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  #1  
Old 3rd April 2007, 22:23
JohnMac068 JohnMac068 is offline  
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Houlder Offshore Ltd

Uncle John - Multipurpose Diving Support Vessel.

A dynamically positioned semi-submersible with six columns, the first completely original design and the first vessel to be built to meet the demands of offshore oilfield construction and maintenance. Commissioned in 1977.
Length of pontoons 77.00 metres
Width overall 57.63 "

Accomodation 102 persons, 98 berths in two man cabins, 4 in single cabins.
Generation plant, 5 diesel generator sets generating a total of 7,500 kW at 6000V (UMS)

Propulsion. Two fore and aft VP thrusters each 3,000HP, Six transverse thrusters each 1,000 HP.

Firefighting. 3 Fire pumps giving in total 32,000 US gallons/min or 7,200m3/h in up to Force 12.

Diving System. Saturation complex. Four living chambers rated to 450 metres, each with four bunks, 2,300mm diameter, capable of three working levels. One transfer and shower/toilet chamber. Two 3 man diving bells rated to 350 metres.

Cranage. Two 100/50 tonne Aker cranes. Main hoists rated at 100t at 11m outreach to 160m water depth and 50t at 20m outreach to 360m water depth on single fall. Frd crane one 10t whip hoist to 360m water depth, after crane one 15t hoist.
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  #2  
Old 3rd April 2007, 22:47
non descript non descript is offline
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Uncle John

John,

Nice to see this addition. My knowledge of this unit is extremely limited, but I am aware that such was the confidence of the Board of Directors in John Houlder’s unique ability, that the Board Minute agreeing to the ordering of this semi-submersible merely had this text: “A submission by Mr J Houlder was approved” – as David Burrell writes in his book: “brief and to the point"…

I also gather that the name Uncle John started merely as friendly gossip and a nickname within the yard and eventually went from nickname to real name.

Regards
Mark
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  #3  
Old 6th April 2007, 22:39
vectiscol vectiscol is offline  
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Uncle John

This semi-submersible was built at Nylands Verft at Oslo, and offered a sauna and the best cuisine in the North Sea. I remember when "Uncle John" was still quite new, having to be flown onboard late one filthy winter's afternoon to investigate contamination of diesel fuel by sea water. We found a nasty crack in one of the horizontal braces where it joined one of the legs. The ends of the crack were located by ultrasonics and then drilled to prevent propagation. A doubler plate was formed in the workshop onboard; the local area inside the brace was pre-heated until we could tolerate no more; and then the doubler was welded as quickly as possible.

It was intended only as a temporary repair, but served its purpose to maintain structural integrity and prevent further leakage until "Uncle John" went to dry dock, which was not often. I believe that she had to occupy two docks on the Tyne, one pontoon in each with the deck straddling the quay between - perhaps somebody could confirm this with a photograph.
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  #4  
Old 13th December 2007, 22:18
JohnMac068 JohnMac068 is offline  
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Just a note to tell all former UJ folk that I heard today that Norman McSween had passed on several weeks ago. Part of the UJ crew who went with her to Caldive and hung in there for many years, sadly missed by all his former shipmates.
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  #5  
Old 14th December 2007, 10:14
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Sad News

That's very sad news John. A depleting band of seafarers. We have some good memories though.
All the best for the festive season .
Regards
Leo
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  #6  
Old 30th December 2007, 07:00
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Geoff of Hull Geoff of Hull is offline  
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Norman McSween

What a shock to hear Norman had crossed the bar..Norman had been a friend of mine since the UJ s last trips with Stena and we have kept in touch all the time ,But when I got home last trip I phoned him as usual,and his phone would not accept incoming calls!So I was very worried and I was not able to chase it up as I was on a quick change over of trips..
We went back as far as the Pacific Northwest in 65 but did not realise we had been on the same trip till together until a few years ago..
What a man and I am proud to say I was a mate..
On the lighter note please find a photo promised to a few people of the UJ reunion.....Geoff
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  #7  
Old 8th January 2008, 11:58
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Originally Posted by Geoff of Hull View Post
What a shock to hear Norman had crossed the bar..Norman had been a friend of mine since the UJ s last trips with Stena and we have kept in touch all the time ,But when I got home last trip I phoned him as usual,and his phone would not accept incoming calls!So I was very worried and I was not able to chase it up as I was on a quick change over of trips..
We went back as far as the Pacific Northwest in 65 but did not realise we had been on the same trip till together until a few years ago..
What a man and I am proud to say I was a mate..
On the lighter note please find a photo promised to a few people of the UJ reunion.....Geoff
Hi Geoff.
Like you I knew Norman as a lovely bloke. Sad to hear of his passing.
Thanks for the photo of the reunion, all I have to do is figure out who's who now.
Regards
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  #8  
Old 9th January 2008, 09:21
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Geoff of Hull Geoff of Hull is offline  
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Some answers to their names!!

