people (I’m not sure of the collective noun for a flock of Gas Tanker Captains, maybe it is a Condensate or a Pool ? )

Life is short and it seems important to make the best of it and leave the world a better place for our passing.

My thoughts tonight are very much with Jerry’s widow and family.

marinero
28th February 2007, 22:27
Good evening Mark.
I'm sure that must have been a painful occasion for you and all who attended Jerry's farewell. It's never easy to say farewell to friends and colleagues, and my thoughts, as yours, are with Jerry's widow and family.
On a lighter note, Dave Gazzard's name rings a bell. I'm sure I sailed with him somewhere on a Gas Tanker.
Regards
Leo

non descript
28th February 2007, 22:33
Good evening Mark.
I'm sure that must have been a painful occasion for you and all who attended Jerry's farewell. It's never easy to say farewell to friends and colleagues, and my thoughts, as yours, are with Jerry's widow and family.
On a lighter note, Dave Gazzard's name rings a bell. I'm sure I sailed with him somewhere on a Gas Tanker.
Regards
Leo

Leo/Mark

Maybe the Cavendish? - He told me he paid off sick (very sick) in Santos from her.

(Thumb)

Joh Heaton
1st March 2007, 21:43
Derek,
Sailed summer 1976 on the Humboldt Jacques was the old man the chief was a young guy I sailed as juniors or 5th eng the lecky was Dougie Sutherland
we broke down in the bay at Riga and had the Russians out to keep an eye on us
The 2rd eng was off a steam ship at the time
memory fails me for the names but I guess we probably sailed at the same time
I must dig out my discharge book for the dates
John Heaton

Dave Harris
6th March 2007, 21:40
Hi all, i sailed as junior engineer on the Joule, for several trips in the late 70's. can't remeber the years, must be my age. Now that was a ship full of leaks, we constantly got a call from the bridge telling we had sparks from the funnel that were going forward. And the engine trouble we had!!!!! But it was a good crew that all worked hard and played hard.

NINJA
7th March 2007, 09:23
Dave,

Was Bob Whittaker on the Joule during that period?

Regards

Ninja.

non descript
7th March 2007, 11:49
Hi all, i sailed as junior engineer on the Joule, for several trips in the late 70's. can't remeber the years, must be my age. Now that was a ship full of leaks, we constantly got a call from the bridge telling we had sparks from the funnel that were going forward. And the engine trouble we had!!!!! But it was a good crew that all worked hard and played hard.

Shipmate has kindly added an image of the Joule here:here (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=54534[/url)

I suspect it is NOT the one you were one, as you refer to a ship full of leaks, which phrase sums of the first Joule.

Nutty Taylor
12th March 2007, 20:43
Shipmate has kindly added an image of the Joule here:here (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=54534[/url)

I suspect it is NOT the one you were one, as you refer to a ship full of leaks, which phrase sums of the first Joule.
Tonga,
Thanks to saltyswamp I am now in possesion of a photo of the Joule that is hopefully attached,
Still not sure how to get it onto gallery but will keep trying.(Thumb)(Thumb)

non descript
12th March 2007, 22:57
Tonga,
Thanks to saltyswamp I am now in possesion of a photo of the Joule that is hopefully attached,
Still not sure how to get it onto gallery but will keep trying.(Thumb)(Thumb)

You have done well, very well. Thank you. (Thumb)

Mick quinn
15th March 2007, 23:45
Tonga

V sorry but have not been on site for a while, without a doubt the hospital in Curacao! Bloody docs and nurses didn't or wouldn't speak eeegleesh so had to mime all requests. Failed miserably when it came to food and lost nearly 1 stone. BOAC staff brilliant, when I told a Stew that I was starving she brought me 6 trays of food, and I demolished the lot! Memories!!!!!

non descript
21st April 2007, 03:17
Thanks to Veste, we now have another good photograph of the Joule here (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/59776/cat/503)

saltyswamp
26th June 2007, 22:09
Hi all, i sailed as junior engineer on the Joule, for several trips in the late 70's. can't remeber the years, must be my age. Now that was a ship full of leaks, we constantly got a call from the bridge telling we had sparks from the funnel that were going forward. And the engine trouble we had!!!!! But it was a good crew that all worked hard and played hard.

Hi Was 4E on Joule in late 70's also did drydock in Genoa in 77 as gash hand working on the genny's with scouse Armstrong so we worked and played hard
there was another steve(from swindon) can't remember his surname also capt'n Jubb ( The General) was also an extra. Scouse and myself sailed to Cartagena via Libya after the Drydock.
Also did the drydock in Rotterdam in Feb 79 George Charmers was C/E and Dickie whistler was old man. Wife came out for a few days now have a daughter who's 28 this year.
regards Stuart(Pint) (Pint) (Pint)

non descript
26th June 2007, 22:19
The General was a decent soul and an excellent Master, as was Dick Whistler – I have seen the latter a few weeks back (at Jerry Lees funeral) but have not heard anything about John Jubb; I hope he is well and enjoying retirement, he deserves it.

As for the Joule… a truly awful ship in terms of leaks (cargo and sea-water in almost equal quantities) but a very happy ship none the less.
Mark

John Paul
17th July 2007, 09:50
After 5 hours in a crew boat pimples of lights appeared over the horizon a good introduction to the Joule. Max rpm was just over slow ahead as all the coolers were choked up with shells,upon berthing attempts were made to clear as many tubes as possible,results were not very good.
On stand by for departure the boiler failed,oil fuel contamination of the feed water,a lot of damage to the tubes and fire box.Boiler makers flown out from the UK with a section of rolled plate . Superintendant engr attended as well,sailed at about half ahead while the flash steam generators were coupled up to the normal steam system,all the while trying to keep coolers clear.
Mid was across indian ocean a black out with all generators out for a couple of days, the mate venting off cargo twice a day.
We had to put into Mombassa for fresh water and drop off the boiler makers,they did a wonderful repair under very difficult conditions.Continues on to LM and discharged cargo.

Going back to the Gulf a scavenge fire which caused a reasonable degree of consternation. By this time most of the coolers were cleared and full sea speed could be obtained providing nothing else fell off.

Loaded in the gulf for Bombay,just before arrival a liner cracked so NewYears eve 1976 was spent pulling it out and replacing it with a spare.
This job was finished just in time for sailing,

Arrived back in the gulf early Jan 1977 and paid off.

This was the last time I sailed with Houlders as I could not see myself on these mobile bombs, much prefered the ore carriers even if they rolled on wet grass

Nova Scotian
17th July 2007, 12:30
Having read John Paul's account of troubles on the Joule it reminded me that there were always challenges on gas carriers.

