"Yards" slung at anchor for cargo clusters?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
7th March 2012, 22:56
A friend and ex-CNCo colleague has asked a question on our Swire Mariners website about Blue Flue and I wonder if anyone can help answer it?


In my researches and meandering through old shipping books I have come across a number of photos of Blue Funnel vessels all at anchor. They are unusual. At the fore, and main mast there is rigged, about ten feet below the mast table a light cross tree extending out to the side of the vessel. At the outboard end is a light halyard rigged similar to a flag hoist.

My only guess is that they were rigged for cargo work and used to hoist a cargo cluster(s) whilst working cargo at night from lighters.



Is this right?

Trader
8th March 2012, 01:52
Quite right Andrew.

Alec (ex. Blue Flu)

Alistair Macnab
8th March 2012, 04:59
The "Beaverbank" Class of Bank Boat built by Harland and Wolff in 1953 -1955 had fixed light booms attached and secured to the two masts. They were hinged at the upper end and upon release from the bottom end, the tackle that was hung from the mast crosstree pulled the booms up and outwards. When in the horizontal position, a further hallyard was used to haul up a cargo cluster which more or less cast light at the ship's rail for the deck and over the side for barges etc. There were a further two stays to secure the boom at right angles to the masts.

This was always the Apprentices' job and heaven help you if the booms port and starboard of the masts were not completely horizontal and at right angles to the fore and aft line!

Eventually not used very much and on one ship at least, one of the light booms was used for an ensign gaff on the main mast, being attached to the aftermost Manchester bolt hole that secured the topmast to the lower mast.

Pat Kennedy
8th March 2012, 07:22
All Blue funnel ships had these booms on the masts. On this photo of the Diomed in Birkenhead, you can see the cluster hanging from the boom, which is itself out of shot.
Pat

exsailor
8th March 2012, 10:47
Photo of 'Adrastus' arriving in Singapore with her cargo light yards rigged - http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=926876#
Photos at foot of same page (click for enlargement) show her without these.

Dennis.

Satanic Mechanic
8th March 2012, 11:57
The "Beaverbank" Class of Bank Boat built by Harland and Wolff in 1953 -1955 had fixed light booms attached and secured to the two masts. They were hinged at the upper end and upon release from the bottom end, the tackle that was hung from the mast crosstree pulled the booms up and outwards. When in the horizontal position, a further hallyard was used to haul up a cargo cluster which more or less cast light at the ship's rail for the deck and over the side for barges etc. There were a further two stays to secure the boom at right angles to the masts.

This was always the Apprentices' job and heaven help you if the booms port and starboard of the masts were not completely horizontal and at right angles to the fore and aft line!

Eventually not used very much and on one ship at least, one of the light booms was used for an ensign gaff on the main mast, being attached to the aftermost Manchester bolt hole that secured the topmast to the lower mast.

Alistair

I realise Engineers are notorious for technical language but I'll take my hat off to you - I didn't get a single word of the above(Jester)

Andrew Craig-Bennett
8th March 2012, 12:55
Thanks everyone - I have passed this on.

brian3
8th March 2012, 13:41
they would have needed cluster's of lights in order to (knit ) her to the quay what an amount of ropes ?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
8th March 2012, 13:43
they would have needed cluster's of lights in order to (knit ) her to the quay what an amount of ropes ?

I see there were no rats in Birkenhead.

Pat Kennedy
8th March 2012, 14:31
I see there were no rats in Birkenhead.
Birkenhead has plenty of rats, but most of them would go up the gangway on two legs!
Pat

Pat Kennedy
8th March 2012, 14:35
they would have needed cluster's of lights in order to (knit ) her to the quay what an amount of ropes ?
During my days in Blue Funnel, minimum mooring procedures in any dock, enclosed or not, called for nine parts of rope from the focsle, and six parts of wire from the Forard well deck, and the same aft. There was usually an insurance wire fore and aft as well.
Tying up took at lest 90 minutes, if all went well.
Pat

James_C
8th March 2012, 14:37
During my days in Blue Funnel, minimum mooring procedures in any dock, enclosed or not, called for nine parts of rope from the focsle, and six parts of wire from the Forard well deck, and the same aft. There was usually an insurance wire fore and aft as well.
Tying up took at lest 90 minutes, if all went well.
Pat

Presumably to be ready for the unexpected, passing hurricane?

