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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my 30 odd years at sea I only ever sailed on one tanker, apart from the coastal ones, she was the Cerinthus, Hadley Shipping Co. back in the last quarter of 1969. She was long in the tooth and not in very good shape so I doubt if she lasted much longer. She was running between Rotterdam and the north of Sweden, carrying fuel oil. We were banned from the Keil Canal because she was leaking oil, so were forced to go the long way round each trip.
Would be very much obliged if anyone could post a picture/history of her.
 

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Razor said:
In my 30 odd years at sea I only ever sailed on one tanker, apart from the coastal ones, she was the Cerinthus, Hadley Shipping Co. back in the last quarter of 1969. She was long in the tooth and not in very good shape so I doubt if she lasted much longer. She was running between Rotterdam and the north of Sweden, carrying fuel oil. We were banned from the Keil Canal because she was leaking oil, so were forced to go the long way round each trip.
Would be very much obliged if anyone could post a picture/history of her.
Year of delivery seems to have been 1954. Those with access to proper sources will give you details without difficulty
 

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Built in 1954 for Hadley Shipping Co. Ltd.(Houlder Brothers), by Harland and Wolff Ltd, Belfast. I believe she was of the Shell "H" class. DWT 18,027 with steam turbines.
 

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In early 1952, with freight rates rising as a result of the Korean War, the Hadley Shipping Company took advantage of the strong market to sell their liberty ship “Cerinthus” for £580,000 to Gouldandris, securing a handy £135,000 profit on her purchase price. These funds enabled Hadleys to embark upon a venture with Anglo-Saxon Petroleum and under the “Sale & Charter-back” programme. they took over a new-building contract with Harland & Wolff where a trio of “H” Class tankers were being built, Hull: 1469 – HARPA; 1469 - HARVELLA and 1470 as then un-named but later to become CERINTHUS, entering service in 1954 with a 5 year charter to Shell Tankers, as Anglo-Saxon had by that time been restyled. It was not possible to obtain a fixed price contract at that time with the yard, but the delivered price would have been about £1,200,000 and the 5 year time-charter was at £1-5s-0d (£1.25) per ton per month. As far as I remember Cerinthus was a black oil ship, so did not load products - unlike the “A” Class tanker CLYMENE which had coated tanks and spend a great deal of her life under the control of Shell Eastern, working in the Pacific. The Cerinthus was sold for demolition in 1976, arriving at Faslane on 23 July, an elderly but much loved lady.

Hadleys were quite separate from Houlders (although Houlders did have and still do have a 5pct shareholding), the only connection being that the former took their crews from the latter, so if you were useful you generally got to work for HSC (or “Houlder’s Senior Company”).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you very much Tonga. Was only onboard her for about 7 weeks and the memory is very hazy. Joined her in the Mersey then it was Rotterdam > Lulea and various other ports in Sweden. Can remember that we had to be broken out of the ice in Lulea just before it froze up solid for the winter. Was sure that we carried fuel oil, but will bow to your superior knowledge on that point.
 

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Razor, my knowledge may be classed as many things, but superior is not one of them – I was never a tanker-man (only gas-tankers) so am in no position to comment on what was then classed as dirty and clean trades, but I’m sure you are correct, as Bunker C and maybe even IFO would probabaly be OK in Clymene’s cargo tanks and a very likely cargo if the route was Rotterdam to Lulea. Either way congratulations on sailing on a real ship, owned by a one of the best shipping companies and a vertibable icon. Hadleys are still going strong and now on the 4th generation of the family running the company, quite a feat in this day and age of British Shipping Companies.
 

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Fuel Oil to Lulea

Tonga/Razor,

The heavy fuel oil run from Shell's refinery at Pernis, Rotterdam, via the Kiel Canal to Swedish Ports in the Gulf of Bothnia was a pretty standard one. Starting at the end of September 1963, the 18,000 ton crude carrier 'San Florentino' (Eagle Oil's better version of an 'H' boat) cleaned tanks after discharging a cargo of crude and then commenced a series of voyages where we loaded heavy fuel oil at Pernis. On a succession of trips we visited Skelleftea, Lulea, Umea, Sundsvall, Gavle, Stockholm, retreating before the advancing ice. By mid-December we were still carrying fuel oil but out of the Baltic proper, to Helsingborg, Limhamn and Gothenburg, in Sweden and also to Harburg - Hamburg in Germany.