Hello Marinero...Well will try and sort out some names and locations on the photo...(to the best of my knowledge)
Back row..white shirt..Simon McAdam...to the right Sam Angey..back row 2nd from end grey hair an ex captain of the UJ..?
On the left in orange shirt Capt Jim Gilchrist
Middle row in the centre red shirt purple tie Capt Ian Scott (ret),2 to the right blue shirt white jacket Capt Mike Bolan,far right black hair grey jacket 3rd eng Colin Maynard..to the left of Capt Scott black & white chequered tie Mike Gibbs IT...
2nd row from front white jacket glasses Capt McAdam to the right of him is my wife and me!
Right at the front with a pint is Ben the organiser and ex engineer from Fife.....That's the best I can do but believe the guy with a white shirt grey hair 2nd row from the back to the right is an ex Crane op
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  #9  
Old 9th January 2008, 17:30
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Originally Posted by Geoff of Hull View Post
Hello Marinero...Well will try and sort out some names and locations on the photo...(to the best of my knowledge)
Back row..white shirt..Simon McAdam...to the right Sam Angey..back row 2nd from end grey hair an ex captain of the UJ..?
On the left in orange shirt Capt Jim Gilchrist
Middle row in the centre red shirt purple tie Capt Ian Scott (ret),2 to the right blue shirt white jacket Capt Mike Bolan,far right black hair grey jacket 3rd eng Colin Maynard..to the left of Capt Scott black & white chequered tie Mike Gibbs IT...
2nd row from front white jacket glasses Capt McAdam to the right of him is my wife and me!
Right at the front with a pint is Ben the organiser and ex engineer from Fife.....That's the best I can do but believe the guy with a white shirt grey hair 2nd row from the back to the right is an ex Crane op
Thanks for that Geoff.
Now that you have mentioned names I can put a few faces to them. Sam the Turk and I sailed together on the Furness Bridge in the 70's. The Crane Op with the white hair is Phil(Scouse) ?? last saw him on Shelf Explorer. Dereck McKay is there, he's still an ugly buggar. Where is Jim Gilchrist(Yardog) now? It would be brilliant to meet up with these guys again.
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  #10  
Old 9th January 2008, 18:14
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Originally Posted by vectiscol View Post
I believe that she had to occupy two docks on the Tyne, one pontoon in each with the deck straddling the quay between - perhaps somebody could confirm this with a photograph.
There was a Semi-sub docked at Smiths Dock North Shields in this way and it may well have been the UJ.
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  #11  
Old 10th January 2008, 09:28
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Reunion

Hello Marinero ...Jim Gilchrist is still with Technip which is about 4 times down the line from Houlder Offshore now...He is master on the last of the Houlder boats "Orelia"The new one of course or should I say latest as she must be 25+ now, remember, the DSV designed and thought of by John Houlder on a scrap piece of paper in a pub in his dinner hour the story goes,the original scrap piece of paper is still on the bridge of the Orelia unless it was washed away when she was in trouble last year when the seas smashed her bridge windows in and disabled her got her on the national news at the time...
I served in the 1st Orelia and did 7 years on the DSV along with Capt Ian Scott who served on them both too..I believe Danny Harrington did also serve on them both..
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  #12  
Old 11th January 2008, 11:49
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I was on the 'Uncle John' in the Gulf of Mexico. Norman was there then, a really nice guy very sad to hear he passed away. The UJ was owned by Caldive although most of the marine crew (if not all) where working for agencies, I was employed by C-Mar of Aberdeen and a lot of the Canadian crew on board were through C-Mar Canada. She was a tough old rig which certainly got the job done and I enjoyed my time on her.
Ray Jordan
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  #13  
Old 13th January 2008, 12:17
ALAN TYLER ALAN TYLER is offline  
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Smile Alan Tyler

