White Elephants

Hillview
16th August 2006, 19:41
Has anyone got stories about badly designed ships,crap engines etc.?

R58484956
16th August 2006, 19:52
Sorry only sailed P&O/ Cunard/Union Castle so that lets me out.

Ron Lloyd
16th August 2006, 20:06
get some of the ex SSM engineers to tell you about the RUSTON AO Engines
they were crap with a capital C.

K urgess
16th August 2006, 20:08
What's that toast?

"Officers & Gentlemen of the P & O and other ranks of the Merchant Navy"

They may not have been badly designed but badly used ships could be just as bad. (*))

makko
16th August 2006, 21:14
Not crap ships, but a very bad idea - the LPG vessels "Nestor" and "Gastor" of Ocean Fleets. They never carried a commercial cargo and went straight from the yard to lay-up in Loch Striven. They were eventually offloaded to Nigerian national lines "Port Harcourt" and "Port Lagos" I think. I don't think that this pair of White Elephants can be matched!

Dave

Keltic Star
17th August 2006, 05:58
get some of the ex SSM engineers to tell you about the RUSTON AO Engines
they were crap with a capital C.

In fact, any ship with a Rusty Weasel in it.

Chillytoes
5th January 2007, 10:09
If there's any old BHP engineers out there, get them to tell you about "Iron Parkgate"- ex-"Naess Parkgate", I think. What a bucket of bolts! I seem to recall that they had her on charter for about 2 years and she only did one trip! The rest of the time she was alongside undergoing repairs, hull and engine.
As an apprentice at Newcastle State Dockyard, I recall a surveyor telling us that at one time when tank repairs were being carried out a boilermaker couldn't strike and arc in a tank margin. On further investigation it was found the margin was caulked with oakum!!! And so on.....

ernhelenbarrett
12th January 2007, 11:03
I had avery brief spell on the Iron Parkgate as R/O, joined her alongside the Dykes in Newcastle NSW and she was a mess. If the bloke in the next cabin had a shower my cabin flooded. Forget what type of radar she had think it was a KH,all spring-loaded buttons, when you pressed the "Start" button'all the other jumped out and you coul not tell what range you were on. After spending a month in Newcastle, mostly in the pub with the Old Man at night
drowning our sorrows AWA took me off as she did not seem to be going anywhere. I heard later she went to Singapore for drydocking and handing back to Naess and had an engineroom explosion in the dock which killed a few.
I also sailed on the Iron Clipper which was the Naess Clipper on charter to BHP and she was a bit of a wreck too
Ern Barrett

Baltic Wal
12th January 2007, 12:27
I served as 3rd mate on the GTV REMBRANDT, now there was a white elephant, having a Gas Turbine engine she spent a lot of time moored off Smith's dock Middlesbrough having work done on the engines. Apprentices on one of the Bolton Ore Carriers painted white elephants on the hull while waiting to discharge ore at South Bank. All hell let loose as the ship was shifted and the painting seen.

Spent 4 months on her itching to press the emergency stop button on the bridge. Was actually able to do it on my last day while entering the Royal Docks, London. Got the message from the 2nd Mate that a mooring line had dropped off the lockside and was heading for the variable pitch prop. the noise as the gasifiers went up the funnel was terrific and the old man came charging into the bridge screaming about losing power. We had to move through the system to the grain elevator in Victoria dock completely dead ship.

Changing speed was undertaken by turning a wheel on the bridge to alter the pitch. It was strenuous work and when docking we were convinced there were two engineers holding on the ER wheel to stop us changing the pitch to quickly and losing power.

Still it was better than my next ship the RESTORMEL which took 28 days to get from London to Newport News.

Never ran successfully on four of the five gasifiers seemed satisfactory on three but could never keep an average daily speed on her design speed. When sold to the French the first thing they did was replace the engine.

BlythSpirit
12th January 2007, 14:42
Shell had a VLCC called the Lotorium built at Harland & Wolff in Belfast back in the the seventies. I joined her when she was six months old by chopper at Las Palmas. There was no paint left on the deck!! Shell said to leave everything for the Gaurentee Dry Dock!! The engine room was a nightmare - we spend countless hours fixing broken bits and pieces - it was the only vessel I sailed on that was built in that yard, thank god!!
On a general note the best ships I sailed on for overall good design and "workabilty " were all built in West Germany.

