Kwinana Incident - Ships Nostalgia
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Kwinana Incident

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  #1  
Old 22nd June 2006, 02:51
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ChiefCharles ChiefCharles is offline  
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Kwinana Incident

Kwinana Incident
This dramatic incident occurred in the last half of 69 or early 70. I remember the ship as the “British Dragoon” but I cannot be certain. After reading this story I’m hoping someone will definitely remember which ship it was. I know with absolute certainty that the Chief Engineer was George Johnson but that’s the only person I know was there.

The ship had arrived at Kwinana, a BP Refinery in Western Australia with a full cargo of crude oil from the Gulf. During the passage from the Gulf there was a problem with one of the ships bottom sea valves (8 inch) leaking preventing shut down of (unknown equipment) for repair. The Chief had arranged with the BP resident Engineer Superintendent to supply a dive team to blank off the aperture so that the valve could be removed and replaced with a spare. Head Office in London was aware of the impending repair and assumed it would be completed after the full cargo was discharged and ship at a light draft.

The actual sequence of events was as follows.
Ship berthed and commenced cargo discharge.
Dive Team met with Chief Engineer and Engineer Superintendent to discuss the repair. Chief Engineer and Super then went ashore to places unknown by me. I do not know what repair scenario was decided upon.
Diver(s) immediately entered water, located valve and placed a wooden circular blank over the aperture, held in position by the water pressure. Thickness of wooden blank is unknown.
It is believed that the pipe between valve and equipment was then removed.
The valve securing nuts were then loosened and efforts commenced to separate valve flange from the hull. As the flange was separated the wooden blank split in half (believed caused by hydraulic shock) and an 8 inch gusher under intense pressure (due to the ships deep draft ) erupted into the engine room.
All attempts by ship staff to plug the opening were unsuccessful.

As the ship was almost fully loaded the water rose to the level of the main boilers steam drums, a water depth of approximately 50 feet.

It is fortunate that as the ship sunk alongside the berth she sat on the bottom before the after end was submerged.
Obviously all electrical equipment was severely damaged and other equipment, turbines etc. required full dismantling.
The ship was in Kwinana for several weeks undergoing repairs.

I would be delighted to hear from any member of SN who can shed more light on this incident, especially the ships name with certainty. I have to assume it was a complete miscommunication between all parties that this repair was attempted in a deep drafted condition and why a tapered steel or wooden plug was not used instead of the circular wooden blank.

Roger
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  #2  
Old 22nd June 2006, 08:40
John_F John_F is offline
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Roger,
There is a photo of her in the gallery at anchor off Kwinana following the incident. The poster seems to know a bit about the incident & sounds as though he was on board when it happened.
https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/galler...cat/503/page/1
Kind regards,
John.
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  #3  
Old 22nd June 2006, 09:36
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rknibbs rknibbs is offline  
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I was indeed on board and it was the British Dragoon. It was my first trip, I was the 2nd R/O and I joined the Dragoon in the Isle of Grain on the 12th June 1969. We loaded at Das Island for discharge in Kwinana.
I cannot tell you much about the technical details of what happened and why as I as a lowly sparks was a not a party to those discussions. We remained at Kwinana for around 6-7 weeks whilst they pumped the water out and cleaned everything out. It was interesting to note that the local press reported that the Dragoon sank whilst Lloyds reported her as aground.
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  #4  
Old 22nd June 2006, 20:29
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John
Thanks for info. Being new to site had not visited the photo gallery before. I happened to be in Head Office when this incident ocurred. I was there for 12 months after leaving the British Venture in 69 as Second Engineer. I actually initially answered the phone call from C/Eng Johnson before handing the phone to David Gibbons(Fleet A Super). Gibbons had to shout as it was a bad connection and he could be heard all around the 10th. floor. He was mad!! Being the good BP in those days they found the Chief another C/Engineers job with another UK tanker company.
Best regards - Roger
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  #5  
Old 22nd June 2006, 20:37
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Thanks for reply. Glad to know my brain cells are not completely dead yet and I did get the ships name correct. John_F directed me to your photos of the Dragoon in Kwinana. Hope you enjoyed the extended stay there, more so than the Engineers.
Roger
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  #6  
Old 23rd June 2006, 09:19
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British Dragoon at Kwinana

The deck and radio staff had around six weeks on extra pay, a survivors bonus I think they called it. We were put up in a motel in Rockingham for most of the stay. As I remember the C/E and Capt were both sent home. We left Kwinana and sailed for the Gulf and then to Antwerp where the Dragoon caught fire and we were all sent home the next day. That was my first trip!!
Robert
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  #7  
Old 23rd June 2006, 15:57
John_F John_F is offline
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British Dragoon

Robert,
Is your middle name Jonas???? It must have put you off the sea for the rest of your life!
Kind regards,
John.
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  #8  
Old 24th June 2006, 09:36
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Dragoon at Kwinana

That was said many times. It being my first trip I was not aware of the benchmarks and if this was a normal trip I was just glad I had not joined a less reputable shipping company. In the end I didn't stay at sea long but that was more to do with career opportunities than concerns of safety at sea.

