Chelwood Beacon

13th December 2005, 21:46
has anyone got any information on this vessel. I Know that it ran aground in New York in 1966. Any information on that incident and other details would be appreciated. (Thumb)

13th December 2005, 23:15

Not much to start with but there is some information at pasted below:

Year of Disaster: 1966
Place of Disaster: New York
Vessel/s Involved: British tanker
Photo: yes
Official Records: yes
News Articles: no
Topic: grounded

Couldn't find any more but I am sure our learned colleagues will be able to put flesh on the bones.


Rob van Leeuwen
26th December 2005, 16:52
I have information about this ship and also photo's.
She was built in 1960, renamed Port Miguel in 1969 and scrapped in 1976 at Valencia, Spain.
For a picture send a mail to ********* and you will receive som pictures.
Rob, from Holland.

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Bernard Ainsworth
1st August 2013, 01:08
Yes I was a junior engineer officer aged 22 and serving on Chelwood Beacon when it ran aground outside New York in 1966. We had to abandon ship in a fierce gale, thankfully all the crew survived, including my pet canary that I pushed into my pocket before jumping into the landing craft! I made front page news in the New York Times!

Marcus C. Smith
1st August 2013, 13:20
Hi jrx,
The "Chelwood Beacon" ran aground in gale force winds off Sandy Hook on Sunday 23rd January 1966 in 19 feet of water. I don't know if she had already embarked the pilot but her grounding was attributed to the fact that one of the main navigational buoys had shifted some distance due to the weather.
I still have the newspaper cutting from the Daily Telegraph which my mother sent me, thinking I was still aboard. (Dear old soul, I'd left after completing my apprenticeship aboard her in February the previous year!)
Quoting the newspaper "she was in danger of breaking up in 15ft seas and was reported to be leaking in her engine room. Forty two of the crew were taken off. Ten remained on board including the Captain P. Jones (Peter) and the senior Officers who moved to the stern section for safety reasons".
I was in New York on "Brecon Beacon" that winter following the grounding and met the Captain (Peter Jones) who was understandably in a rather depressed state since it was his first command and the Board of Inquiry had not convened. He was not inclined to talk about the circumstances so we respectfully avoided the subject. He was Chief Officer when I sailed on her the previous year.
The ship was bound inward for Newark with a cargo of crude oil. She was recovered from the grounding scene and spent months in Brooklyn Navy Yard being repaired, Captain Jones attending. I have no record of the proceedings but believe that Capt. Jones was totally exonerated.
"Chelwood Beacon" was a nice ship, very well appointed and had a good turn of speed when required. Seven months which I thoroughly enjoyed. Picture in the Gallery.

22nd March 2014, 09:22
Chief Boatswain's Mate John F. Kennedy, Boatswain's Mate First Class Melvin D. Yohe, Seaman David L. Ryan, Seaman Apprentice Fred H. Borisoff, Seaman Apprentice John W. Mulligan, and Lt. (j.g.) R. William Allison, of Coast Guard Search & Rescue Vessel Yeaton from New London CG Station were lauded by Lt. Cmdr. James G. Heydenreich with high praise for the performance of his crew during the rescue on Monday off New York City of 13 men from the disabled British Tanker Chelwood Beacon Monday about 15 miles south of Manhattan, 1 1/2 miles east of Sandy Hook, NJ, where the 665 foot tanker had run aground during a snowstorm. The officer and five enlisted men manned the forecastle for the daring transfer of the merchant seamen from the disabled tanker to the 125 foot craft. The master, a harbor pilot, eight ships officers, and 3 crewmen remained on their battered vessel overnight until the master began to fear for their lives when the tanker appeared to be breaking up. The next morning, January 24, 1966, badly battered herself by high winds and raging seas for 18 hours, Yeaton nevertheless eased her bow to the tankers side 3 different times before all hands were safely on the cutters decks. The rescue was executed in seas of seven feet whipped by gale force 25-knot winds, large masses of debris had washed to sea by the raging storm of the week end, and the 25-foot seas in which the ship was being maneuvered Sunday while standing by for the stricken tanker. Damage to the cutter, which included the snapping off of a 25-ft section of its galley stack, the splitting of a bow and the shearing off of a two in anchor chain pawl, was repaired at CG Station St. George, Staten Island. The prow was bent when it came in contact with a rail around the tanker hull during the removal of the crewmen. Heydenreich said the damage was caused by the swiftness of the rolls taken by the ship in the heavy seas. The actual rescue was effected by bringing Yeaton's bow up against the straight side of the 665-foot tanker with sailors stepping from their ship to the rescue craft as a wave reached its peak. There were no injuries. None of Yeaton's crew got much sleep or much food during the operation and there wasn't any heat aboard until a blower could be rigged over the damaged stack. When Yeaton returned to the scene the following day the tanker was under the surveillance of Commercial Tug Christine Moran and Cutter Tamaroa out of Staten Island. A message of appreciation was received from the Third District Commander, Stevens, it noted the operation required maximum effort on the part of crews and skill in ship handling and seamanship under adverse weather conditions, and expressed pride and pleasure in the performance of duty.
The Day, New London, Conn., Wednesday, January 26, 1966
Dist. Comdt (CPI)(3), Mariners weather Log, Moran Towline, CGCYeaton, CG Tamaroa, AG,V-28 (2/3/66)

3rd March 2015, 18:43
Hello, my name is Mike Beck and I was serving as 4th mate on the Chelwood when we went aground on the 23rd January 1966.
I was on the bridge with a pilot and Capt. Jones during the whole episode.I have compiled a written narrative of the events, as best as I can remember them,with reference to my letters home at that time.
I also have newspaper cuttings from the New York press and copies of the official Coastguard photos.These were taken the day after (on the 24th), in relatively good weather,when the coastguard carried out the
the 'rescue' of the 13 of us who had volunteered to stay on board.
I would welcome any contact from interested personnel,especially Bernard and Marcus.

17th May 2018, 08:55, 02-03-1966, Foto 2:
... ... Under the watchful eye of a Coast Guard helicopter, the 125-foot Coast Guard Cutter "Yeaton" manoeuvers alongside the helpless British tanker "Chelwood Beacon" prior to removing her last 13 men. The 665-foot British ship went hard aground one-and-a-half miles east of Sandy Hook, N.J., during a snowstorm on January 23. Thirty-nine crewmen were taken off by the Pilot Boat "New Jersey" in a small boat later that day during a heroic three-hour rescue. The master, a harbor pilot, eight ship's officers and three crewmen remained on their battered vessel overnight until the master began to fear for their lives when the tanker appeared to be breaking up the next morning (January 24). Badly battered herself by high winds and raging seas for 18 hours, "Yeaton" nevertheless eased her bow to the tanker's side three different times before all hands were safely on the Cutter's decks. ... ...

See history (in Dutch) here: