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  #1  
Old 10th May 2012, 00:38
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ninabaker ninabaker is offline  
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DEMS ships and kit

Does anyone remember the ships that were in some way partly MoD? I think possibly the Cavalier.

There were degaussing cables round the deck, said to be helpful in avoiding magnetic mines. Certainly we had to go and do something mysterious with them afte leaving Lisbon drydock.

The ship carried this crate of special but rather odd stuff. I recall a metal can for passing messages between ships (on a rope??), a weird thing like a wooden bucket with a pipe right through the bottom. I think that was something to tow in the wake, to confuse the sonar. Also code books, zigzag instructions for convoying and leadweighted bags to dispose of them if caught. It all had to be checked every year and I think BP got a retainer fee for this or something.

Am I imagining all this?
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  #2  
Old 10th May 2012, 13:37
DAVELECKIE DAVELECKIE is offline
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Sailed on a few ships with degausing gear, Tree and Ity boats the most likely.
Can remember as Leckie having to do some PM checks on the gear. Check the control panel and meggar test the cables etc.

Dave
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  #3  
Old 10th May 2012, 14:11
DaveO DaveO is offline  
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British Patience had degaussing too. Think how much all that copper cable would be worth now!!
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  #4  
Old 10th May 2012, 15:34
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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The safety and security of BP's Tanker's was considered to be very important to this Country in time's of War and they did have special measure's fitted. It was my Role at one time as a Boarding Officer to check the content's of the Admiralty Safe to make sure everything was there and up to date. The Safe would be opened by the Ship Master upon the receipt of a particular message during the "Period of Tension".
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  #5  
Old 14th May 2012, 22:12
sparks69 sparks69 is offline  
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I remember receiving a very long coded message one evening and after typing out a neat copy and numerous checkings with my ex RAF wop junior handed it to the Master who promptly gave it back to us with a contraption from the safe and told me to wake him when we had decoded it !

Four hours plus later we had finished and handed it over. I won't say what was in it but it was for the Master's eyes only. Great days !
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  #6  
Old 14th May 2012, 22:30
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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Was it the recipe for cheese beanos?

John T
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  #7  
Old 15th May 2012, 10:12
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alastairjs alastairjs is offline  
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I made an early acquaintance with the DEMS equipment aboard BP's tankers. I joined my first ship as a Nav. App., m.v. British Cormorant, at the Isle of Grain on the 2nd October 1962. After a slow load of a full cargo of lube oil, (16,000 tons), for South Africa we sailed on the 22nd of October. On, I think, the 23rd in the evening I was instructed to go with the Senior App and the Bosun to the DEMS store beneath the midships accommodation. Armed with a list of equipment, we then checked off all the items, including the metal container for passing messages by line, against the check list. We also had to count the number of drums of grey paint available for painting over the white superstructures, red funnel etc. Later that evening we were told by the mate that we were on standby to sail to a point in the Atlantic for a convoy rendezvous. These were the critical days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, as we learned later, with the USA at DEFCON 3 and, presumably, the UK at the equivalent state of readiness. After a tense couple of days slow steaming in the Channel/Bay of Biscay we were stood down and life returned to normal. We never did repaint the ship grey and resumed course for the Suez Canal. It wasn't until much later that I realised how close the world had come to nuclear war. I don't recall ever having to handle DEMS stores again, apart from de-storing the Clyde Pioneer before she went to the breakers. An interesting introduction to a life at sea!
Regards,
Alastair
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  #8  
Old 15th May 2012, 10:30
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparks69 View Post
I remember receiving a very long coded message one evening and after typing out a neat copy and numerous checkings with my ex RAF wop junior handed it to the Master who promptly gave it back to us with a contraption from the safe and told me to wake him when we had decoded it !