I joined the Clerk Maxwell in 1967 as an apprentice and left her as 3/0(U) the following year. As an apprentice, most of my time was spent in the compressor room working six and six with my mate to manually refrigerate the ammonia cargoes we used to carry. At that time the automatic system was so unreliable we operated the compressors and condensors by hand. We worked with the system so often we named the compressors Ann Hammond, Ann Hogan and Ann Thorne after some ladies we had left behind.

Tank cleaning was another chore that involved long hours. The Master (Glover) and myself keeping six and six on the bridge while the C/0 and 2/0(Lovell and MacKenzie) worked the same hours on deck air-drying and puddle heating.

Even when things went well, though they seldom did, there were other challenges. Angles of loll in mid-ocean when carrying light gas cargoes. Heavy weather in light-ship conditions with a massive by-the-stern trim. Days in Riga trying, unsuccessfully, to load butane. Grounded off BA for three days. Cooling tanks in Aruba. The uncertainty at the manifold associated with disconnecting cargo lines after loading ammonia....would those green suites really have given us the needed protection?

However, there was a great spirit on board and all the departments pulled well together with little complaint. Despite the challenges, there was limited down time or time lost. Not so on the Maxwell's sister ship which was built, if I recall correctly, for the Mexican Government. On her maiden voyage she encountered bad weather and was unable to discharge her full cargo of ammonia when the entire cargo handling system froze up due to water in the lines (I often wondered how they discharged that cargo).

I left the Maxwell in Middlesborough to prepare for my second mates certificate. It was my first and last gas carrier but I still have a lot of good memories of the ship and the crew that I sailed with.

Cheers.

saltyswamp
17th July 2007, 22:05
After 5 hours in a crew boat pimples of lights appeared over the horizon a good introduction to the Joule. Max rpm was just over slow ahead as all the coolers were choked up with shells,upon berthing attempts were made to clear as many tubes as possible,results were not very good.
On stand by for departure the boiler failed,oil fuel contamination of the feed water,a lot of damage to the tubes and fire box.Boiler makers flown out from the UK with a section of rolled plate . Superintendant engr attended as well,sailed at about half ahead while the flash steam generators were coupled up to the normal steam system,all the while trying to keep coolers clear.
Mid was across indian ocean a black out with all generators out for a couple of days, the mate venting off cargo twice a day.
We had to put into Mombassa for fresh water and drop off the boiler makers,they did a wonderful repair under very difficult conditions.Continues on to LM and discharged cargo.

Going back to the Gulf a scavenge fire which caused a reasonable degree of consternation. By this time most of the coolers were cleared and full sea speed could be obtained providing nothing else fell off.

Loaded in the gulf for Bombay,just before arrival a liner cracked so NewYears eve 1976 was spent pulling it out and replacing it with a spare.
This job was finished just in time for sailing,

Arrived back in the gulf early Jan 1977 and paid off.

This was the last time I sailed with Houlders as I could not see myself on these mobile bombs, much prefered the ore carriers even if they rolled on wet grass


Never had a problem with the JOULE did 5 trips one of Harrys boys,
I was there as a junior/eng Ivan Black was C/E & Bry Dyson was old man,
I think i can remember the run ashore in mombassa but only vageley,
I paid off in bombay on 18 Dec 76 with ken the chinese cook who loved to make things hot with black pepper. stuart(Pint)

non descript
20th July 2007, 08:35
Poor old Joule – whilst I did stress that she was less than perfect, she was still a very happy ship and although a lot of things did fall off and what didn’t do that, often tended to break and leak, she was above all a safe ship – just hard work and I would never describe her as a floating bomb. Using salvage pumps to get the water out of the containment space seemed normal practice. (Jester)

NINJA
20th July 2007, 16:15
Regarding water in the containment space. Remember the GAY LUSSAC, sister ship to the CAVENDISH, she floated one of her tanks up into the deck when a ballast tank flooded the containment space, instead of just relying on the Chippies soundings, mobrey float alarms were fitted.

Ninja,

non descript
22nd July 2007, 20:00
Faced with a choice – allowing the increasing depth of water in the containment space to float the cargo-tank of its blocks and maybe worse, or use burning gear to get the salvage pump down inside the containment space, we opted for the latter….

Never the easiest choice on an LPG carrier, but as has already been observed, Joule was a fun ship to be on.

saltyswamp
15th August 2007, 23:12
Hi Can anybody remember a small gas boat around march april 1977 I think Hadleys had an interest in her can't remember her name i was only doing the takeover i was there with Steve Armstrong and Steve from swindon Wiggy the welder came out for a few days. I joined in Rotterdam then left in Zeebrugge Didn't have an entry in my discharge book as i had left it at home(that was a Porkie)
Stuart(Pint)

JohnMac068
16th August 2007, 23:34
Hi Can anybody remember a small gas boat around march april 1977 I think Hadleys had an interest in her can't remember her name i was only doing the takeover i was there with Steve Armstrong and Steve from swindon Wiggy the welder came out for a few days. I joined in Rotterdam then left in Zeebrugge Didn't have an entry in my discharge book as i had left it at home(that was a Porkie)
Stuart(Pint)

Was it the Avogadro ?

non descript
16th August 2007, 23:51
The Avogadro was indeed very small, but she passed out of the Houlders fleet in 1970 (she suffered an explosion under her new ownership and was lost in 1973).

One smallish gas tanker that was around in 1977 was NICOLE and she was sold in 1978.

Hadleys, as nice as they were (and still are) never had any gas tanker connection.

saltyswamp
17th August 2007, 22:39
Hi Thanks tonga yes I'm shure it was the Nicole but there was a hadley's conection in the financial side or there might have just thought about it as Warwick? himself visited in Rotterdam.
stuart(Pint)

non descript
27th September 2007, 08:42
Hi Thanks tonga yes I'm shure it was the Nicole but there was a hadley's conection in the financial side or there might have just thought about it as Warwick? himself visited in Rotterdam.
stuart(Pint)

Stuart,

To be sure of the fact, I did a double-check for you. There is/was no connection at all between Hadley Shipping and anything of a Gas Tanker nature - their last tanker was the "world's favourite tanker" which passed on at the same time as their Clymene. As for Mr Warwick setting foot on the Nicole, all he will say is that if he did he cannot remember doing it. (Jester)

Mark

saltyswamp
27th September 2007, 20:17
Hi tonga
It was a long time ago and i was only a lowley 5th so must have got my wires crossed. hve i lost it in the mists of time has the JOULE finally won?
we will never know.
stuart

non descript
27th September 2007, 20:50
Stuart,
The Joule that you and I remember was Joule (II) an atmospheric ship and ex Havgas – and the original Joule (a pressure ship) was in the Houlders fleet from 1964 to 1970; the last one, Joule (III) is the ex Lancashire, built in 1971 and bought by Houlders in 1989.
Happy times, but hard work.
(Thumb)
Mark

captkenn
28th September 2007, 00:56
http://hometown.aol.co.uk/Captkenn29/joule-mod.jpgTonga,
Thanks to saltyswamp I am now in possesion of a photo of the Joule that is hopefully attached,
Still not sure how to get it onto gallery but will keep trying.(Thumb)(Thumb)

Here it is a bit clearer hopefully.

saltyswamp
28th September 2007, 21:18
SUPER SHIP
Stuart

robbie13
30th October 2007, 01:04
did anyone ever sail on the Lord Kelvin?
Suez canal in the Bitter Lakes my first deep sea trip[1978] another ship ran into us striking the beam,never seen so much panic.
Sorry forgot to introduce myself i am Robbie new member from today.Great site so glad found it,hi to you all.

