British Commerce

ruud
3rd January 2007, 15:55
Ahoy,
Here a fine shot of the British Commerce,it would be much appreciated if any details can be added.
Reverse side of the card says: "The British Petroleum Co. Ltd.Photograph"
British Commerce 62,500 tons during her trials.

gdynia
3rd January 2007, 16:02
Ruud
Only info I have is she loaded the first cargo of oil from the Forties Field in 1976 at Hounds Point,River Forth

John_F
3rd January 2007, 18:27
Ruud,
She was one of 5 sisters in this class of 67,000 dwt, the others being the Confidence, Captain, Centaur & Commodore. She was completed by J.L.Thompson & Sons of Sunderland in May 1965. Unlike the Confidence & the Captain which were turbine driven, the Commerce & her other 2 sisters were motor driven, the Commerce having a Sulzer engine developing 18,000 bhp. The motor driven versions far outlasted the turbine versions which were scrapped after 12 years whereas the Commerce went on for 18 years before she ended up at Kaohsiung on 31st January 1983.
Kind regards,
John

Geoff_E
3rd January 2007, 18:55
The Commerce was my first ship as Mate. I was promoted from 2/0 about half way through the trip. I seem to remember that we spent about half of the trip running alternatively Rotterdam - Hamburg, Rotterdam - Belfast with crude, with odd other stops such as Sullom Voe. We then went off to load in Novorrosisk for discharge in Madras where I paid off.

Dredging the memory now, I'm sure these vessels had partial permanent ballast with an eductor system for discharge and also vertical sluice valves between at least some of the cargo tanks to assist in draining/discharging.

We had a good crowd that trip and it has happy memories for both my wife and myself.

Incidentally, on the Rotterdam - Belfast trips we went via the Pentland Firth and the Minches. (I can hear the shrieks of dismay/disgust from the pseudo environmental lobby!!) What was the problem? these were properly planned voyages on a British registered vessel manned by fully certificated British officers. It would never have occurred to anyone to take the much more hazardous passage via the Fair Isle Channel and west of the Hebrides.

Just think/ All of this and no GPS, no SMS, no ISPS, no shelves full of manuals telling us what our responsibilities were and how to do our jobs!

Sorry guys, I sort of leapt on the hobby-horse there, but seriously, it was a good trip on a happy ship.

richardc
3rd January 2007, 22:59
Geoff,
You're right about the partial permanent ballast tanks and the sluice valves in the bulkheads, which I think were between all the cargo tanks. From what I remember on the Centaur the idea was to have the ship trimmed well by the stern, have all the sluice valves open and pour it in from the stern and one of the midship tanks. As she came level the tanks were topped up by closing the sluices!! There was a portable hydraulic pump for emergency use if the main hydraulics failed and I seem to remember it was in regular use!! All of that on a brand new, maiden voyage vessel!!
Regards,
Richard.

beverlonian
17th August 2007, 20:25
British Commerce - sorry, don't have good memories of this vessel other than a great set of engineers. My one and only trip as 2nd Engineer with BP, October 76 to May 77.

willhastie
22nd August 2007, 12:06
was on her when she was used as a training vessel for the gp system in 1972,i had come over from the rn and thought she was an awesome ship,single cabin,bar,paid overtime,but the engineroom was a bit of a mess.next ship british security and rearlised that the commerce was a pig

paul0510
23rd August 2007, 10:22
...here's the pipeline diag. of her sister ship the Confidence. Sluice valves are situated on the after bulkheads of centre tanks.

mike davis
23rd March 2008, 22:54
Ruud
Only info I have is she loaded the first cargo of oil from the Forties Field in 1976 at Hounds Point,River Forth

Thats true I was 1 of the berthing master who did the loading.in stormy cold weather.
Mike

derekhore
24th March 2008, 16:05
I seem to remember the "Captain" having these sluice valves....and them having a tendency to jam!

Certainly it was an easy discharge for a cadet to handle....open them up and let her rip....ballasting the set of permanent tanks as you went!

stewart4866
24th March 2008, 22:31
My first trip as j/eng on the commerce chief was P F Spires 3rd eng Andy Langer, every watch had to mop up the oil around the exhaust manifolds some good memories. Good bunch of blokes engineroom and deck.

JohnBP
8th April 2008, 17:54
The Centaur was a trial when it came to the engines, big 9 cyl. Sulzer which "croaked" regularly, many a day I spent 12 hours helping to fix the beast.

JamesM
16th April 2008, 21:03
JohnBP, Slight correction, the Centaur was a 9cyl B&W.

I, like you, spent many hours working on that engine , apart from keeping up with maintenance on other machinery, the Weirs Evaporator in particular. And even although I was someone born and bred in Glasgow I could have quite cheerfully strangled Mr Weir on many occasions.
As well as kicking seven bells out of Mr Harland and Mr Wolff who built the pigging thing in the first place.

JohnBP
17th April 2008, 02:35
JohnBP, Slight correction, the Centaur was a 9cyl B&W.

