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British Beacon at Falmouth

British Beacon at Falmouth

Falmouth Drydock Oct 1966. Just joined from school! Four weeks before we sailed and we lived on board with all the noise and disruption. In 1970 in Singapore , BP would put you up ashore in a hotel, but not in 1966.

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She was my 2nd ship as an apprentice & I joined her in November 1959 when she was brand new. What are those huge pipes at the after end of the main deck leading ashore?
Often thought she would shake herself to bits when in ballast as the vibration was so bad. OK when fully loaded.
BP sold her to Cecil shipping of Liberia in March 73 & she was renamed "Beacon". She was scrapped in Korea in March 76.
Fond memories of her.
 

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Hi John
The large pipes are, I think, forced draft fans supplied by Falmouth Drydocks for shore workers descaling cargo tanks. They could also be venting the pumproom?
Didn't the "Light" class as they were called, give BP continuous grief? I can remember the engineers moaning all the time about them.
 

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All 6 of them gave continual problems. All built in Italy. It has been (unkindly?) said that BP got 6 for the price of 5. All 6 had been disposed of within 15 years with the Signal being disposed of after only 10 years. I think the main problems were electrical which is not surprising, considering the vibrations suffered in ballast.
For their time they were quite stylish vessels with a distinctly rakish bow above the waterline. Accommodation was very light & airy compared with British built tankers of the same era.
The Light was involved in a serious collision off the Tail of the Bank with a Greek cargo ship, Captayannis, in January 74 which resulted in the sinking of the Captayannis. I don't know who was to blame.
The Lantern went aground in the Scheldt & an explosion occurred aboard the barge which was lightening her at the time.
The Comet broke down with boiler trouble in the Indian Ocean & had to be towed by the Gull to Colombo.
I spent 4 weeks in Genoa on the Beacon where she immediately returned after her maiden voyage as so much had gone wrong or didn't work. Had a great time there as we only had daywork to do.
 

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Yes I agree about their nice lines. I have an Ian Allan Ocean Ships book from 1962 which has a really good shot of the Beacon in ballast emphasising that bow. The Italians were/are good at aesthetics (is that the word?) - look at their classic liners and sports cars!
 

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I've posted a photo of the Beacon on this site in Port Said. You'll find her in the Tanker Gallery. Meanwhile, I think I have the photo that you mentioned that appeared in the Ian Allen book. I got this from the Egyptian photographer who took it on her first trip thro' the Canal when she was still pristine. I believe it eventually became the official BP one of her. I will post it on the site.
 

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The large pipes are connected to powerful extraction fans, used for removing the dust etc, created in the process of grit blasting, mainly now a thing of the past, thankfully. The last of these fans were scrapped just a few years ago. This class of ships were frequent visitors to Falmouth for refits.
Best Wishes.
Nigel.
 

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Beacon was my last ship with BP. I joined her in the Thames as 4th engineer in July 1960 and severe vibration returning from the Gulf gave us a few weeks holiday in Genoa. I left her in early 1961, she was a happy ship despite all the problems and I thought the engine room layout was superior to that of my previous ships, Power, Statesman and Sailor.
George Jackson in Melbourne
 

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I joined Br Beacon in Ansaldo's in September 1959 as Radio Officer during fitting out and sea Trails. We returned to Genoa after maiden voyage with boiler problems. I transferred to BP direct employ from Marconi during my time on her and paid off at Tilbury Office in April 1960. She was a beautiful ship, real Italian Style, shame about the defects.
 

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