ChrisCampbell
21st December 2007, 10:34
Hi Robbie
Sailed as 4/e on Kelvin about the same time ,Ann Roberts was deck cadet Ian Wilcox was 3/e Will have to get out the old discharge book to find out when i was there.
Regards Chris

ChrisCampbell
23rd December 2007, 10:41
Sailed on the Kelvin from Dec 78 till April 79 as 4/e

vasco
28th December 2007, 18:31
Who remembers the Joule on the Ardjuna-Kaoshiung run in 77. We used to flog liquid refreshment to the guys on the gas barge 'Sakti' or Sanki. This was going to be used to improve the Bar. However due to in house wrangling nothing ever came of that, despite the best efforts of a certain Cat Off & 3/E.
If I remember right Harry Donker came on board and told the Engineers to scrap the inert gas genny as it was impossible to get working. He sat at the bar wondering where his missing telescopics were. Good job he didn't look to closely at the foot rail. He left and a few days later a telegraam arrived telling the ship to get the iG generator working.

We were being a little to social with the barge workers and the bargenaster, Virgil, warned his lads of visiting. That was until he was invited for dinner and they had to pour him in the net to get him off.

Kaoshiung, always a good stay as they used to ask for full speed, then they would over prssurise and we would stop for 12 hrs. Wonderful guys on board which made sailing on what I consider the worst ship i served on in Houlders bearable. Why worse? Read some of the posts here. She should have her own section!

Regards

Taffy

non descript
28th December 2007, 18:44
Who remembers the Joule ... She should have her own section!

Regards

Taffy

Taffy,
Your word is my command.
(Thumb)

MARINEJOCKY
14th January 2008, 01:34
Fond memories indeed,

I remember walking around with the USCG doing our annual and when I went into the control room I realised that I should not have trusted Dip Stick (the engineer apprentice) to replace the gauge in the deck control room. The gleaming new gauge had little of the bronze left and was filling the room with ammonia. I wrapped a rag around that and stood there for 1/2 hour as the inspectors did their thing.

The Joule was coming out of Maricaibo Lake and at the pilot station the onboard pilot was showing off to his buddies and doing the turn at higher than normal speed, little diod he know the Joule and he did not know that the rudder had fallen off. Thankfully it was only sand. The company decided to tow the vessel back to Rotterdam and contracted a returning Smit ocean tug to tow the Joule back. The smit tug was in a hurry to get back home and towed the Joule at unheard of speeds and caused alot of damage to the plates.

Dog'sy Dyson was the mate on one of the gas tankers which was his first on a foreign built boat. Everybody knew about the Cavendish's sister ship pushing a tank up thru' the deck due to icing so Dog'sy was alarmed when he could not open a water tight door down in the cofferdam. He had everybody helping but kept ignoring the deck cadet until after knocking hell out of the "Dog's" he listened to the cadet who calmly went up to the door and turned the handles in the opposite direction and pulled the door open.

I remember him asking me, a 4th engineer on the Joule what I had learnt in nearly 6 months on board and my reply was "never to come near this ------- ship again" his reply was I would never get ahead in the company with that attitude so imagine his surprise when I joined the Cavendish as one of the youngest 2nd engineers on gas tankers and in Houlders history, 16 month later.

merrymagpie
15th January 2008, 14:18
Fond memories indeed,

I remember walking around with the USCG doing our annual and when I went into the control room I realised that I should not have trusted Dip Stick (the engineer apprentice) to replace the gauge in the deck control room. The gleaming new gauge had little of the bronze left and was filling the room with ammonia. I wrapped a rag around that and stood there for 1/2 hour as the inspectors did their thing.

The Joule was coming out of Maricaibo Lake and at the pilot station the onboard pilot was showing off to his buddies and doing the turn at higher than normal speed, little diod he know the Joule and he did not know that the rudder had fallen off. Thankfully it was only sand. The company decided to tow the vessel back to Rotterdam and contracted a returning Smit ocean tug to tow the Joule back. The smit tug was in a hurry to get back home and towed the Joule at unheard of speeds and caused alot of damage to the plates.

Dog'sy Dyson was the mate on one of the gas tankers which was his first on a foreign built boat. Everybody knew about the Cavendish's sister ship pushing a tank up thru' the deck due to icing so Dog'sy was alarmed when he could not open a water tight door down in the cofferdam. He had everybody helping but kept ignoring the deck cadet until after knocking hell out of the "Dog's" he listened to the cadet who calmly went up to the door and turned the handles in the opposite direction and pulled the door open.

I remember him asking me, a 4th engineer on the Joule what I had learnt in nearly 6 months on board and my reply was "never to come near this ------- ship again" his reply was I would never get ahead in the company with that attitude so imagine his surprise when I joined the Cavendish as one of the youngest 2nd engineers on gas tankers and in Houlders history, 16 month later.

I was that Deck Cadet !!!
As Marinejocky said Brian was the Mate (his second trip on the Joule) and he had forgotten (somehow) that the 'dogs' on the containment space doors secured the opposite way to normal. He had spent most of the day thinking the door had frozen solid. He had tried Methanol, Spanish windlasses, crowbars and I think some kind of heat was also involved! About four in the afternoon I was looking for Brian and the extra Mate (Jeff Williamson) said he was trying to get the containment space door open. As I approached the booby hatch I could hear Brian throwing one of his 'wobblers'. Looking over I asked what the problem was (Can't print the reply here). I saw the problem right away, climbed down the ladder, knocked all four dogs across and swung the door open with one finger! The look on Brians face was priceless. He picked me up my my boilersuit lapels and put me against the bulkhead and told me in no uncertain terms to 'not tell a soul'. The first person I saw when I got on deck was Jeff and of course I had to spill the beans.
When Brian came into the bar that night, everybody started barking and crying out 'Dog'sy'.Hence the nickname which I'm sure lasts to this day.
I sailed with Dog'sy on the Joule 3 years later on the Joule when we were on the Ardjuna to Kaoshuing run. I was Third Mate and Dog'sy had been promoted to Master.Top bloke , and a real pleasure to sail with.

Had a beer with him about ten years ago, when he was Master on the British Steel at Redcar Ore Terminal.

non descript
15th January 2008, 14:59
I was that Deck Cadet !!!
As I approached the booby hatch I could hear Brian throwing one of his 'wobblers'.


Very good story, I like it. (Thumb) - If my memory serves me well, the swimming pool was christened with some black painted stencil "C/O's Wobber Cooling Tank" - of course it referred to another C/O, the same one who threw the heat exchanger over the side in Mexico (Jester)

Mx5Nick
12th February 2008, 00:46
i was there when we ran aground, it was a different experience we had a good night with the tug crew while we were aground, i certainly enjoyed the trip as a young junior engineer

non descript
17th February 2008, 20:21
i was there when we ran aground, it was a different experience we had a good night with the tug crew while we were aground, i certainly enjoyed the trip as a young junior engineer

Nick,
You’re a good man and no doubt about it, with your collective responsibility you are a credit to us all (Thumb) …
It reminds me of an earlier report by a Ship’s Master which read along the lines of:: “I joined the ship in Liverpool and I loaded her for New York and I sailed at good speed across the Atlantic and I arrived safely. I berthed the ship and after I had taken bunkers, I sailed for Panama, but during the passage we ran aground.”

robbie13
4th September 2008, 22:00
Hi Chris,i was on that trip with you,i have the pics and your on them.What a great 1st trip to sea for me that was great memories.

Jerry M
5th November 2008, 14:08
I have just found this site and joined, I was third engineer on the Humboldt in 69 & 70, we did the first Riga Le Havre run then before she was ice strengthened. Tom Woolcott and John Glover were Captains when I was there. Stood by the building of Faraday in 1970 after that, and took her out as second engineer, Ron Hedger and Tom Woolcott Captains this time. John Jubb was promoted Acting Captain in BA and took the vessel to Wellington where Tom rejoined and Maurice Morrel came to oversee repairs to the fore deep tank bulkhead. Left her in BA in November 71 and joined Furness Bridge in Wilhelmshaven in May 72 es extra second, promoted senior second in Rio and left tghe vessel in Dubai just before the rudder nearly fell off wee Jimmy Gilzean was the Captain ad Patrick Kafferty the Chief Engineer. Rejoined Fraday as Chief Engineer in Maracaibo in January 1973 and left in Mina al Ahmadi at the end of May 73 Ron and Tom were again my Captains, we were known as Tom & Jerry! Have been ashore ever since.

Jeremy Meadows.

NINJA
6th November 2008, 09:26
Jerry,

Look on MY PHOTOS, ther are pics of Xmas 70 on the Faraday and some of Derek Dewars wife at a Crossing the Line ceremony ducking.

Regards

Ninja.

non descript
6th November 2008, 10:16
Jeremy,
Thank you, a lot of good names there and you will find more than a few Firey Kippers on board - welcome to the Site and enjoy your time here, we look forward to your further postings.
(Thumb)
Mark

Bombersman
6th November 2008, 13:37
Patrick Kafferty the Chief Engineer
Good on you Jeremy and a warm welcome to SN. I often wondered what became of Pat. In 1961 he was my senior engineer on the Brandon Priory and already had his Chiefs motor ticket. He was getting in the sea time for steam.

As a first trip Jun eng pat put me on the right lines to advancement and spent many hours on watch on the 12-4 giving me the benefit of his knowledge. A great bloke.

Kind regards

Bob W.

Jerry M
7th November 2008, 13:39
Ninja, Looked at your photos and recognise myself in the Line Crossing ceromony when Derek's wife Shirley is about to get a ducking. I recognise Bob Kirby (3rd Engineer) and of course Ron Hedger but none of the others. The photo of the girls at Christmas time was the girlfriends dressed in their partners uniforms. Micky May's (2nd Mate) is one of them!

Patrick Cafferty later sailed with Island Fuit Reefers (IFR) but I do not know where he went after they became bankrupt.

Jeremy Meadows.

Bombersman
7th November 2008, 17:48
I thought it was Cafferty with a "C" Jeremy, but didn't want to be pedantic.(Smoke)

Pat was with Ropners before joining Houlders.

Bob W.

Welsh Dragon
28th February 2009, 22:21
Gas Ships, ouch! Was lucky enough to sail on a few.

Joule 29/1/78 – 30/6/78
Cavendish 17/11/78- 23/3/79
Faraday 22/10/82- 29/1/83

Always considered myself a general cargo chap spending most of my time on Westbury & Banbury. But Gas Ships made me the man I am today………A Nervous Wreck. Dodgy ships but some great guys and memories.

Macphail
28th February 2009, 22:39
I was on a ship which transhipped into a Houlder Brothers gas ship in 1994 off Guayaquil SA, they called it the “Black Pig”, Some of the lads had been on board for a long time.
What ship.

MARINEJOCKY
1st March 2009, 14:27
I looked at a photo posted by Ninja of the Clerk Maxwell entering the locks in Panama and like one of the comments that went with the photo remember the bow being very narrow.

I seem to remember an old story about one of our ships being built for somebody else and they went bust. Somebody in our company saw it and decided to buy the ship but it had no bow however there was fo another ship in another part of the yard so they made it fit.

Was there any truth to this, was it the Black Max. As I am sitting here typing I am now thinking it may have been a regular tanker, Joya Macance rings a bell.

Macphail
1st March 2009, 18:02
My mistake, it was the Furness Withy LPG storage vessel Darwin.

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=89411

non descript
1st March 2009, 20:18
My mistake, it was the Furness Withy LPG storage vessel Darwin.

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=89411

It is difficult for a Firey Kipper sort of person to really embrace the ship with avid enthusiasm, and whilst it would be wrong to ever cast doubt on the parentage of any poor ship, the Darwin (in my opinion) had little going for it: (i) Not a proper Houlders Gas Boat (no Firey Kipper and instead that awful stripy funnel of ‘the other company’ ) (ii) Owned by someone called Furness With (Shipping) Ltd., and not Houlders. (iii) A storage ship for their ‘curious’ Ecuadorian Storage Project, rather than a ship that moved from A to B. (iv) Pielstick main engines (enough said). The later fact possibly was in some way to blame for her interesting legal career….

Oh well, we should never blame the ship, she did not choose her career or ownership (Jester)

vasco
1st March 2009, 20:25
.. (ii) Owned by someone called Furness With (Shipping) Ltd., and not Houlders.



With without the Y, typo error or somehow seems right?

non descript
1st March 2009, 20:31
With or without the Y, typo error or somehow seems right?

