Hydatina - Ships Nostalgia

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Old 13th April 2012, 21:58
harryredvers harryredvers is offline  
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Radio Officer
Active: 1961 - 1982
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 56

I don't seem to have found anything about her herein (or under tankers) so -R/O : joined April 1965 Cardiff and left February 1966 Philadelphia. British officers and Chinese crew. Captain Alan John Weightman was master through the spring and summer months then was replaced by Captain Clarence Alan (The Beast) Grunson for the autumn and winter months - chalk and cheese. Under AJW I told Marconi I would take the Shell Premium but after I got back to UK I rescinded the option and, when asked why, cited AJG. But it wasn't all bad and in fact it was really a good experience. I remember a 1st mate from Walsall (a smashing bloke, well into cricket (Warwickshire); a geordie chief engineer (very erudite) who lived in Derby because 'it is central'.
I don't remember many names now. One I do remember is Bernie Mack, a 3/O from Dublin. We also had a 4/E from Belfast and a D/A from Drogheda and I remember an interesting conversation with them in Bernie's cabin when they predicted trouble in Northern Ireland sooner rather than later - this was 1965. It now reminds me of the Dave Allen quip: 'We had a bit of trouble for 700 years - but you've forgotten it'.
I seem to remember the itinerary as Cardiff Caribbean; loading gas oil in Curacao or Venezuela c.Maracaibo (both ends of the lake) then up the eastern seaboard of US/Canada(Georgetown SC, Perth Amboy, Jersey City, East River NY 2 or 3 times, Quincy Mass, Corner Brook NF). Then we took a cargo across to Rotterdam and finished up doing Scandinavian distribution (Rotterdam Copenhagen, Fredericia, Norrkoping, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Oslo, Tromso) until September. AJW and CAG probably changed over in Rotterdam sometime round about Sept. We went back across to the Caribbean and did the east states run again until the end of November. Gas oil runs, pretty much as before and I remember doing the freshwater run up the Hudson River where we anchored just below Albany and filled up with river water for separation and distillation in Curacao. We then got a Caribbean distribution for a few weeks up to just before Christamas; parcel cargoes from Curacao/Aruba/Maracaibo to Port-au-Prince,Haiti; Nassau, Bahamas, Kingston, Ocho Rios and Alligator Ponds, Jamaica and finally Trinidad (probably Port of Spain). Over Christmas we did a run to Buenos Aires then it was back to the eastern states coast run till I was flown home from Phillie in February.
Another memory carried is how the US authorities were jittery about Chinese crew. The ship had to post some form of escrow for each Chinese crew-member and armed guards were posted on the gangway to prevent them jumping. Two were allowed ashore, under guard, to shop for the rest. Nett result not much chance for them to get ashore. The chief (or second) steward was Chinese and a lovely bloke and once, when we in Jersey City (or close to the Lady's backside) AJW came to see me and told me there was bloke parked on the jetty with a limousine who was selling a tour of Manhattan. He wanted to take the steward ashore as a treat and he'd like me to go too. I did and it was great, from the Battery up to Times Square, Herald Square, et al. We finished up in the Merchant Navy Club somewhere at the top end of Central Park I think. Of course we were the chaperones. The old man's sphincter was oscillationg like a ballon does when the air escapes every time our Chinese friend visited the men's room, or he lost sight of him. You can probably imagine what he was like down in Chinatown.
Great days!
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Old 14th April 2012, 10:28
n. liddell (sparks) n. liddell (sparks) is offline  
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 214
Hi Harry - Have a look at www.photoship.co.uk - several pictures of vessel HYDATINA - feel sure you will find her there - not a common name and at least one is definitely a Shell tanker. CU OM BV
GRLN - nostalgia is a thing of the past
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Old 14th April 2012, 11:29
shipmate17 shipmate17 is offline  
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HYDATINA id 5157509. Built 1956 by Lithgows. Port Glasgow. grt 12161. scrapped castellon 16/4/1975.
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Old 14th April 2012, 23:50
Ron Stringer's Avatar
Ron Stringer Ron Stringer is online now
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Radio Officer
Active: 1960 - 1966
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Originally Posted by harryredvers View Post
I don't seem to have found anything about her herein (or under tankers) so -R/O : joined April 1965 Cardiff and left February 1966 Philadelphia. British officers and Chinese crew. Captain Alan John Weightman was master!
I sailed with Alan Weightman - and Chinese crew - on the "San Florentino" but only for a month, while we were on the shuttle from Pernis to Northern Baltic ports. He joined us at the beginning of December 1963, in Rotterdam as a replacement for Capt. McKellar Young who had been hospitalised after a fall from a pilot ladder into the Nieuw Rotterdam Waterway (via the bulwarks of a tank-cleaning barge). He was one of the nicest Old Men that I sailed with and a welcome change from his predecessor.

