I watched the launching of the"Texaco Great Britain " from the south bank of the Tyne opposite the slip - I was on Tyneside for "workshop training" as part of my BP cadetship. The police moved everyone back from the sea wall by quite a long way as they clearly knew what would happen. They allowed a couple of photographers through the cordon - who clearly didn't know what would happen - and proceeded to set up their gear on the sea wall. The brute was sent on its way and came charging across the river towards us. The stern got bigger and bigger and bigger, and eventually , with the sky almost blotted out, the photographers' nerve broke and they grabbed their kit and ran like f**k! Just as well they did, because the wash that followed very shortly afterwards would have made a mess of them and their equipment.
Anyway, it was a most impressive sight, and probably not one that can be witnessed nowadays. Does anyone, anywhere still launch VLCCs from slipways?