Four hours plus later we had finished and handed it over. I won't say what was in it but it was for the Master's eyes only. Great days !
Good job it was not a "Flash" (Z) message spark's. Cuba was indeed very close
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  #9  
Old 15th May 2012, 10:48
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The DEMS gear that I remember from my Apprentice days back in the late 60s are the bolts of black canvas that were supposedly for blackout purposes, also a paravane type thing that was for towing astern in fog on a long line to help the ship in line astern follow you. ISTR it was white with red stripes, a T-shape and think it was designed to kick up a lot of spray.
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  #10  
Old 17th May 2012, 23:45
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Great stuff guys, but I think most of you are recalling a period about 10 years before I went to sea in 1972 and this ancient old junk was still on the DEMS ships. Even then it looked like antiques and hopelessly out of date.

As for the Red Menace talks we all had to go and listen to when I took my 2nd mates ticket in 1976- well, laughable would be kind. None of us was remotely politically minded but everyone thought the red threat much overrated by then.

But I heard that a BP ship had to go and take part in refuelling at sea practices with the navy on exercise each year, so the company must have been very tied into the MoD.
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  #11  
Old 18th May 2012, 11:06
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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The importance to the Country of BP along with other's was shown in 1982.
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  #12  
Old 18th May 2012, 12:05
john-elcid john-elcid is offline  
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I was told that Aviator and Architect (but read elsewhere that Courage and Valour were RFA spares) were built as stand-by RN refuellers. I don't know whether they had degaussing fitted. I was on the B acon (Italian pig) and don't remember degaussing gear but it's possible that the Italians put in some plastic coated pipe with no copper in it. She was fast, 16+ knots and there was a spare set of turbine nozzles which we didn't use, might have given an extra knot or so. Probably would have rattled herself to bits if they were opened. Fuel consumption was pretty horrendous at 120 tons/day so with the extra nozzles in would have been upwards of 170 tons if the boilers could keep up with the demand. It would be interesting to know what the daily consumption was on the Venture, the diesel 35.
I remember degaussing in Workman and Councillor, 12s built in '48 so logical to be fitted so. Don't think it was fitted in Chancellor or Crusader so perhaps they stopped fitting it around early '50s. Swift definitely didn't have it.
I thought all UK ships carried DEMS, even to this day. It was always a routine to collect from Dover ferries before they went to refit. A bit of a ritual. Perhaps one of the Captains could advise.

Last edited by john-elcid; 18th May 2012 at 12:10..
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  #13  
Old 18th May 2012, 15:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chadburn View Post
The importance to the Country of BP along with other's was shown in 1982.
Good point well made.



Edit:
Very good point well made.


Last edited by twogrumpy; 18th May 2012 at 16:04..
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  #14  
Old 18th May 2012, 15:53
Graham Wallace Graham Wallace is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john-elcid View Post
I was told that Aviator and Architect (but read elsewhere that Courage and Valour were RFA spares) were built as stand-by RN refuellers. I don't know whether they had degaussing fitted. I was on the B acon (Italian pig) and don't remember degaussing gear but it's possible that the Italians put in some plastic coated pipe with no copper in it. She was fast, 16+ knots and there was a spare set of turbine nozzles which we didn't use, might have given an extra knot or so. Probably would have rattled herself to bits if they were opened. Fuel consumption was pretty horrendous at 120 tons/day so with the extra nozzles in would have been upwards of 170 tons if the boilers could keep up with the demand. It would be interesting to know what the daily consumption was on the Venture, the diesel 35.
I remember degaussing in Workman and Councillor, 12s built in '48 so logical to be fitted so. Don't think it was fitted in Chancellor or Crusader so perhaps they stopped fitting it around early '50s. Swift definitely didn't have it.
I thought all UK ships carried DEMS, even to this day. It was always a routine to collect from Dover ferries before they went to refit. A bit of a ritual. Perhaps one of the Captains could advise.
My god John I sailed the Light for 10 months in 1961 as JE/4E, darned if I can remember any of those technical details but both Beacon and Light were built by Ansaldo.

