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  #26  
Old 15th March 2017, 12:42
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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The US Coastguard Report also tells us that the tow began at 0937 on 4th January in position 47-40N/10-30W.

At the earlier position which you have shown, FE had no assistance at all. Carlsen's options at that point seemed to have been either to make for Cork for repairs or, alternatively, to continue on his passage under jury-repair, which at the time seemed feasible, had the approval of his owners, and which he did.

Last edited by Barrie Youde; 15th March 2017 at 12:54..
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  #27  
Old 15th March 2017, 12:59
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Originally Posted by roscoe_the_1st View Post
According to information I have the US Coastguard concluded that she was at 5041'N 1526'W and that she had suffered a complete fracture of the weather deck. This was on 27th December 1951.

She sank on the 10th January 1952 and lays 31nm south of The Lizard.

True, but did not start towing with TURMOIL until 5th January and Falmouth was some 280 miles. Brest about the same. Cork was too far and likely against weather.

Question. The 'so called' Zirconium. If this was in 'pigs' or bars, might this have been camouflaged as the pig ion that was stowed in Nos. 2 & 4? No doubt it was the that, the pig ion (zirconium) contributed to the loss of the vessel due to the cargo shifting.

Had the salvage people (the Italian salvagers) trying to get at the Zirconium it would have been a relatively task. The pigs, or whatever it was, would have been lying on the port side of the lower holds 2 & 4. Doubtful because they would have had to open the starboard side and would have likely disturbed the bunker tanks. Specie cargo would have been in the tween decks and after lying on the side of the ship, probably worthless... unless they were after the gold!

I wonder if Tom Clancy got this idea from his book 'Raise the Titanic'. ;-)
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  #28  
Old 15th March 2017, 13:18
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Originally Posted by Barrie Youde View Post
The US Coastguard Report also tells us that the tow began at 0937 on 4th January in position 47-40N/10-30W.

At the earlier position which you have shown, FE had no assistance at all. Carlsen's options at that point seemed to have been either to make for Cork for repairs or, alternatively, to continue on his passage under jury-repair, which at the time seemed feasible, had the approval of his owners, and which he did.

With no power his only 'option' was to wait for the tug. When TURMOIL arrive and started towing the options were left up to Captain Parker.
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  #29  
Old 15th March 2017, 13:30
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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# 29

Hi, Stephen,

That seems wholly right; but it seems that power was not lost until more than 24 hours after the cracks had appeared.

The point which Roscoe raises is, why did Carlsen not head for Cork whilst he could still do so? One explanation is that his owners instructed him to continue his passage, under jury repair, which he did. The owners plainly could have instructed him to head for Cork or Bantry, but plainly they did not. The reasons for the owners' instructions remain unknown.
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  #30  
Old 15th March 2017, 13:32
R719220 R719220 is offline  
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Apropos nothing bar a slight interest for a few folks...and a bit of digression. I do remember as a 10 year old following the story back in 1951/52. Although only 10/11, I had a huge interest in the sea.

It's a long time ago but I remember being tied up aft of "Flying Enterprise II" in Vancouver. I remember this for the following reasons:-

The name:- Flying Enterprise

Being told by somebody (probably our 3rd Mate) or,possibly, a local customs/harbour type that the master was the same Captain Kurt Carlson of Flying Enterprise fame.

The fact that she had a very pretty, blonde female R/O who I remember watching coming down the gangway once and falling instantly in love with (though we were never to meet).

This would have been in early 1963 and I was the (very happy) R/O on Trader Navigation's "Scottish Trader". For the odd Sparky amongst you, GHXU.

Indeed, happy days.
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  #31  
Old 15th March 2017, 16:21
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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It seems probable that as soon as the cracks were identified, then Carlsen would have reported to his owners; and that if further progress was at that time impossible (or even simply considered imprudent) he would have made for either Bantry or Cork; and that his owners would have agreed; and that even if his owners had not agreed he would have sought shelter at either of those two places in any event.

That did not happen. It is wholly clear that he stood out to sea on the instructions of his owners and with their subsequent high commendation. It is equally clear that although questions might well have been raised as to Carlsen's conduct at the time (i.e. his decision to stand out to sea) there was no valid criticism of him at all. Why might anybody seek to criticise him now?

As to any mischief in the cargo, the USCG found none; or none that anybody yet knows about.
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  #32  
Old 15th March 2017, 18:31
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Originally Posted by Barrie Youde View Post
The US Coastguard Report also tells us that the tow began at 0937 on 4th January in position 47-40N/10-30W.

.

They tried on the 4th but did not able to start towing until morning 5th.

