Safmarine - historian

Blade Fisher
15th October 2013, 00:48
Is there anyone who fulfills the role of ship historian for Safmarine?

I came across a Brian Inkpen once who has written some books on the SA shipping scene, but don't know if he undertakes this role as a hobby.

Neil Purdon
19th October 2013, 21:04
Hello Richard

Not that I know of. The Brian Ingpen that you mentioned is a member of this site and certainly writes on shipping in general and the Union-Castle / Safmarine mailships in particular. He is Head of the Lawhill Maritime Centre in Simon's Town - see their website www.lawhillmaritimecentre.co.za for contact details.

I was sorry to read in your profile that you lost your Father in the explosion on the Safmarine tanker Thorland in 1970. I remember the incident well and attach a newspaper clipping from the time which gives details of some of the survivors.

You may also be interested to know that some of the Safmarine old boys are getting together in Cape Town next week or so, so if you have any specific questions, I can put you in touch with some of those attending.

Regards


Neil

Blade Fisher
20th October 2013, 01:58
Hello Richard

Not that I know of. The Brian Ingpen that you mentioned is a member of this site and certainly writes on shipping in general and the Union-Castle / Safmarine mailships in particular. He is Head of the Lawhill Maritime Centre in Simon's Town - see their website www.lawhillmaritimecentre.co.za for contact details.

I was sorry to read in your profile that you lost your Father in the explosion on the Safmarine tanker Thorland in 1970. I remember the incident well and attach a newspaper clipping from the time which gives details of some of the survivors.

You may also be interested to know that some of the Safmarine old boys are getting together in Cape Town next week or so, so if you have any specific questions, I can put you in touch with some of those attending.

Regards


Neil

Neil this is great.

I wrote by e-mail to Alistair Norris but never got a reply. I do appreciate that he was pretty traumatised by the blast as he missed it by seconds by all accounts, however I think he is the only one with any photos, which I wouldn't mind getting copies of. Obviously the whole thing still haunts me too, but I want a knd of closure too and would love to get the full story on it all.

With time ticking on and me 55 now, I was on the Thorland when I was 12 from July 69 to December 69. I did meet Alistair. He and Ronnie Sinclair, who died, joined I think in Durban when we had a bit of a crew change, I'll guess around early October first trip back down from Kharg.

I have some old paper cuttings from Scope and a couple of surveyors went to Porto Amelia where the stern was beached. The whole thing was a **** mess. The reason the accident happened, the way it transpired, nobody would take the ship, couldn't fully search for bodies, the blame game (largely against Peter Lucas a lovely man who was put in an impossible situation). It took five years to get compo out of Safmarine.

I have the affidavit from Capt Alexander so know technically what happened. 8 were killed in the blast and as they abandoned ship they lost the bursar I think, he slipped and was drowned. The crew were what we now would call Bangladeshi but then East Pakistan.

Richard Meadeley 2/O was on the bridge. A considerable amount of the main deck came up and over the midships accommodation and Richard was crushed. Pete Lucas the Mate was I think by the tank that exploded or possibly on the flying bridge and I think nearby was Ronnie Sinclair. Gordon Carr C/E my dad was by the winch which I thnk may have been on the port side behind the midships accommodation. That was the score at 9.30 local time when she blew up. There was never any mention of what happened to Gordon just a presumption that he had been blown over the side, probably with some of the others.

I have never seen any Safmarine or Panamanian reports only the affidavit.

They abandoned ship and about 2 hours later were rescued by the Norwegian obo Bjorne Ragne. The tug Bremen came to assist and a party of volunteers went back aboard the Thorland, found the four bodies of Richard, Ronald and two of the crew and buried them at sea. Apart from the Butler the others could not be accounted for.

The Thorland was taken in tow and wondered aimlessly up and down the East African coast but no one would help. Eventually in the Mozambique channel the majority of the ship broke away and sank leaving ironically just the aft accommodation. This was beached in Mocambo Bay and a year or so later was towed to Japan to be rebuilt as the tanker Achillet.

I would like, whilst I am able, if at all humanly possible to sort this out once and for all. My mum who is 80 now never tires of talking about it and although she re-married never got over it, nor did I. You just learn to live with it. It is one of the reasons I read posts from guys on here long retired from BP, one of Gordon's former companies, just to 'keep him alive'. It is like he is away. It's just that this trip has been going on for 43 years - and there is no leave at the end of it. You see there is no body to bury, to say good bye to.

I have a very unique record of letters written between us all during the 1960's so I can read back on some of the things that happened even though then I didn't understand. Some of mine aged 7 are quite comical !

So any help gratefully received.

I had the time of my life. Great fun. I loved raising the oranje-blanje-bleu when coming into Durban and remains my favourite flag. I spent many hours on the bridge and in 1969 the Thorland was a happy ship.

Regards

Richard Carr

Neil Purdon
3rd November 2013, 21:18
Hello Richard

I'm sure this is not the correct location on the forum, in which case please would a moderator move this to the appropriate one.

You may already have them, but I attach some photos I've dug up from local (Durban) newspaper clippings. I've also found all the associated articles. I'm afraid the focus is on the Natal casualties without much information of the British officers on board. (The newspaper is the Natal Mercury to give them due credit)

I'd be happy to send or email these to you or post in the appropriate forum.


Neil

Duncan112
4th November 2013, 14:04
Is there anyone who fulfills the role of ship historian for Safmarine?

I came across a Brian Inkpen once who has written some books on the SA shipping scene, but don't know if he undertakes this role as a hobby.

Brian Ingpen wrote the official history of Safmarine for the 50th anniversary, the introduction contains several names that may assist you in your search - there is very little about Thorland in the book - just a photo of her on fire and the description of the tragedy.

Old Se Dog
11th October 2018, 23:49
Is there anyone who fulfills the role of ship historian for Safmarine?

I came across a Brian Inkpen once who has written some books on the SA shipping scene, but don't know if he undertakes this role as a hobby.

this book is still available on internet sites and the author - cr mckenzie - is very well informed on the subject - he lives in the uk or germany - not quite sure - but i am in correspondence with him via email