What happened in 1986? - Page 2 - Ships Nostalgia
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What happened in 1986?

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  #26  
Old 11th March 2010, 19:23
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twogrumpy twogrumpy is offline  
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Originally Posted by Longfellow View Post
Well now.....

I came through '86, and the three "nights of the long knives" which preceded it, starting to lose staff selectively around 1980 onwards. I was actually seconded to BUE anchor handlers for 12 months, so was completely out of the loop - came home January from the North Sea run, and saw a 1-minute clip on the lunchtime news - first news I'd had. All the Office phones were "off the hook" for days; even the Union couldn't make contact. I have to say, in the couple of weeks thereafter, I chased a number of alternative jobs at sea, but as soon as you got to "who was your previous company", the phone went dead. Word was out, I still believe.
Anyhow, I stuck it out, and am still here. Terms and conditions are about level with the field, so unless you have a serious beef with the management, or a yen to try different trades or tonnage, there's not a lot of point moving at my time of life.

So, where are we now?
No Russians.
Some 55 or so ships, plus 4 Chinese Steam LNG's on a manning/training agreement.
Officers are a mixture of Brits, Polish, with one or two Kiwi, a couple of Aussies, and a lot of Southern Irish lads.
Crews are universally Filipino (Chinese LNG are a completely different deal).
The first maybe two years after the change of life saw some real rough staff all round, but they were relatively quickly weeded out, and the three-agency deal came down to one, Dorchester maritime, after around 4 years. They were finally dropped about 3 years ago, BP now having their own agency, BPMS - BP Maritime Services, working out of Singapore, with an IOM Office.
We are still regarded by the Office as BP employees, while remaining exclusively on "Agency" terms and conditions. Pensions, redundancy, etc, all finished in 86, and won't be back.
On top of that, there are still selected managers who feel that all the 86 crowd should be dumped for "souring the pot" for the new guys.
I love that - "stop calling us heartless, or you're all fired".

Anyhow, with not more than a couple more years to run, it's not such a bad place to be, and there's always other outfits for a Senior British ticket, so there's a lot less angst about the whole affair than there was in the old days.

And it's true enough; the radical shake-up did save the company - it ran down to about 20 ships for some years (aforementioned Gas Enterprise virtually kept it running; everything lost money at the time). But conditions could have eased as the recovery came in..but those same senior managers who hate us remembering 86 still keep to the 86 principle themselves - don't get into that position again, vis-a-vis Group terms, pensions, etc. Upshot is that the whole outfit now owns zero ships (all bareboat chartered), employs zero staff (all Agency), and owns zero offices (all now Group Offices) - the whole lot could disappear overnight at the stroke of an accountants pen.

So there we stand. Roll on retirement!

Longfellow.
Thanks for that Longfellow, it is the best description of what the situation was post 86 I have seen. After the first couple of years things could only get better eh?

86 was a good time to get out, never felt any ill will towards BP, cannot say the same when I went through the same thing again some years later with a major Swiss pharamceutical company.
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  #27  
Old 11th March 2010, 21:15
Richard Gough Richard Gough is offline  
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I was working in Fleet Personnel during the changes that took place in 1986. Well for some of us in Fleet Personnel it was the last half of 1985 when all the discussions and final decisions were taken.

If I recall correctly it was on the day that the letters were sent out that ALL BP Shipping staff attended a meeting in the conference centre in Harlow to beformally told about the transfer of sea staff to the 3 agencies.

There were other cuts within the shore staff of BP Shipping

Whilst we attended the meeting in the conference room letters were placed on our desks to indicate if you were redundant or not. Fortunately I knew what was going to happen to me.

There were tears.......

I stayed on until June 1986 and moved to my current job.

I wonder what has happened to all the sea staff who were involved at that time.

Richard Gough
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  #28  
Old 12th March 2010, 19:01
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I wonder what has happened to all the sea staff who were involved at that time.