Pat Kennedy
8th March 2012, 14:54
Dont think we didnt moan and ***** about it. It was a revelation for me when I left Blueys, and discovered that two eyes and a backspring were normal procedure elsewhere.
Pat

Stephen J. Card
8th March 2012, 14:56
I see the wire headrope.... but why over a roller fairlead instead of the Panama lead?

Pat Kennedy
8th March 2012, 15:02
I see the wire headrope.... but why over a roller fairlead instead of the Panama lead?

Thats the insurance wire. Always put out by the shoregang in Birkenhead, who took over the mooring once the headrope was fast, and allowed us to get off home.
Pat

Tom Inglis
8th March 2012, 17:00
Presumably to be ready for the unexpected, passing hurricane?

They were very precious SELF INSURED ships and we had to look after them extreemly well.!

James_C
8th March 2012, 17:10
I appreciate that, but it all sounds very similar to the kind of corporate 'micro management' which has so ruined modern day working life both ashore and afloat.

Hank
10th March 2012, 15:12
During my days in Blue Funnel, minimum mooring procedures in any dock, enclosed or not, called for nine parts of rope from the focsle, and six parts of wire from the Forard well deck, and the same aft.

I think that you exaggerate just a bit, Pat. The 'standard' tie up was an 'end and a bight' and two bights of rope and an 'end and a bight' and a bight of wire, i.e seven parts of rope and five parts of wire. The theory behind this was that if ever you needed to leave a berth in a hurry and without a shore gang , as, for example, when the Japanese army was coming down the road at a rate of knots, you could do all the singling up from on board, then use the ends to spring her off the wharf and let go with a big chopper. Mind you there were an awful lot of places where you could not do that. I seem to recall Basilan, in the Phillipines, where the head rope was wrapped around a tree, and more sophisticated places like Phillydilly, where the shore gang consisted of one man in a car. He would take a couple of eyes forward and then drive aft to do the same again. The only places I recall using the insurance wire were those in the UK where we had our own shore gang.
Cheers, John

joebuckham
10th March 2012, 17:23
Eventually not used very much and on one ship at least, one of the light booms was used for an ensign gaff on the main mast, being attached to the aftermost Manchester bolt hole that secured the topmast to the lower mast.

hi alistair, why the aftermost manchester bolt.

Pat Kennedy
10th March 2012, 18:08
I think that you exaggerate just a bit, Pat. The 'standard' tie up was an 'end and a bight' and two bights of rope and an 'end and a bight' and a bight of wire, i.e seven parts of rope and five parts of wire. The theory behind this was that if ever you needed to leave a berth in a hurry and without a shore gang , as, for example, when the Japanese army was coming down the road at a rate of knots, you could do all the singling up from on board, then use the ends to spring her off the wharf and let go with a big chopper. Mind you there were an awful lot of places where you could not do that. I seem to recall Basilan, in the Phillipines, where the head rope was wrapped around a tree, and more sophisticated places like Phillydilly, where the shore gang consisted of one man in a car. He would take a couple of eyes forward and then drive aft to do the same again. The only places I recall using the insurance wire were those in the UK where we had our own shore gang.
Cheers, John

No exaggeration Hank. Ive tied up hundreds of times in Blueys, both as crew and in the shoregang. 3 eyes and bights on the focsle. eye and a bight of wire on well deck from both forard and after lead, and the same aft, plus insurance wires whenever practicable. They would have put more out if they had any more ropes! Never relaxed in my time in the company.
I've never tied up to a tree.

Pat

Alistair Macnab
10th March 2012, 18:37
hi alistair, why the aftermost manchester bolt.
Joe.....
The topmasts and the radar mast exceeded the height clearance required for Bank Boats to go up (and more importantly, to come back down!) the Manchester Ship Canal. They had to be removed at Irlam Locks before entering the Canal. Our funnels were OK as they were never too high so never needed to be cut down with pre-fitted nut and bolt arrangements.
What I was calling as a Manchester bolt hole was the ring of nuts and bolts that secured the topmasts at the mast tables. They went all the way around and the 'aftermost' securing nut and bolt when taken out was the ideal place to secure the gaff ex-light boom.

China hand
10th March 2012, 18:39
The "Beaverbank" Class of Bank Boat built by Harland and Wolff in 1953 -1955 had fixed light booms attached and secured to the two masts. They were hinged at the upper end and upon release from the bottom end, the tackle that was hung from the mast crosstree pulled the booms up and outwards. When in the horizontal position, a further hallyard was used to haul up a cargo cluster which more or less cast light at the ship's rail for the deck and over the side for barges etc. There were a further two stays to secure the boom at right angles to the masts.

