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Houlders Gas Ships

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  #1  
Old 28th March 2006, 19:14
DerekC DerekC is offline  
 
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Houlders Gas Ships

Hi everyone,

I am trying to build a journal of my days on the gas ships of Houlder Brothers. Found a couple of nice pictures already on this excellent forum, but would like to know if anyone has any more they would like to share. I lost all my own shots years ago and have nothing to show my kids. Maybe, there are some salty dogs out there who knew me and took some piccies. I'd especially like to hear from them. To help focus in, here is a brief list of my trips...

Clerk-Maxwell - 9/73 till 1/74 - Houlder Brothers Capt Pugh(?)

Humboldt - 5/76 till 8/76 - Capt Jacques

Wiltshire - 3/79 till 4/79 - seconded from Bibby Line.

(I moved to Bibby Line and ended up with another year's sea time on the Lincolnshire, sistership to Faraday)

Any piccies at all would be a great help. Hope to chat soon.

regards
DerekC
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  #2  
Old 28th March 2006, 20:30
Santos Santos is offline  
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Gas Ships

Worked on the Faraday when she was new. Very impressive ship. Always felt though, that I was on a time bomb.

Chris.
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  #3  
Old 29th March 2006, 11:32
DerekC DerekC is offline  
 
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You said it Chris,

One trip I had to put out a fire on the forward gas riser after a lightning strike, luckily we were in the Houston ship canal at the time, USCG did not see the joke...! Great times though, hard working, hard playing, real seamanship.

DerekC
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  #4  
Old 29th March 2006, 12:22
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gdynia gdynia is offline   SN Supporter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DerekC
Hi everyone,

I am trying to build a journal of my days on the gas ships of Houlder Brothers. Found a couple of nice pictures already on this excellent forum, but would like to know if anyone has any more they would like to share. I lost all my own shots years ago and have nothing to show my kids. Maybe, there are some salty dogs out there who knew me and took some piccies. I'd especially like to hear from them. To help focus in, here is a brief list of my trips...

Clerk-Maxwell - 9/73 till 1/74 - Houlder Brothers Capt Pugh(?)

Humboldt - 5/76 till 8/76 - Capt Jacques

Wiltshire - 3/79 till 4/79 - seconded from Bibby Line.

(I moved to Bibby Line and ended up with another year's sea time on the Lincolnshire, sistership to Faraday)

Any piccies at all would be a great help. Hope to chat soon.

regards
DerekC
Derek

www.shawsavillships.co.uk/humboldt.htm
www.shawsavillships.co.uk/maxwell.htm

The two Bibby Line vessels can be found on Google by Typing in Bibby Line Shipping Company and brings up numerous websites

Last edited by gdynia; 29th March 2006 at 12:26..
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  #5  
Old 29th March 2006, 17:12
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glenn glenn is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DerekC
You said it Chris,

One trip I had to put out a fire on the forward gas riser after a lightning strike, luckily we were in the Houston ship canal at the time, USCG did not see the joke...! Great times though, hard working, hard playing, real seamanship.

DerekC
I can remember that thought it was going in to Boston tho, or did it happen more than once
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  #6  
Old 29th March 2006, 19:21
DerekC DerekC is offline  
 
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Hi Glenn,

Probably more than once...or was it a different ship...maybe it was just a recurring nightmare. No, I remember, it was when I was on the Clerk-Maxwell, not Faraday. She used to produce a few nightmares...

regards
DerekC
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  #7  
Old 29th March 2006, 22:15
wsumg04 wsumg04 is offline  
 
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You want a nightmare, try the Joule!I joined her in Bremen drydock where she was in for storm repairs.........Her bloody rudder fell off somewhere out of Valpariso,and she was towed across the pond with a full load of gas.Ship was rotten,always broke down,rusted through and full of roaches..........Great times were had by all especially on a trip we did to France.I sailed with the finest crew a lad could sail with......I dont think my liver or kidneys could of handled another trip on the Joule with those guys!I really would like to see a picture of her again,so if anyone has one,would you mind sending it to me or posting it.
Pete.
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  #8  
Old 30th March 2006, 09:40
DerekC DerekC is offline  
 
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Gas tanker nightmares, I think we have found another good subject to chat about...

When I was on Clerk-Maxwell I remember there were some tales about the Joule and I could never understand why the tale teller had a shiver down his spine every time the name came up, Pete's story could explain that a bit! Tough ships, tough crews, they had to be to keep the things going, but a great time as well. Look forward to reading some other experiences.

regards
DerekC
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  #9  
Old 30th March 2006, 19:34
Mick quinn Mick quinn is offline  
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Houlders gas tankers

You may want to see my own puny contribution under Houlder Bros on this website.
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  #10  
Old 30th March 2006, 20:48
non descript non descript is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick quinn
You may want to see my own puny contribution under Houlder Bros on this website.
Not puny at all Mick, and well recounted - thank you for posting.