I, like you, spent many hours working on that engine and its various parts such as the seperator platform. Apart from keeping up with maintenance on other machinery, the Weirs Evaporator in particular. And even although I was someone born and bred in Glasgow I could have quite cheerfully strangled Mr Weir on many occasions.
As well as kicking seven bells out of Mr Harland and Mr Wolff who built the pigging thing in the first place.

Thanks for the chuckle, JamesM, and correct 9 not 6, I also was born and bred in Glasgow, went to Stow College with BP and have to say that of the 6 BP ships I sailed on the Centaur was the worst for unpaid OT and very scary moments.. One was rounding Capetown in very bad weather, when the bulk carrier World Glory broke in two not 50 miles from us. The weather was so bad we could do nothing but head south into the storm. A few days later we passed her bow pointed to the sky, it took the South African navy 2 weeks to sink this hazard to shipping. thanks again.

JohnBP
8th May 2008, 16:26
JohnBP, Slight correction, the Centaur was a 9cyl B&W.

I, like you, spent many hours working on that engine , apart from keeping up with maintenance on other machinery, the Weirs Evaporator in particular. And even although I was someone born and bred in Glasgow I could have quite cheerfully strangled Mr Weir on many occasions.
As well as kicking seven bells out of Mr Harland and Mr Wolff who built the pigging thing in the first place.

You are correct, I must have been thinking of the Br. Curlew, she was Sulzer... however the Centaur was quite the workhouse. After 7 months we docked at Port Sunlight for drydock, and I was praying my time was up, not to be, the new 2nd was a Glaswegian, just like me, we got on so well he asked me to do one more trip.. damn, anyway 3 months later and many breakdowns (injectors and scavange fires) off I went thank god.... keep smiling..

richardc
8th May 2008, 22:42
Johnbp and JamesM
I sailed on the Centaur maiden voyage out of H&W and from what I remember the Engineers had a rough time then. Numerous breakdowns for one reason or another, not sure of specifics as I was only a N/App at the time, but some were hairy!!
Regards,
Richard.

AngusInShetland
31st January 2013, 17:25
If anyone is interested the Shetland Museum and Archives hold a BBC Radio Shetland feature on the British Commerce, made as it leaves Sullom Voe. The catalogue number is BBCRS/2/8/13 (date 14 June 1979.) The personnel featured are Roy Fielder, Fleet Manager; Captain M. Dunning; Neil Bolton, Radio Officer; and Jim Laird, Chief Engineer.

stevie-w
31st January 2013, 21:11
I was 4th trip deck cadet on the Commerce at the time and kept a complete log of the trip. We had arrived at Sullom voe on 7/6/79 after discharge at IOG on 4/6/79.
I noted at the time "We anchored off Wick en route to pick up reporters from papers, TV etc for Sullom Voe Terminal, on 7/6/79went in 1.5 miles off Wick."
We then loaded Crude at Sullom Voe for Europoort, sailed on 9/6/79, and "took reporters and dropped off at Wick on 9/6/79".

The Captain at the time was M.Dunning, C/E was J. Baird; Neil Whiteley-Bolton was R/O.

I had a great trip sampling the delights of NWE, mainly Europoort/Hamburg/Hound Point/IOG/Sullom Voe/Belfast/Gothenburg/Wilhelmshaven/Angle Bay.

trevflstn
1st February 2013, 19:25
I was 2/O in the Commerce in 1978 running mostly Bejaia - Trieste which in reality meant days on end anchored off Bejaia.
The O/M was Mike Dunning and he used to confuse the locals by wearing a t-shirt sporting the logo British Confidence - I Survived.
Nice man, sailed with him again on the Trident a year or so later.

RAF
1st February 2013, 20:14
I was 2/O on the Commerce in 1970. Recall having constant engine problems in the seven months I was onboard.
On one voyage from the Gulf to UK the C/E said he would throw a party every 24hrs of continuous running 56 days later we had had ONE party.
This class of ship were the very worst in BP for both the Deck & Engine dept.
Walked off her in the end -bad memories.

Dickyboy
1st February 2013, 20:37
Any idea why the Centaur and the Commodore were deemed suitable for GP Manning, while the others in the class weren't?
I did one trip "Conventional" on the Centaur, then after a course in Liverpool rejoined her again as GP1. Br Centaur was my first BP tanker, that was in 1967.

Campbell47
3rd February 2013, 10:59
Yes I was 1st trip junior engineer on that mighty vessel in 1974 boy was it some fun looking back, thinking about all the half days (12hours).That we worked just keeping it going lots of times when we just made it leaving Cape Town on one diesel generator which produced only half of its rated power. With the engine room in darkness and all the engineers at set places boiler, sea water pumps, boiler fuel pumps and feed pumps. Put water in boiler, fash boiler, raise seam and get t/a going, only starting and running only one item.
Tell the young guys that today and they just laugh as the proceedures won't cover this and they can only work with them.

Peteracook
18th July 2013, 03:42
I sailed on her in 1973 as a third trip Nav Cadet, she was the biggest pile of junk that ever sailed the oceans, we spent more time drifting around NUC than anything else, it was a total nightmare for the engineers. But having said that it was a happy trip and a great bunch of guys.

twogrumpy
18th July 2013, 16:27
Glad to say I managed to avoid all the C class, job well done I reckon from all the tales of woe over the years.