Dancy came on board sometime on the 4th and the following morning towing commenced.
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  #33  
Old 15th March 2017, 18:47
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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#33

My apologies, Stephen,

You are quite right!
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  #34  
Old 15th March 2017, 19:07
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Best idea is to write down a 'timeframe' of the whole episode then we can understand the Commandant of the USCG. Better, read the whole inquest. Must be in a dusty file somewhere.

Stephen
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  #35  
Old 15th March 2017, 19:36
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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#35

Quite so!

The USCG report which you kindly produced sheds far more light on what happened than I ever knew before.

I agree entirely that the compilation of an accurate chronology completes many an otherwise incomplete story; and there has to be a sound reason why Carlsen stood out to sea rather than making for Cork when he could have done so. On present analysis of known facts, that could only be because at the time it seemed like - and was - the right thing to do. Quite plainly, Carlsen was no lunatic! Lloyd's Silver Medal? A new ship named Flying Enterprise II? There was not the slightest, tiniest suggestion that he did anything wrong,
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  #36  
Old 15th March 2017, 20:32
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Yes, he went by the book! Probably a copy of Nicoll's Book of Seamanship!

His efforts to 'knit' his cracks in the deck with wires etc was textbook stuff. Heard in the seamanship class and very few ever get to practice this art.

Most interesting with the report was that the crack went across the deck but did not go down the hull... as said here 4 m below the deck, the riveted sheer strake stopped the cracks.

Was there a drydock of the size in Port of Cork? There is now, opened late 1950s. There was an old graving dock, but filled in. If not able to take a vessel the size of FE, perhaps may have had some thoughts it at the time.

Here a cracker photo of TURMOIL, taken in St Georges, Bermuda in the 50s. I was on this same jetty yesterday. I heard the yacht NALIN was in St Geo's so I got on my trusty scooter, in a half gale, all 20 miles to see the ship. All for nothing. She was at anchor on the other side of the harbour and the best view was just from her stern. 20 miles back home.

Stephen
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  #37  
Old 15th March 2017, 21:48
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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Nicholls's Seamanship and Nautical Knowledge indeed!

The further thought which arises is that if, as some suggest, there was political mischief of some kind in the cargo, then it seems that it would have been a racing certainty that Isbrandtsens would have ordered Carlsen to put into Cork or Bantry in any event, upon hearing of the cracks, in order to be more sure of preserving the precious and secretive cargo. The fact that the owners did not order him to seek shelter (whether with dry-dock or otherwise) suggests that the cargo was nothing more than a commercial transaction, for which any damages could be made good by dollar-bills paid by insurers. Hence, it seems unlikely that there was mischief of any kind in the cargo.

The exchanges between ship and owners, after the cracks had appeared and had been cable-seized, by the book, quite possibly in essence were:-

Owner: How do you feel about carrying on?

KC: OK. We have some water ingress, but nothing that the pumps can't cope with; and the cable-seizings ensure as far as possible that the cracks won't get any bigger.

Owner: OK. Please carry on. Thanks for letting us know. Good luck!

And sure enough, the cable-seizings (thanks no doubt to Nicholls!) did indeed ensure that the water ingress via the cracks became no worse (as witness her 12 days afloat without pumps, after the pumps packed up!).

The USCG report confirms all of this, pointing out that "the fracture while hove to, head to sea, under reduced speed, is not considered to be a direct cause of the vessel's loss but merely an indirect contribution thereto". Even that "indirect contribution" appears, if anything, to be an over-statement; and that the real cause of the loss was the shifting of the cargo, for want of better stowage.

Last edited by Barrie Youde; 15th March 2017 at 21:50..
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  #38  
Old 15th March 2017, 21:54
Dartskipper Dartskipper is offline  
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Nicholl's Concise Guide? I still have my late Dad's copy, along with all his other text books that he kept from when he went to sea in 1938. I'm sure he had other texts such as "Know your own ship" and other books relative to ship construction and stability. Carlsen would surely have read all these too.

Nories Nautical Tables I seem to remember too!

Roy.
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  #39  
Old 15th March 2017, 23:33
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Originally Posted by Dartskipper View Post
Nicholl's Concise Guide? I still have my late Dad's copy, along with all his other text books that he kept from when he went to sea in 1938. I'm sure he had other texts such as "Know your own ship" and other books relative to ship construction and stability. Carlsen would surely have read all these too.

Nories Nautical Tables I seem to remember too!