Actually it was unintentional.. but many a true word spoken in jest (Jester)... Certainly Furness Without Shipping sums up that company's approach to many..(EEK)

sidsal
1st March 2009, 21:34
What an interesting thread. I always imagined gas tankers to be 100% organised unlike tankers in far off ww2 and after when geyers were common when loading and crews were inexperienced.
In about 1985 I was in a large yacht sailing from NZ to the Meddy and when we were in the G of Aden we came across a big Bibby gas carrier wallowing there. On asking if they were broken down they said No - they were just stopped waiting a cargo and it was cheaper to wallow than pay dues in a port.
Pretty boring I would think.
(Wouldn't fancy yachting through there now !)

non descript
1st March 2009, 22:28
What an interesting thread. I always imagined gas tankers to be 100% organised ...

Oh we were very ‘organised’ if a little out of control… but these days I think the world of Gas Tankers has changed a little from the early times, when it was faintly amusing to build up the pressure in one of the cargo tanks up to 8 atmospheres, open the ball valve swiftly and send the ‘pig’ on its way along the jetty towards the shore terminal at speeds that gave every impression of being in excess of 100mph… Less humorous, but equally, if not more catastrophic, was to pull a vacuum on the ship’s cargo tank and then connect it to an atmospheric shore-side tank…. (EEK)

Welsh Dragon
2nd March 2009, 19:36
And when it all went wrong the Mates would call for the Ginger Beers (Thumb)

non descript
3rd March 2009, 13:01
And when it all went wrong the Mates would call for the Ginger Beers (Thumb)

Absolutely; I have vivid memories of using a pair of mole-grips to ‘adjust’ something on the delicate machinery in the Cavendish’s reliquifaction plant and the C/E being wholly tolerant of my worthless contribution to advanced machinery maintenance (after I broke it). – Mind you I can also remember rebuilding the Sulzer Cargo Compressor on the Joule, working with another C/E in the tropics, both of us with BA to cope with the ammonia; finishing the rebuild, starting it and going of (at the invitation of the C/E) only to notice, after 30 minutes drinking, on page 5 the immortal words “It is essential to stop the running-in process after 15 minutes to allow…..”
(Jester)

j miles
27th March 2009, 23:04
i can remember bouncing off the side off the shipping channel on the faraday on the way to houston steering motors slow problem resolved in singapore dry dock,tom wolcott was master,went back state side after dry dock,no the east coast ,alfie tomas was boson,nick clark replaced him,as half the crew went on leave,did 6 month 4 days on the faraday.felt like 6 weeks had a great time ,good crew .good officers and entertament supplied by tom wolcott .

norsea
2nd April 2009, 18:00
After serving in Avogadro as 2nd Mate/1st Mate under Ron Hedger and Tom Woolcott I joined the Joule in Nantes in Sept `65 and served to 22.12.65. paying off in La Mede. After a brief trip in Orelia I again signed on Joule as
2nd Mate.A full Relief Crew with Capt J D H Glover and C/O Reg Kerr travelled from Dover to Rouen via Paris and eventually sailed for Bia Blanca on what turned out to be an "epic voyage".Our next passage was to a small installation south of Punta Arenas where mooring was to buoys fore and aft with the loading lines lifted out of the sea. A number of passages were undertaken with butane and propane to the Chilean ports of Quintero and San Vicente, both of which entailed mooring to two anchors and stern ropes to a buoy and again sub-sea pipelines.After a number of uneventful passages through the Magellan Straits between these ports it was eventually decided to dry-dock briefly in a floating dock in Valparaiso for a propeller inspection. (Mr Morell was flown out from London Office to supervise).The next passage took us to Botany Bay (now Port Botany) Australia via Papetee,Tahiti, where an overnight stay gave us brief respite before leaving for Yokkaichi,Japan via Suva,Fiji. Loading Anhydrous Ammonia in Japan was in the usual Japanese super efficient manner with an exclusion zone placed round the Joule during loading indicated by flashing marker buoys,and a chart placed on board indicating the position of shore personnel by the colour of their safety helmets.It was then off to Portland,Oregon via Honolulu,Hawaii, doubling up on watches to refrigerate cargo at regular intervals on passage.
Unfortunately it was discovered too late that all the valve gaskets were the wrong type for ammonia and became fused to the ball valves. Eventually discharging was completed in Portland and we were banished to an anchorage in the river to gas free by presurising the system and exhausting overboard into the river via a manifold hose,repeated a number of times under the watchful eye of a U.S. Coastguard cutter,and with a river tug moored alongside. After obtaining the necessary clearance berthing was permitted at the Swan repair yard although the crew had to wait another month before the Company decided to fly out a relief crew. Although,except for a lack of subs Some were in no rush to be relieved.Reg Kerr`s wife, who was employed by Moormack travelled across the U.S. by Greyhound Bus to join him.Eventually on the 9th December `66 we were flown home via New York and London after exactly six months.
Regards
Angus Davidsom

non descript
2nd April 2009, 19:54
Angus a nice account of the early days with plenty of names to conjure with – at least the Joule was a pressure ship and therefore able to reach the parts other has ship can’t (Jester) – so that tedious hiccup of finding Anhydrous Ammonia tended to dissolve most things in its path, was able to just about able to be circumnavigated.
(Thumb)
Mark

norsea
5th April 2009, 00:01
Tonga, thanks for the compliment. I must admit,after 44 years the old Grey Matter had to work overtime!!

Guy41
24th May 2009, 23:58
Hello to all!

Reading these pages has brought plenty of memories back. I sailed on most of the gas fleet from 1977 onwards including Cavendish (5 trips), Lord Kelvin, Faraday, Clerk Maxwell, Joule and Humboldt.

I’ve got a few stories (most of them true!) Here’s one from around 1979 .

I remember one midnight sitting in the bar on the Cavendish after the 8-12 ,having a beer with the sparks (Dave Hobson I think?)and remember asking him if he’d ever had to respond to an SOS message. He said no. Anyway some 3 hours later he got up to answer the auto-alarm and it turned out that we were the nearest vessel to a Greek cargo ship the Chryssopigi Cross which had run aground off Galle point in Sri Lanka and was breaking up.

We diverted and got as close as was safe and sent away our stbd lifeboat with the mate, 4th engineer and 2 ABs. All the Greeks transferred into our boat and up a pilot ladder safely on board the Cav. The last person to board was the Greek old man who was clutching a brief case. The wind was picking up and the Cavendish with plenty of windage was being set down on the shore so there was no time for argument and the Greek captain was threatened by somebody’s fists (or 10” shifting spanner) to drop the bag and get up that ****ladder. He did and after several unsuccessful attempts at recovery, the lifeboat was streamed astern from the poop. All the Greeks gear and their ships dog (a poodle) were left in the boat for retrieval during daylight. (there was also a female Vietnamese stowaway by the name of Minh who came aboard with the rest of them- I remember the song at the time “Minh no likey British sailor”- but that’s another story.)