Chillytoes
24th April 2007, 01:34
"Baltic Wal's" experience with gas turbine ships is quite different to mine. I sailed on both "Seaway Prince" and "Seaway Princess", gas turbine electric, in Union Steamship Co of NZ. These were the cleanest jobs I ever had, you couldn't get dirty! Warm through for standby took a whole 15 minutes! Push the button on the Speedtronic control and the turbine ran up to speed under controlled conditions and then all you had to do was put it on the board. Sadly they were conceived at a time of cheap fuel prices, but after one of the Arab/Israeli wars, the greatly increased fuel costs killed them, so I suppose that they must be classed as white elephants.

zelo1954
24th April 2007, 01:50
The 14 Superflex ferries - the last vessels to be built at Sunderland - would come close as a class.

marine master
24th April 2007, 14:29
I was Electrician on the 'Blanchland' of Stevey Clarkes from Nov. 1964 until May 1965. Only the first or maybe 2nd 'P' type Doxford built. The last ship to be built at Grays West Hartlepool (1961) before they closed. She had 12 Clarke Chapman AC winches with pole changing motors. Everything on the ship was a nightmare. The winch motors would explode with frightening regularity, main engine was constantly going 'BANG'. After loading sugar in Peru took almost a month to cross the Pacific to Auckland after a crankcase explosion left us going 99 clump on 3 legs. Fortunately we had a great crowd almost all Sunderland and 'Shields, but they were used to colliers and would panic if they couldn't see land.(Cloud)

mclean
24th April 2007, 15:30
Shell had a VLCC called the Lotorium built at Harland & Wolff in Belfast back in the the seventies. I joined her when she was six months old by chopper at Las Palmas. There was no paint left on the deck!! Shell said to leave everything for the Gaurentee Dry Dock!! The engine room was a nightmare - we spend countless hours fixing broken bits and pieces - it was the only vessel I sailed on that was built in that yard, thank god!!
On a general note the best ships I sailed on for overall good design and "workabilty " were all built in West Germany.

Tmac must have missed this one??

BlythSpirit
24th April 2007, 16:25
Tmac must have missed this one??

Oh no he didn't!! Check out "Lima on Trials" in the Tanker photos!!(Thumb)

non descript
24th April 2007, 16:48
Oh no he didn't!! Check out "Lima on Trials" in the Tanker photos!!(Thumb)

Indeed, and very polite he was too, as can be seen here (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/4402/si/Lima%20on%20Trials/what/allfields/mcats/503)

BlythSpirit
24th April 2007, 17:06
I'm sure that ship was a problem ship due to her being partially built and abandoned at H&W, prior to Shell taking her over, it would be interesting to hear from anyone else who sailed on the subsequent L class vessels out of H&W.

mclean
24th April 2007, 17:21
Indeed, and very polite he was too, as can be seen here (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/4402/si/Lima%20on%20Trials/what/allfields/mcats/503)

Indeed he was.

fred henderson
24th April 2007, 19:20
The American super-liner United States is the fastest passenger liner ever built. In this respect the ship fully met her designer’s and owners’ ambitions. She had an instant success in capturing the Blue Ribband for the fastest east and westbound transatlantic crossings. In every other way however, United States was perhaps the most expensive maritime white elephant ever built.

Throughout the great Blue Ribband competition of the 1930s, the American naval architect William Francis Gibbs, dreamed and schemed to design and build an American record holder. In the late 1940s he used the exemple of the British liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth transporting hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to Europe during World War II, to persued the United States government to sponsor the construction of a large and very fast liner capable of transporting a division of 14,000 soldiers up to 10,000 miles without refueling.

The decission makers failed to register that large numbers of long range troop carrying aircraft were being delivered to the USAF and that with the Soviets building increasingly capable long range bombers and missiles, the US was highly unlikely to ever again place 14,000 troops at risk in a single ship. Nevertheless, the US Government provided a $50 million subsidy towards the ship’s $78 million cost. The present day value of the subsidy is $410 million.