Ron
 

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Ron, thank you for this, most useful last piece in the puzzle.

ps. Which was worse, seaksickess in the Baltic or seasickness in Chelmsford from looking at the roof of the Marconi head office? (*))
 

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Seasickness

I was only seasick once and that was not while I was at sea but some years later, when fitting radio equipment on a rowing boat that was to cross the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. Bobbing about in the harbour at Las Palmas whilst moored to a buoy, proved too much for my stomach.

Being ashore at Marconi's was definitely no chore - the work was interesting and rewarding. By the time I came ashore in 1966 I had already had my fill of the sea and the industry was changing rapidly. Containers were coming and the break-bulk ship was destined to go the way of the dinosaurs. One-tide turnarounds did not interest me at all and the attractions of shore life were stronger. I wouldn't have missed my time at sea (where else would a young man have been paid to travel round the world enjoying himself?) but as the changes meant more time at sea and less time in port for play I felt the time was right to swallow the anchor. From what I read on this site, the decision was a timely one as things started to go downhill for the British fleet not too long afterwards.

Ron
 

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Joined Cerinthus as 1st trip Apprentice in Oct 1954 when she was fitting out at H&W Belfast. First 3 months running between Curacao, Trinidad, Maracaibo and European & Scandanavian ports. Next 6 months round the world via Suez,Red Sea,Persian Gulf,Borneo,Singapore,Australian and Tasmanian ports(have a pic of her approaching Sydney Harbour Bridge but no means of transmitting, sorry)Came back to U.K via Panama(have pics) Curacao, paid off on the Tyne in July 55. Sailed again as 2nd.Mate Aug to Oct 67.Still a products carrier at that time.
Hadleys also had 3 x 1475 g.r.t. sister ships Camarina, Corato and Calandria. They were Middle traders, Northern limit Archangel, S.limit Canary Islands and the Med.
Cargoes too numerous to list included timber,fish meal,oil seed rape,steel coils etc.
Hope you find some of this of interest
Best Regards
Norsea
 

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Norsea,

Thanks for that. HSC was considered by many as the better part of Houlders and whilst commercially indendent (apart from a 5pct share-holding) their crews were drawn from the same office. i.e. they were all Houlders Sea-Staff.

I sailed on the Corato in 1972 and whilst small was indeed different, these little ships were good fun and it made a change to go to "major sea ports" like King's Lynn instead of Tubarao - mind you a bit frightening seeing 3 fathoms as the available water when one had been used to being scared of seeing less than 10 fathoms. We ended up in dry-dock together with your Cerinthus when she was coming to the end of her days.

Hadleys these days have Panamax bulk-carriers and are not into tankers, but the names remain; their present fleet is:
Cymbeline 73,060 Sumitomo, ***bria 69,043 Imabari, Corato 64,283 Hyundai - they sold the bulker Cerinthus a year back.

Tonga
 

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Tonga,
Many thanks for the info. Its nice to have an update from someone with his finger on the pulse. Most of my time was with Houlders except for the Hadley ships mentioned.I came ashore in 78 so things have changed a lot. My wife and I have been on a few cruises in recent years.Royal Caribbean and Celebrity,and I have never seen any of these monsters use a tug. All Azipods and bow thrusters. Just big floating hotels.Only difference you wake up somewhere different every morning, but I don`t think I would like to serve on one.
Regards
Norsea
 

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Sailed on the old "Cymbeline" which was France Fenwick's "Dalewood" on the north-east coast,was Master on the "***bria" when sold to the Russians and ended up on the "Clymene" before she was also sold
 

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Houlder Brothers

Brain,

That is an interesting collection of Houlders ships and clearly you were a bit special to have been singled out stay with the Hadley side of the company. They must have appreciated you quite a lot, to ask Houlders to allow you to stay with them and move from the "***bria" to the "Clymene".

