Decca Survey Fleet in the 70's - Ships Nostalgia
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Decca Survey Fleet in the 70's

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  #1  
Old 4th March 2012, 17:28
LochinvarLad LochinvarLad is offline  
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Decca Survey Fleet in the 70's

The vessels were the Decca Surveyor,Mariner,Engineer and Recorder.
Two questions.
1.What was the name of the company that ran the ships? It was a Decca company but did not have Decca in its name. Jim McKee was the head lad.

2. The Captain of the Decca Surveyor was always known (behind his back) as The Talking Teapot.Anyone remember his real name.

Decca,the company that turned the Beatles down,you have to wonder.
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  #2  
Old 4th March 2012, 22:17
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J Mckee and Co from Great Yarmouth if memory serves me, the surveyor ended up as the 'Bon Entente'
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  #3  
Old 5th March 2012, 20:49
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I maybe wrong but I'm sure I recall Decca having a couple of wooden ex Navy minesweepers back in the seventies. There was also a company called Gardline Surveys (GSI) which I'm sure used Decca equipment. They were based in Great Yarmouth, I remember their agents, Smalls of Yarmouth.
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Old 6th March 2012, 10:30
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Gardline was a play on the founders' name, George Darling, a shrewd operator. When the large concrete production platforms were under construction at Ardyne Point on the Clyde, a letter from George appeared in a national newspaper questioning whether there was sufficient depth for these monsters to pass over at the bottom of Arran. There was immediate panic and route surveys were hastily arranged and the only vessels immediately available were from one Gardline Shipping of Great Yarmouth.

They are still thriving in the hydrographic and seismic industry with a website www.gardline.com.

Ships I remember were Gardline Seeker, Locater, Endurer and Tracker. Seeker became a pirate radio ship.

Other survey vessels I remember being around were the Sperus (ex Hesperus with the "He" removed!), Bembridge and a great little seaboat called the Akraborg, an ex Icelandic ferry run by the Bannan brothers if my memory serves me correctly.

Last edited by nav : 6th March 2012 at 10:41.
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  #5  
Old 6th March 2012, 13:30
Ron Dean Ron Dean is online now  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJordandpo View Post
I maybe wrong but I'm sure I recall Decca having a couple of wooden ex Navy minesweepers back in the seventies. There was also a company called Gardline Surveys (GSI) which I'm sure used Decca equipment. They were based in Great Yarmouth, I remember their agents, Smalls of Yarmouth.
Small & Co. were (and still are) based in Lowestoft, though they did have a subsidiary "Seagull Design Services" who were in Great Yarmouth.
Gardline - as posted by Nav are still thriving in Great Yarmouth, with a fleet of around 20 vessels at their disposal.
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  #6  
Old 6th March 2012, 14:05
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That's good to hear that Gardline are still on the go. I remember them from many years ago but I thought they had been taken over, how wrong was I.
We once did a charter for Gardline on a tug working from Great Yarmouth. We were laying buoys for a Brown & Root lay barge to follow whilst laying the pipe (Hugh W Gordon) and we had Gardline surveyors on board. I don't profess to know that much about the survey side of it but I'm sure we were using Decca Hifix for position fixes.
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  #7  
Old 6th March 2012, 14:31
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More than still going! Now own and operate a whole range of companies.
Still doing ship construction in Yarmouth (all be it on a small scale) http://www.alicatworkboats.com/page/buildaboat
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  #8  
Old 6th March 2012, 15:21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJordandpo View Post
I maybe wrong but I'm sure I recall Decca having a couple of wooden ex Navy minesweepers back in the seventies. There was also a company called Gardline Surveys (GSI) which I'm sure used Decca equipment. They were based in Great Yarmouth, I remember their agents, Smalls of Yarmouth.
Georgeham was one of the Ham's with Decca Equipment, think she is still around but now a houseboat I believe.
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  #9  
Old 10th March 2012, 15:03
LochinvarLad LochinvarLad is offline  
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Glad to hear Gardline is still going strong.Strange how they are still independant where as Decca became Racal and now is swallowed up by Fugro.
Mind you what do you expect from Decca. They turned down the Beatles.Not exactly pro-active management.
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Old 18th March 2012, 16:44
LochinvarLad LochinvarLad is offline  
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Just remembered. McKee was boss of Oilsearch Marine Management. A Decca owned company although Jim ran it as his own.
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  #11  
Old 8th April 2012, 12:30
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Driving past Albert dock in Hull yesterday I saw a big survey vessel which looked like it was either being converted or under refit. Couldn't catch the name but it had 'Gardline' painted on the superstructure.
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  #12  
Old 9th April 2012, 12:40
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Cosag Marine Services ex Great Yarmouth

Hello LochinvarLad and others,

I have just found your thread. It is a subject related to my research too.