Roy.
The Concise Guide in Two Volumes of Navigation. Nicholls Seamanship was another book... written by Captain HH Brown, one of my lecturers at Glasgow. Also Merchant Ship Stability and Merchant Ship Construction, both by HJ Pursey . These date back to 1942! Very dates but lots of good information.
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  #40  
Old 16th March 2017, 02:14
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I have read with interest the many posts here, and over the years I have read so much rubbish about the saga. I don't wish to be drawn into any speculation of the cargo or otherwise. I wasn't aboard the ship, I didn't dive on her (though I would still love to do so), therefore I have no opinions on the matter, other than what I know, or have briefly offered here.
As I've stated in my earlier posts on SN, my ship was in the same storm and we were badly damaged and also had a deep list - to star'bd in our case. Our bowrails were twisted, as were steam pipes on deck, bridge windows smashed, dodgers were torn away, one lifeboat damaged, jollyboat, lashed on No.4, off on its own journey, accommodation (I woke up on my bottom bunk with my face in sea water and a fog of stinking steam, I can still smell, from the hot pipes) and galley flooded etc.
Most of the crew apart from the engineers had been ordered to the bridge for protection. I wasn't aware of the conditions down below in the engineroom.
We were apparently keeping way at a half knot ahead, as I recall.

Such was the danger and the nervousness among the crew, that we were allowed to radio message our loved ones. (I'm reading my pay-off slip here... 'sea time 3/9d per day, radio message 7.0 shillings!')
Our captain was in constant voice contact with shore and I can recall much of what was said, both about our dire predicament and Captain Carlson's over the next few days as we headed for shelter.

Orders were given from shore - by whom I have no idea - "When you reach...(coordinates given)... stand-off, you will be safer as seas are horrendous inshore." This is something I, as with all seamen, later came to understand, but couldn't at the time, as all we wanted was dry feet. Therefore, I believe this could have been the reason for Carlson's action.
Later, very clear in my memory, "Carlson's only chance is to make Falmouth, he won't survive else..." We all held discussions about this with the officers while perusing the chart and weather report.
In my mind, that answers another question.

We were getting a running commentary on the storm and I believe that there were a dozen or so ships in trouble at the same time.
I have no idea where we were positioned at any time and while I have pondered for years, how come the Enterprise was on one course while we were on another, almost opposing course, I do however recall the mates and captain looking for an opportunity to turn us around at dawn and as I was just a lad, although, with a few trips on this ship under my belt, I was getting very confused, particularly as some of the crew I was crowded onto the bridge with, were praying loud and hard, apparently, as we were iron ore laden and earlier, dropping into a few troughs, there were fears that she would break her back. I can still hear the explosions as that happened, hence the reduction in speed!
During the short lull in the weather as the high seas abated, we made it in, with just a few inches of freeboard and as he had done on my first trip, the captain ordered every man ashore to ... "pray to your Gods".

Taff

Footnote: That was my last trip of many aboard the Sheaf Arrow, as she was to enter dry-dock for a health check. She was my first ever ship and after my first tough trip as peggy, I signed on three more times and had a great time as I stood up to the rough mob.
I have posted on here a poem I subsequently wrote about that first trip, which was in a hurricane while crossing Biscay (A Lad's Initiation! 1950) It was identical to the storm referred to above.

Taff
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  #41  
Old 16th March 2017, 08:26
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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#41

Thank you, Taff.

It is good to hear from a man who was there at the time; and it is no surprise that your recollections are so vivid.

Almost two days' pay to send a message home!

Repeated thanks,

Barrie

PS We had no Television then. At home, we heard it all by radio. I remember coming home from school and my Mum told me that Carlsen and Dancy were both safe but the ship was lost. I still remember the anti-climax, although at the time I didn't know the meaning of the word.

When I see the tomfoolery which takes place today in a TV programme such as Mutiny, complete with cameras and escort, it makes my blood boil. It is about as far removed from reality as could be.

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  #42  
Old 16th March 2017, 09:31
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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In the USCG Report there is no suggestion that Carlsen should have or might have headed for any Irish port when he still had the power to do so.

At#41 Taff describes vividly (and no doubt with accuracy) the reason why that option was discounted, if it was ever considered.
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  #43  
Old 16th March 2017, 11:52
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Interestingly and worriedly, when I was ashore and able to phone my folks, they told me that a couple of days before my radio message, they had received a phone call informing them that my ship was 'missing' and had possibly foundered in the storm. My mum was naturally badly affected by the call.
They were told that as soon as the seas abated a search and rescue operation would be carried out. That was the only call they'd had - nothing to say that we were safe.
We were never able to discover who had made the call, nor from which source, even though our captain issued a request for inquiries to be made. I never found out if other crew members' families had received similar calls, although with most of the deck crew being from Malta, I doubt that they did.

Incidentally, Pathe News has some excellent footage of the epic events.

Taff
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  #44  
Old 16th March 2017, 12:42
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Taff,

Here is a special one for you. Plus a her sister, with a better photo.

