British Renown 3 fatalities in Tank Gassing - Ships Nostalgia
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British Renown 3 fatalities in Tank Gassing

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  #1  
Old 11th August 2012, 03:18
Graham Wallace Graham Wallace is offline  
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British Renown 3 fatalities in Tank Gassing

I have started a new thread that originally was mentioned in "What happened in 1986". Derek Hore mentioned the death of Andy Parsons in reply #46 and the topic seemed to roll on backwards and forwards from there on.

I try to keep a record of incidents such as these and if Navigating/cadets were involved will enter some information in the Navigating Apprentices/Cadets database. However I am having real trouble trying to work out which facts are probably correct and some which are possibly not

- The incident presumably did occur on the new Renown The older one was scrapped in 1970 so it had to be the vessel built in 1974 . I have no info on her launch date.

- 3 persons died, it is generally agreed that 2 NC's died
- Probably the Chief Officer who went into the tank to help.
- Possibly the 3rd Mate, ,but not certain here.

-One of the NC's was Andy Parsons ( an AB Parsons exists on the NA/NC database Possibly a 1970 but probably a 1971, first vessel to my knowledge is the Vision in May 1971) he would have finished his time mid 1975??

- Andy Parsons had a beard. A beard was mentioned as possibly causing death. So can we presume Andy Parson WAS one victim .

-It was mentioned earlier in the thread the incident was later than 1973 ( Renown not built until 1974 sometime) and probably in 1974 ( latter months?)

-Then there was a later feeling it was 1977 and then a more positive feeling of 1977 as Daveleckie joined the Renown after the incident.....Dave you joined August 1979

- I start to get very nonplussed around here as I have many copies of Ships Movements and in March 1st 1974 Ships Movements only indicte 5 persons aboard, guess she was crewing up then. When did she do her trials?

- in Oct 16th 1974 SM issue she was fully crewed up , Master M Boyd and 2 DC's, DJ Davey and GJ Greensmith. She was at Kharg Island heading for Europe. So had done trials and then gone out to the Gulf ( + 3 months or so?)

Derek had previously mentioned to me that another DC named Andy Gibbon had died in a tank gassing, is it possible he was the second Renown victim ?...........or does this incident happen with more frequency than remembered ? I have never come across this guy in any Ships Movements, A first tripper?

-If Andy Parsons did perish on the Renown and was a DC at the time it had to be before the end of 1975 ! He was a 1971 intake

-Dec 1974 SM's indicate only one DC aboard, Petch

- Unfortunately I do not have any SM's for 1975 (this maybe crucial)

- there were a couple of DC's November 1976

-In 1977 the Renown had DC's, January(2), April (4), May (4), June (3), August (2) , Sept (2), October (2), November (1), December (2)

- in 1978, 2 DC's until March and then none until June 1979

- Does anyone else have a better handle on all 3 victims names?

- My personal feeling is that there is no way a surviving DC ( or DC's) would remain on the Renown, they would have been transferred out


So if anyone has reached as far as this they must be as traumatised as I am. My gut feeling tells me this incident occurred in 1975, but again I may be wrong there.

As an aside note a few years ago I was researching the 1956 deaths of two Engineering Apprentices in the pumproom on the British Vision. It turned out to be only one death. However the person who did the actual UK research for me ( an old member of Ships nostalgia) found out that during the period January 1957 to December 1964 there were 161 deaths aboard BP tankers, many of them natural causes, average of 2/month

Graham
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  #2  
Old 11th August 2012, 10:35
stevekelly10 stevekelly10 is offline  
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Thanks Graham

Having already posted my recollections in the previous thread, All I can add is that I am struggling to comprehend why Two cadets were allowed to enter a tank that was not obviously gas free, it beggars belief! That's why I felt that one of the fatalities was a 3rd mate. As to the date I initially said 1977, but having looked at your statistics of cadet movements on the Renown, I would now say 1978 as there were no cadets between March 1978 and June 1979, highly unusual!. It was also 1979 when I was on the Ranger, commisioning the new BA sets. hope this helps. On a personal note this incident was always in the back of my mind every time I entered a tank after it happened and I always made my own checks to ensure it was safe to enter!

Steve

P.S Just checked my Discharge book I was actually on the "Renown" 4/11/77 to 23/01/78 and have no recollection of the incident ever being mentioned. However when I left her it was in Hamburg drydock were it was being converted for use as a transhipment vessel for the alaskan crude via the panama canal. Probably explains why there were no cadets onboard her during March78 to June79

Last edited by stevekelly10; 11th August 2012 at 15:25..
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  #3  
Old 11th August 2012, 13:27
mikeharrison mikeharrison is offline  
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Hi Graham,

It was indeed a very sad incident. There was a formal report on the accident and I think that it would probably have been published by the British Chamber of Shipping in those days. The lessons of the accident were certainly noted by many of us and reinforced the already well known knowledge of the risks. Going down into a non gas-free tank on a ship of that size was hazardous in the extreme. Those tanks were the size of Cathedrals and it was a major trek just to get down to the bottom of one.