The Greek master was in an awful state and broke down saying there was over USD25,000 in the briefcase. Later during the night the lifeboat painter parted and the boat, the dog and the alleged 25 grand disappeared.

We dropped the Greek crew off in Columbo (minus the stowaway who stayed with us 3 months) and proceeded to Ras Tanura. The next day we made contact with a Swedish cargo ship bound for Dubai who had found and recovered our lifeboat. We made arrangements to pick the boat up off limits Dubai.

We arrived 2 days after the cargo ship and finally retrieved our boat with everything intact including clothes, the mates walky talky, wolflites, some suitcase, but no dog and guess what …..no briefcase!.

There must be some of you who were there who can corroborate this tale and correct any memory lapses -Also appologies for making such a long winded post.

All The Best

jahro
7th June 2009, 11:26
Hi Guy,

That was during my first trip (as 2R/O). I joined with Dave Hobson at Curacao in August 1977 and yourself and Kevin Alcock were the Deck Cadets. At the time the Cavendish had a bunch of Vietnamese boat people on board that you had picked up somewhere prior to Curacao and the good people of Corpus Christi, Texas, (our next port) had agreed to take them off our hands.

I distinctly remember the episode with the Chryssopigi Cross. Due to lack of accomodation I was staying in the hospital and was awoken in the early hours by Dave Hobson saying he was responding to an SOS. I remember picking up the lifeboat in Dubai and everything was there - except the briefcase. I'm sure I heard later that the Chryssopigi Cross grounding may have been an insurance job!

I enjoyed my several trips on the Cavendish and have fond memories of her - cockroaches and all! Anyone know if she is still around?

One of the memories of that trip was a deck cadet playing a tape in the bar which was a recording from a station called (I think) Radio Victory. The words that stand out are "Well, Guy from Cowes got the answers right"!

I just happen to have a list of crewmembers that I sailed with on that first trip:

Master: Charlie Willcox, Nigel Matthews (and wife Bev)
C/O: Tony Banton, John Brodie
2/O: Ian Wilson
3/O: Steve Gudgeon, Mick Green (and wife Susan)
Dcadet: Kevin Alcock, Guy Webster, Chris Mann
R/O: Dave Hobson, John Davis
2R/O: John Hetherington
PCO: John Thackwray, Bill Walker
C/E: Jim Foxwell (and wife Brenda), Alan Lowery
2/E: John Montgomery, Dave Kelso (and wife Patricia)
3/E: Bob Jennings, Pete Gilbert
4/E: Aden Barlow, John Heaton
5/E: Alan Fox, Dave Butler, Stuart Hood
J/E: Hugh Thomas, Richard Williams
Elect: Ray Barratt, John Jeffrey

All the best
John

non descript
10th June 2009, 22:42
Hello to all!

Reading these pages has brought plenty of memories back. I sailed on most of the gas fleet from 1977 onwards including Cavendish (5 trips), Lord Kelvin, Faraday, Clerk Maxwell, Joule and Humboldt.

I’ve got a few stories (most of them true!) Here’s one from around 1979 .

All The Best

I only spotted the Firey Kipper this morning ... Nice to have you on board and a very warm welcome to you.
(Thumb)

Guy41
12th June 2009, 20:42
Thanks Tonga,

I dont think our paths crossed at sea as I started in Feb 1976 firts trip on the Sir Alexander Glen - What an impressive ship (from the point of view of a first trip deck cadet) and what a shock regarding her sister the Derbyshire.

However 2 trips later I joined the Cavendish, and John (Jahro) has reminded me what a trip that was! I recalled the story of the Chrysopigi Cross shipwreck earlier in this thread, but had nearly forgotten the other rescue that trip (admitedly just before I joined in Durban)

The Cavendish had picked up 17 vietnamese boat people in the S China Sea they could not be landed in Durban so we took them to the next discharge port which was Corpus Christi in Texas. (John joined off limits in Curacao on the way)

When we arrived at Corpus we learned that these vietnamese were the first ever to be picked up and taken directly to the USA.

I remember the local TV stations were out in force and l will never forget sitting in a bar watching the NBC interview of Captain "Theodore" Wilcox . I think it was the same bar where either Bob or Aden managed to eat all of the 40 ounce steak and therefore got it for free! Happy days.

Strangely enough some 26 yaers later when working as a surveyor in Houston, I ended up doing a job in Corpus Christi and noticed about 5 vietnamese restaurants -the seafood was good....... but sadly nobody had ever heard of the old Cavendish.

All the best

Guy

non descript
12th June 2009, 21:17
Thanks Tonga,

I don't think our paths crossed at sea as I started in Feb 1976 first trip on the Sir Alexander Glen - What an impressive ship (from the point of view of a first trip deck cadet) and what a shock regarding her sister the Derbyshire.

However 2 trips later I joined the Cavendish, and John (Jahro) has reminded me what a trip that was!
...

All the best
Guy

Hi Guy,
No, that is correct, for by 1976 I was already enjoying life in the South Pacific, and whilst the slightly clinical Cavendish could never be described as dull, it was not a patch on the James Cook (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=42026), which apart from being perfection, inasmuch as she was a Pressure Ship, she also had on board a very special crew member and radio officer, Mrs Tonga. (Jester)
(Thumb)
Mark

Guy41
12th June 2009, 21:49
Yes, sounds good to me!

Us seafarers are a particularly superstitious lot and theres much lore about women aboard- but apart from 5 and a half months sailing with me when I was mate on a products tanker with "another" company, my wife (born in the Southern Hemisphere)has managed to accompany me on various vessel surveys and even ridden a tug and barge from Southern Louisiana out into the Gulf of Mexico and learned some great Cajun recipes from the tug skipper (plus a whole load of country and cajun music too!)

Mustn admit to this in front of the other Gas hands in case they think Ive gone soft in my old age!

Envy the "presh" ship the nerest I got was the Humboldt in winter

Cheers

Guy

MARINEJOCKY
14th June 2009, 02:12
Hi Guy,

I either sailed with you or just missed you on the Cavendish and maybe even the Humbolt.

Although I was not there for the "Rescue's" I did sail 5 times on the Cavendish and heard the stories a few times. I always understood that the two rescues happened at different periods.

33 years ago and the following is what I remember.

