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15351966_crystal_jewel_2
Crystal Jewel

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billyboy



Bilge Rat

Registered: July 2005
Location: Philippines
Posts: 36,005
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Tugs Meeching and Tidwrth standing by in seaford bay
· Date: Fri, 8 July 05 · Views: 1,546
· Tags: 1 · Filesize: 21.9kb · Dimensions: 463 x 470 ·
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Keywords: Meeching
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Fri, 8 July 05 08:54

I seem to remember her being in collision in fog in the channel back in the sixties, when we were quite close by. Is that what this is about ?

Dave
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John_F
member

Registered: May 2005
Posts: 7
Fri, 8 July 05 10:51

Dave,
She collided with the British Aviator south of the Royal Sovereign light on 23.11.1961 in thick fog. The Crystal Jewel's Master's daughter lost her life in the incident. She was apparently asleep in the Master's cabin when the collision occurred. The Master broke both his legs when he either jumped or fell on to the maindeck.
I had an e-mail a couple of years ago from Jim Still who was a crew member of the Meeching & it was his brother who had the job of retrieving the daughter's body - not an enviable task.
Both Masters had their tickets suspended for a year as the inquiry found them both at fault for going too fast in fog.
John.
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meechingman

Senior Member

Registered: February 2005
Location: Newhaven, England
Posts: 3,054
Fri, 8 July 05 11:26

Talked with Jim via the forum about this and other Meeching matters just a couple of days ago. I\'m sure he\'ll post a comment. I have posted another Meeching salvage photo - the tanker Nora - in my gallery. My late father Frank Gilbert was one of the skippers of the Meeching from the mid 1960's till he retired in 1979.
Andy G
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Fri, 8 July 05 15:11

Thanks for the info John,

I'm obviously having a senior moment here. I do recall the Crystal Jewel incident but I'm confusing it with something a couple of years later on. I can't remember what. Terry Wogan sent me a TOG polo shirt a few years ago, and I obviously haven't improved any since then, either.

Cheers, Dave
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John_F
member

Registered: May 2005
Posts: 7
Fri, 8 July 05 18:30

Don't worry about it Dave - just open another bottle.....
It is very easy to be critical of ships speeding in the Channel in the early 60s. However, when you had been away from home for 6 months plying the Indian coast & were homeward bound, there had been fog since Biscay, the Old Man had been on the bridge for 48 hours non stop, he had made out the accounts of wages ready for tomorrow & you've only just passed Ushant then you can understand the pressures. The thought of re-doing the Accounts of Wages as soon as you berthed
instead of collapsing in to a bunk must have spurred many a Master on. Sleep deprivation can do funny things to the mind - at times it could feel like you were floating on air & the next minute finding the greatest difficulty in putting one foot in front of the other. Mouth like the bottom of a bird cage. The longest period that I did without sleep was 48 hours non stop on cargo watch, culminating in having to climb down (& up again) a free hanging pilot ladder slung over the stern to read the draft. Whatever figure that I gave the Mate could not possibly have been accurate! Happy days.
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Fri, 8 July 05 19:15

What used to beggar belief were the ships that sent out TTT messages on 500 stating their position course and a speed of 15kts in thick fog, and warning other ships to give them a wide berth because their radar was not working.

I've heard a few of them in my time and a couple of them in the channel.
Cheers,
Dave

P.S. Followed the advice about the bottle.
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Fri, 8 July 05 22:00

posted on the gallery page dave
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billyboy

Bilge Rat

Registered: July 2005
Location: Philippines
Posts: 36,005
Sat, 9 July 05 06:14

well! you chaps are certainly well informed, i am impressed with you all. also very happy to be on board with you. with reference to bobs comments about radar and fog, The Tidworth went out to meet the meeching coming in with the crystal jewel in tow. She had no radar and no radio either. however a local radio ham loaned them a walkie talkie and he in turn went to the signal station and listened to fog horns and guided the tidworth to the meeching. Them old sand boats had no radar either,I can well remember dropping anchor off the needles one night to load. when the fog lifted we could have thrown at the lighthouse. if the tide had been out.... Who knows.