2G

derekhore
18th July 2013, 16:34
Had a good 6 month trip on the Captain in 72 ... Fred Bolingbrok was the old man.

Everyone always said to keep well away from the Centaur - luckily I did!

mr g elliott
28th July 2013, 13:44
Had a good 6 month trip on the Captain in 72 ... Fred Bolingbrok was the old man.

Everyone always said to keep well away from the Centaur - luckily I did!

do you remember the prestige

Caperora
28th July 2013, 16:49
I was permanent mate on the Commerce in the early 80's and also on Commodore and Confidence, no wonder I lost my hair at an early age

DougW
31st August 2013, 15:26
Sailed on her as Junior engineer, 1976 I think. Ron Braithwate was chief engineer. Nightmare ship but a great crowd apart from the old man whose name escapes me. Also remember Keith Pope junior engineer who left BP and was killed in an accident at sea.

Graham Wallace
31st August 2013, 16:16
Sailed on her as Junior engineer, 1976 I think. Ron Braithwate was chief engineer. Nightmare ship but a great crowd apart from the old man whose name escapes me. Also remember Keith Pope junior engineer who left BP and was killed in an accident at sea.

Doug,
A while since we have been in touch.

I have a note that KB Pope ( 1972 EA) died in Nigeria according to an extract from a Fleet News Feb 1982. He was JE on Commerce 1/76, JSM Sutton CE ( 1953 EA)

Master of Commerce was TYM? 2E TH Evans, 3E TA Price

Graham

twogrumpy
31st August 2013, 16:22
Hi Doug, that you in the picture?

The wives.

2G
(Cloud)

DougW
31st August 2013, 16:46
Hi Graham and Mr R.

Nice to hear from you both.

Yes Graham that's the one. Believe he was crushed by shifting buoy on deck. Sad.

Aye Mr. R. That's me all right but with a lot more hair. Jan is shocked to see a photo of her on line without her permission. Wimmen :-)

twogrumpy
31st August 2013, 17:23
Hi Graham and Mr R.

Nice to hear from you both.

Yes Graham that's the one. Believe he was crushed by shifting buoy on deck. Sad.

Aye Mr. R. That's me all right but with a lot more hair. Jan is shocked to see a photo of her on line without her permission. Wimmen :-)

Sorry about the quality, Jan on far left if memory serves me right.

P

DougW
31st August 2013, 18:17
Sorry wrong wife Mr R.

Jan is in the middle third from right. The one you thought was Jan is
Maggie Watt her husband was third officer John Watt. The lady second from right is Joan McKinnon the chief engineers wife. He was Alistair McKinnon. Jan is still in touch with Joan and she and Alistair are both well.

twogrumpy
31st August 2013, 19:39
Got it wrong then, put it down to memory loss.
Please ask Jan to give our best wishes to the McKinnons next time she is intouch.

eriskay
31st August 2013, 20:42
JohnBP, Slight correction, the Centaur was a 9cyl B&W.

I, like you, spent many hours working on that engine , apart from keeping up with maintenance on other machinery, the Weirs Evaporator in particular. And even although I was someone born and bred in Glasgow I could have quite cheerfully strangled Mr Weir on many occasions.
As well as kicking seven bells out of Mr Harland and Mr Wolff who built the pigging thing in the first place.


Given the contributions of Messrs Harland & Wolff and the G & J Weir Group, to shipbuilding and Engineering, I think you are being just a little harsh ! In addition, I am sure the ex-Chairman of The Weir Group, Rt. Hon. The Viscount Weir, would not be overly-miffed at his ancestor's invention being the subject of your criticism.

Now an octogenarian, he is still in good form - I had a few dealings with him at the turn of the year as he did the Foreword for a book I wrote last year on the 50th Anniversary of the Weir subsidiary company (Weir Westgarth Limited) which was established in 1962.

Angus Mac Kinnon

J/E 1964 - 1965 : British Power
J/E 1966 - 1966 : British Justice
4/E 1966 - 1967 : British Power
3/E 1967 - 1967 : British Industry

1968 through 2013 : Weir Westgarth Limited

DougW
31st August 2013, 22:06
Will do Mr R. Good photo, I paid off at the end of dry dock and wasn't there for the party.

Peteracook
4th September 2013, 09:01
Keith was a very good friend of mine, he was working for Swire Pacific as C/E on one of their anchor handling vessels. He was hit by a wire as he emerged from an ER hatch at one side of the aft deck. Very sad indeed

Graham Wallace
4th September 2013, 19:27
Keith was a very good friend of mine, he was working for Swire Pacific as C/E on one of their anchor handling vessels. He was hit by a wire as he emerged from an ER hatch at one side of the aft deck. Very sad indeed

Peter ,
Thanks for that piece of information ,I will add some of it into the Engineering Apprentices database. The obituary in 1982 Fleet News had no further information.

Graham