Decca Survey was chartering many years vessels from Cosag Marine Services. I know quite a lot about a period from 1972 - 1976 when our Bembridge had many Decca Surveyors on board, when she had Decca Hi Fix and when Decca team was working on North Sea in building of first British underwater pipeline and first oil rig.

Here you can find everything what we have about that period - sorry it is not so much - I even do not have even a Cosag badge - I only know a bit how it was looking. Anyway you can find several nice photos, data, other vessels of Cosag servicing Decca Survey.

You can see a nice gallery of Linda Sutton where you can find several Decca Surveyors painted by Linda - some of them we still did not described - maybe someone of you can help.

Our Cosag page is here:

http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?pid=342

Cosag stories are here:

http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?pid=343

Linda's gallery with Decca guys is here:

http://www.bembridge.pl/cms.php?pid=332

You can find a links to Log book from 1976 and Chief Mate Log book from 1976 too. So you can find over there several data concerning Decca works too.

I was trying to follow a Decca team. First they had a Decca Yahoo Group - already suspended. Later on they created following www:
http://www.deccamen.co.uk/ but this page is suspended from two years too.

I opened my own thread here too: http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=30107 and you can find something interesting for you over there too.

Anyway I will be very grateful for any help in my file too.

Best greeting Rafal
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  #13  
Old 10th April 2012, 15:51
LochinvarLad LochinvarLad is offline  
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Great work Rafal.I loved Linda's works. In Decca Surveys back then we had two types of surveyors.The politicaly correct types (like me) who worked the Decca Vessels and the "unconventional" lads who worked Cosag and other vessels.I still recognize some of the lads in Linda's work.
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  #14  
Old 10th April 2012, 15:56
LochinvarLad LochinvarLad is offline  
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Another thought Rafal, mid to late 70's I was seconded to Decca Holland doing all the work for NAM. We used vessels from a Dutch company,I think they were named after stars, Arcturus etc. They were (at least they looked like) 1930's design minesweepers/patrol craft. Ring any bells?
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  #15  
Old 10th April 2012, 21:09
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Great thanx

Hello,

Great thanx for your good words. As you see I am more interested in that second worst group of decca guys. There is still a lot of facts, stories to be placed next to Bembridge hull. I am hunting to any person, any fact, any story related to so called by us "Cosag time" so period 1972 - 1976. Any help more than welcome. We are counting now only for human memories. Great thanks for any possible help.

Best greeting Rafal
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  #16  
Old 10th April 2012, 21:12
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Sorry, one question, who else can you find in Linda's gallery?

Greeting Rafal
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  #17  
Old 24th April 2012, 14:10
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I am new to this site and was intigued by the posts on the Decca Survey fleet. I am an ex-Decca surveyor and spent many days bouncing around the North Sea on their survey ships. The original ships, probably around 1966 were the Viking Blazer and the Trailblazer, both owned and operated by Smalls (?) out of Lowestoft. Two new ships were added a couple of years later, the Highland Blazer and the Galway Blazer, both former Norwegian coasters. The Jackson 2 was a Dutch trawler that was chartered for a spell in 1968. Before Gardline became a survey company in its own right, it also chartered ships to Decca. The company started its own fleet in 1970 or thereabouts with the Decca Engineer, Decca Surveyor, Decca Recorder (formerly the Clearwater) and the Decca Explorer which I believe was an ex-German hospital ship that had most recently been used as a support vessel for far flung fishing fleets. She was unusual in that it was the first ship I had ever sailed on that had a bathtub. It made for a great jacuzzi in a Force 8!
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  #18  
Old 24th April 2012, 14:22
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I remember the Benbridge well. She was an ex-north Sea pilot vessel and had this huge lounge which was great for parties! We were invited on board one night in Aberdeen and duly arrived after the pubs closed carrying a stock of beer. The first case I carried on-board was "confiscated" by the ship's first mate. When I protested she (yes "she") threatened to punch my lights out. Being taught from an early age never to argue when drunk I let her keep the beer. I heard later that the ship hurredly left Abrdeen the next day due to what I understand were "irregularities" with the lifeboats. While anchored offshore the police were called out to the ship after the cook had been threatened with an axe and, so the story goes, the first mate was arrested.
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  #19  
Old 24th April 2012, 14:24
andybogle andybogle is offline
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The Decca man Yahoo site was unfortunetly abandoned a couple of years ago. Roger Baseford did an excellent job but didn't have the time to manage it any more. Someone put up a second site but it was subsequently infected with a virus and taken down.
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  #20  
Old 24th April 2012, 15:30
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Gardline