This was always the Apprentices' job and heaven help you if the booms port and starboard of the masts were not completely horizontal and at right angles to the fore and aft line!

Eventually not used very much and on one ship at least, one of the light booms was used for an ensign gaff on the main mast, being attached to the aftermost Manchester bolt hole that secured the topmast to the lower mast.

I was never on the '55 Beavers. The compass points had telescopic topmasts and virtually no way to get a decent light on deck.
On Westbank we ran a gantline across the lowermast shrouds and hung a cluster on the working side. A bastard when the electrics blew!

Pat Kennedy
10th March 2012, 19:09
I must say that cargo lights on ships during my time as a crane driver on the docks in the late 60s to late 70s, were absolutel abysmal.
It seems to be much better these days with shiops lit up like Blackpool illuminations.
Pat

stan mayes
10th March 2012, 20:55
During my days in Blue Funnel, minimum mooring procedures in any dock, enclosed or not, called for nine parts of rope from the focsle, and six parts of wire from the Forard well deck, and the same aft. There was usually an insurance wire fore and aft as well.
Tying up took at lest 90 minutes, if all went well.
Pat

Hi Pat,
At Tilbury in 1960s - 70s all ships (except P and O and Orient Line)
had a maximum of three headlines and one spring for'ard and same aft.
We took ships off and on the 'dummy' every day -a 15 minute operation..
With a giant web of ropes to handle as you mention, it would take hours and no way would the dockers allow that when they were on piecework..
Stan

joebuckham
10th March 2012, 20:59
Joe.....
The topmasts and the radar mast exceeded the height clearance required for Bank Boats to go up (and more importantly, to come back down!) the Manchester Ship Canal. They had to be removed at Irlam Locks before entering the Canal. Our funnels were OK as they were never too high so never needed to be cut down with pre-fitted nut and bolt arrangements.
What I was calling as a Manchester bolt hole was the ring of nuts and bolts that secured the topmasts at the mast tables. They went all the way around and the 'aftermost' securing nut and bolt when taken out was the ideal place to secure the gaff ex-light boom.

thanks alister, i sailed mainly with telescopic topmasts was never once asked about them in orals


:):)

red lead
22nd April 2013, 20:17
All Blue funnel ships had these booms on the masts. On this photo of the Diomed in Birkenhead, you can see the cluster hanging from the boom, which is itself out of shot.
Pat

Can any one tell me why are the frames on ships ,always numbered from aft to forward.

joebuckham
22nd April 2013, 21:11
Can any one tell me why are the frames on ships ,always numbered from aft to forward.

no reason given in standard text books, but some yards numbered from for'd to aft

lakercapt
22nd April 2013, 22:48
From my memory of cargo clusters they gave out as much illumination as a TOK H lamp and were forever needing repair or bulbs replaced. Useless pieces of cr*p.

Pat Kennedy
23rd April 2013, 10:37
From my memory of cargo clusters they gave out as much illumination as a TOK H lamp and were forever needing repair or bulbs replaced. Useless pieces of cr*p.

I agree completely with that, they were useless.
When I was driving cranes on Birkenhead docks in the late sixties and seventies, I found out first hand that lighting for cargo work on nights was universally substandard. Many a time I couldnt even see the deckhand signalling, especially if he went into the tween decks to escape the weather. It was often a hit and miss affair.
In contrast, the lighting on modern ships and cranes is brilliant
(Thumb)
Pat

Stephen J. Card
23rd April 2013, 11:15
Can any one tell me why are the frames on ships ,always numbered from aft to forward.

Quite simple.

Everything is measured from the after end of the rudder post so going forward from there the fames are numkbered from aft to fore. I guess the reason being the rudderpost is a true vertical whereas forward the bow could be any shape and no 'standard' place to start. Now what happoens on ships with azipods I have not a clue!

red lead
15th May 2014, 19:49
Thats the insurance wire. Always put out by the shoregang in Birkenhead, who took over the mooring once the headrope was fast, and allowed us to get off home.
Pat

Hi Pat. I must have been on the wrong ships no shore gang ever took over once the head lone was fast . On the ships. I was on they went up the the mess room to see what. Was to eat . Docked in Birkenhead lots of time .Red Lead

NoR
15th May 2014, 19:59
During my days in Blue Funnel, minimum mooring procedures in any dock, enclosed or not, called for nine parts of rope from the focsle, and six parts of wire from the Forard well deck, and the same aft. There was usually an insurance wire fore and aft as well.
Tying up took at lest 90 minutes, if all went well.
Pat


In all the ships I sailed on we just had 3 or 4 headlines (one might be more of a breast rope) and a spring. The Blue Funnel requirements seem a trifle excessive to me. Must have been hellish tending the moorings for tide etc.