The new liners owners, United States Lines, must have bitterly regretted agreeing to the scheme however, for she never managed to earn enough to cover her crew and fuel costs. To make matters worse, she was frequently strike-bound for months at a time. There were 11 separate strikes between 1961 and the liner’s withdrawal from service in 1969.

By the time the 17 year old United States went into permanent lay-up she was costing her owners $8 million a year in losses. ($45 million a year at today’s values) This was despite receiving a total of $100 million in US taxpayers’ operational subsidies during her service life. During her career she only managed to achieve an average load factor of 54%. She was of course never used as a troopship.

Fred

Tmac1720
24th April 2007, 19:52
I'm sure that ship was a problem ship due to her being partially built and abandoned at H&W, prior to Shell taking her over, it would be interesting to hear from anyone else who sailed on the subsequent L class vessels out of H&W.

Umm, what can I say........they were a bit better but had their faults. Hand on my heart I must confess that during this time we (H&W) had lost our way a bit and the pride in the job just wasn't there anymore, sad really but you poor buggers had to sail in and operate them. My apologies to you all, we could and should have done better.(Sad) (Sad)

exsailor
25th April 2007, 12:11
'HMNZS Charles Upham'
RoRo vessel blt 1984 as 'Mercandian Queen'.
Purchased by NZ Navy 1994 for NZ$14million, for conversion to a Sealift Vessel. NZ$7m spent (taxpayers money) on modifications, but vessel suffered major stability issues and rolled violently. In 1998, without having been put in to service, she was put on commercial charter to Contenemar SA, while various experts twiddled thumbs and arrived at a conversion cost of NZ$35-$40m to achieve what everybody wanted. The government decided chaterering-in if required was a better option, and 'HMNZS Charles Upham' was sold to Contenemar (the only bidders) for NZ$8.7m in 2001, taking her charter name of 'Don Carlos', registered in Las Palmas.

BlythSpirit
25th April 2007, 14:28
Umm, what can I say........they were a bit better but had their faults. Hand on my heart I must confess that during this time we (H&W) had lost our way a bit and the pride in the job just wasn't there anymore, sad really but you poor buggers had to sail in and operate them. My apologies to you all, we could and should have done better.
__________________
Oul hand
It was like that when I got here


I didn't mean for you to take the comment personally, when you look at the Great Ships built at H&W, (or indeed any of the major UK yards), we collectively had the skills to match anywhere else in the world - maybe the VLCCs were a ship too far.(Thumb)

Ventry
25th April 2007, 15:16
When in British/Irish ships 58/70 decided that Naval Architects were not seamen. Alfred Holts, according to reports, may have been an exception but as I never sailed with them I cannot confirm. Later sailed for Daniel K Ludwig. That was a different story. The finest built ships I ever sailed in. All Japanese built (mostly IHI). Only one motor ship, Dea Maris, in such a vast ST fleet. Practical, no nonsense design. Everything worked and 'backed up'.
To give an indication of his philosophy legend has it that in the 1930s he asked a Naval Architect to explain the pecked line surrounding the M/E exhaust on a GA plan. Thats's the funnel was the answer. Ludwig asked 'Can I carry Oil in this Funnel'?. Up until the 50s NBC built ships with stays supporting the M/E Exhaust(1) with a safety rail around the base. That 'thinking' encourages 'focus' on the staff. All his top VPs were ex Master's and C/Eng and in their 70s like him. No accountants if you get my meaning.


(1). Corrected previous typo.

BlythSpirit
25th April 2007, 15:23
Quick tip for you sir, if you make a typo just press edit button on bottom right corner of your post, amend text and press save - hey presto - no need to put second post in.

Ventry
25th April 2007, 16:32
Quick tip for you sir, if you make a typo just press edit button on bottom right corner of your post, amend text and press save - hey presto - no need to put second post in.