By the way, which was the more scary, Curacao Hospital of the BOAC Flight ?

Regards
Tonga
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  #11  
Old 30th March 2006, 21:33
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glenn glenn is offline  
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Hi Derek
Was definetly Faraday did 2 trips on her 1st I hated 2nd different crew one of the best trips ive done even tho it was on a firey kipper ( remember funnel )
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  #12  
Old 31st March 2006, 21:40
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Originally Posted by glenn
Hi Derek
Was definetly Faraday did 2 trips on her 1st I hated 2nd different crew one of the best trips ive done even tho it was on a firey kipper ( remember funnel )
Ah, well done Glenn, I had forgotten that name - I always thought the "firey kipper" was a very friendly beastie. I also thought the Gas Ships were probabaly the very best of the fleet.

As for stories... well the Humboldt and the venting of the propane on the final run down to Riga was always a good one.....


Last edited by non descript; 31st March 2006 at 21:50..
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  #13  
Old 1st April 2006, 16:58
DerekC DerekC is offline  
 
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Glenn,

I remember the stories about Faraday flares...but we also had one on the Clerk-Maxwell. We sent an AB up the riser on a bosun's chair to stick a fire hose down the top. The water froze at the bottom and sealed the leak. He was a volunteer of course, but we made him buy the next slab, in case he got to thinking he was a hero or something.

regards

DerekC
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  #14  
Old 1st April 2006, 17:06
DerekC DerekC is offline  
 
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Gas ship tales

COme on everyone...I know there are some great stories from the annuls of Houlders gas ships...Stir the memories and join in.

Look forward to hearing from you.

regards
DerekC
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  #15  
Old 1st April 2006, 17:18
non descript non descript is offline
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What not to do....

The names and dates have been ommited to protect the innocent... on one occasion we changed grades by pulling a vacuum (instead of the tedious business of going via a Nitrogen stage). All very safe and relatively harmless, unless when the shore personnel decide to open the valves to their new cargo, they use the wrong tank and instead of taking vapour from another pressure tank, the good ship Humboldt took an entire tank load from an atmospheric tank. The result was one totally flattened shore tank and a lot of bits of dust and scrap metal sucked down the loading manifold.

Happy days when the entire gas tanker industry was learning new tricks

Tonga

Last edited by non descript; 3rd May 2006 at 23:22..
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  #16  
Old 1st April 2006, 22:05
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glenn glenn is offline  
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My mate who was 3rd mate on the Cavendish told me this.They where in the States discharging when somebody from ashore asked if they had a gas detector handy.My mate sent the cadet off for the Houlders pantented gas detector,he duely came back with a washing up bottle filled with sugee & started squirting it all over manifold.The yank looked on in disbelife and wondered off shaking his head
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  #17  
Old 2nd April 2006, 08:44
non descript non descript is offline
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That sounds spot on, although the Cavendish was relatively normal in terms of gas leaks (as in just a few), not so the Joule, which was quite appalling. You could not enter the compressor room without a full BA set most of the time, so the idea that the USCG was going to inspect her, was a bit too much to bear and called for appropriate action.

Having met the USCG Inspector and discussed how important their job was and how amazingly intelligent they must have to be in order to cope with inspections of modern ships, we set off to inspect the “pump room” – well that what the (temporary) notice on the door read. We entered this space to see rows of gleaming “pumps” and a wonderful clean air with no trace of ammonia – not even a trace reading on the draeger meter ! - The fact that we were standing in the electrica motor room with its positive air lock system might have been part of the reason.

Joule passed her inspection and we were allowed to continue our hazardous voyage un-interrupted. Disgraceful and quite unacceptable, but things were different then.

Tonga

Last edited by non descript; 11th April 2006 at 18:07..
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  #18  
Old 2nd April 2006, 16:43
DerekC DerekC is offline  
 
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Shore professionals...possibly?

Once, in Japan, when we were having quite severe fridging problems, or rather, over pressure problems. We had a team of Japanese engineers down to try and find out the problem. About 20 of them turned up all bristling with slide rules and books of tables and design sheets and they went through our fridge plant with several fine tooth combs. After 24 hours they were madly calculating, specific heats, latent energy losses, saturated vapour pressures and everything. But, as all good gassers know, these ships were never meant to be logical. The next day our new Chief Officer arrived on board and listended to the story. He walked down to the compressor room and picked up a 5lb lump hammer, gave each of the expansion valves a light tap and stood back. Sure as eggs is eggs, we started getting liquid cargo in the sight glasses. The expression on the Japanese experts faces was brilliant. As our new Mate remarked later...there is nothing like a bit of precision engineering to make these ships work!!

