Oscilla 1963 - Ships Nostalgia

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Oscilla 1963

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Old 11th December 2008, 23:05
OzBoz's Avatar
OzBoz OzBoz is offline
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1960 - 1966
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 25
Oscilla 1963

Seeing the photo posted by Pat Kennedy, of the Oscilla going down the slipway at Cammell Laird's, brought back a few memories for me.

I joined the ship a couple of months after the launch while she was still in the fitting out basin, and was the biggest, newest ship I'd ever seen. I was a final trip apprecntice at the time. The accommodation was, to me, palatial with a lift and a bar for before dinner drinks. I'd never seen anything like it.

I had a cousin living in Birkenhead, who one night (in April I believe) suggested a night out on the turps, and he had a pop group he wanted me to see. So we went to the Majestic (?) theatre which had had all the seats removed and converted into a dance hall type of place, to see this group. I must admit, on hearing them play, I was impressed. Then about half way through, they announced that their latest recording, "Please, please me" had just hit number one in the charts that day. The rest is history.

Oscilla was a fine ship, but the finish was extremely poor. Things that should have been picked up in the Owners acceptance trials, never were. There was a system, where all keys would only fit doors where a particular person was authorised to be. So, the 3rd Mates cabin door key should fit the wheelhouse, and anywhere else he needed to go. Unfortunately, the theory was fine, but in practice, C-L had different ideas to Shell as to what people had access to where.

Another, was that under the floor covering in the wheelhouse, we noted lumps and ridges which were pieces of rope, washers etc that hadn't even been swept up before laying the linoleum.

She was also my first experience with a Chinese crew. The food was great, and so was the laundry, but oh how they could all be shouting out instructions to each other when trying to make fast the tugs down aft on departure. Everyone pointing and shouting at what needed to be done, but no one actually doing it. After being towed out into the Mersey, I was summoned poste haste to the bridge, after changing into full uniform plus hat, to take the wheel, as the old man (Capt Potter) would not trust the Quatermaster for the river passage.

First loading at Mena was almost a disaster. The Mate, like the rest of us, being full of confidence with what at that time was a big tanker, when asked how fast he'd like to take the load, replied "as fast as you can give it" Mistake. What started as a fair clip, became faster and faster during the night, as unnoticiced by us, ship after ship pulled away from the jetty loaded, and were not being replaced by empty tankers. We were receiving almost the lot. Once it was noticed, we had hells own job to get the loadmaster to slow down, with one tank actually being overloaded by a foot or so before the flow could be diverted to the next empty tank.

Happy days. I was only on her for the six week round trip to Mena and back to Thameshaven, as I had completed my sea time, and wanted to get to college and sit for my 2nd Mate's.

That Eau-de-nil hull colour sure was pretty though.


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Old 23rd December 2008, 08:18
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loylobby loylobby is offline  
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 159
I enjoyed those memories.

Your comments on Chinese crew is so very, very true.
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Old 23rd December 2008, 15:14
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Engineering
Active: 1952 - 1965
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 14,864
Stood by a ship in H&W, what a fiasco, distance pieces in pipework not bored out. Every valve marked inlet or outlet, no clue as to what was inside it. Air preheater burned out even before handover. One thing I learnt about her was never do a maiden voyage fom an engineers point of view.
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Old 23rd December 2008, 20:26
Tynesider Tynesider is offline  
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 144
I think the OSCILLA was sold by Shell to a Safmarine subsidiary and renamed BURLAND
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Old 23rd December 2008, 22:41
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stevecz stevecz is offline  
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Oscilla (2), ex San Delfino (2), Built as San Delfino (2), launched as Oscilla (2)). Transferred from Eaglle Oil before launching, (1963-1969 for Shell Tankers UK). Sold (1969-1975 to Allamanda Ltd. Hamilton Bermuda, renamed Burland). Scrapped 11/09/1975, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
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