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Old 10th July 2007, 08:36
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John Campbell John Campbell is offline  
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Originally Posted by fred henderson View Post
I worked at Swan Hunter when she was built. A few things come to mind: -

The final sections of the bow had to be secured in place during a weekend because they were over the design office, which needed to be evacuated during the process.

She could only be launched on one day in March, to co-incide with the Spring tide. The unions naturally thought that this was going to be a bonanza for them, but they were completely outflanked by Tom McIver, the great Swan Hunter MD at the time. The local schools were invited to the yard for the launch and free beer in the Wallsend Boilermakers Club for the night after the launch.

It was the first launch performed by the Princess Royal and she was as excited as anyone.

A certain amount of the south bank of the Tyne had to be excavated to clear the launch path. Tom McIver was not entirely convinced about the calculation and he made the Director responsible stand on the the bank during the launch. The calculation was correct, but the stern wave surged over the bank and produced a very wet Director.

It was a very dank March day and all the launch photographs were rather poor quality.

Although a large number of people came to see the launch, far more turned out to see her depart for Lisbon for dry-docking. Well over 250,000 blocked all roads leading to the river.

She was built during a period of raging inflation and Swan Hunter lost about 20% of the sale price building her. We tried to obtain a contract revision, but got nowhere, but Esso took out their own insurance to cover 40% of the price of the ship in case she was lost before hand-over.

I surmise that you were with Swan's when a "sister" vessel the "The Texaco Great Britain" was built. A real beast of a vessel to operate and only did so because we had officers and men who devoted hours of blood ,tears and sweat to get to grips with the bad workmanship and poor design of that vessel.
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