Quote:
Originally Posted by marinero View Post
Thanks for that Geoff.
Now that you have mentioned names I can put a few faces to them. Sam the Turk and I sailed together on the Furness Bridge in the 70's. The Crane Op with the white hair is Phil(Scouse) ?? last saw him on Shelf Explorer. Dereck McKay is there, he's still an ugly buggar. Where is Jim Gilchrist(Yardog) now? It would be brilliant to meet up with these guys again.
Regards
Leo, just spotted Dereck McKay on the reunion photo. Any idea of his whereabouts? or Mervyn Underwood. Regards Alan T.
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  #14  
Old 13th January 2008, 16:09
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Originally Posted by ALAN TYLER View Post
Leo, just spotted Dereck McKay on the reunion photo. Any idea of his whereabouts? or Mervyn Underwood. Regards Alan T.
Hi Alan.
Mervyn went back to New Zealand, and from all accounts became a bit of a recluse. When it was realised that he had not been claiming his pension someone from Aberdeen notified the authorities out there and they went to his home and found him dead. (At least that's what I was told) Sad way to go for someone who was so active in life. Dereck McKay, the last I heard of him, he was in quite a high position with a crewing agency in Aberdeen. You have heard I take it, that Bill Connolly had also died. From all accounts he suffered a heart attack whilst being driven to hospital for the results of a previous checkup. All of this is gleaned from the grapevine so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of it. If anyone knows otherwise please post it.
Regards
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  #15  
Old 13th January 2008, 23:47
MARINEJOCKY MARINEJOCKY is offline  
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I was on the Uncle John when she came up the Tyne for the first time. She was their to have additional ballast tanks installed on the outside of each leg as it was found during the sea trials that these were required. We had to continue with the commisionig work as it was brand new. I knew I was only there for a short time so would stuff myself with all of the food available while the rest of the crew looked on.

I was only there a short time and was being shuffled around the offshore division to see if I wanted to transfer from the ships but after looking at the Oregis aground on the Black Midden rocks at the mouth of the Tyne and joining the Kingsnorth by a supply boat out of Aberdeen I decided my life would be spent well away from the North Sea.
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  #16  
Old 10th February 2008, 18:48
Chedds Chedds is offline  
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Hi Alan,

Dave Cheeseman here, just to let you know that Mervin Underwood passed away approx 3 years ago in Tasmania.
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  #17  
Old 23rd February 2008, 11:42
ALAN TYLER ALAN TYLER is offline  
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Hi Alan,

Dave Cheeseman here, just to let you know that Mervin Underwood passed away approx 3 years ago in Tasmania.
Dave, Thanks for the info on Mervyn,sad though it may be. Hope life is treating you kindly, what are you up to these days?
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  #18  
Old 11th March 2008, 21:44
norsea norsea is offline  
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Saddened to learn of the passing of Harry Farrer and John Rogers. I had the pleasure of serving with both shipmates in Coupler 1/Oregis over the 1970`s.
Also served at that time with Mike Waterton, John MacAdam,Jim Ghilchrist and the late Magnus Tulloch. One member of the Office Staff who deserves a mention is the late Don Gilbertson who was transferred from Liverpool office to Aberdeen and who proved invaluable in overseeing storing and Personnel changes whether landing at Dyce or by supply boat at an East coast port.
Some of the crew changes were indeed very enjoyable.One in particular was by helicopter transfer to a Stena Line ferry which then spent the day cruising round various installations changing personnel before an overnight passage to Aberdeen(Sheer luxury!!!)
On another occasion we transferred to Stavanger by Norwegian helicopter (obligatory survival suits).Overnight in a school hall of residence(College vacation time). From there to Sumburgh by chartered Dakota with one aircrew,the pilot, and Duty Free, not to be consumed on board,in an honesty box at the rear of the aircraft. Choice of overnight in a hotel on Shetland or flight to Aberdeen. by Piper aircraft for those with the farthest to travel.
Regards to all former Houlder Offshore staff, Angus Davidson.

