BenMacdhui, Benattow, Collision Pics

29th May 2014, 14:23
Here are some photographs of a collision between SS BenMacdhui and SS BenAttow off Port Swettenham (Port Klang) back in 1969. I was there, anyone else around that was there or remember it.......Glenn W





29th May 2014, 16:16
I presume there was an enquiry, do you know what were the findings?
I have an interest in this because I was 3rd Eng on the Benavon early '69, we struck the stern of a bluefunnel vessel when coming along side in Singapore. I was on the controls at the time and I thought "are they going to blame me ?".
There wasn't a word said to me, I think they blamed the Pilot. We were coming in from anchor and were on the diesel generators, with the turbo generator shut down, so I was giving the old throttles a good lash, something we didn't do if the turbo generator was on line for fear of causing a sudden drop in steam pressure and causing the turbo generator to slow down and come off the board.
No one was hurt, but one of the other ships Chinese crew had to jump out of the way.

John Cassels
29th May 2014, 18:23
Yes , also interested to know how this happened .

Tom S
29th May 2014, 18:32
Remember the incident it's the first time I have seen the photographs,very interesting .Thanks for posting them

john fraser
29th May 2014, 18:49
Remember it well Captain G. I was on the Cleuch at the time and met the Macdhui crew in Singapore.Think A. Hamilton and T. Fyffe were the masters. Were they not changing over the pilot or something like that

29th May 2014, 22:59
Hi All,

Remember I was only 18 and a Cadet and really can't recall all the facts, but here is what I know:

The Collision happened at about 0500/0530, at the Pilot grounds in the Northern Channel at Port Swettenham. The visibility was not good
i.e. early morning mist. BenMacdhui was outbound (Homeward bound too) and BenAttow inbound. The Masters were communicating by VHF (Captains, Fyffe and Hamilton). The Pilot was disembarking from us and transferring to BenAttow. It is what we refer to now as a VHF assisted Collision. The vessels were obviously approaching one another intending to pass clear of course. Next thing you know the BenAttow appears out of the fog very close on starboard side of us and crossing starboard to port. (It must have been fine to starboard, crossing and very close)She turned hard to starboard and Capt Fyffe gave the order to turn hard to ???? (Then full astern, I think, once it was clear we were going to collide). The pictures show the resulting position. We remained locked in position until WT Integrity was checked, and after a couple of tries, broke free about 0830. Captain Fyffe did quite calmly warn the crew on the bridge to hold on as we were about to hit the BenAttow! I liked Captain Fyffe, he was a pleasant chap, but boy did he age that voyage. There was quite a few incidents during the voyage. (see an earlier post). As far as I am aware, the investigation/enquiry was kept in house as much as possible as it was two same Company vessels involved. I never heard a definitive result but it was generally banded about that two thirds blame lay with Captain Fyffe. We dry docked at Jurong shipyard (Newly built Super Tanker Dock) Singapore for a month and BenAttow at Kepple Dry Dock for a similar period. I was in bed at the time (being 08-12 Cadet), but woke up to a loud clanging and grinding noise, looked out the porthole to see what looked like a swept lee astern to starboard. Presume, engines full astern and transverse thrust caused swing to starboard, but then again that's just conjecture now. That's all I know Gents. :)

Captain: T Fyffe
Ch.Off: Ian Morrison
1st Mate: Donald ???? (ex Tanker man from Stornoway, his wife was called Morag)
2nd Mate: ????? Malaysian chap
3rd Mate: Andy Begg

3rd Eng: Harry Butler

Other than that... No Idea, can't remember. I can see the faces but not the names :(

30th May 2014, 16:19
It was well discussed at King Teds while I was up for 2nd mates ticket; much humour that it was two ships from the same company. Having served my time with Ben Line I maintained a dignified silence! Thanks for the info and photos Captain G.

1st June 2014, 23:49
3rd Mate was Sandy Begg (not Andy)

30th June 2014, 23:33
Interesting to see! I have the BenMacdhui's Marconi Nautilus VHF set (and much of its radio room, including the Oceanspan VII) that was most likely used during this event.

Great to see pictures of the BenMacdhui that I've not seen before, albeit perhaps a precursor to the scrapping of the vessel.


Duncan McG
3rd July 2014, 03:24
I had done the coast on the Benattow (mate) and also am glad to finally see some pictures.
Just after the collision Bill Atkinson rang me at home with instructions to repair to the North St David St bunker. I thought it was to quiz me on the stows in Nos 4/5 on the Attow, but turned out to be an interview for a cargo supers position, thus the end of my seafaring days.

4th May 2015, 17:32
posted by GDavidson:
Interesting to see! I have the BenMacdhui's Marconi Nautilus VHF set (and much of its radio room, including the Oceanspan VII) that was most likely used during this event.

I wonder if that includes the VHF antenna I made for the Nautilus while at anchor at Port Swettenham in 1967? I was on my first trip as R/O and my boss spent a couple of days trying to find out why we could not be heard by 'Klang Exchange' before somebody noticed the antenna was missing. All that theory still being fresh in my mind I got the job of designing and fabricating a replacement. Whether it was ever replaced I do not know.

7th June 2015, 20:01
I served on both ships in late 50s and early 60s. I ended my time as 2nd Mate on Attow.
Very interesting pics- who carried the can?
Stuart Edmond