I think that we perhaps have to be careful in case the families of the poor guys concerned are reading this, in order not to reopen old wounds.


I found mention of it in the BP magazine "The Flag", which you can find on the Web, as follows:

SafetyMoment
ďI joined my second ship, British Renown, in 1975 as a first trip junior engineer. Just before I joined there had been two fatalities
on British Renown during a cargo tank inspection in which shipís staff were using breathing apparatus to enter a tank that had
not been gas- freed. One of those who died was a deck cadet who had entered the tank under the supervision of a senior
officer. What frightened me most of all was the realisation that, as an inexperienced junior officer myself, I would probably have
entered the tank under the same circumstances. The incident left me with two very important messages that I will never forget.
If it doesnít feel safe, it probably isnít safe. So donít do it. And, we all have a duty to ensure that our actions and decisions do
not put others at risk, especially when they are less experienced than we are.Ē Adrian Howard


Regards, Mike
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  #4  
Old 11th August 2012, 15:51
DAVELECKIE DAVELECKIE is offline
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As Graham said I joined the Renown August 79 in Europort and we sailed directly to Lisbon for drydocking. I was not aware of her having been in Hamburg the previous year for conversion to tranship Alaskan crude.
Indeed after leaving drydock for loading at Kharg island via Suez canal, we discharged Europort. Then repeated the trip and much to my disappointment we slow steamed round the Cape to Europort, discharged and I paid off in Torquay where she was anchored off awaiting orders. Several photos of her in Libon drydock in my Gallery.
As regard the terrible incident that had occurred, I knew of this before joining her and thought it was common knowledge as it had been well "publicised" by the company around the fleet with loads of information about the airline BA sets etc etc immediately following the accident.

Dave
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Old 11th August 2012, 19:05
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derekhore derekhore is offline  
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The only date for sure that I can confirm is that Andy Parsons did his Induction Course at Plymouth Nautical College with me in September 1970.

I returned to Plymouth for my next phase in September 71, having been off 'sick' with tonsillitis and was not with the original group of BP lads then - so right through college I was with the intake behind the one I originally started with.

As I left BP in January 1977 I am sure it must have been before then, but as to when .. I have no idea now.
The rest of my college time was done at Brunel College, Bristol - so I doubt if I would have heard about the incident there.

However - I do remember the circular coming around saying all the CABA 'Y' pieces had to be disposed of .. so again, sometime before January 1977 comes to mind.
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  #6  
Old 11th August 2012, 21:28
Graham Wallace Graham Wallace is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeharrison View Post
Hi Graham,

It was indeed a very sad incident. There was a formal report on the accident and I think that it would probably have been published by the British Chamber of Shipping in those days. The lessons of the accident were certainly noted by many of us and reinforced the already well known knowledge of the risks. Going down into a non gas-free tank on a ship of that size was hazardous in the extreme. Those tanks were the size of Cathedrals and it was a major trek just to get down to the bottom of one.

I think that we perhaps have to be careful in case the families of the poor guys concerned are reading this, in order not to reopen old wounds.


I found mention of it in the BP magazine "The Flag", which you can find on the Web, as follows:

SafetyMoment
ďI joined my second ship, British Renown, in 1975 as a first trip junior engineer. Just before I joined there had been two fatalities
on British Renown during a cargo tank inspection in which shipís staff were using breathing apparatus to enter a tank that had
not been gas- freed. One of those who died was a deck cadet who had entered the tank under the supervision of a senior
officer. What frightened me most of all was the realisation that, as an inexperienced junior officer myself, I would probably have
entered the tank under the same circumstances. The incident left me with two very important messages that I will never forget.
If it doesnít feel safe, it probably isnít safe. So donít do it. And, we all have a duty to ensure that our actions and decisions do
not put others at risk, especially when they are less experienced than we are.Ē Adrian Howard

Regards, Mike
Thanks for that follow up Mike, I have always been very aware of 'opening old wounds' specifically when dealing with my investigations into the British Crown disaster. In the last 12 years I have had about 6 family members contact me and in those cases all were extremely interested in anything I could tell them . In 1966 I think information was hard to get even though there was an official inquiry held the following year, I know one family who could not afford the travel. I was most surprised at the lack of information they had received, it was a pleasure to help.

The Crown disaster and the follow up was not one of BP's finer moments.

