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RFA ENNERDALE

RFA ENNERDALE

South of Mahe, Seychelles, 2 Dec 1968.
Built 1963 as NAESS SCOTSMAN
1968: RFA ENNERDALE
1970: June 1st aground off Seychelles, capsized and abandoned. Crew saved. Wreck later dispersed.

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The smallest and best one of the three, definitely not "good jobs" though.
 

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I don't think these three tankers were regarded as particularly good jobs. Chartered as mobile reserves for service east of Suez they must have spent a great deal of time at sea going nowhere and with not a lot to interest or challenge the crews. I presume they were fitted to receive abeam rigs and would have had an astern rig but I can't recall seeing any photos of activity. One of the great shames about the loss of this ship was that she had just received the Wilkinson Sword of Peace - all very sad.
 

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I did abt 5 months on the Dewdale, my last RFA in 1974. A happy ship (I dont think, but that was me, I didnt get on with the Master). I seem to remember doing a transfer with another ship, (a Tide, I think) somewhere off the bulge of Africa, using her beam rig. we were fitted for stern refuelling. As for boredom, it was the same for most tankers then rounding the Cape of Good Hope (due to Suez being closed). We freighted between Invergordon and Sitra, stopping off once in the Seyschelles. We had one piece of excitement when looking over the bow one morning it was noted that the schackle pin on the Stb anchor was working its way out, so we stopped just outside the gulf to resecure it.
 

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Lucky me. I signed on as Lecky in August 1969 at the end of a hectic refit in Birkenhead. I paid off in Mombasa on the 4th of May 1970 just before she sailed to the Seychelles. There was thankfully no loss of life when she sank but there is no saying what my fate could have been had I been on her at the grounding. Much of the refuelling was carried out either at anchor or drifting with the recipient ship or the freighting tanker filling us up tied alongside with large inflatable fenders between the ships. I remember the bang when a rectangular eye plate welded under the back end of a frigate came down on top of a fender in a big swell. There was boredom, especially on the Beira patrol to the extent that we anchored a radar reflector mounted on a 45-gallon drum to pick up the location of an anchorage where we had found good fishing! The Seychelle crew appreciated a good supplement to their rations.
 

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