When I found the photo I though, "Nah, this must be the old one... from 1915 to 1933." Checked and this is the right one... with her sister.



Stephen
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File Type: jpg Sheaf Field.jpg (239.7 KB, 55 views)
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  #45  
Old 16th March 2017, 12:57
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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Speaking of Nicholls's Seamanship, my own copy is the 20th Edition, published in 1953. Well thumbed, it sits on my bookshelf next to my desk.

Next to it, even older, is "Practical Seamanship for use in the Merchant Service"by John Todd and W.B. Whall, published by G.Philip & Son, London & Liverpool in 1898. Inside it is inscribed:-

Chas. L.A. Lecoustre
Liverpool
ss Montgomery 1901.

Captain Charles Louis Albert Lecoustre was my late wife's grandfather. A former Conway cadet, (and Chairman/President? of the MMSA) he became Chief Examiner of Masters & Mates at Liverpool between the Wars. He examined my own father for Second Mate in 1932.

If anybody might have information as to ss Montgomery of 1901 I should be most grateful to hear it.

Many thanks,

BY
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  #46  
Old 16th March 2017, 13:41
tsell tsell is offline
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Taff,

Here is a special one for you. Plus a her sister, with a better photo.

When I found the photo I though, "Nah, this must be the old one... from 1915 to 1933." Checked and this is the right one... with her sister.



Stephen
Hi Stephen, many thanks, a couple of great pics. Yeah, that's the old girl! I wonder when it was taken, could even be me on No 2, or on the monkey island!
I note that she is shipping the jolly boat. We used to use it to sneak ashore when on the buoys. I wonder if it survived the storm and ended up in some lucky lad's back yard?
That's a really great shot of the Field. I'd been on the grog aboard her a couple of times and she was in a bit better nick than the Arrow. You can see her jolly boat lashed on No 4.

I'm just debating whether I should post my poem about my first trip on her again. I don't want to bore anyone.

Anyway, thanks again for the memories.

Cheers,

Taff
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  #47  
Old 16th March 2017, 13:54
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Taff,

Excellent. This is what SN is all about!!!

OK, now I have a bit of interest, I will have a go and try a small painting. Perhaps in your storm 1951. Stand-by! It will appear on SB Gallery.

Stephen
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  #48  
Old 17th March 2017, 11:06
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Taff,

Excellent. This is what SN is all about!!!

OK, now I have a bit of interest, I will have a go and try a small painting. Perhaps in your storm 1951. Stand-by! It will appear on SB Gallery.

Stephen
Hi Stephen, forgive me for being a bit thick, but I'm not quite sure what you mean. How do I find the SB Gallery, didn't know it existed.

Cheers

Taff
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  #49  
Old 17th March 2017, 11:14
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Hi Stephen, forgive me for being a bit thick, but I'm not quite sure what you mean. How do I find the SB Gallery, didn't know it existed.

Cheers

Taff
Good morning Taff,

I'm the thick one this morning! I meant... the Ships Nostalgia Maritime Art gallery. When the 'job' is finished I will post it in the SN Gallery.

Just a little one. This painting will be in my summer show. I will hang Sheaf Arrow right alongside with Aquitania and Empress of Britain!

I know a lot of detail from that event. Was you ship in loaded condition or in ballast? I am assuming she is in standard Souter's livery?

Stephen
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Old 17th March 2017, 12:43
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Good morning Taff,

I'm the thick one this morning! I meant... the Ships Nostalgia Maritime Art gallery. When the 'job' is finished I will post it in the SN Gallery.

Just a little one. This painting will be in my summer show. I will hang Sheaf Arrow right alongside with Aquitania and Empress of Britain!

I know a lot of detail from that event. Was you ship in loaded condition or in ballast? I am assuming she is in standard Souter's livery?

Stephen
I've just been viewing your impressive art display. I'm sure the old girl would be suitably impressed to be displayed in such distinguished company!
She was a great little ship and looked after our motley bunch as if we were her children. I suppose we were in a way and she always got us home even after she suffered a bruising time during each voyage. She was laden with iron ore and sported the Souters livery.

During that last storm, I had my seventeenth birthday on the bridge, just one of a bunch of stinking, wet and cold sailors, packed in like sardines, who hadn't washed for days! By some magic, a bottle of Negrita Rum appeared and I was honoured with the first slug!

John Shaw, who was on site a few minutes ago, posted this pic on 21/1/07 in the thread Sheaf Steam Shipping Company (Souters?)
I'm sure he won't mind me pasting it here:

https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/attachment.php?
attachmentid=6782&d=1169343978

I'll look forward to seeing your painting in due course, Stephen. I'll post my poem about her again, as soon as I can find it.

All the best

Taff

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