Richard Gough
Seriously thinking about retirement, thats for sure.
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  #29  
Old 13th March 2010, 00:10
Jon Vincent Jon Vincent is offline  
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Longfellow. You have a lot of valid points but this sitr is called "Ship's Nostalgia", I spot a lot of basic errors in proples messages, but let them go because they are looking back some forty years or more and a few over-sights are permissable, remember in the time frame we are talking about being a heavy drinkers were the norm not the exception. Most companies went dry in the early 90's when the "Sire" inspections started. I like you sailed with many of the "Untouchables" who spent the full six months or more horizontal, to complain about them got you a black mark in the office, many had survived the second world war. Sailing as second mate under one taught me more about product carriers them any sobero ne could have because I did his job as well, the same applies to sailing of the coast under as C/O under a master with the same tendencies. You miss the point because the old BP never fired these guys and never gave up treating them ashore for their addiction, we had a marvalous personnel deptmant, no problem was too small for them, they flew me from Australia for my sons birth, they were a great company. I most probaly board more BP tanker in a year than you do. in my job as we frequently use the new "Tree" class as service vsls, and lighter the new "P" class, BP is one of my companies biggest customers, they are good to work with but noy the same company and you are very aware that the personnel are agency employed, they let me know that as soon as I board, yes I do meet the occasional disgruntaled Brit freewheeling to retirement, but they usually were never employed by the old BP, and I never bring the subject up delibrately as they would never understand. The difference is that on my company"s vsls very often I have know the Masters from when they were junior officers or in some cases cadets. I apprecate where you are coming from, I have nothing but happy memories of the old BP, leaving in 1983 because my son became a Diabetic at the age of 7, I came to the states with my family and became manger of a refinery in Texas City, a radical change, going back to the seafaring business in 1993 as a mooring master, I enjoy my work and everything I was taught in the BP is used every day I put large tankers together.
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  #30  
Old 13th March 2010, 09:34
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kevjacko kevjacko is offline  
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Is it true the Iolair is still going [B]AND[B]still has some of the original BP crew on her, well up until a few of years ago that is. Reason I am asking is that I know a guy who joined her out in South America (again a few year back) and he claimed that the crew had just kept toupying (sic) the terms and conditions of their contracts over from owners to agency etc, or however it had went. If so they should all be in clover by now surely.
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  #31  
Old 13th March 2010, 10:32
Billieboy Billieboy is offline  
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Originally Posted by kevjacko View Post
Is it true the Iolair is still going [B]AND[B]still has some of the original BP crew on her, well up until a few of years ago that is. Reason I am asking is that I know a guy who joined her out in South America (again a few year back) and he claimed that the crew had just kept toupying (sic) the terms and conditions of their contracts over from owners to agency etc, or however it had went. If so they should all be in clover by now surely.
I was at Lithgows one day long ago at lunceon in the Board room with a couple of guys from BP who were just buying Iolair, (getting the building contract signed). Great lunch, but I was too busy with Niarchos who were buying two VLCCs with an eight million quid discount; each.
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  #32  
Old 14th March 2010, 03:13
Sarky Cut Sarky Cut is offline  
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I have read through this thread and can only say that I worked for BP from 1963 through to the Iraq/Iran nastiness, I could not see much future in being on a Iranian flagged ship trading between Bandar Mash and Bandar Abbas.

The company put me through college for my T5 that has stood me in good stead.

I went where ever they sent me and did the trips that were the lot of the ship I was on at the time. Many of them were pure s88t, Mina to Aden on old 32's sans A/C were memorable for the weight loss.

The Satahib runs were not fun filled either.

I asked for a transfer having completed three years up the gulf and was told "I was an important member of the team"

I may have been gullible but not that gullible, I resigned and got an appointment on a transatlantic container ship. Food was four star but my fellow officers knew how to drink and use the bar.

There was a minor stir at the Falklands when the ships were earmarked for the conflict but as they were designed for cold water running it was deemed a rather silly thing to take them as they would not have got there. We had enough trouble keeping them running in the Gulf Stream for a day or two let alone at tropical temperatures.