Many thanks to you BlythSpirit.
Regards

michaelF
5th June 2007, 18:55
I had avery brief spell on the Iron Parkgate as R/O, joined her alongside the Dykes in Newcastle NSW and she was a mess. If the bloke in the next cabin had a shower my cabin flooded. Forget what type of radar she had think it was a KH,all spring-loaded buttons, when you pressed the "Start" button'all the other jumped out and you coul not tell what range you were on. After spending a month in Newcastle, mostly in the pub with the Old Man at night
drowning our sorrows AWA took me off as she did not seem to be going anywhere. I heard later she went to Singapore for drydocking and handing back to Naess and had an engineroom explosion in the dock which killed a few.
I also sailed on the Iron Clipper which was the Naess Clipper on charter to BHP and she was a bit of a wreck too
Ern Barrett

Hi Ern ,
i also sailed on the iron clipper but she was then called the Nordic Rambler. We took her over from BHP in newcastle NSW in june 75 and sold her to a greek owner in oct 75 at Rotterdam , how we got there via Korea and south Africa ill never know , even though i was second mate at the time.

I remember that we held a two day drinking party in Rotterdam , cos we had to use up all the beer before handover , near the end the greek 3rd engineer ,one of the new crew , jumped up and proclaimed to be the new owner , he was secretly spying on us i suppose , he then offered us all big bucks to stay and sail under the greek flag , i think some took him up on his offer .

mike

Peter4447
5th June 2007, 20:40
How about Andrew Weir's 'white elephant' Inver Tankers?

7 Inver tankers of approx 9,500 tons were built in Germany using frozen currency in the late 1930's and were intended to supply a projected oil refinery in Dublin which was never built, so initially several of the ships had to be laid up. All served in the Second World War and by February 1943 all seven had been sunk. Inver Tankers built no more ships.

Peter4447

stan mayes
5th June 2007, 22:12
Prewar years saw some Inver tankers employed as RFA supply ..I often saw them in the Medway discharging into small RFA tankers TEAKOL OAKOL CEDAROL etc which in turn refuelled battleships and cruisers moored to buoys off Isle of Grain..No doubt they performed a similar service in other Naval ports...

cboots
6th June 2007, 00:40
My memory is a bit hazy on this one so perhaps someone else can fill in the details, but in the eighties the US built a class of LNG carriers for El Paso Gas. For reasons of expense they decided against using the tried and tested Moss Rosenberg system of cargo containment and instead developed their own system using polystyrene for the cyrogenic insulation. Sadly this totally failed with cracks appearing on the main deck during cargo trials of the first vessel. All six extremely expensive vessels went straight into lengthy lay up. I think a couple were eventually converted into dry bulkers.
As an after thought, perhaps the earlier poster who claimed that P&O never built a white elephant could remind us precisely how many tons of concrete the Canberra had in the bottom of her to get her to float upright and the subsequent draft problems that this caused her.
CBoots

James_C
6th June 2007, 00:59
Cboots,
I seem to remember at least one American LNG build where the Authorities and Unions insisted the Hull was built in the US (at Norfolk), however since the Rosenberg system was patented in Norway, the containment system was manufactured there and then sent across the pond.
As you can imagine all sorts of problems then ensued with an Imperial hull and a Metric cargo system.
After a few years of problems, I think she was either scrapped or converted to something else.

cboots
7th June 2007, 04:12
Hi Jim,
I think I vaguely recall that oe too, but the ones I am referring to were a definite class built for a project operated by El Paso Gas. I am no engineer but I believe that with the Moss Rosenberg system the main insulation is balsa wood, which is very expensive. So, naturally, various organisations had been seeking a cheaper alternative. Sadly I cannot recall who did the design but the insulation was polystyrene, and, unfortunately it did not work. As we all know LNG carriers are amongst the most expensive cargo vessels to build at the best of times; add in the inflated cost of building in a US yard, required under the Jones Acts for US flagged vessels, and you are looking at mega-millions. All adding up to a pretty expensive affair.
CBoots

BlythSpirit
7th June 2007, 07:46
I worked at the Sonatrach LNG Plant in Arzew, Algeria from 78-80, when the El Paso LNG Tankers started loading for Cove point and Lake Charles. Half of them were Norwegian crews and the others were American registered and crewed. Apart from one of the tankers running aground near Gibralter, I can't remember serious problems encountered in the early days. They were all 135,000m3 ships. They certainly didn't go straight in lay-up, as they all loaded cargoes in Arzew for El Paso, except the El Paso Consolidated. This company had some problems commercially with the Algerians and eventually the contract to buy LNG was cancelled, about 1982 as I recall.
The only El Paso LNG tanker to be scrapped without a cargo being loaded for EP was the El Paso Columbia, built at Avondale in 75 and scrapped in 86.
The other US built ships were from the Newport News shipyard, namely the EP Arzew, Southern, and Howard Boyd, the latter the only other one to be scrapped in 1986. The Norwegian ships were the EL Paso Paul Kayser, El Paso Sonatrach, and El Paso Consolidated, all built in Dunkirk, France.

Nova Scotian
7th June 2007, 08:49
I worked at the Sonatrach LNG Plant in Arzew, Algeria from 78-80, when the El Paso LNG Tankers started loading for Cove point and Lake Charles. Half of them were Norwegian crews and the others were American registered and crewed. Apart from one of the tankers running aground near Gibralter, I can't remember serious problems encountered in the early days. They were all 135,000m3 ships. They certainly didn't go straight in lay-up, as they all loaded cargoes in Arzew for El Paso, except the El Paso Consolidated. This company had some problems commercially with the Algerians and eventually the contract to buy LNG was cancelled, about 1982 as I recall.
The only El Paso LNG tanker to be scrapped without a cargo being loaded for EP was the El Paso Columbia, built at Avondale in 75 and scrapped in 86.
The other US built ships were from the Newport News shipyard, namely the EP Arzew, Southern, and Howard Boyd, the latter the only other one to be scrapped in 1986. The Norwegian ships were the EL Paso Paul Kayser, El Paso Sonatrach, and El Paso Consolidated, all built in Dunkirk, France.

I remember seing the El Paso Columbia at anchor in the Bedford Basin in Nova Scotia shortly after she had gone aground while being towed up from her building in the States. She was accompanied by a sister ship which I believe was converted to a coal carrier. Both ships spent a considerable time in Halifax. Large vessels with ugly orange hulls.

Chouan
2nd July 2007, 10:13
The Bridge ships built at Haverton Hill.
Not "White Elephants" in that they were expensive and pointless, but in that the one I sailed on was probably the worst designed ship I ever saw.
The pumproom seemed to have built on no principle at all; you had to stand on pipes to get to valves, for example. As you can imagine, swinging a big valve whislt balanced onm a pipe with a long drop below you, whilst wearing oily boots is not something to look forward to! The hydraulic valve actuaters on the main cargo lines were too small for the valves, so the valve had to be started by hand, whilst the mate used the hydraulic control. Once the big stilson got the valve moving, the hydraulics would take it the rest of the way. This meant climbing down into the duct keel, however, whilst working cargo, with bulkheads that were not sound. One of the ballast valves had to be opened by the mate swimming down to it in the hopper tank! Fortunately, the weather was warm at the time!
These were "working" design faults, rather than the building design faults that we all know about; ie cracking bulkheads, frames, longitudinals etc.....

jasmacpm
19th May 2008, 00:14
Just a little aside to the "El Paso" postings - asa deck cadet, I got a tour round and inside one of the tanks of the El Paso Sonatrach, whilst she was nearing completion in Dunkirk, 1979, or so? Remember being impressed by the sheer magnitude and space age effect of the lining. If I recall correctly, I was told that some/all of the welding was done by women as they were more accurate and did a better job than men.
I was on an OBO in the dry dock next door - the Cast Osprey, if anyone should have some info on it? When repairs were done to her bow, we were paid off and she was renamed the Cast Shearwater.
Regards,
Jimmy.

jasmacpm
26th September 2008, 19:57
I have posted a couple of photos, not very good, but which feature El Paso Sonatrach, if interested?
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/138647
http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/138638/ppuser/23476

Jimmy.

tuutuutango
9th October 2008, 02:44
Gentlemen:

I am new to your forum and I found a reference to the LNG ship, El Paso Paul Kayser when I was searching by Google.

I worked for the El Paso Company in Public Relations as a photographer and film-maker. I just posted a short video of the El Paso Paul Kayser on YouTube showing her first trip to the United States. I would very much appreciate you experts looking at the text that goes with my film. I do believe by all accounts that my story about this ship is accurate, even to the point that many at the company were not entirely happy that President Jimmy Carter mandated that all US owned tanker ships (at least LNG ships) be operated by American crew-members. I am confident that El Paso was delighted with the original Norwegian crew.