I don't know how true it was but it was said that the two divers died in the incident.

On a lighter note, it was also said that the first harbour authority presence during the incident was the harbour master with a fine for polluting the harbour. At the time of the sinking I was returning from ashore and as I climbed the gangway I saw the main deck strewn with vegetables. They had used the sacking to try and plug certain areas.

Robert
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  #9  
Old 10th September 2006, 19:16
Blade Fisher Blade Fisher is offline  
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British Dragoon

Yes my late father wasn't amused either as he was C/Eng prior to this happening. He left BP in spring 69 with the Dragoon being his last ship. We heard about it at Kharg in the late summer.
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  #10  
Old 1st May 2007, 16:35
johnb8219 johnb8219 is offline  
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Were the Super and Chief ashore playing golf???
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  #11  
Old 3rd May 2007, 10:58
david freeman david freeman is offline  
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if you contact maritime museum greenwich and obtain copies of articles and log extra (Deck log Only) you may enjoy reading and reminising. It will cost you? quite a few bob? but if you are delving it may make interesting reseach or just a damp squid- I have no idea. But i wish you well.
Tanker
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  #12  
Old 16th May 2007, 19:07
Gordon L Smeaton Gordon L Smeaton is offline  
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Took the Dragoon to scrap at Gadani Beach to the west of Karachi, a strange sensation being paid to drive a ship ashore. She still had the tide mark in the engineroom where the flood water rose to, no amount of paint would cover it up.
Regards
Gordon
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  #13  
Old 16th May 2007, 22:05
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Gordon,
I would be very interested to know just how vessels of deep draft are 'beached' at Alang.
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  #14  
Old 18th May 2007, 12:51
Gordon L Smeaton Gordon L Smeaton is offline  
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Paul
Regarding beaching, the procedure at Gadani beach was trim the ship to the angle of the shoreline at high tide, deballast as far as possible and keeping as much of the propellor in the water. Then head for the beach at maximum speed the object being to drive her as far up as she can go. The sensation was not what I was expecting, no sudden lurch. Disembark by lifeboat and then leave her to her fate.

Regards

Gordon
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  #15  
Old 18th May 2007, 16:49
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BlythSpirit BlythSpirit is offline  
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Try this link to see what the poor guys have to do when it arrives on the beach:
ship breakers
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Regards,
BlythSpirit

" For those in peril of the sea ......."
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  #16  
Old 22nd October 2008, 16:40
trucker trucker is offline
 
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Question british admiral

can anyone shed some light on the british admiral[i think it was the admiral].they had suspended tank cleaning operations because of bad weather,dueto electrical storms.but the ship was hit by lighting and opened up the deck like a sardine tin.this took place in the far east.i was e.d.h on the british security at the time ,in singapore. this would be about early seventies

Last edited by trucker; 22nd October 2008 at 16:42.. Reason: dates
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  #17  
Old 22nd October 2008, 19:53
John_F John_F is offline
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Trucker,
The vessel you are thinking of is the British Architect & the incident took place in the China Sea in 1970. There is a photo of her in drydock at Kowloon here:
https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/galler...hp?photo=55160
Kind regards,
John F.
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  #18  
Old 22nd October 2008, 21:45
trucker trucker is offline
 
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Thumbs up thanks

thanks for that info ,john.trying for ages thinking of the right ship iknew it was an a ship.also it was the british mariner i was on in 1970.[grey matter is not what it used to be].

Last edited by trucker; 22nd October 2008 at 22:03.. Reason: wrong ship
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  #19  
Old 23rd October 2008, 05:50
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I am surprised by this: "8 inch gusher under intense pressure (due to the ships deep draft ) erupted into the engine room. All attempts by ship staff to plug the opening were unsuccessful."

I was on watch on a Victory ship mid Pacific enroute to Vietnam when something similar happened. Our 6 inch evaporator brine overboard fell off at the skin. True it looked awful but I knew that the pressure was slight. I just planted my posterior over the hole.

Meanwhile my Oiler sounded our engine room emergency signal -- whistles in the accommodation block tied to our compressed air system -- which generated lots of help. We stopped the ship and the deck crew rigged a collision mat outside of the hole.

The Bos'n and a couple AB's set up wooden forms for a cement box in the engine room which after a couple hours drying time held the brine overboard line in place. That cement box along with some temporary braces held that six inch line until we completed our voyage and returned to USA.