NoR
15th May 2014, 20:04
As a cadet the clusters were our responsibility, and a thankless task it was too. They were always getting damaged and the wharfies would dangle them on the cable rather than the lanyard which could cause some excitement.. I reckon poor old lecky spent almost as much time repairing clusters as keeping the winches going.

Pat Kennedy
15th May 2014, 20:56
In all the ships I sailed on we just had 3 or 4 headlines (one might be more of a breast rope) and a spring. The Blue Funnel requirements seem a trifle excessive to me. Must have been hellish tending the moorings for tide etc.

It was a never ending job in some ports. Not so bad during the day when the whole crowd was available, but a right bloody workup for the gangway man when all hands were ashore or turned in.
Not just moorings, you also had to keep the accommodation ladder just clear of the quay.
I cant believe H and S would allow it these days. Can you imagine one man on the focsle at 03.00 heaving in the head ropes wrestling with ropes and stoppers and turning the windlass on, then putting turns on the drum end, heaving in, then surging, turning off the power, applying the stopper, throwing off the turns, making fast, then doing it all again on the other two ropes, then haring aft and doing it all again on the poop! checking out the gangway en route.
Pat(K)

Barrie Youde
15th May 2014, 21:17
#34

Well said, Pat.

You are wholly right, as usual.

BY

NoR
15th May 2014, 22:49
It was a never ending job in some ports. Not so bad during the day when the whole crowd was available, but a right bloody workup for the gangway man when all hands were ashore or turned in.
Not just moorings, you also had to keep the accommodation ladder just clear of the quay.
I cant believe H and S would allow it these days. Can you imagine one man on the focsle at 03.00 heaving in the head ropes wrestling with ropes and stoppers and turning the windlass on, then putting turns on the drum end, heaving in, then surging, turning off the power, applying the stopper, throwing off the turns, making fast, then doing it all again on the other two ropes, then haring aft and doing it all again on the poop! checking out the gangway en route.
Pat(K)

I recall doing all that (although with fewer lines than Blue Flue). They used the put the cadets on gangway watch night watchman because we were cheap. Nearly lost a hand surging a wire spring on the Cape Nelson at General Terminus. You're quite right H & S would never allow it now.

Pat Kennedy
16th May 2014, 08:34
I recall doing all that (although with fewer lines than Blue Flue). They used the put the cadets on gangway watch night watchman because we were cheap. Nearly lost a hand surging a wire spring on the Cape Nelson at General Terminus. You're quite right H & S would never allow it now.


We were just as cheap, you didnt get overtime pay for gangway watch, just the dubious privilege of trying to sleep during the day, when all around you the ship was a hive of activity.
Pat(Thumb)

NoR
16th May 2014, 11:11
We were just as cheap, you didnt get overtime pay for gangway watch, just the dubious privilege of trying to sleep during the day, when all around you the ship was a hive of activity.
Pat(Thumb)


Financially we did ok 12hr days = 4 hrs overtime at 1/9- per hr becoming 2/4-.
One of the 'advantages' of being a cadet vs apprentice, we got paid overtime.
You're right about trying to sleep during the day though.

Pilot mac
16th May 2014, 15:44
One Master I sailed with insisted on a ridiculous amount of ropes fore and aft, even in sheltered waters. For a routine 'tie up' , I would consider an 'eye and a bight' to be bad practice as they are a b'stard to tend.

regards
Dave

Pilot mac
16th May 2014, 15:54
It was a never ending job in some ports. Not so bad during the day when the whole crowd was available, but a right bloody workup for the gangway man when all hands were ashore or turned in.
Not just moorings, you also had to keep the accommodation ladder just clear of the quay.
I cant believe H and S would allow it these days. Can you imagine one man on the focsle at 03.00 heaving in the head ropes wrestling with ropes and stoppers and turning the windlass on, then putting turns on the drum end, heaving in, then surging, turning off the power, applying the stopper, throwing off the turns, making fast, then doing it all again on the other two ropes, then haring aft and doing it all again on the poop! checking out the gangway en route.
Pat(K)