My video can be found on YouTube by typing in my moniker, TUUTUUTANGO, or simply type in EL PASO PAUL KAYSER in the YouTube search-box for videos.

If I have any inaccuracies in my story, could you please e-mail corrections and/or additions to me at my e-mail address, N900ML@HOTMAIL.COM. I hope you will read to the bottom of my text on YouTube, because of the irony of me seeing this ship a few years later, berthed in Newport, Rhode Island awaiting her fate. If I am incorrect in the final outcome for this ship, please correct me.

Your comments will be very much appreciated.

Thank you for your consideration.

tuutuutango
9th October 2008, 03:23
Sorry for the double-post. I thought I could go back into my original post and add a direct link to the YouTube video of the ship, but I don't seem to be able to edit after-the-fact.

This link will take you directly to my YouTube video of El Paso Paul Kayser.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lPDe9pF9CU

I'd like to add that I met Mr. Kayser in Houston in 1978. He was the founder of El Paso Natural Gas Company. Mr. Kayser was a small man and ALWAYS insisted of carrying his own bags and people not making a fuss over him. My father flew airplanes for the company starting in the late 1950s and he hauled Mr. Kayser a lot. My dad always told me that when he tried to assist Mr. Kayser in carrying his luggage from his car at the airport in El Paso where they kept the airplanes, Mr. Kayser insisted he did it himself.

When I met Mr. Kayser, I was working for the holding company, El Paso Company in downtown Houston. I worked in the Public Relations Department. I saw Mr. Kayser walking up a street one afternoon. He was wearing a dark suit and it was hot. I introduced myself and asked him if he remembered my father, who retired a few years ago. Great joy, this busy man laughed and said yes, he fondly remember him. I asked Mr. Kayser if I could help him with his stuff. He was carrying a briefcase and a large box under his other arm. He refused my offer.

I wanted to share this story with you, because I wonder if sea-crews ever knew any stories about the ships they sailed and for whom they were named after. Mr. Kayser (and his generation) were remarkable fellows to do what they did, in the Great Depression, starting a company from scratch that eventually became a global player in the world of energy. For any of you chaps on this forum who are from that generation, I salute you.

Pete Bower
13th October 2009, 17:49
In the 70s I seem to remember the Rolls-Royce auxiliaries in the Port Chalmers and Port Caroline would break with monotonous regularity. They were, I think, too high-revving for their own good and had a tendency to toss pistons out of their sides.

And the maintenance aboard the ships of Frota Oceanica Brasileira, not to mention some of the seamanship, left a lot to be desired. Either that or the Frotaline crews just enjoyed stopping over at Cape Town for regular repairs.

I'm not complaining, though ... the Portuguese-speaking chandler who handled the Frota ships was very good to me (the agent) at Christmas each year!!

kevinmurphy
16th October 2009, 09:14
I worked in Brunei Bay with a lay up squad for a year 85-86 (Labuan shipcare services- LASSA) we were looking after the El Paso Paul Keyser & Consolidated, apparently they were being towed to taiwan for scrapping when they were layed up with us waiting for the price of scrap to rise.(the consolidated went to scrap in mid 86)
We also had 2 US ships, the JADE & GOLDEN PHOENIX, these were under arrest for the mind bending sum of US$76,000,000 EACH(yes 76million). The daily interest was 15,000 dollars. Apparently they were built in the states as LNG, but failed classification, moved to korea and converted into Bulk/oil. They were coal burners with a crushed coal system, large hold aft of accomodation. I was not there when they arrived but the story from the other lads was they could not get the quality of coal. They only carried a couple of US aid cargo's. I cannot remember who had them arrested but the writ was hanging on the bulkhead.
Kev

Abbeywood.
14th February 2010, 06:46
My memory is a bit hazy on this one so perhaps someone else can fill in the details, but in the eighties the US built a class of LNG carriers for El Paso Gas. For reasons of expense they decided against using the tried and tested Moss Rosenberg system of cargo containment and instead developed their own system using polystyrene for the cyrogenic insulation. Sadly this totally failed with cracks appearing on the main deck during cargo trials of the first vessel. All six extremely expensive vessels went straight into lengthy lay up. I think a couple were eventually converted into dry bulkers.
As an after thought, perhaps the earlier poster who claimed that P&O never built a white elephant could remind us precisely how many tons of concrete the Canberra had in the bottom of her to get her to float upright and the subsequent draft problems that this caused her.
CBoots

And perhaps Cunard 'bods' could explain how much it cost to correct the vibration and propulsion problems, AFTER the x $million engine replace-ment and refit to the QE 2.
Regarding Harland & Wolff, I was told that the initials stood for 'Hurry and Worry', (built in a hurry, and worry about it afterwards. !)

