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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've uploaded some photos and would be grateful to hear any memories of the event.

There are a few photos of various people involved as well, so I hope somebody sees someone they know!

Ron
 

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Christos Bitas

In October 1978, while approaching Milford Haven, the Greek tanker 'Christos Bitas' loaded with a cargo of 30,000 tons of Iranian Crude Oil, ran aground on the Hats and Barrels reef. The lightening tanker 'Esso York' was chartered to lighten the stricken vessel, successfully salvaging all but 3000 tons of her cargo. The 'Christos Bitas' was later towed out to sea and sunk. At the time, this incident was the most serious case of oil pollution to hit the coast of Pembrokeshire. Bruce.
 

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I remember it well too - I was the pilot of a Search and Rescue SeaKing helicopter from the RAF SeaKing Training Unit from RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall. We flew up to help as the RAF Brawdy rescue flight only had Whirlwind helicopters and were unable to locate and let down to the Christos Bitas in the fog. We flew a large pump from Pembroke Dock on 13th October and some salvage experts. On the 25th October we flew out a BBC crew whilst she was being towed out to be sunk (I still have some photos - where do I upload them to and where do I find Ron's photos?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I remember it well too - I was the pilot of a Search and Rescue SeaKing helicopter from the RAF SeaKing Training Unit from RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall. We flew up to help as the RAF Brawdy rescue flight only had Whirlwind helicopters and were unable to locate and let down to the Christos Bitas in the fog. We flew a large pump from Pembroke Dock on 13th October and some salvage experts. On the 25th October we flew out a BBC crew whilst she was being towed out to be sunk (I still have some photos - where do I upload them to and where do I find Ron's photos?)
Hi Jerry,

Glad to hear from someone else that was involved!

If you click on the 'Gallery' link at the top of the page, then enter 'Bitas' in the search, you should see all the photos I uploaded.

Regards,

Ron
 

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Cristos Bitas

Hi, Ronf
Iwas on the Esso York when the 'Bitas' run aground, we were there before the British Dragoon. We did extract some oil from her, but for what ever reason we departed to allow the Dragoon to go along side. I have some photos, i'll try and get them posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi, Ronf
Iwas on the Esso York when the 'Bitas' run aground, we were there before the British Dragoon. We did extract some oil from her, but for what ever reason we departed to allow the Dragoon to go along side. I have some photos, i'll try and get them posted.
Hi Trevor,

Good to hear from you!
As far as I'm aware, the Dragoon was carrying airtight fittings that were installed on the Christos Bitas, allowing the tanks to be filled with air, so I think that's why the Yorkd eparted. But I could be wrong! :)

Incidentally, I stumbled across this post from Paul Hannam, who was apparently a shipmate of yours at the time:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/history/calendar/?2004/10/12

Regards,

Ron
 

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Cristos Bitas

Hi Ron
When we was along side the 'Bitas', myself and another Mechanic (a geordie lad called Geof) worked with the *Chief Engineer and Second Engine working on the ballast main attaching blank flanges fitted with compressed air fittings.

*(I think their names were Bob Eggleton & Bruce 'Sludge' Gudge)

This would enable the York to pump in compressed air which did intially asssist the RN salvage team to try to save the vessesl.

I remeber our cook, a chap called Barney 'Magoo' who took a large box of sandwhiches & coffee for the salvage squad who were working on board. On his return to the York he came back with a TV!

I can't remember that chap Paul, Do you know what his rank was?

Regards
Trevor
 

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Hi Trevor

Remember Barny well sailed with him on a couple of trips including the cristos trip. I was AB on her at the time remember that we all thought we would be Megga rich with the salvage money £160 or ther abouts didnt go very far.Regards Rod
 

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I've uploaded some photos and would be grateful to hear any memories of the event.

There are a few photos of various people involved as well, so I hope somebody sees someone they know!

Ron
photo 5 = Ralph Maybourn from London office pointing out something Photo 8 = Bill Barker, also from London office who at the time was the senior marine superintendent
 

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bitas

I've uploaded some photos and would be grateful to hear any memories of the event.

There are a few photos of various people involved as well, so I hope somebody sees someone they know!

Ron
hi ron were are your photos i have been looking for them and i cannot find them sam
 

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I showed the photos to Jack Thomas who replied

In the photos white boiler suit is Ralph Maybourn [really top man] talking to Robin Stephenson. Other photo Bill Barker leads Robin and in the other hat is Alan Preston.

Gerry.
 

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photo 5 = Ralph Maybourn from London office pointing out something Photo 8 = Bill Barker, also from London office who at the time was the senior marine superintendent
My longtime very good friend and ex shipmate (new build "British Industry") of many years ago, Stuart LeFevre, was first aboard "Christos Bitas" by helicopter.See " A Love Of Ships" GAB King.
For those who know Stuart, he is living the good life. In partnership with a couple of others, Just planted 2000 odd vines, Created "WWW" = Wayford Westcountry Wines, what with that Rotary, Bowls,and vast responsibility on HMS President a very busy chappie (at his age should slow down he he) had a couple of days with him at my wifes funeral - one night a bit hectic!!!!
Mac.
 
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