I am now retired and draw a very good pension from BP and truthfuly can say in 16 years that I was with BP I still only keep in touch with one other employee on a regular basis and couple of others at birthdays and Christmas.
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  #33  
Old 20th March 2010, 03:38
Graham Wallace Graham Wallace is offline  
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Originally Posted by kevjacko View Post
Is it true the Iolair is still going [B]AND[B]still has some of the original BP crew on her, well up until a few of years ago that is. Reason I am asking is that I know a guy who joined her out in South America (again a few year back) and he claimed that the crew had just kept toupying (sic) the terms and conditions of their contracts over from owners to agency etc, or however it had went. If so they should all be in clover by now surely.
Frank Cabrie an Ex BP Engineering Cadet was C/E on Iolair 2002/07. Down Mexico way , guess BP had sold her.

Graham
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  #34  
Old 20th March 2010, 12:04
BillH BillH is online now
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Frank Cabrie an Ex BP Engineering Cadet was C/E on Iolair 2002/07. Down Mexico way , guess BP had sold her.

Graham
IOLAIR
Self propelled semi-submersible Fire-fighting, diving support vessel.
O.N. 376461. 11,019g. 5,513n.
Rectangular platform 334' 8" x 194' 5" x 105' 11"
Service draught 50'1" with 19,362 tons displacement.
Six, 18-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. (250 x 300mm) M.A.N. 18ASV 25/30 type engines, (each 4,800 B.H.P), made by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Belfast, each driving a generator connected to four electric motors (each 3,000 S.H.P) geared to twin screw shafts, and four positioning thrusters (each 2,000 S.H.P).
23.4.1979: Keel laid by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow (Yard No. 1200), for B.P. Oil Development Ltd.
6.4.1981: Launched.
6.1982: Completed.
12.8.1982: Delivered to B.P. Oil Development Ltd & British National Oil Corporation (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
1990: B.P. Shipping Ltd., (Offshore Group), assumed management.
1990: Transferred to B.P. Exploration Operation Company Ltd., (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
History incomplete.
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  #35  
Old 20th June 2012, 18:56
Iolair46 Iolair46 is offline  
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Iolair in Mexico, Vera cruz Drydock, June 2012

[QUOTE=BillH;411664]IOLAIR
Self propelled semi-submersible Fire-fighting, diving support vessel.
O.N. 376461. 11,019g. 5,513n.
Rectangular platform 334' 8" x 194' 5" x 105' 11"
Service draught 50'1" with 19,362 tons displacement.
Six, 18-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. (250 x 300mm) M.A.N. 18ASV 25/30 type engines, (each 4,800 B.H.P), made by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Belfast, each driving a generator connected to four electric motors (each 3,000 S.H.P) geared to twin screw shafts, and four positioning thrusters (each 2,000 S.H.P).
23.4.1979: Keel laid by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow (Yard No. 1200), for B.P. Oil Development Ltd.
6.4.1981: Launched.
6.1982: Completed.
12.8.1982: Delivered to B.P. Oil Development Ltd & British National Oil Corporation (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
1984: B.P. Shipping Ltd., (Offshore Group), assumed management.
1990: Transferred to B.P. Exploration Operation Company Ltd., (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
Purchased in 1995 by Reading and Bates, an American Drilling company.
Taken over by Transocean and then sold on to Exeter after transferring to Mexico in December 1999.

Now owned by Bahamas company Exeter Shipping and working in Mexico since 2000.
Not one of the old school still onboard. Only a few Europeans left now and taken over by the local staff.
A very well designed vessel which still puts todays DP vessels in the shade. For 1980s technology this was a class act. DP2 but more like DP3. I have been on some DP2 vessels which were lucky to be classed higher than DP 0.5. And they are still operating!!