Andrew Craig-Bennett
23rd February 2010, 17:03
A slightly different take on the "IRON PARKGATE" - if I recall correctly she was actually built for P&O, who bareboat chartered her to BHP.

BHP claimed against P&O at arbitration in London under the bareboat charter.

I worked at the time (1975) for a London shipping law firm in their Admiralty department (salvage, collisions, scuttlings - "wet" law, for which some sense of which end is which is helpful, as opposed to charter party work - "dry" law, for which no sea experience is needed). A partner in our "dry" side, Johnathan Ecclestone, got a phone call from an Australian outfit that he had never heard of (this was the Seventies) who wanted to sue P&O.

He was rather doubtful, but agreed to see them, and he took the case. It turned into the biggest case in the history of the firm and one of the biggest civil cases ever in London. Where it really got interesting was on discovery of documents, when our firm, for BHP, alleged that we had found a memo, written by someone in P&O standing by the newbuilding, which boiled down to "this one's an utter dog - we'd better get rid of her asap!"

We hired the National Liberal Club as a place to hear the arbitration.

The case settled after a few months, but I think P&O paid.

randcmackenzie
23rd February 2010, 22:37
I don't think so Andrew.

If I recall correctly she was built for some combination of Turnbull Scott and Naess (hence the -gate), with Denholm having the management, she started life as Naess Parkgate.

Of course at some point P&O and Naess merged to become ABC, but I can't remember where that was in her history.

Though I did not sail on her, she did not have the name of being one of denholm's easy numbers, and nobody was sad to see her bare boated out.

After her return, there was a big court case.

After redelivery, she underwent docking in Singapore, and a Denholm Superintendent died in an engine room fire while in dock.

Following the docking, her first loading after return to denholm was from BHP country, Newcastle NSW.

Though there were a few clenched buttocks, she arrived, berthed, loaded and sailed entirely without incident, perhaps much to the amazement and perhaps disappointment of the watching waterfront.

B/R

Andrew Craig-Bennett
23rd February 2010, 23:54
Thank you for the correction, I wasn't much interested at the time, being very fully occupied with Lloyds Form salvages for Smit, Bugsier, Nippon Salvage, Luzon Stevedoring, etc, which were our bread and butter, and I obviously got some of it wrong. But certainly that was the big court case.

chadburn
24th February 2010, 11:47
1966, Built for Turnbull Scott as "Naess Parkgate" (Naess Denholm & Co Managers). 1973, Managed by Denholm Ship Management. 1974, renamed "Iron Parkgate". 1975, "Nordic Trader" She was later on in her life named "Panamax Uranus" sounds about right, somebody may have had a good sense of humour.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
24th February 2010, 13:46
Conrad was wrong.

It is the ships; it's not the men that's in them.

The nastiest ship I have had to do with was CNCo's last "Fengtien", which was an East German built Ice Class 1 Seaway-fitted bulker. She had been contracted by a Greek owner who wanted out and a now very very famous German shipbroker, Christian Hinneberg, cut his first deal by selling her to Swires whilst she was still on the stocks.

Things got off to a good start at the naming when the owners party asked who the men desperately scrabbing around in the dock bottom painting by hand were and were told not to worry as they were political prisoners.

Amongst her many delightful attributes were an East German MAN main engine, no less than four SKL gensets, Brissoneau and Lotz cranes, a bowthruster which occasionally worked, a VP propeller ditto and a tendency to stop every day at 4.00 in the afternoon.

This was because the ME control cabling ran too close to the FO transfer pump cabling but the uncertificated 4/O who started the transfer pump every day never made the connection between him starting the pump and the ship stopping.