Regards
DerekC
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  #19  
Old 13th April 2006, 21:33
Mick quinn Mick quinn is offline  
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Tonga

Without a shadow of a doubt the "Hospital" at Curacao. All of the staff refused to speak English to me, I knew very little Dutch. Imagine being bed-bound and needing a potty!!! A nightmare that I would wish on no-one.
Thank you for your kind words, much appreciated
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  #20  
Old 14th April 2006, 12:44
leo hannan
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Smile Gas Tanker Skipper extraordinaire

Anybody remember Captain Tom Woolcot, I think he just about wrote the book on gas tanker ops. He was also famous for his parties, he would shout down the alleyway "BANZAI" and everyone knew there was a party in the offing. We were joining the Cavendish in Japan(Chita) Jan. 74. Capt. Parkin had given him a cine camera to make a movie of the life of the cadets on board a ship to be shown in schools as a recruitment drive. At one of his parties he got legless and we stripped him naked and dumped him in a locker videoing at the same time. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when the office staff played that
particular movie back. He also knew every dirty sea shanty ever wrote. A great character.
Leo
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  #21  
Old 14th April 2006, 14:04
non descript non descript is offline
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Leo,

You have it in one, Captain Woolcot was almost a pioneer of the Gas Tanker Operations and did indeed write a book on the subject; until you mentioned the word BANZAI, I had forgotten that part of his chartacter. Legend has it that he left one of the gas ships when he was the Captain, just to visit a local watering-hole (and explain the workings of Gas-Tankers no doubt) but was stopped from rejoining his ship because it was on fire as it lay alongside discharging propane.... rather unfortunate to be the Master and yet be made to “Stand behind the tape Sir, until we have it all under control”..

Tonga

Last edited by non descript; 3rd May 2006 at 23:24..
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  #22  
Old 14th April 2006, 14:59
leo hannan
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Smile Capt. Woolcot

Again on the Cavendish Tonga. He refused to take the ship up to Buenos Aires because of something he called squat and the amount of cargo we were carrying. He rang the Supers in London who told told him to take it up. He was really concerned, so I said tongue in cheek to ring John Houlder and bugger me he did. Next thing, we got orders to anchor and the Archimedes came down to lighten us. When we got into BA the office staff were all over us but Capt. Tom stood his ground and saw them off. What a marvelous bloke
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  #23  
Old 14th April 2006, 19:20
non descript non descript is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leo hannan
Again on the Cavendish Tonga. He refused to take the ship up to Buenos Aires because of something he called squat and the amount of cargo we were carrying. He rang the Supers in London who told told him to take it up. He was really concerned, so I said tongue in cheek to ring John Houlder and bugger me he did. Next thing, we got orders to anchor and the Archimedes came down to lighten us. When we got into BA the office staff were all over us but Capt. Tom stood his ground and saw them off. What a marvelous bloke
Leo,
A funny old world and one has mixed emotions when faced with certain scenarios. Without a doubt this desire by “The Office” to direct operations from afar is not a healthy option in my view and Tom was a wise old bird and well entitled to make his own judgment as to what was safe for his ship; that said it is deeply worrying that a Houlders Man would ever hold back from going TO Buenos Aires.... coming AWAY, yes that is of course well worth making a fuss about....
Kind regards
Tonga

Last edited by non descript; 3rd May 2006 at 23:25..
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  #24  
Old 10th May 2006, 18:53
NINJA NINJA is offline  
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Gas ship experiences

Sailing on the Faraday on its first voyage we went if I recall to Texas City, but before we could go back to the states we had to go back to the Tyne and anchor in the river at Tyne Dock and all the welds on the gas lines were stress relieved. Another trip on the Cavendish we had notified that the sister ship Gay Lussac had floated a cargo tank up into its deck when a ballast tank cracked. As for Captain Tommy Woolcott you needed characters on board gas tankers especially on the Mina - Al - A - Madi Japan run.
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  #25  
Old 15th May 2006, 12:57
non descript non descript is offline
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A Cavendish story which has echoes of man’s inhumanity to man, or rather, the torment of the younger generation by the old regardless of the nation...

We were discharging propane in Japan at the refrigerated standard of minus 32 degrees when a very young shore technician arrived in the control room demanding a sample of the cargo and proudly proffered a rubber bladder for it to be collected in. Clearly he had been warned by his mates that British Gas Tanker Crews could be full of fun and had been given strict instructions that he was to insist on liquid, however much the crew tried to fob him off with “vapour”. Far from being unkind, we were friendly and suggested it really should be vapour, and not liquid.

No, I want liquid....

OK, then that’s what you will have.

We plugged his rubber bladder into the liquid line and drew off a 100ml of liquid propane for a shore-side sample and he went off proudly holding his grapefruit sized rubber bladder. By the time he had arrived at the top of the gangway it had grown into a foot-ball and half way down the ladder it was more like a large water-melon. He was last seen rounding the end of the shore terminal with a bladder about the size of baby-elephant, closely followed by the sound of a loud bang...

He was back a bit later with a fresh bladder, asking for a “sample of vapour please”

Happy days...
Tonga
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