26th August 2006, 20:10
As an engineer on the Markhor 1 and viewing Stuart Smiths photo of her tied up at the buoys at Garden Reach in Calcutta,I can see that it must have been a difficult manoevre to tie up with the heavy chains crossed over at the bows and stern,and hanging the anchors out. I would be interested if any friends from the deck officers could explain the mooring procedure,perhaps it is easier than it looks? I was on duty for a bore coming along the river,and I could see why the chains were needed.
27th August 2006, 12:14
Having done this several times during my deck career with Brocks, I can tell you it was often an 8-10 hour operation that involved hanging the anchors,
splitting the frd anchor chains and moving the 2 sections aft on a lighter to secure the stern to the buoy. Both fore and aft was secured to buoys by use of the split anchor chains. This was all very labour intensive and often quite dangerous as you were handling some pretty heavy weight gear. I would be surprised if anyone got any enjoyment out of any of this, and if the "bore" was running then springs had to be added and bore stations had to be mounted, which you clearly experienced. So a real "pain in the backside" for all concerned. Kiddapore Dock seemed like a heaven by comparisson to all the fuss out on the Hooghly.
27th August 2006, 17:39
Thanks for that,I assume that on arrival the ship would be slowly nosed up to the for'd
buoys and secured temporarily with ropes fore and aft,and then would begin the changeover to chains as you describe.The only drawback for being an engineer,was the inability to watch the arrival into a port! The only place I was able to watch our arrival was Gan Island,and I also stayed on deck to watch as we suddenly ran aground in the Suez canal,before dashing down the engine room to assist.I remember being surprised how far she ran up the bank before stopping!!
28th August 2006, 13:02
It's a long time since I did this, and I can't remember if we used tugs to keep us on station, but we certainly would have secured with wire hawsers to the buoys whilst we went through the time consuming task of splitting and manoeuvering the anchor cables.
If you were an engineer with Brocks you certainly missed some fantastic passages into some of the ports we made east of Suez. However I used to envy you guys when we were coasting and we were making port at say Antwerp on a cold night and it was "p------" down, and we would be on stations on the f/head for hours. The e/room seemed a cosy place then!!
Any other ex deck officers out there that can remember the process for mooring on the Hooghly at Calcutta, pitch in here.
28th August 2006, 20:43
Re bore tide moorings, the Maihar(I) had outside accom. amidships, with working alleyway inside, so all the chains had to be dragged up on to the centrecastle and aft through these and down over the aft deck and up on the poop. Quite a job, then back again.
3rd September 2006, 16:59
Interesting to see that my photo of Markhor (1) at Garden Reach sparked some discussion. I took it late afternoon returning to the ship, we had been on the bouys for a few days by then. The Garden Reach bouys were not ideal for a run ashore as they were well down stream whereas the bouys the other side of Kidderpore entrance were much better, I did a couple of weeks in Masirah oppsite the maidan which was very handy for Chowringee and the swimming club.
As Stan says the business of mooring in the river was a trial for all concerned, fortunately it did not happen all that often. in Markor's case we were without a homeward sailing and no one knew quite what to do with us. In those days there was either a glut of ships in area or a desparate shortage all due to the delays in unloading being experianced in Colombo. We were there for a couple of weeks before being sent to Visag for some weight (ore) then up Chalna and back to Calcutta in a panic to get the balance of the cargo and out by the official sailing day.
We had tugs fore and aft until we were moored with wires to each of the four bouys involved which was the first step. It was critical that the performance was orcastrated so that the tide was flowing in the right direction as none of the mooring barges had motive power and relied on the river to move them from forward to aft when they had the right amount of chain on board. If I recall correctly only one chain was broken, in two places so two lengths of chain went aft.
Having hung off both anchors one chain was fed to the bouy on the opposite bow and the other lowered into the mooring barge, at the appropiate shackle the joining link was separated and the remaing chain lowered on the barge which was then manouvered aft with current assistance. The chain was attached to the bouy and the end hauled up on to the poop to be made fast on the mooring bollards, I have a feeling two sets of bollards were used. At the front end they the easy part since all the lowering and making fast was done on the windlass the only problem they had to contend with was recalcient joining shackles which were not infrequently difficult to break, requiring considerable technical ministrations with the largest hammer to hand, Chips earned his Tennants on those occaisions.
Not having the services of a windless back aft we were obliged to haul up chain using a wire to get the chain as far as the mooring winch drum, securing it and shifting the wire to repeat the process until we had enough chain to man handle it round the mooring bits. This was repeated with the second length of chain when it arrived. As Stan says if the bore was running extra tackle had to be added in the form of a very large rope purchaes which acted as a spring and were supposed to take the weight before the chain thereby stopping the sudden weight of the bore falling suddenly on the chain. I think engines were also available at bore times.
Getting off the bouys was a repeat performance, dealing with the chains first and when normallity had returned to the forecastel head off we went to Kidderpore. Hours and hours of enjoyment under a baking hot sun!!
Markhor did not have hawse pipes for the chain on the poop which Later ships were fitted with, it made hauling the chain up a bit easier, I offten wondered why we could not have had chain back aft but alas is not ours to consider such weighty problems.
Its a while back so my memory may not be 100%. Others my be able to ad more or indeed correct my memory. While mooring with chains to a bouy was not that uncommon the Hoogly experiance was I think unique.
Hope this was of interest.
3rd September 2006, 17:23
Regarding having engines available while moored in the Hoogly that was the case with ss Maipura where the E/R was left on Stand Bye as Im sure were all other Brock ships .
It was great to get into Kidderpore and be given the FWE on the Telegraph .
We could Shut the Job Down in about 10 minutes ;then up topsides for a few Tennants. Then Day Work and the usual Boiler Surveys etc.