Last edited by non descript; 11th March 2008 at 23:02.. Reason: corrected the spelling of Aberdeen at Angus' request
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  #19  
Old 11th March 2008, 23:04
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Angus, thanks for the update.

Mark
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  #20  
Old 12th March 2008, 14:39
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Originally Posted by norsea View Post
Saddened to learn of the passing of Harry Farrer and John Rogers. I had the pleasure of serving with both shipmates in Coupler 1/Oregis over the 1970`s.
Also served at that time with Mike Waterton, John MacAdam,Jim Ghilchrist and the late Magnus Tulloch. One member of the Office Staff who deserves a mention is the late Don Gilbertson who was transferred from Liverpool office to Aberdeen and who proved invaluable in overseeing storing and Personnel changes whether landing at Dyce or by supply boat at an East coast port.
Some of the crew changes were indeed very enjoyable.One in particular was by helicopter transfer to a Stena Line ferry which then spent the day cruising round various installations changing personnel before an overnight passage to Aberdeen(Sheer luxury!!!)
On another occasion we transferred to Stavanger by Norwegian helicopter (obligatory survival suits).Overnight in a school hall of residence(College vacation time). From there to Sumburgh by chartered Dakota with one aircrew,the pilot, and Duty Free, not to be consumed on board,in an honesty box at the rear of the aircraft. Choice of overnight in a hotel on Shetland or flight to Aberdeen. by Piper aircraft for those with the farthest to travel.
Regards to all former Houlder Offshore staff, Angus Davidson.
Hi Angus.
I was there with you on "Oregis" for quite a while. Don Gilbertson was one of the "Characters" from Houlder Offshore and indeed he was one of the mainstays of the Liverpool Office, in fact, who he did not know in that port was not worth knowing. He was invaluable to the smooth operation of the Company there.
Regards
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  #21  
Old 12th March 2008, 23:44
JohnMac068 JohnMac068 is offline  
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Just heard this evening that the next UJ reunion will be on the 13th/14th June at the usual venue (Airport Hotel, Newcastle if they still call it that !!!) Expecting final details by mail soon.
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Old 13th March 2008, 13:35
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Just heard this evening that the next UJ reunion will be on the 13th/14th June at the usual venue (Airport Hotel, Newcastle if they still call it that !!!) Expecting final details by mail soon.
Thanks for that John. Will await details before booking flights.
Regards
Leo
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  #23  
Old 16th March 2008, 17:23
ALAN TYLER ALAN TYLER is offline  
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Hi Alan.
Mervyn went back to New Zealand, and from all accounts became a bit of a recluse. When it was realised that he had not been claiming his pension someone from Aberdeen notified the authorities out there and they went to his home and found him dead. (At least that's what I was told) Sad way to go for someone who was so active in life. Dereck McKay, the last I heard of him, he was in quite a high position with a crewing agency in Aberdeen. You have heard I take it, that Bill Connolly had also died. From all accounts he suffered a heart attack whilst being driven to hospital for the results of a previous checkup. All of this is gleaned from the grapevine so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of it. If anyone knows otherwise please post it.
Regards
LE0, Thanks for the e mail thought this photo might bring back some memories, good ones i hope Alan T.
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  #24  
Old 16th March 2008, 20:08
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LE0, Thanks for the e mail thought this photo might bring back some memories, good ones i hope Alan T.
Well done Alan.
Two for the price of one. I'm building up quite a nice collection of Houlder Vessels. Regarding the message about Mervyn I think I should have said Tasmania instead of New Zealand as per Chedder's post.
Regards
Leo
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  #25  
Old 16th March 2008, 23:14
JohnMac068 JohnMac068 is offline  
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Well done Alan.
Two for the price of one. I'm building up quite a nice collection of Houlder Vessels. Regarding the message about Mervyn I think I should have said Tasmania instead of New Zealand as per Chedder's post.
Regards
Leo
As far as I know, Mervyn went back to Tassie, but, either could'nt settle there or wanted pastures new, so he went to West Australia, he died in a small community, inland from Perth, not far from the town of Midland. When I check back, I'll try to let you know the place. Anne Lowe was an executor for his will and eventually found out all the details.
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