In the seven years we owned her she managed to have a million dollar P&I claim every single year. She was phenomenally accident prone. I recall her in collision in a Baltic ice convoy, hitting docks in Leghorn and in Antwerp, making a mess of a newsprint cargo, a Mafia style stevedore injury claim, etc, etc.

I persuaded my lords and masters to sell her to Yick Fung. Even that went pear shaped. The delivery was in a US port and having carefully read the NSF we reckoned we could unload the vast supplies of luboil that she needed and carried in tanks into tank lorries and supply them to our "Polynesia". Alas, someone forgot to empty his wastepaper basket and the buyers found the telex...which was flourished in our faces at the closing... we had to pay up.

Years later, I joined Cosco, and one day I found myself in a meeting next to the man who had waved that telex at me. I asked, "How did you get on with her?" He replied, "Sold her after one year! Did you ever get that VP propeller to work?" and we shook hands...

chadburn
24th February 2010, 15:48
During my research work on the River Tees , it's Shipping and it's Shipyard's after I retired I spoke to a number of people who were involved with them all, of particular interest was the Furness Yard because I stood by and sailed with a new build (1967/68) from there (which was not without it's problems as I have indicated elsewhere). The problem in the 1960's for British shipyards was that the subsidised Japanese shipyards were starting to make inroads into the "normal" British build market and British Shipowner's did not help by obtaining their new builds cheaply from the Japanese. To keep their workforce going in the hope the Japanese were a "flash in the pan" (the same was felt with the Black Bomber in the m/cycle world) British shipbuilder's had to offer fixed price contract's with most labour going on to piecework(MAD) . From what I can gather the "Parkgate" was the last of a total 3 ship fixed price order, the other two being liquid sulphur carrier's and thereby hangs the crux of the matter as they proved to be more expensive to build than estimated for, which meant the last build "Parkgate" was a bitsa as most last builds usually are in order to reduce the overspend in the hope that the next contract will be more profitable to make up any shortfall.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
24th February 2010, 18:19
Brilliant!

May I both agree and slightly disagree?

I wholly endorse the "traditional wisdom" that where a series of ships are being built the ones to steer clear of are the first (people are learning on the job..) and the last (all the stuff that was knocked back off the earlier ships goes on this one, the yard are losing money and know it, etc..)

Your explanation of the "Parkgate" certainly convinces me! I'm sure that was what happened.

The slight disagreement concerns Japanese yards in the Sixties. I wasn't there at the time, but I was "there at the time" , in the sense of being involved with ordering and building ships, when first the Korean and then the Chinese yards rose to prominence.

I'd better "declare an interest" as I have enjoyed contracting and building ships in Japan; I have contracted and built ships in Britain, Korea and China, but the experience was not enjoyable in the same way as building in the Japanese yards has been, for me. I don't think I am unusual in this - I have colleagues who would say the same.

I'm not convinced that the Japanese yards of the Sixties were subsidised in any way that one can put a finger on and say, "That's a subsidy!"

It's a bit like Boeing v Airbus - Airbus get a direct subsidy to pay for the cost of developing new models - Boeing say this is unfair and they don't get any subsidy: Airbus say that Boeing get indirectly subsidised by the overpayment on their military contracts...

The indirect subsidy, from what I can gather from years of chatting to Japanese shipyard and trading house people, worked like this:

Japan is the only nation that ever lost a U-boat war; Japan, by 1945, was starving and out of fuel because the IJN had failed to appreciate the strategic importance of merchant shipping; they were very slow to implement a convoy system, they had few proper escorts or anti-submarine tactics, and so on. US submarines effectively took Japan out of the war.

A prominent British shipowner of the present day made a study of this when he lived iin Japan and he told me that he had noticed that in each of the then-four major Japanese shipping companies (NYK, Mitsui, OSK, K-line) the man who became President in the Fifties was the man who, in the war, had urged the adoption of a convoy system.

After the war the lesson was well and truly learned and Japan made it a national priority to have a sufficient merchant fleet. We've all seen this, I'm sure, because we've all been involved in it, one way and another.

This meant that Japanese yards were very much encouraged and subsidised to build for Japanese companies. That in turn meant that the Japanese yards were in a position to go for export orders.

I don't think there was a direct export subsidy.