The Cavendish was sailing along with the 2nd mate doing his chart corrections until the Chief Eng. (Alan Lowery) came up to the bridge saw the refugee boat directly in front, he altered course and the main engine shut down. Nearly ran the poor folk over, anyway got them on board and proceeded to the gas barge off Indonesia where on arrival there was alot of heavily armed soldiers on the barge stopping any one getting off.

Company told the ship to take them to Singapore where upon arrival they were again denied shore access. Company told the ship to buy loads of rice and terry towelling to feed and cloth them. I believe most of them were sleeping in the large laundry room just forward of the engine room.

South Africa said that they would take them but only for 7 days and after that the company had to pay for them to leave.

Company told the ship to take them onto Corpus Christi. The Catholics of Corpus Christi hired a professional money raiser who raised about 13 million to look after the boat people and one of the major TV stations paid for an intrinsically safe cable to go down the dock so they would record the first boat people coming ashore.

That same money raiser was interviewed with Charlie Wilcox and told him that the Catholics of Corpus Christi would pay to feed his crew. a few days later and alot of prodding by the ships agent a couple of cases of beer and some Kentucky Fried chicken turned up. The way it was described to me was in the interview this money raiser kept repeating over and over "we the Catholics of Corpus Christi" in the end you thought that they had rescued the boat people with no assistance from the Cavendish.

The boat people did make a small plaque that hung in the officers alley way and the kids apparently made toys from match boxes that they gave away to the crew. I think I saw a few behind the officers bar.

Like I say, I thought the two rescues where at different times but I was not there. I was told that two of the boat people had brief cases hand cuffed to their wrists as they had hoards of diamonds inside but again that could be a good old Cavendish story.

I made contact with Captain Charlie Wilcox last year after nearly 30 years and he sounded in good spirits.

I am a yacht surveyor over in Fort Lauderdale now.

Billieboy
14th June 2009, 17:14
It reminds me of an earlier report by a Ship’s Master which read along the lines of:: “I joined the ship in Liverpool and I loaded her for New York and I sailed at good speed across the Atlantic and I arrived safely. I berthed the ship and after I had taken bunkers, I sailed for Panama, but during the passage we ran aground.”

Nearly as good as one Sunday afternoon, when I boarded a smallish, (20,000dwt), bulk carrier in the Elbe. The Super and I eventually got to the Old Man's deck and he appeared from the Bridge saying, "Welcome aboard Sirs, (he was Korean), I'm sorry to say, that I've just lost the Starboard anchor!" (EEK)

Reading the Statement of Fact, the Chinese Super said, "Is this right?", the mate had written, "When I pulled the Starboard anchor up, it wasn't there!". When I eventually recovered from the hysterics, I said, "Leave it in, it will wake the underwriters up!".(Thumb)

Guy41
14th June 2009, 19:05
I must admit that I thought the two Cavendish "rescues" were on 2 diferent trips, but John (Jahro) reminded me with the crew list and list of ports that it did in fact all happen during one trip (or at least within one 4 month period)

I joined in Durban where the Vietnamese were not allowed to be landed. When we arrive in the 'States there certainly was a big fuss with media in Corpus Christi and it even made the news at ten in the UK.

I remember that one of the refugees was a colonel in the S Vietnamese air force and they all seemed to come from fairly well-off families- the 2 young lads who made the match box models were known as tiger 1 and tiger 2 and when they finally left us had a good grasp in British Maritime Vocabulary as I remember (the 4 letter words at least!)

I'm not sure if Charlie Wilcox would remeber me as I only did the one trip with him as deck cadet but I understand he was born in Tucuman Province in Argentina. If he's back in Argentina or visiting, I live just outside of Buenos Aires , (send me a message and I can pass you my contact details)

Fort Lauderdale sounds nice, hopefully the financial crisis isnt hitting too bad,

Best wishes

Guy

gyca
13th July 2009, 15:07
I must admit that I thought the two Cavendish "rescues" were on 2 diferent trips, but John (Jahro) reminded me with the crew list and list of ports that it did in fact all happen during one trip (or at least within one 4 month period)

I joined in Durban where the Vietnamese were not allowed to be landed. When we arrive in the 'States there certainly was a big fuss with media in Corpus Christi and it even made the news at ten in the UK.

I remember that one of the refugees was a colonel in the S Vietnamese air force and they all seemed to come from fairly well-off families- the 2 young lads who made the match box models were known as tiger 1 and tiger 2 and when they finally left us had a good grasp in British Maritime Vocabulary as I remember (the 4 letter words at least!)

I'm not sure if Charlie Wilcox would remeber me as I only did the one trip with him as deck cadet but I understand he was born in Tucuman Province in Argentina. If he's back in Argentina or visiting, I live just outside of Buenos Aires , (send me a message and I can pass you my contact details)

Fort Lauderdale sounds nice, hopefully the financial crisis isnt hitting too bad,

Best wishes

Guy
I was RO on the Cavendish during the "boat people incident". I remember being off watch at the time and flat out on the monkey island (soaking up the rays). The Sun started to move around in the sky so I knew something was up. The boat had a large SOS painted on the side and loads of folk were milling about on deck. There was a rumour that one of the blokes was armed and had persuaded others to join him on their little adventure. Maybe a myth but I wasn't privy to everything.

Anyway we go them on board and the "fun" started. While the old man was compiling the longest message in history for me to send to HQ I tried to contact a nearby US aircraft carrier on RT. Guess what the ship was called??? USS Enterprise! Suffice it to say they completely ignored us even though they were literally a spanners throw away. Read "Not our problem!"

I was up most of the night sending the mega message followed by a few more as the dialogue got going over the next few days.

The 2 lads (tiger 1 and 2) were cheeky little monkeys and I had a job keeping them out of the radio room. They were good lads and given what they had gone through they always seemed to be smiling. As rightly said Jakarta and Durban refused to take our newly acquired passengers so we plodded on the Corpus Christi. I paid off in Curacao so never witnessed the show when the ship arrived in the US.

Best Regards
GYCA

Chas York
9th May 2012, 13:13
Hi... I was R/O on the Cavendish in 1988, only for the voyage from Ecuador where she had been storage vessel to Malta drydock. Please do any of you guys know the dwt or whatever LPG cargo capacity was measured in?

I'm updating the list of ships I worked on and the Cavendish is the only one I have no tonnages for, having lost my discharge book during a house move.

She is, so to speak, the Missing Link.

Should anyone be able to give me even rough figures, please email me using chas.york@hotmail.co.uk A virtual beer will be in the fridge! Cheers

Chas

A.D.FROST
9th May 2012, 16:23
Hi... I was R/O on the Cavendish in 1988, only for the voyage from Ecuador where she had been storage vessel to Malta drydock. Please do any of you guys know the dwt or whatever LPG cargo capacity was measured in?

I'm updating the list of ships I worked on and the Cavendish is the only one I have no tonnages for, having lost my discharge book during a house move.

