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  #1  
Old 20th May 2013, 16:08
mvito mvito is offline  
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British Gull

I was a Junior Engineer on British Gull 1971 in the Indian Ocean. We had a distress message from the steam turbine BP tanker pictured in the attachment, saying they had lost all power. Unfortunately I have
forgotten the name of the tanker. After much discussion, I guess with Britannic House, the Captain agreed to take the strikken tanker in tow.
The other Junior Engineer, and myself, were seconded to board the
vessel, and were lowered in one of our lifeboats with the Chief and some other crew. The deck officer(4th?) managed to lower one end of the lifeboat quicker than the other, and I recall (somewhat exaggerated perhaps) hanging onto the boat at some 45 degrees. Eventually we made the Ocean and headed across to the tanker. I remember being so low on the Ocean that we could see nothing around us at times and only flying fish sparkling across us.
After boarding we went down to the engine room, much different to the diesel rooms I was used to. The ship had lost all power, and when the engineers had tried to start the engine room auxilliary diesel, they found that one of the timing gears had stripped. The Chief returned the the Gull to try and effect a repair on the gear, leaving us Juniors to try and get the fo'castle donkey compressor working. This, too, showed signs of lack of maintenance. As I recall we found one of the big ends failed in this twin diesel. Checking the engineers stores we found brand new parts to effect a repair. I seem to remember working together all night to repair the engine. We fed on melting ice cream, as did the regular crew, who were detailed to bucket seawater to keep for flushing.
We had to return to the Gull next day, before we could test it, but we received a message that our work had resulted in their engineers
starting the engine, returning compressed air to the ship, and thus
reviving the dead ship. Eventually the tow was released, and both ships parted their ways. Some months later I received a bonus as a salvage payment, as the rest of our crew must have, on a sliding scale as I as I understood.
It was an experience which has lasted in my memory, with some
embelishments, for 40 years.
I would be grateful if someone out there could name the ship to complete my memory. I have posted two photos on Gallery, and attached one of them with this post.
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File Type: jpg Towing 01.jpg (161.8 KB, 303 views)
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  #2  
Old 20th May 2013, 16:32
Graham Wallace Graham Wallace is offline  
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She has to be one of the 'Italians', Comet? I'll dig around and see if I can find out for certain. 1971 would put her at the extremity of he BP life.
Yup, definitely the Comet, off the west coast of Ceylon. I have a couple of photos of the tow I know the person who was C/E on her at the time.

Not sure I quite understand the posting, what was up with her own Engineers?

Mvito, I'll send you a Shipsnostalgia pm

Graham
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  #3  
Old 20th May 2013, 16:43
Graham Wallace Graham Wallace is offline  
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There maybe someting odd here,the Gull tow I know about was supposed to be in 1973.

But then in 'The British Tankers' by Middlemiss it mentions the tow but said it was in 1972...... and also quote, " the Gull had to tow her to Colombo"

So you have your choice, 1971,1972 or 1973

Graham
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File Type: jpg 1-1973 Comet towed by Gull,.jpg (107.9 KB, 198 views)
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  #4  
Old 20th May 2013, 16:45
mvito mvito is offline  
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Thanks for the reply. We too, could not understand why their own Engineers could not handle the job, but I seem to remember being told that they were not "into" diesels, being steam men. The state of the diesel auxiliaries appeared to attest to that. Further, we two Juniors had no assistance or assistants from the crew. Always assumed because we were Juniors.
I have checked again and I am a year out, it was 1972. Sorry about confusion.

Last edited by mvito; 20th May 2013 at 16:49..
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  #5  
Old 20th May 2013, 16:51
Graham Wallace Graham Wallace is offline  
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Ok , now I'm really going nuts, the Gull looks nothing like the ship in the picture I posted close to the Comet. That one looks like an old 28 or 32 steamship?

Gull pic attached

Enough, I give up ,over to someone else!