The ship went into Greenwells' drydock, Sunderland on 7th January 1964 and we all paid off and went our separate ways. He didn't have far to go home (IIRC he lived in Houghton le Spring). I hope he is still with us.

Never regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. Don't worry about old age - it doesn't last.
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Old 15th April 2012, 14:17
calvin calvin is offline  
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also try sea the ships site good site for older ships
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Old 24th April 2012, 22:08
harryredvers harryredvers is offline  
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Radio Officer
Active: 1961 - 1982
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 56
wrt #4 and Alan John Weightman:
I couldn't agree more Ron. I spent the best part of 6 months with him. He was cool, calm and collected, and comfortable to be with. He often used to call me 'My electronics wonder' but I don't remember why (might have had something to do with the 'Hermes'). He was serious, deep, very firm and very fair. Once I had a problem working a message through PCH on coastal MF, I don't know what happened but I remember a ratty sort of interchange with PCH then being told to change to a frequency and having to wait for an inordinate time despite intermittent calling and getting no answer. All this procedure was logged until I eventually got stalled with it and decided I'd try again later (probably coming to the end of a two hour period). I wrote "PCH seems to have taken umbrage " and logged off". Days (or weeks) later I took the radio logs to AJW, as was customary.
"Who's going to explain then when the black cloud comes" I heard a voice say.
I was sitting in the radio room on watch. When I swivelled round AJW is there with the radio logs. "What?" says I in all probability. "PCH" he says, "don't fill the log with bull, someone might read them". I think he had a lot of time for youth. I could have sailed with him forever.
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Old 26th May 2014, 11:36
JohnBruce JohnBruce is offline  
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Deck
Active: 1964 - 1971
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1

Hello Harry,

I was searching through the Ships Nostalgia website the other day trying to trace some old shipmates when I stumbled upon your post of 13th April, 2012, regarding the Shell Tanker ss.Hydatina.
I was a deck apprentice on the Hydatina from 6th May to 3rd December 1965. I joined in Bute Dry Dock, Cardiff along with fellow apprentice Peter Key. The apprentice from Drogheda whose name you can't remember is Thomas P Hughes who stayed with Shell for his career and rose to the dizzy height of Master.
It was good to read your post. I remember Captain Weightman and Clarence Alan 'The Beast' Grunson who joined Shell through the acquisition of Eagle Oil. I think you have got the sailing itinerary about right. It was my first trip and I remember that our first port of call after leaving dry dock was Aruba.
If you sailed on any other Shell Tankers and want to trace old shipmates you may find the Helderline website useful. http://www.helderline.nl/tankers/
It was good to read your post. It brought back many memories.

Best regards,
John Bruce.
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Old 16th February 2016, 22:00
Tim Weightman Tim Weightman is offline
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 1

Although you won't have realised it your comments about AJW are fascinating. Alan Weightman was my grandfather and, not surprisingly, I only remember him as an old man after he had retired. He told a few stories and to someone of my generation is inspirational. AJ and I have the same birthday and for the last few years I've been working in London. I often run past the the Shell building on South Bank and wonder about him.
Thanks for your posts.
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Old 17th February 2016, 10:12
R58484956's Avatar
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Engineering
Active: 1952 - 1965
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 14,864
Greetings Tim and welcome to SN. Bon voyage.
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