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJordandpo View Post
Driving past Albert dock in Hull yesterday I saw a big survey vessel which looked like it was either being converted or under refit. Couldn't catch the name but it had 'Gardline' painted on the superstructure.
Ray. AIS shows 2 Gardline vessels in Hull at the moment. "Ocean Reliance" in Wm Wright Docks and "Ocean Researcher" in Alexandria Dock.
Rgds.
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  #21  
Old 26th April 2012, 01:45
LochinvarLad LochinvarLad is offline  
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Bogle, you hardly did half a dog watch.You got yer feet back on land asap ya geordie git. You and McCaffery must hae been separated at birth.Arf Arf. Ken wha this is?
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  #22  
Old 26th April 2012, 01:51
LochinvarLad LochinvarLad is offline  
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Anyway back to topic.Didn't the Exploder get sent to the Middle East? Best one was the Decca Mariner, cloggie flagged so she had Heineken aboard.Woo Hoo. One time I was PC on her and Drunken Duncan was PC on the surveyor.We're heading home DD is heading out.Calls me up and asks if I had any Deso 10 paper he could have.Reading between the lines I load up a box of Heineken, do a quick zodiac transfer and go on our merry ways. Hour later he's on the radio raging.He actually did need Deso 10 paper and had opend the box in front of the company man.
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  #23  
Old 26th April 2012, 16:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilot View Post
Ray. AIS shows 2 Gardline vessels in Hull at the moment. "Ocean Reliance" in Wm Wright Docks and "Ocean Researcher" in Alexandria Dock.
Rgds.
Spot on! I managed to see their names the other day.
Cheers
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  #24  
Old 4th May 2012, 19:19
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Originally Posted by andybogle View Post
The Decca man Yahoo site was unfortunetly abandoned a couple of years ago. Roger Baseford did an excellent job but didn't have the time to manage it any more. Someone put up a second site but it was subsequently infected with a virus and taken down.
Hi Andy,

Just signed-on with this group and my ears were burning when I saw this thread! Hope you're well? Still pounding the North Sea here, two years to go until retirement.

Yep, Martin Kelly took over the Yahoo group and then set up a better effort but I think the interest wasn't there and as you say it got a virus. BTW, Martin has been very ill after several heart-attacks but is well on the mend.

Anyway, very good to see all the discussions coming from this thread and I remember nearly all of the ships mentioned, the Bembridge especially, I spent several trips on that ship with Dave Barnes. As to Gardline, an ex-employee recently showed me an interesting book about the company, think it was to commemorate 40 years of business. Worth a look if you can find a copy, lotsa nostalgia!

All the best to the ex-Deccamen.

Roger Basford
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Old 4th May 2012, 19:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nav View Post
Gardline was a play on the founders' name, George Darling, a shrewd operator. When the large concrete production platforms were under construction at Ardyne Point on the Clyde, a letter from George appeared in a national newspaper questioning whether there was sufficient depth for these monsters to pass over at the bottom of Arran. There was immediate panic and route surveys were hastily arranged and the only vessels immediately available were from one Gardline Shipping of Great Yarmouth.

They are still thriving in the hydrographic and seismic industry with a website www.gardline.com.

Ships I remember were Gardline Seeker, Locater, Endurer and Tracker. Seeker became a pirate radio ship.

Other survey vessels I remember being around were the Sperus (ex Hesperus with the "He" removed!), Bembridge and a great little seaboat called the Akraborg, an ex Icelandic ferry run by the Bannan brothers if my memory serves me correctly.
Hi Nav,

Just my twopennyworth;

Seeker's first name in Gardline was "Charterer". They also ran "Surveyor", "Observer", "Profiler" and "Researcher", some of those names have been reused on later ships. There was also an inshore boat called Isis Corer.

The Seeker, Tracker & Endurer were, I think, ex-Stavanger Steamship Co, built as war reparations by the Germans. Legend has it that Tracker was a "buy two, get one free" purchase! Seeker became the M/V "Communicator" and then Radio Laser. The DTI hired Tracker to act as a picket boat to stop supplies getting to Laser!

Cheers

Roger/Searcher2004

Gardline 1974-1982.
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