Most of my correspondence was with siblings or close relatives, who were young at the time and were never really told much then, and that has always been an unsatisfactory ending for them. Parents who were the most affected have mainly died.

Maybe in 1975 things were a little different and information to families more forthcoming and most victims younger and the circumstances quite different.

I doubt I will be able to get much further with the Renown case but I do like to make note of it and keep a record of any information I might be given. It is surprising nowadays with the internet how most unusual contacts are made, an example of that will be a note I will be putting up in a reminder of the Crown disaster anniversary for this 20th August.

Graham
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Old 12th August 2012, 01:59
tedu tedu is offline  
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Hi Graham,
I have previously metioned in another thread that I was a first trip cadet with Andy Parsons on the British Statesman from October 1970to about March 1971. On the Fleet lists they mistakingly used our next of kin's first name initials. From memory, I am sure the incident on the Renown happened in 1975, and Andy was by then 3/O. The other victims were a cadet and the Chief Officer.
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Old 12th August 2012, 07:48
Graham Wallace Graham Wallace is offline  
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Originally Posted by tedu View Post
Hi Graham,
I have previously metioned in another thread that I was a first trip cadet with Andy Parsons on the British Statesman from October 1970to about March 1971. On the Fleet lists they mistakingly used our next of kin's first name initials. From memory, I am sure the incident on the Renown happened in 1975, and Andy was by then 3/O. The other victims were a cadet and the Chief Officer.
Tedu,

Thanks for that gem, I had a look at 10th December 1970 SM's, I suppose that also goes or Wallace, yourself and Tindall, though probably not Tindall as He appears as J Tindall on Seafarer in May 1970.
I wonder how many other times that clerical error was made.

For me the Renown incident was in 1975 and that is quite logical Andy was a 3M. Maybe sometime I'll come across some 1975 SM's and get confirmation.

Graham
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Old 12th August 2012, 12:58
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kevjacko kevjacko is online now  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Wallace View Post
Tedu,

Thanks for that gem, I had a look at 10th December 1970 SM's, I suppose that also goes or Wallace, yourself and Tindall, though probably not Tindall as He appears as J Tindall on Seafarer in May 1970.
I wonder how many other times that clerical error was made.

For me the Renown incident was in 1975 and that is quite logical Andy was a 3M. Maybe sometime I'll come across some 1975 SM's and get confirmation.

Graham
Hi Graham,

Have sent you a PM ref this thread.

Kev
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Old 12th August 2012, 13:07
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derekhore derekhore is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Wallace View Post

For me the Renown incident was in 1975 and that is quite logical Andy was a 3M.

Graham

Correct Graham ... also, many Senior Cadets were promoted to 3/O before their final results came out, as I was in May 1974.
Andy was ahead of me by around 6 months due to the time I missed through illness, so this would almost certainly be correct.