------------------------------
"Imagination is more important than knowledge". A. Einstein.
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meechingman

Senior Member

Registered: February 2005
Location: Newhaven, England
Posts: 3,054
Wed, 27 July 05 11:32

The rest of this photo sequence is at Newhaven Museum. If I can get the OK, I\'ll post them in my gallery.
Andrew

02.08.05 Now posted, along with some other salvages.
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marsat2

Senior Member

Registered: June 2005
Posts: 129
Sun, 4 September 05 11:06

Yes, you got it all just about right. When the Meeching got the call she was laying up near the Marine workshops at Newhaven and had almost completed a bit of a service on her main engines.
My father was mate on the Meeching at the time and I was a Deckhand. Paddy Pringle was skipper at that moment, she virtualy had two crews in fact,and the call came through roughly about 0930 to 1000hrs. My father had nipped home to get something, and Paddy asked me to jump on my Motorbike and go get him with great haste. This I did and broke a few road rules in the bargain.
The Meeching was underway very quickly, I remember looking in the engine room doorway to see the engineer still securing the rocker covers on one of the main engines thats how short a notice we got. We actualy took Dr. Alexander, the port doctor out with us to tend to the Capt of Crystal Jewel. you are correct in your theory of the Capt of the Jewel jumping from the bridge wing onto the main deck and breaking both of his legs. By the time we got out there they had already transfered him to the Tanker as I feel they thought that the Jewel was at risk of sinking. Thus poor old Dr. Alexander had the task of scaling the pilot ladder up the side of the Tanker, which was empty at the time so he had a fair climb.
I could go on for ages ith this story but I think you have enough to on with for now. Cheers...JIM
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wa002f0328
member

Registered: September 2005
Posts: 844
Wed, 21 September 05 13:02

I saw a pic somewhere of a newspaper cutting and the ship had been struck on the starboard side, and on coser looking the ship in the paper had portholes on the bridge, can anyone explain this for me, I was on a collier at the time it happened, the M.V. Greenland, we were in London.
Cheers Bill

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" Together we aspire, Together we achieve"
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barnsey

Senior Member

Registered: April 2007
Location: Westport. South Island. New Zealand
Posts: 2,933
Sat, 24 April 10 18:14

This collision highlighted the "Radar Assisted Collision" and in particular the "Accumulated Turn". British Aviator had sailed from the Isle of Grain after discharge, a good friend of mine was the mate on watch with the Old Man. I was a Nav App 12 miles away on British Vigilance on our way to Hamburg farting around in dense fog with the stupid "Kelvin Sounding" machine because the master, who thought he was Drake personified always had the Nav Apps doing such things the fact that the Mate had been told to supervise us after being on the bridge for 4 hours in dense fog previous escaped him.... enough.

We picked up the Distress call but determined we would not be required ...huge amount of shipping around.

My mate on the "Aviator" reported the target dead ahead and the master of the Aviator altered course, before plotting a few degrees to stbd.to put the target on their port bow. Shortly, the target was dead ahead again and so the master of the Aviator did the same thing .... altered a few degrees to stbd. No reduction in speed ....By now you will have all realised that the Crystal Jewel was not in fact on a parrallel course but crossing ahead of the British Aviator. As the British Aviator did small alterations and neither ship was plotting properly, the Aviator because he didnt get time to obtain the plots needed as the Old man did the small alterations the siuation was not appreciated. At the very last the Crystal Jewel went hard a stbd directly across the bows of the British Aviator and collected her on the port side of the bridge.

From this infamous collision we get the "rules" ...That you must plot before deciding on a course of action. That any alteration of course shall be substantial and at an early stage. That any vessel hearing the fog signal of another, apparantly forward of her beam shall stop her engines and take all way off until risk of collision has passed.

Very sad but memorable incident.

------------------------------
Barnsey Consciousness: Those annoying times before and after Personal Fatigue Management, ZZZZzzzzz
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non descript
user

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 48
Sun, 25 April 10 11:56

Barnsey,
A very well written and wise comment - thank you
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