Graham
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File Type: jpg Br Gull-B Dodd.jpg (29.3 KB, 157 views)
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  #6  
Old 21st May 2013, 17:50
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alastairjs alastairjs is online now  
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Graham,
Your first thumbnail is one of the 16s that were still around in '72. The separate signal mast aft of the radar mast, a single engine room derrick, (masked by the funnel in your picture)and number of stanchions give that much away. Some you can discount on other details such as double stanchions below the life boat davits, so to my mind the likely suspects are Chancellor, Hero, Patrol and Vision. I have some doubts about the midships stanchion details on the Vision and the Chancellor was laid up in February in Hong Kong. Hero went to the breakers in June and the Vision followed her in October. The Patrol was sold on in '73. That's as far as I've got to date.
Regards,
Alastair
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  #7  
Old 21st May 2013, 19:18
mikeharrison mikeharrison is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alastairjs View Post
Graham,
Your first thumbnail is one of the 16s that were still around in '72. The separate signal mast aft of the radar mast, a single engine room derrick, (masked by the funnel in your picture)and number of stanchions give that much away. Some you can discount on other details such as double stanchions below the life boat davits, so to my mind the likely suspects are Chancellor, Hero, Patrol and Vision. I have some doubts about the midships stanchion details on the Vision and the Chancellor was laid up in February in Hong Kong. Hero went to the breakers in June and the Vision followed her in October. The Patrol was sold on in '73. That's as far as I've got to date.
Regards,
Alastair
Hi Alastair,
I was on the Patrol in 1969 (first trip as deck apprentice) and I remember her as a 16 (thousand tons deadweight ) with those huge masts and being firmly "on the coast" , trading heavy fuel oil from Swansea around the UK and up to Sweden and Denmark etc. I remember her as carrying fuel oil because her rivets were getting to be a little loose for lighter cargoes. I could be wrong (I usually am) but I am not sure that she would have been carrying out a tow off Columbo in her later years? <smile>
Regards, Mike
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  #8  
Old 22nd May 2013, 10:03
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alastairjs alastairjs is online now  
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Hi Mike,
No, I doubt that she was up to towing in '72 but she soldiered on in Cypriot and then Greek ownership until 1980 when she suffered an explosion and fire in Flushing and was broken up in '81. Surprising how many of the 16s went on in BP ownership until the early '70s. Handy sized ships for that era I think. I have good memories of the Chancellor and the Sportsman in the late 60s. Still carrying multiple parcels all over the place.
Regards,
Alastair
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  #9  
Old 22nd May 2013, 12:25
mikeharrison mikeharrison is offline  
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Originally Posted by alastairjs View Post
Hi Mike,
No, I doubt that she was up to towing in '72 but she soldiered on in Cypriot and then Greek ownership until 1980 when she suffered an explosion and fire in Flushing and was broken up in '81. Surprising how many of the 16s went on in BP ownership until the early '70s. Handy sized ships for that era I think. I have good memories of the Chancellor and the Sportsman in the late 60s. Still carrying multiple parcels all over the place.
Regards,
Alastair
Hi Alastair,
Thank you. Yes, I served on the Resource (aka Racehorse) too and very much enjoyed my time on the 16s. As you say, they were handy sized ships for a lot of the little harbours that BP serviced in those days, like the small harbours on the Swedish and Danish Coasts. Also some of the restricted parts of bigger harbours ( I can remember taking a 16 right up into the centre of Copenhangen). When off for a run ashore in such beautiful parts , some of the guys used to try to make the discharge last a little longer by nipping into the pumproom and nudging down the steam valve for the good old steam reciprocating pumps. <smile> Happy Days!
Regards, Mike
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  #10  
Old 22nd May 2013, 22:31
jmirvine jmirvine is offline  
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I joined the Patrol on 27-4-72 in Stockholm, and finally left on 14-5-73 in Gothenburg.

OK, I had a leave in between!

She was on the coast all that time, and was definitely the happiest ship I sailed on.
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  #11  
Old 23rd May 2013, 21:44
Steve Hodges Steve Hodges is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Wallace View Post
She has to be one of the 'Italians', Comet? I'll dig around and see if I can find out for certain. 1971 would put her at the extremity of he BP life.
Yup, definitely the Comet, off the west coast of Ceylon. I have a couple of photos of the tow I know the person who was C/E on her at the time.

Not sure I quite understand the posting, what was up with her own Engineers?