She is, so to speak, the Missing Link.

Should anyone be able to give me even rough figures, please email me using chas.york@hotmail.co.uk A virtual beer will be in the fridge! Cheers

Chas

CAVENDISH 29,528dwt, 26,802 grt,14,031 nrt 1,420,114 cu.ft.liq.(Pint)

Chalmers
21st September 2012, 00:52
After 35 years in the MN, by a nautical mile the worst ship mechanicaly I ever sailed on. Well past its scrap by date when I was on it. Thank goodness for the great crews.

BOB.WHITTAKER
21st September 2012, 09:56
MV JOULE (ex HAVGAS) I couldn't agree more with your views.I have posted previously about her. Briefly I joined as 2cnd. eng. in the handing over dry dock from the Norwegian owners P. Meyers to Houlders in December 73 or 74.How it made it that far is amazing , the gennys/pumps/claytons/air start comps./ main engine/pipework were all clapped out ,similar comments on the cargo systems and hull.
Vic Pegg was Ch. Eng,CLive Wintle 3E ,Martin Halfpenny 4E,Les Cuttriss Capt. and Brian Dyson Ch.Off. We sailed on Christmas Eve for Fort Lauderdale to take bunkers then to "Gas Up" (Ammonia) in Tampa and load in Pascagoula. However we broke down Christmas Day and put into Cork on Boxing Day for water and a radio opr. that could operate the equipment.
That was the start of it all, I paid off strapped in a Robertson Stretcher into a launch in the mouth of the river going to Huelva Southern Spain.
I will never forget " MV JOULE ".

Chalmers
25th September 2012, 01:26
Did the Inert Gas plant ever work. When I was there 77-79 it was pure junk!
And a heated discharge was something else.

BOB.WHITTAKER
25th September 2012, 17:38
MV JOULE , the three Clayton steam generators were christened The Good The Bad and The Ugly . Regards the Inert Gas Plant , I can't remember it ever making gas successfully , I'm going back in time now but I seem to recolect using the I.G. compressors drawing fresh air to supplement the air start , can't remember whether it was a success or not though . Happy Days Bob Whittaker

MARINEJOCKY
25th September 2012, 22:55
The only thing I can remember were the scavenge fires, an ice cold pantry refrigerator, passing out in the engine room, having an ECG done after that in Taiwan thinking I had a heart attack at 21 yrs old, (severe indigestion thankfully), dog'zee asking me what I had learnt after 7 months on the fine vessel and him telling me I would never get on in the company with my attitude when I told him I had learnt NEVER to come back to that ship again so imagine his surprise when I showed up 2 years later as 2/E on the Black Max.

If the I.G plant worked when I was there it would be the only bl--dy thing that did

merrymagpie
1st October 2012, 18:47
N


The only thing I can remember were the scavenge fires, an ice cold pantry refrigerator, passing out in the engine room, having an ECG done after that in Taiwan thinking I had a heart attack at 21 yrs old, (severe indigestion thankfully), dog'zee asking me what I had learnt after 7 months on the fine vessel and him telling me I would never get on in the company with my attitude when I told him I had learnt NEVER to come back to that ship again so imagine his surprise when I showed up 2 years later as 2/E on the Black Max.

If the I.G plant worked when I was there it would be the only bl--dy thing that did


Never worked in the two trips I was there

Mike

saltyswamp
9th October 2012, 23:16
iggy never did work properly although a lot of people spent a lot of time on it,
I can remember it produceing a gas of sorts and spending 4 hrs at a time playing with it only to produce no inert gas.
regards
Stuart

Bob.Grainger
29th October 2012, 00:43
I was an apprentice on the Clerk Maxwell, during and after building. Then as Third and Second Mate on the Avogadro, Joule and Humboldt. Such good times, such a good employer.

nickpaton
19th November 2012, 23:09
Hi everyone! First post here.

I was R/O with Houlders from 1977 - 79 ish, and drew the short straw to join the Joule (probably late 78) in Middlesbrough where we almost did a world circumnavigation before being released back to sanity again!

Yup we had scavenge fires (I still remember the engineers taking sledgehammers to straighten out the turbo blades) whilst off the Atlantic seaboard, and the fun of getting the gas detection equipment to work enough to pass the US Safety checks before entering Philadelphia and Galveston (?).

Later, having passed through the Panama canal unscathed, whilst crossing the Pacific, what I thought was some annoying Greek RO playing with his morse key, turned out to be the slowest SOS ever being sent over and over again, and after it had been going on for two days it took the first trip Deck Cadet to tell me it was actually a distress message!!! Well no other sparks from other ships got it either!!

Turned out the ship's RO had died in mysterious circumstances and at the same time there had been an engineroom explosion that had crippled the ship. The Captain had been sending the Distress messages from a text book on morse (hence the V slow speed) and from this we were able to arrange a salvage tug. We had the same agents in Chiba Japan and apparently the police were called to the ship when it docked and the agents had been told to tell us nothing of what had been going on.....

Whilst in Chiba a parrot arrived on board, and since Sparks never has anything to do I ended up looking after it. During the trip to Putan South Korea (?) the parrot became expert at morse, and there was more than one occasion where I had to stop Portishead Radio due to parrot "interference" on the line! Fortunately it flew off in Korea, which was probably a good thing as the Old man intended to disposed on the way down to Indonesia....

The one event I remember is being called to the bridge one evening and told to stay there and do nothing. Reason was Butane was venting off at one end whilst flames could be seen from the engineroom vents due to the Fridge gene going up.
The thinking was that I couldn't generate any sparks if I wasn't in the Radio Room, and in any case no matter how you looked at it an SOS was pointless - if fire and gas met the ship was obliterated, or else the fire was put out and no SOS was needed anyway. Being the Joule, she was just playing with us and we lived to float another day.

People-wise, I cannot remember any names but do remember the personalities. Two Indian Deck Cadets who hated each other strangely went ashore in Tokuyama Japan but only one returned. A while later the local police arrived and took the remaining Deck Cadet away with them, and he was never seen again.

Mid voyage one of the crew flipped and smashed up the Crews TV. He let it be known that if Sparks attempted any repair then he'd end up dead. Bosun (huge blond guy I seem to remember) also let me know that if I didn't fix it he'd personally make sure I ended up dead!! Managed to get it working again and the crew member was locked in his cabin with a permanent guard until the next port.

I think this sums up Joule for me. I really enjoyed the mahem and the fact that the "bad boys" were all on board, but in fact we all worked well together and generally had one heck of a time.

However I was not unhappy to ever go back again, and my next (and last ship) was sea trials on the brand new Elstree Grange out of Harland and Wolfe's yard in Belfast. But that's another story.....