Last edited by Iolair46; 20th June 2012 at 19:05.. Reason: Addition
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  #36  
Old 20th June 2012, 21:07
DAVELECKIE DAVELECKIE is offline
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[QUOTE=Iolair46;603155]
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillH View Post
IOLAIR
Self propelled semi-submersible Fire-fighting, diving support vessel.
O.N. 376461. 11,019g. 5,513n.
Rectangular platform 334' 8" x 194' 5" x 105' 11"
Service draught 50'1" with 19,362 tons displacement.
Six, 18-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. (250 x 300mm) M.A.N. 18ASV 25/30 type engines, (each 4,800 B.H.P), made by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Belfast, each driving a generator connected to four electric motors (each 3,000 S.H.P) geared to twin screw shafts, and four positioning thrusters (each 2,000 S.H.P).
23.4.1979: Keel laid by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow (Yard No. 1200), for B.P. Oil Development Ltd.
6.4.1981: Launched.
6.1982: Completed.
12.8.1982: Delivered to B.P. Oil Development Ltd & British National Oil Corporation (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
1984: B.P. Shipping Ltd., (Offshore Group), assumed management.
1990: Transferred to B.P. Exploration Operation Company Ltd., (B.P. Shipping Ltd., managers).
Purchased in 1995 by Reading and Bates, an American Drilling company.
Taken over by Transocean and then sold on to Exeter after transferring to Mexico in December 1999.

Now owned by Bahamas company Exeter Shipping and working in Mexico since 2000.
Not one of the old school still onboard. Only a few Europeans left now and taken over by the local staff.
A very well designed vessel which still puts todays DP vessels in the shade. For 1980s technology this was a class act. DP2 but more like DP3. I have been on some DP2 vessels which were lucky to be classed higher than DP 0.5. And they are still operating!!
I was one of the original Leckies on her, stoodby the building at Lithgows etc etc.
Spent several weeks in Norway at the manufacturers [Kongsburg]of the DP System doing a training course on the system.
Have to admit never gave us any problems in service, the accuracy of the system paticularly the taut wire was uncanny. She would sit on a sixpence no matter what weather the North Sea threw at us.

Dave
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  #37  
Old 25th June 2012, 21:30
sparks69 sparks69 is offline  
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Looking back on "the night of the long knives" it all fell butter side up for me. After 6 months as "agency" my son was v ill so came ashore. The redundancy money kept us afloat over the years he was under treatment and eventual recovery. The pension clicked in as he went to uni. So on the whole twas good for me.
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  #38  
Old 1st August 2012, 07:19
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GrahamWeifang GrahamWeifang is offline
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I was on leave when I received my letter; and was one of the many who took the money and ran. I've been ashore ever since but often wonder how things turned out for those who took jobs with the new management companies and whether or not I did the right thing. Is there anyone out there who took advantage of the new positions and how did it work out?
.
I was just about to start S.L. so it worked out well,
I took the money, and started a new job within a few weeks.

Gra.
(I am sure it was pretty damn impressive redundancy money at the time)
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  #39  
Old 3rd August 2012, 22:08
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ninabaker ninabaker is offline  
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This all happened long after I had left the sea, but I am beyond aghast at what happened to you all. Terrible terrible way to treat anyone.
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  #40  
Old 4th August 2012, 15:27
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This all happened long after I had left the sea, but I am beyond aghast at what happened to you all. Terrible terrible way to treat anyone.
Well it must have been a bit of a shock for those on leave, settling down to watch the six o'clock news on the Beeb and the first item tells you that you are being made redundant.

2G
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  #41  
Old 4th August 2012, 19:48
Uricanejack Uricanejack is offline  
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Hi

I didn‘t last until 86. The knight of the long knifes When I joined BP during the interview I was led to believe it was a job for life with a secure big company and excellent career prospects.

I went to Shields and got a great pep talk from the head honcho about how we were the smallest intake in decades and we would be in high demand with great prospects. The Company was still called BP Tankers Ltd. I joined my first ship . The general feeling was much as I said before. I remember the 2nd Engineer saying to me you’re a tanker man now. And will be long after he gone.refering to a winging 3rd Mate. About a year later it all started to change
First they Changed the Name to BP Shipping. Gab King had been the man now it was someone else. We were to be a shipping company surviving on our own not part of BP Oil. I seem to remember this was round about when Maggie Thatcher and her ideas took hold of he whole country.