Mvito, I'll send you a Shipsnostalgia pm

Graham
Graham, if she was "dead ship" for any length of time in the Indian Ocean with no ventilation of the engine room spaces, then quite possibly most of them could be suffering severe heat exhaustion.
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  #12  
Old 9th September 2013, 19:50
Ajohnson Ajohnson is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvito View Post
I was a Junior Engineer on British Gull 1971 in the Indian Ocean. We had a distress message from the steam turbine BP tanker pictured in the attachment, saying they had lost all power. Unfortunately I have
forgotten the name of the tanker. After much discussion, I guess with Britannic House, the Captain agreed to take the strikken tanker in tow.
The other Junior Engineer, and myself, were seconded to board the
vessel, and were lowered in one of our lifeboats with the Chief and some other crew. The deck officer(4th?) managed to lower one end of the lifeboat quicker than the other, and I recall (somewhat exaggerated perhaps) hanging onto the boat at some 45 degrees. Eventually we made the Ocean and headed across to the tanker. I remember being so low on the Ocean that we could see nothing around us at times and only flying fish sparkling across us.
After boarding we went down to the engine room, much different to the diesel rooms I was used to. The ship had lost all power, and when the engineers had tried to start the engine room auxilliary diesel, they found that one of the timing gears had stripped. The Chief returned the the Gull to try and effect a repair on the gear, leaving us Juniors to try and get the fo'castle donkey compressor working. This, too, showed signs of lack of maintenance. As I recall we found one of the big ends failed in this twin diesel. Checking the engineers stores we found brand new parts to effect a repair. I seem to remember working together all night to repair the engine. We fed on melting ice cream, as did the regular crew, who were detailed to bucket seawater to keep for flushing.
We had to return to the Gull next day, before we could test it, but we received a message that our work had resulted in their engineers
starting the engine, returning compressed air to the ship, and thus
reviving the dead ship. Eventually the tow was released, and both ships parted their ways. Some months later I received a bonus as a salvage payment, as the rest of our crew must have, on a sliding scale as I as I understood.
It was an experience which has lasted in my memory, with some
embelishments, for 40 years.
I would be grateful if someone out there could name the ship to complete my memory. I have posted two photos on Gallery, and attached one of them with this post.
Hi, I too was a junior eng. on the Gull in 1971 from April till October. THis was my first and arguably my best trip and I remained with BP til1994. The ship I think is in the photo I sailed on 9/72 to 3/73 and is the one of the six affectionately named I ties, the British Comet.
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  #13  
Old 10th September 2013, 15:37
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twogrumpy twogrumpy is offline  
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On the Vomit from 12/70 to 7/71 this incident was not in my time, however we did attempt to sink in the Bay during this period.LOL

2G

Last edited by twogrumpy; 10th September 2013 at 16:00..
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  #14  
Old 11th September 2013, 10:46
retfordmackem retfordmackem is offline  
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmirvine View Post
I joined the Patrol on 27-4-72 in Stockholm, and finally left on 14-5-73 in Gothenburg.

OK, I had a leave in between!

She was on the coast all that time, and was definitely the happiest ship I sailed on.
.
I was lecky on board the Patrol from26/2 /70-24/4 /70 (ALAN SCOTT)and only did one trip.Stockholm -dry dock in Wallsend . This period was so long because for most of that one trip, we were stuck in ice off Stockholm. It was my first ever ship and I was stuck in Stockholm for several days before it actually arrived.
We actually walked across the Baltic Sea to anther BP tanker to get some essential supplies (beer ). Did you become aware of this at all .The captain was Bell and the 2/E was Bob Hofton an ex lecky .
The worst part though was ,when we docked in Wallsend for the months dry dock ,I got transferred to the Gunner in Barry Island . I only lived 12 miles away in Shotton.
It was a good ship though.
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  #15  
Old 11th September 2013, 18:46
Ajohnson Ajohnson is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retfordmackem View Post
.
I was lecky on board the Patrol from26/2 /70-24/4 /70 (ALAN SCOTT)and only did one trip.Stockholm -dry dock in Wallsend . This period was so long because for most of that one trip, we were stuck in ice off Stockholm. It was my first ever ship and I was stuck in Stockholm for several days before it actually arrived.
We actually walked across the Baltic Sea to anther BP tanker to get some essential supplies (beer ). Did you become aware of this at all .The captain was Bell and the 2/E was Bob Hofton an ex lecky .
The worst part though was ,when we docked in Wallsend for the months dry dock ,I got transferred to the Gunner in Barry Island . I only lived 12 miles away in Shotton.
It was a good ship though.
Alan Scott? A short trip on the Hazel in 1973?
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  #16  
Old 11th September 2013, 19:43
retfordmackem retfordmackem is offline  
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Alan Scott? A short trip on the Hazel in 1973?
.
Yes for 2 weeks (Teesport -where i lived -Swansea, my wife was with me )and I had to pay off to get my operation on my piles. Very painful much akin to childbirth the surgeon said.
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  #17  
Old 11th September 2013, 19:50
Ajohnson Ajohnson is offline  
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Originally Posted by retfordmackem View Post
.
Yes for 2 weeks (Teesport -where i lived -Swansea, my wife was with me )and I had to pay off to get my operation on my piles. Very painful much akin to childbirth the surgeon said.
Yes, I remember you had the Dukes of Argyles all that stretching to clean those diffusers on the bottom plates!