The formula is .434 pounds per foot of head. Even if the draft was 50 feet the pressure would be about 22 pounds.

Greg Hayden
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  #20  
Old 23rd October 2008, 12:42
BillH BillH is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_F View Post
Trucker,
The vessel you are thinking of is the British Architect & the incident took place in the China Sea in 1970. There is a photo of her in drydock at Kowloon here:
https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/galler...hp?photo=55160
Kind regards,
John F.
There is a photograph of her arriving damaged at Hong Kong in the book BP Tankers by myself and Dr Ray Solly, the dust jacket image of which you use as your avatar

Bill
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  #21  
Old 23rd October 2008, 14:29
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I was on the Dragoon when she was a lightering ship.
I remember the incident in Australia when I was on the Diplomat but thought it another ship.
Did the Dragoon become a lightering ship ofter she "sank"?
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  #22  
Old 24th October 2008, 16:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankerman2 View Post
I was on the Dragoon when she was a lightering ship.I remember the incident in Australia when I was on the Diplomat but thought it another ship.
Did the Dragoon become a lightering ship ofter she "sank"?

Did you know Dave Cummins?
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  #23  
Old 25th October 2008, 11:16
Weemac Weemac is offline  
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It was the British Dragoon as I joined her in Aden as 3m and that was just after the Kwinana incident She then went to Antwerp where the pump room went on fire, a guage glass above a bearing broke dripping oil on to a bearing and setting the bilges on fire this happened at 0200hrs,the engineers took immediate action shutting pump room down and co2 on and saving the ship. I believe she had fires on other trips. Bob McG Weemac
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  #24  
Old 21st January 2011, 14:08
johnny.x johnny.x is offline  
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was also on british dragoon,in kinana 69.eng/room rating at the time,thought i was only one still alive,johnny.x
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  #25  
Old 21st January 2011, 16:13
david freeman david freeman is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefCharles View Post
Kwinana Incident
This dramatic incident occurred in the last half of 69 or early 70. I remember the ship as the “British Dragoon” but I cannot be certain. After reading this story I’m hoping someone will definitely remember which ship it was. I know with absolute certainty that the Chief Engineer was George Johnson but that’s the only person I know was there.

The ship had arrived at Kwinana, a BP Refinery in Western Australia with a full cargo of crude oil from the Gulf. During the passage from the Gulf there was a problem with one of the ships bottom sea valves (8 inch) leaking preventing shut down of (unknown equipment) for repair. The Chief had arranged with the BP resident Engineer Superintendent to supply a dive team to blank off the aperture so that the valve could be removed and replaced with a spare. Head Office in London was aware of the impending repair and assumed it would be completed after the full cargo was discharged and ship at a light draft.

The actual sequence of events was as follows.
Ship berthed and commenced cargo discharge.
Dive Team met with Chief Engineer and Engineer Superintendent to discuss the repair. Chief Engineer and Super then went ashore to places unknown by me. I do not know what repair scenario was decided upon.
Diver(s) immediately entered water, located valve and placed a wooden circular blank over the aperture, held in position by the water pressure. Thickness of wooden blank is unknown.
It is believed that the pipe between valve and equipment was then removed.
The valve securing nuts were then loosened and efforts commenced to separate valve flange from the hull. As the flange was separated the wooden blank split in half (believed caused by hydraulic shock) and an 8 inch gusher under intense pressure (due to the ships deep draft ) erupted into the engine room.
All attempts by ship staff to plug the opening were unsuccessful.

As the ship was almost fully loaded the water rose to the level of the main boilers steam drums, a water depth of approximately 50 feet.

It is fortunate that as the ship sunk alongside the berth she sat on the bottom before the after end was submerged.
Obviously all electrical equipment was severely damaged and other equipment, turbines etc. required full dismantling.
The ship was in Kwinana for several weeks undergoing repairs.

I would be delighted to hear from any member of SN who can shed more light on this incident, especially the ships name with certainty. I have to assume it was a complete miscommunication between all parties that this repair was attempted in a deep drafted condition and why a tapered steel or wooden plug was not used instead of the circular wooden blank.

Roger
From a fellow eng who was there I understood they thought that the water head pressure would keep the wooden disc in place? It did not work. Besides how do you throw or turn a large 24" or even greater Dia plug, in a non drydock/eng port. You have the knowledge, but what would you have done? I think there are some previos passages to this incident. Lokk and you shall find on this enjoyable web site. You have the right ship? I am not sure but something tells me she was a 35 Non Italian Built tanker. (Steam Propulsion-) Try Graham Wallace with his knowledge of BP. He may be able to help with the name of the ship.

Last edited by david freeman; 21st January 2011 at 16:20.. Reason: Further info again
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