Times have changed a bit Pat,

A lot of ships these days have each line on a winch, so no stoppering off etc, most winches are also self tensioning so no need to tend, (in theory anyway). I Piloted a ship recently that 'let go' from the bridge, ie winches operated from the bridge whilst observing CCTV. I frequently see ships with only one man fore and aft.

regards
Dave

Pat Kennedy
16th May 2014, 18:39
Times have changed a bit Pat,

A lot of ships these days have each line on a winch, so no stoppering off etc, most winches are also self tensioning so no need to tend, (in theory anyway). I Piloted a ship recently that 'let go' from the bridge, ie winches operated from the bridge whilst observing CCTV. I frequently see ships with only one man fore and aft.

regards
Dave

I know, I know! I see ships entering Alfred Lock in Birkenhead, just as big if not bigger than the average 1960s general cargo ship, with only two men on the focsle, and one of these is the Mate.
Even the shore gang has just a couple of guys.
In my time Blue Funnel ships entering Alfred Locks had seven men for'ard and seven aft, that includes three on each of the well decks to handle the wire springs (not including the mates), two men turning out the gangway, and about sixteen rope handlers on the dockside.
The shore gang had a pecking order walking the ropes in with the ship. The newest/youngest member was at the edge of the wall, where the rope was soaking wet and at the other end carrying the heaving line was the longest serving member. Usually six to eight men per rope.
Several shore gang members would board the ship once she was settled in the lock and help with moorings or setting derricks . By the time she was alongside, they would have her virtually ready for the dockers to start loading.
Regards,
Pat(Thumb)

Ron Stringer
16th May 2014, 21:08
I joined the "Regent Pembroke" (a 63,000 dwt tanker) for sea trials at Vickers Armstrong's Walker Naval Yard in 1964. She was fitted with self-tensioning winches.

Farmer John
17th May 2014, 19:44
As I recall, the sign to watch out for when assessing need for slacking moorings was "bar tight". I do remember on one night watch, checking the time with the tightness, and hoping the time or tide would take me to the watch change.

Pat Kennedy
17th May 2014, 20:44
As I recall, the sign to watch out for when assessing need for slacking moorings was "bar tight". I do remember on one night watch, checking the time with the tightness, and hoping the time or tide would take me to the watch change.

I would want to slack off the moorings, especially the wire springs a bit before they reached the bar tight stage, when it would be an unpredictable and dangerous process with massive loading on the wire.
Conversely, when was the right time to start heaving in and restoring a modicum of tightness to the moorings. I used to wait until the ship started ranging back and forth noticeably before starting the process.

I remember they sometimes doubled up on gangway men in North European ports like Bremerhaven and Hamburg where the tidal range was big and could be too much for one man to handle.

I think on certain berths in Bremen you had to have a shore gangway (a brow) rather than use the accommodation ladder, because the main deck was below quay level at dead low water.
Pat(Thumb)

Farmer John
17th May 2014, 22:15
I would want to slack off the moorings, especially the wire springs a bit before they reached the bar tight stage, when it would be an unpredictable and dangerous process with massive loading on the wire.
Conversely, when was the right time to start heaving in and restoring a modicum of tightness to the moorings. I used to wait until the ship started ranging back and forth noticeably before starting the process.

I remember they sometimes doubled up on gangway men in North European ports like Bremerhaven and Hamburg where the tidal range was big and could be too much for one man to handle.

I think on certain berths in Bremen you had to have a shore gangway (a brow) rather than use the accommodation ladder, because the main deck was below quay level at dead low water.
Pat(Thumb)

You are right, I have explained myself badly, I was working on the basis of "not bar tight yet, half hour to go, tide turns soon/ watch change comes soon". I was quite a shy 17 year old. But if you had to do it, you did it.

John Campbell
18th May 2014, 19:55
I joined the "Regent Pembroke" (a 63,000 dwt tanker) for sea trials at Vickers Armstrong's Walker Naval Yard in 1964. She was fitted with self-tensioning winches.

Yes Ron these were thought to be the Bee's knees but the self tensioning devices nearly caused a major disaster when they nearly led to a major disaster at Brunsbuttel when a Texaco vessel "walked" up the berth damaging the loading arms etc.

All these automatic tensioning devices were immediately discontinued as being dangerous to use and winches were from then on put back to "Brake control"

JC