The sale of the “***bria” was at the very top of the market and was a brilliant piece of timing by the Owners. I remember the “Clymene” was sold and handed over in Singapore (for scrap), with a ridiculous saga by the port authorities who refused to allow the fresh provisions to be given away to a local charity. Kilos of fresh beef were thrown into the sea, whilst the orphans went hungry....

Tonga
 

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Sailed on a couple of Houlders ships after being transferred over from France,Fenwick as well as a PSNC Tanker and then mainly Hadleys mini ships ,Calandria and the infamous Cotinga before the Cymbeline and Clymene.Made redundant when Clymene finished running on the NE Coast
 

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Brian,

You are probably well aware, but for interest, the background to the France Fenwick saga and how their ships came to taken over by Houlders, owes something to the rather dubious activities of “Asset Strippers”. Without wishing to risk the wrath of the censor by adding too many names, let’s just say that the excellent shipping company that was France Fenwick came to be owned by a party more interested in selling the assets for cash, than worrying about the welfare of ships and their crews.

On a particular day, the then owner decided for “banking reasons” that the Chelwood and the Dalewood had to be sold before the day was out. The only company able to move that fast was Hadley, working together with Houlders. The former did the negotiation and bought both ships, with the intention that one would be taken by Houlders and the other by Hadley. So it came to pass that the Chelwood, with its 5 year charter to CEGB passed into Houlders fleet and became the Oswestry Grange, whilst Hadleys took over the Dalewood and she became the Cymbeline.

Tonga
 

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Well aware of what happened to F.F,to quote a phrase "I was there".Also our head man was the son of Sir Errington Keville head honcho of Furness,hence another reason we ended up under Houlders management.
 

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Ron Stringer said:
I was only seasick once and that was not while I was at sea but some years later, when fitting radio equipment on a rowing boat that was to cross the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean. Bobbing about in the harbour at Las Palmas whilst moored to a buoy, proved too much for my stomach.

Being ashore at Marconi's was definitely no chore - the work was interesting and rewarding. By the time I came ashore in 1966 I had already had my fill of the sea and the industry was changing rapidly. Containers were coming and the break-bulk ship was destined to go the way of the dinosaurs. One-tide turnarounds did not interest me at all and the attractions of shore life were stronger. I wouldn't have missed my time at sea (where else would a young man have been paid to travel round the world enjoying himself?) but as the changes meant more time at sea and less time in port for play I felt the time was right to swallow the anchor. From what I read on this site, the decision was a timely one as things started to go downhill for the British fleet not too long afterwards.

Ron
Ron,

I take your point and please forgive my oblique sense of humour; as I was only making a sly dig at the funny roof of the Marconi building that I used to pass on the train going to and from 53 Leadenhall Street.

Yes, there was a time to be at sea and a time to leave. Whilst I would was lucky enough to enjoy my sea career, I think that dry land does have its serious attractions these days. Certainly the four weeks we used to take as a normal turn-round in Buenos Aires, compares rather favorably to the 24 hours we now take to load one our 175,000tdw bulkers in Port Hedland.

Tonga
 

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Tonga said:
Ron,

I take your point and please forgive my oblique sense of humour; as I was only making a sly dig at the funny roof of the Marconi building that I used to pass on the train going to and from 53 Leadenhall Street. Tonga
Tonga, no offence taken I assure you. They say timing is everything; I feel very lucky to have been born when I was and getting all the health and educational benefits of the Welfare State. I started work in a time of full employment and had the opportunity to sail the world with a great bunch of people in peacetime and in an era where seafaring was an interesting and exciting prospect for a young, unmarried man. Although there might have been better employers in the marine radio business (I only sailed with Marconi Marine), none survived for a hundred years and all left the business whilst Marconi sailed on. When I tired of sea-going, they offered me a job ashore that was rewarding (although not as financially rewarding as I might have wished) and varied. That enabled me to get married, buy a house and raise a family without any traumas or tragedies. My wife and I are now enjoying retirement and four young grandchildren. Wouldn't have changed a minute of it.

By the way that funny roof covered the works canteen and kitchens and, when first built, formed the largest unsupported concrete area in the world. It is now a listed building and cannot be knocked down without Government approval.

Ron
 
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