Andy was very friendly with another BP Cadet called John Murray, they went through Plymouth together .. but sadly I have no info on his whereabouts anymore.
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Old 12th August 2012, 19:55
trevflstn trevflstn is offline  
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Whether this throws any light on dates etc. i am not sure. I did two 6 week trips , one after the other, as extra third mate to allow the mate to go on to daywork supervising the replacement of the tank anodes.
The first trip was on the Trident December 76 to Feb 77, then the Renown March 77 to April 77.
We were told that this was the first large scale tank work at sea since the incident. Whether this was strictly true i am not sure but needless to say all safety precautions were very strictly adhered to.
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Old 13th August 2012, 01:35
Uricanejack Uricanejack is offline  
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The tank incident happened prior to my joining BP. I do not know any of the names and would not have been sure of which ship. It was still very fresh in the minds those who were with BP. I heard a great deal about the incident which was investigated by the MAIB under its previous title. This incident changed BP. It changed DOT requirements. It changed tank entry throughout the industry in the UK. It Changed SOLAS through IMO.
Unfortunately it usually takes a tragedy involving serious injury or death to do so.
MAIB reports from the 70s were not available on line last time I checked. They can be asked for if you have enough information about when and which ship. I asked a couple of years ago for The Avon’s fire report but they couldn’t find I didn't have enough information regarding date.
After 30 years my memory is probably faulty.
The incident occurred on an R class and involved entry into an empty, inerted tank on a VLCC by 2 crew one of whom was a cadet. Both were wearing an SCBA connected to a single ALBA with a Y connection. The smoke helmet was not involved had a different type of hose with no compatible connections.
The airline system was still in use when I started but the Y piece was outlawed. Each crew member was required to have a separate Air line with SCBA. The sets were still negative pressure. Seibe Gorman I think replaced later By Dreager positive pressure sets.
The Air Line system had a 3 filter to filter the air from deck compressor or engine room air and just used the same air lines as the needle guns up to the filter. The lines from filters to SCBA were dedicated for this use and connected to SCBA by bayonet male female fitting. The SCBA bottles were turned off and valve was very hard to reach behind your back.
The version I heard was the Y piece was the problem. The two crew were very different sizes the Cadet a particularly big lad. Also probably a bit nervous was breathing much more heavily than other crew member and getting most of the air. The other crew member collapsed first and the cadet tried to carry him up but succumbed as well only half or to thirds way up. neither turned on their SCBA probably due to a combination of very difficult to reach, oxygen deprivation, lack of familiarity and possibly panic I could be completely wrong about this it is also possible he did turn on his SCBA but the distance from the Bottom of a VLCC tank to the deck was about 25m . A hell of a long way on a 20 minute bottle. They don't last 20 minutes under exertion.
The Chief Officer on reaching the scene had a hell of a problem. How do you recue two crew from an inert tank who are wearing the Ships only two SCBA?
He tried to use the 5 minute escape set from pump room. An entered the tank with it. He reached the casualties and tried to bring up the unconscious cadet. I heard he made it to the last landing before he succumbed.
The ship did have 2 smoke helmets but the hoses were only 40 ft. long. I think they could be connected together but they were probably to far down.
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Old 13th August 2012, 02:33
willhastie willhastie is offline  
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in answer to avon dates,we joined her in japan 15/5/74 then to the gulf so you should be able to work out roughly how long that voyage was at 14/15 knots.because we abandoned the avon our discharge books have no leaving date (captain to busy )the next ship i joined was dart 2/7/74 after 2 weeks leave so deduct that and you have a narrow window for the incident ,my apologies for placing this info on this thread but thought it would be lost elsewhere.
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Old 16th August 2012, 18:54
davet davet is offline  
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I sailed with the Master involved during his first trip to sea after the incident. He told me the following.
1. The C/O was inspecting tanks (There were rumours that a Superintendent had asked for the limber holes to be inspected). He had started from forward and had arrived at the aft tank, just forward of the bridge.
2. I am not sure if he had inspected this tank. The 3/O and Cadet asked if they could go down for experience and the C/O agreed.
3. They both collasped and the C/O tried to rescue them with the results we know.
4. At the DTI enquiry it was stated that the Company Rules stated that they should not have entered the tank. But the Master's Lawyer showed that elsewhere the Company Rules told you how to do it. The Master was cleared by the DTI.
5. I sailed with the Master in late 1975 so I think that the incident occured in late 1974 or early 1975. Late 1975 was definitely his first trip back at sea after the incident.
6. My own view was that the rules had not caught up with the actual sieze of a VLCC and I suspect there was pressure from the superintendent.
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Old 6th March 2014, 20:37
cb2171 cb2171 is offline  
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[QUOTE=stevekelly10;613286]Thanks Graham

Having already posted my recollections in the previous thread, All I can add is that I am struggling to comprehend why Two cadets were allowed to enter a tank that was not obviously gas free, it beggars belief! That's why I felt that one of the fatalities was a 3rd mate. As to the date I initially said 1977, but having looked at your statistics of cadet movements on the Renown, I would now say 1978 as there were no cadets between March 1978 and June 1979, highly unusual!. It was also 1979 when I was on the Ranger, commisioning the new BA sets. hope this helps. On a personal note this incident was always in the back of my mind every time I entered a tank after it happened and I always made my own checks to ensure it was safe to enter!


Procedures for tank entry was generally pretty good by this time and ferociously enforced afterwards. Before then, there was never a sense of complacency, but some of the jobs given to cadets were what was referred to as "character building" or a test to see if you were the "right stuff". Being being sent into a dirty cofferdam to see if it was "safe"; singlehandedly closing tank lids in a storm and in the dark were a couple. I'm sure there were others. It was a different culture then and would not happen now. The sad thing is, I still remember and as you point out people die. I remember the incident, pretty sure it was 1975.
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Old 8th March 2014, 09:36
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I have in the past PM'd Graham ref this thread,
the subject being my Uncle Tony Leslie (aka noel) was the Chief Steward on her at the time, although being renowned throughout as a hard man in many respects, he was a great First Aider, and as such had the job of trying to revive the men when they were eventually out of the tank. Uncle Tony only ever spoke once about this incident and I'll never forget his recollections or his sadness of the event itself. He had the misfortune of being on the Tweed also when 2 people lost their legs and that was very close to the Renown incident. It may even have been the trip before or after.
If anyone has a personal connection to the Renown incident please feel free to PM me. However his story I think should remain personal as there were things said at the inquest that touched him deeply, and some shenanigans from Panic House pen pushers that angered him.
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