Well every year there were big redundancies and ships for sale at bargain prices usually chartered back right away. We were uneconomic it was more economic to leave one of our ships at anchor and charter another one to carry BP oil. But we struggled on. Every ship I was on I would hear about redundancies.

At First it was Voluntary. Then it was. who didn’t fit the age rank profiles the “professional thirds”. Then those who had poop performance reports, reps for poor conduct bozo . Then Just seamed to be by luck of the draw.

When I returned to collage most of the lads from other companies were already starting to hear there might not be a job at the end but BP was still saying don’t worry there will be a place for you all here.. By the time I returned to shields for the last bit in September 83 most of the 3rd Mates I had sailed with during my last year were receiving redundancy notices. I had my doubts about a job at the end I was just sticking it out so as not to quite with nothing to show for it.

When I got to the collage everyone from every other company had already been told there would be no job. Texaco had actually managed to dump their cadets mid stream. A couple of smaller companies had folded with their lads having to be sent by shipping federation with other companies. Shell cadets had told there would be no redundancy just 2 weeks as 3rd Mate each so it would be stamped in your book.

Esso was just good by. About 3 to 4 weeks before we did our exams the head of cadet training came by and met with us all to give us the official news we had suspected for some time. There would be no jobs for any of us a couple of lads were quite shocked they had excellent records were well thought of and keen.

I had been expecting it but was still shocked I was no longer keen but still determined to finish. The offer was actually considerably better than most. Severance would be 5000 pounds if we passed and left right away. Or one.3 month trip plus leave as 3rd Officer with no severance.

I did some quick arithmetic and came to the conclusion 3 months as 3rd Mate plus leave added up to about 4500 pounds so it seamed obvious which to choose. I left officially in February 1984 with a brand New Class 3 and no idea what the heck I was going to do except it would not be at sea.

In the short time I had been with BP everything had changed we had gone from the worlds largest shipping company where you would pass another company ship almost daily. To a company with less than half the no of ships, Thousands had heft through redundancy. For some they were only to glad to accept redundancy. Attrition had always been high. For others it was a shock when it reached them.

For me a year or so of messing about trying to figure out the future direction of life an offer from Strathclyde and several other Universities. 4 years as a cadet followed by 5 as a student. When I received a call asking if I would like to join a ship as 3rd Mate it sounded better.

I went back to sea with a New Castle Company Souter Shipping. After about a year in the Mist of my 2nd trip as 3rd Mate. We went through the same process. Many of the company guys felt a deep betrayal myself I did to.
What we were presented with was all the competition is doing the same. If we don’t we wont survive. I stayed on drank the coolaid and stayed a further 5 years.
Officially we were working for Pent Marine a Hong Kong front for P&O .Over the few years I stayed some of Souters old boys who had quite returned to what was still oddly quite a small family.
From time to time an Old face from BP passed through none I recall sticking around. In the end I left the “Deep” sea when I married and had a reason to stay home.

My time with BP Stood me in good stead a few times. I had a great deal more knowledge than many others I met after elsewhere. I went for my first job interview in Canada the 6th on a Short list. I was asked only one question. Tell me a bit about your experience. I just started with I was a Cadet with BP. When the interview stopped and I was asked if I had any gear with me I said no just what I was wearing. |He looked at his watch and asked his secretary to call and hold the ship. He drove me down to the dock and introduced me to the Master His final words were do a round trip if the Captain agrees you have the job.
I had always heard it meant something. I guess it did. Less than 2 months Later I was asked to work as Chief Officer.

The entire industry changed during the 80’s. Many companies disappeared entirely other disappeared only to reappear overnight offshore. 1980 when I started was the last large intake of cadets fleet wide not just BP. There were a few cadets taken on by BP in 81 hardly any in 82 and none for years after. In 1986 souters had the distinction of the largest no of cadets in the UK. Six 3 deck and 3 Engineers.