Long story from me but having had 19 years working for a very prominent Greek shipowner as a QA, Safety, HSE, Vetting etc etc. Manager, not engineering at all. I am now in Dubai seeing out the rest on my working life as the Marine Rep. For one of the largest Japanese shipowners NYK. A fantastic place.
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  #18  
Old 12th September 2013, 08:12
david freeman david freeman is offline  
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The Tow 1972/3/4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Wallace View Post
There maybe someting odd here,the Gull tow I know about was supposed to be in 1973.

But then in 'The British Tankers' by Middlemiss it mentions the tow but said it was in 1972...... and also quote, " the Gull had to tow her to Colombo"

So you have your choice, 1971,1972 or 1973

Graham
The picture as you say is an old 28 32, or 16. If a motor ship with tall masts, I am ununsure. If the writer quotes the gull 'Birdie' I would doubt? except maybe for the Trust? Any Good? We can all go nuts together.. One thing with the after galley smoke chimney, I suspect the ship was Indian Crew not white crew?
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  #19  
Old 12th September 2013, 08:38
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British Gull in Brunei Bay Aug 09.75, tending British Resource. I think this might have been the Gulls last "Posting" The Birdie Boats were the best looking BP tankers ever in my book.
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File Type: jpg British Gull.jpg (36.8 KB, 111 views)
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  #20  
Old 17th September 2013, 21:05
jmirvine jmirvine is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retfordmackem View Post
.
I was lecky on board the Patrol from26/2 /70-24/4 /70 (ALAN SCOTT)and only did one trip.Stockholm -dry dock in Wallsend . This period was so long because for most of that one trip, we were stuck in ice off Stockholm. It was my first ever ship and I was stuck in Stockholm for several days before it actually arrived.
We actually walked across the Baltic Sea to anther BP tanker to get some essential supplies (beer ). Did you become aware of this at all .The captain was Bell and the 2/E was Bob Hofton an ex lecky .
The worst part though was ,when we docked in Wallsend for the months dry dock ,I got transferred to the Gunner in Barry Island . I only lived 12 miles away in Shotton.
It was a good ship though.
Never heard about being stuck in the ice. I sailed with Bob Hofton as 2/E on the Crusader in, I think, 71. His wife sailed with us - Carol if I remember correctly. I heard he'd left BP and went to another outfit where he made C/E. Don't know any more details.
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Old 17th September 2013, 21:57
retfordmackem retfordmackem is offline  
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Never heard about being stuck in the ice. I sailed with Bob Hofton as 2/E on the Crusader in, I think, 71. His wife sailed with us - Carol if I remember correctly. I heard he'd left BP and went to another outfit where he made C/E. Don't know any more details.
.Yes he did make C/E and left BP .Graham Wallace has details of his time with BP.
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  #22  
Old 18th September 2013, 09:54
DaveM399 DaveM399 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retfordmackem View Post
.Yes he did make C/E and left BP .Graham Wallace has details of his time with BP.
Yes, Bob was C/E on one of the BP ships I sailed on. Can't remember which one, but I think it might have been late 70's or early 80's.
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  #23  
Old 18th September 2013, 10:45
retfordmackem retfordmackem is offline  
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Never heard about being stuck in the ice. I sailed with Bob Hofton as 2/E on the Crusader in, I think, 71. His wife sailed with us - Carol if I remember correctly. I heard he'd left BP and went to another outfit where he made C/E. Don't know any more details.
.
If you have a copy of the BP centenary magazine 2009(I ordered and got my copy just last week) ,on page 26 you will see a photo of 3 BP ships in ice off Stockholm early 1970. We (Bob Hofton 2/e -c/e James Hanratty(they hung the wrong one )were on the Reliance and all were told by the ice breaker to dig into the ice and were stranded for 2 weeks or more .We actually walked across the sea ice to the Merlin for supplies of beer and were lucky not to be stranded as the ice started breaking up as we went back. The other ship was the Fame.
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  #24  
Old 18th September 2013, 11:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retfordmackem View Post
.
If you have a copy of the BP centenary magazine 2009(I ordered and got my copy just last week) ,on page 26 you will see a photo of 3 BP ships in ice off Stockholm early 1970. We (Bob Hofton 2/e -c/e James Hanratty(they hung the wrong one )were on the Reliance and all were told by the ice breaker to dig into the ice and were stranded for 2 weeks or more .We actually walked across the sea ice to the Merlin for supplies of beer and were lucky not to be stranded as the ice started breaking up as we went back. The other ship was the Fame.
Hanratty rings a bell, AKA Big Jim?

2G
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  #25  
Old 18th September 2013, 18:26
Graham Wallace Graham Wallace is offline  
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Yes, Bob was C/E on one of the BP ships I sailed on. Can't remember which one, but I think it might have been late 70's or early 80's.
Dave,

Security! CE. 1978 and 1979/81

Graham
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