united towing company
My name is David Paterson...I joined United Towing Company in 1967 as theRadio Officer of the tug Serviceman, The captain was Pete Pedersen he told me that during WW2 he and his friend rowed a lifebout across the North Sea to Hull from Denmark , He sailed on Maersk Line and became a tug captain in Hull he was a great chap. I was also on the Tug Yorkshireman doing rig moves and anchor snatching and towing work barges.
I joined the Tug Englishman in August 1967 mainly working in the North Sea on rig moves etc, Then in October1967 we were told that we had a job towing a Brown and Root barge to Bahrain, at the time the Suez canal was closed so it was the long haul via the cape. From Rotterdam .we called in at Dakar Senigal for bunkers etc the next stop was Capetown between Xmas and New year we enjoyed the break too.
We set off for our next port of Mombasa it was slow going due to the Cape Agullas currents and we got into a cyclone off Madigascar...hurricane force winds and mountainous seas, The barge was damaged and we had to make for Lorenzo Marques in Mozambique so the American Bureau surveyors could get it repaired we were there for two weeks we the carried to Mombasa to re-fuel ...we arrived in Bahrain in mid march. We thought we were returning to Hull it was a bit of a shock to find our next job was to tow an old cargo ship called the Cerberus to Shanghai ...we called in to Singapore for bunkers etc ...we arrived at Hong Kong and a tug from Shangai took it off us...we went into dry dock for re painting etc ...on completion the towing master Alf Varley said we were off to Vietnam in the morning to tow an Australian armoured dredger called the Western Eagle to Hue ...After a messdeck discussion we asked for a war zone bonus but Varley would have none of this but a £100 bonus was finally agreed, on the way we were challenged by the shore batteries and as we aproached the coast of Veitnam American gunship helicopters lit us up at night and asked who we were and where bound for and were told to procceed ...the dredger was delivered to the river du Hue and a quick getaway back to Singapore ...our next job was to pull a small shell oil tanker off a sand bank near Pallanbang in Sumatra ....this done we returned to Durban went on station...the next job was to tow an old Greek cargo ship to Rotterdam ...it had lost its rudder and was hell to tow ...we refuelled in Dakar....we arrived back in Hull in late november.
We were met by Captain Braithwaite who paid us off and sacked the crew for holding the company to ransome for the war zone bonus demand,
The ships master was Brian Roper towing master Alf Varley Chief Engineer Ernie Parker I cant remember the other crew names.
United Towing Company was owned by Sir Basil Parks who also owned the Boston Deepsea Fishing Company of Fleetwood his son in law Mr Wilberham was the managing director of U T C
I have a lot of slides from the voyage and othe rig moves etc...can arrange copies - contact me via a PM in the first instance to secure the email address
Last edited by non descript; 5th November 2008 at 08:00..
Reason: removed the email address