I left Souters in 1990. They were still going but I believe they have fallen to the pressure of economics as well. A few years ago I was amazed to hear a Familiar name on the radio. British Holly. I had never sailed on the original. I was excited to hear just the same. One of the new Tree’s came into local shipyard. Some of my new colleagues went for a visit. Invited by an ex BP Chief who works for my current employer. He is Indian and so were the entire crew of the tree. I work with another Master who is also ex BP from India. A nice chap obviously well trained in the classical manner.

The world has changed.
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  #42  
Old 4th August 2012, 19:50
stevekelly10 stevekelly10 is online now  
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I must have been one of the lucky ones as prior to the redundancies being announced I had actually resigned from BP! They kept pestering me on a weekly basis to rescind my resignation which i was unwilling to do unless I could go back to the north sea! eventually I capitulated and agreed to go back "deep sea". I was scheduled to join the "Tenacity" on the forthcoming Saturday. Friday afternoon I get a phone call, telling me not to join. If I wanted to know more look up page such and such on ceefax. they also said they would contact me Monday. On checking ceefax, there it was 1700 officers made redundant from BP tankers! Monday morning I get a phone call asking if I was still willing to join the "Tenacity" the answer of which was "no" !
I will be enternally gratefull for whoever it was persuaded me to rescind my notice, otherwise I would have lost over 27000 and I would not have been a happy chappie!
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  #43  
Old 5th August 2012, 15:07
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Quite a good deal really, same wedge if you took the money and left, or walked round to the other side of the desk and signed on again.

Never had any ill feelings towards BP other than to the two talking heads that they sent down to Swansea to explain it all to us.

2G
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  #44  
Old 5th August 2012, 20:43
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I left BP in 1977 after passing my writtens and failing my orals!
I was advised then that there was to be a clear-out & those who failed their tickets could be the first to go - so told if you want to get out now before the market is flooded then do so .. I did and joined Wallems (UK), best thing I could have done and my BP training put me in good stead.
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  #45  
Old 8th August 2012, 00:28
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I left BP in 1977 after passing my writtens and failing my orals!
I was advised then that there was to be a clear-out & those who failed their tickets could be the first to go - so told if you want to get out now before the market is flooded then do so .. I did and joined Wallems (UK), best thing I could have done and my BP training put me in good stead.
By 1977 I had migrated to Bibbys and, despite what you say about a clear-out, I got two separate letters from BP asking me to go back. Flattering of course but I had had enough of tankers by then.
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  #46  
Old 8th August 2012, 07:43
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By 1977 I had migrated to Bibbys and, despite what you say about a clear-out, I got two separate letters from BP asking me to go back. Flattering of course but I had had enough of tankers by then.
Guess they were just glad to get rid of me!!

btw Nina - did you ever come across 2 BP Deck cadets at Plymouth or at sea ... John Murray & Andy parsons? Andy was sadly gassed down a tank part way through his Cadetship, but they both did their college time at Plymouth.
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  #47  
Old 8th August 2012, 15:50
Graham Wallace Graham Wallace is offline  
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btw Nina - did you ever come across 2 BP Deck cadets at Plymouth or at sea ... John Murray & Andy parsons? Andy was sadly gassed down a tank part way through his Cadetship, but they both did their college time at Plymouth.[/QUOTE]

Derek,

Just for the record, Andy Parsons (ABP) and Andy Gibbon both died in tank gassing ? Andy ex Plymouth?

Graham
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Old 8th August 2012, 15:55
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Thank you Graham ..

Yes, Andy Parsons was ex-Plymouth, we were at college together, it was a great shock at the time.

Andy Gibbon - I knew the name but not actually in person.
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Old 8th August 2012, 20:49
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Originally Posted by derekhore View Post
Guess they were just glad to get rid of me!!

btw Nina - did you ever come across 2 BP Deck cadets at Plymouth or at sea ... John Murray & Andy parsons? Andy was sadly gassed down a tank part way through his Cadetship, but they both did their college time at Plymouth.
Hi Derek,was he one of the poor souls on the Renown?
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Old 8th August 2012, 21:29
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Yes, I think it was the Renown if my memory serves me well.
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