Graham
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  #15  
Old 18th May 2012, 16:55
john-elcid john-elcid is offline  
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Graham
I was E/A on B acon so took the dips daily and did the consumptions for the Chief, Morgan from Barry or thereabouts. I remember it well because I was given a right b******ing one day because the water consumption was the same as the fuel consumption. How it was my fault, I never understood. But then I seemed to get a daily b******ing from him. I don't think he liked E/As, or just me. Part of my training no doubt. The other E/A seemed to be exempt and he was the one who stayed in his scratcher until breakfast or later.
As for the nozzles, she had sets of 6, 7 and 8. How that worked I never fathomed out. Moved to motorships after that. So much easier to understand. I always thought that the steam system was like a house of cards. Take one out from anywhere and it collapses in a heap. Maybe it was just the Beacon.

Last edited by john-elcid; 18th May 2012 at 17:00..
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  #16  
Old 18th May 2012, 17:12
stevekelly10 stevekelly10 is offline  
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Bp was very much involved with the MOD and also NATO. I left BP when they "flagged out" I then joined Chevron. Some months later I was contacted by one of BP's manning agents trying to get me back with BP urgently as they were having trouble manning one of their dedicated R.A.S ships as they had "Warsaw Pact" officers onboard and NATO where refusing to accept them for service! THe manning agent even offered to pay my flight home, if I walked off the Chevron tanker I was then working on, A lightering vessel off Pasgagoula. They must have been desperate! I didn't take up the offer!
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  #17  
Old 18th May 2012, 19:32
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Where is Pasgagoula?

2G
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  #18  
Old 18th May 2012, 20:41
stevekelly10 stevekelly10 is offline  
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Where is Pasgagoula?

2G
It's in the Gulf of Mexico, Mississipi to be precise and sorry I spelt it wrong it's Pascagoula. Chevron have a big refinery there. Was a good trip, Ship was alongside most nights, so I could keep in regular contact with home and the ship's officers had all "clubbed" together and bought a big old yank car that we shared

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  #19  
Old 18th May 2012, 22:57
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Yup I think it was very likely the Aviator now you mention her. She was the oldest ship I was on but very comfortable for all that.
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  #20  
Old 20th May 2012, 17:13
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A horror chipping & painting the deck - working round all the cables & guards positioned over the cables etc on deck!

Cadets nightmare.
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  #21  
Old 20th May 2012, 17:58
stevekelly10 stevekelly10 is offline  
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I seem to remember of hearing stories of when some of the ships that had De-gaussing cables fitted, went to scrap that the cables had mysteriously vanished from where they entered through the engine room and the ship's side had been painted as if they had never been there!
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  #22  
Old 21st May 2012, 21:07
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There were boards for for covering the ship's name in the DEMS locker as well. I can remember going through one DEMS locker as a cadet. Always thought they were on all ships, not just the likes of the Valour and Courage. The de-gaussing wires on deck were just dirt traps but luckily was never in the position of having to use them in anger or rather defence.
Cheers George
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  #23  
Old 21st May 2012, 22:42
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There used to be areas marked on charts for testing the degaussing, no idea how that was done. Does anyone know if the degaussing cables actually WORKED? As in saved a ship from magnetic mines.
I dont think all ships had the DEMS stuff.
There's this article but it only seems to refer to wartime and we are talking of a period at the end of the cold war, and this one too but I cant seem to google anything for the period we are talking of.
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  #24  
Old 22nd May 2012, 06:07
george jackson george jackson is offline  
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I recall going to Gib to have the De-gaussing gear tested and calibrated but I can't remember if it was on the Statesman or the Power
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  #25  
Old 22nd May 2012, 16:44
chadburn chadburn is offline  
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There were boards for for covering the ship's name in the DEMS locker as well. I can remember going through one DEMS locker as a cadet. Always thought they were on all ships, not just the likes of the Valour and Courage. The de-gaussing wires on deck were just dirt traps but luckily was never in the position of having to use them in anger or rather defence.
Cheers George
The vessel's that had this equipment were built with a subsidy from HMG. Post War.
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