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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I am trying to build a journal of my days on the gas ships of Houlder Brothers. Found a couple of nice pictures already on this excellent forum, but would like to know if anyone has any more they would like to share. I lost all my own shots years ago and have nothing to show my kids. Maybe, there are some salty dogs out there who knew me and took some piccies. I'd especially like to hear from them. To help focus in, here is a brief list of my trips...

Clerk-Maxwell - 9/73 till 1/74 - Houlder Brothers Capt Pugh(?)

Humboldt - 5/76 till 8/76 - Capt Jacques

Wiltshire - 3/79 till 4/79 - seconded from Bibby Line.

(I moved to Bibby Line and ended up with another year's sea time on the Lincolnshire, sistership to Faraday)

Any piccies at all would be a great help. Hope to chat soon.

regards
DerekC
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Gas Ships

Worked on the Faraday when she was new. Very impressive ship. Always felt though, that I was on a time bomb.

Chris.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You said it Chris,

One trip I had to put out a fire on the forward gas riser after a lightning strike, luckily we were in the Houston ship canal at the time, USCG did not see the joke...! Great times though, hard working, hard playing, real seamanship.

DerekC
 

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DerekC said:
Hi everyone,

I am trying to build a journal of my days on the gas ships of Houlder Brothers. Found a couple of nice pictures already on this excellent forum, but would like to know if anyone has any more they would like to share. I lost all my own shots years ago and have nothing to show my kids. Maybe, there are some salty dogs out there who knew me and took some piccies. I'd especially like to hear from them. To help focus in, here is a brief list of my trips...

Clerk-Maxwell - 9/73 till 1/74 - Houlder Brothers Capt Pugh(?)

Humboldt - 5/76 till 8/76 - Capt Jacques

Wiltshire - 3/79 till 4/79 - seconded from Bibby Line.

(I moved to Bibby Line and ended up with another year's sea time on the Lincolnshire, sistership to Faraday)

Any piccies at all would be a great help. Hope to chat soon.

regards
DerekC
(Thumb)
Derek

www.shawsavillships.co.uk/humboldt.htm
www.shawsavillships.co.uk/maxwell.htm

The two Bibby Line vessels can be found on Google by Typing in Bibby Line Shipping Company and brings up numerous websites
 

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DerekC said:
You said it Chris,

One trip I had to put out a fire on the forward gas riser after a lightning strike, luckily we were in the Houston ship canal at the time, USCG did not see the joke...! Great times though, hard working, hard playing, real seamanship.

DerekC
I can remember that thought it was going in to Boston tho, or did it happen more than once
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Glenn,

Probably more than once...or was it a different ship...maybe it was just a recurring nightmare. No, I remember, it was when I was on the Clerk-Maxwell, not Faraday. She used to produce a few nightmares...

regards
DerekC
 

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You want a nightmare, try the Joule!I joined her in Bremen drydock where she was in for storm repairs.........Her bloody rudder fell off somewhere out of Valpariso,and she was towed across the pond with a full load of gas.Ship was rotten,always broke down,rusted through and full of roaches..........Great times were had by all especially on a trip we did to France.I sailed with the finest crew a lad could sail with......I dont think my liver or kidneys could of handled another trip on the Joule with those guys!I really would like to see a picture of her again,so if anyone has one,would you mind sending it to me or posting it.
Pete.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Gas tanker nightmares, I think we have found another good subject to chat about...

When I was on Clerk-Maxwell I remember there were some tales about the Joule and I could never understand why the tale teller had a shiver down his spine every time the name came up, Pete's story could explain that a bit! Tough ships, tough crews, they had to be to keep the things going, but a great time as well. Look forward to reading some other experiences.

regards
DerekC
 

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Mick quinn said:
You may want to see my own puny contribution under Houlder Bros on this website.
Not puny at all Mick, and well recounted - thank you for posting.

By the way, which was the more scary, Curacao Hospital of the BOAC Flight ? (*))

Regards
Tonga
 

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Hi Derek
Was definetly Faraday did 2 trips on her 1st I hated 2nd different crew one of the best trips ive done even tho it was on a firey kipper ( remember funnel )
 

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glenn said:
Hi Derek
Was definetly Faraday did 2 trips on her 1st I hated 2nd different crew one of the best trips ive done even tho it was on a firey kipper ( remember funnel )
Ah, well done Glenn, I had forgotten that name - I always thought the "firey kipper" was a very friendly beastie. I also thought the Gas Ships were probabaly the very best of the fleet.

As for stories... well the Humboldt and the venting of the propane on the final run down to Riga was always a good one.....

(*))
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Glenn,

I remember the stories about Faraday flares...but we also had one on the Clerk-Maxwell. We sent an AB up the riser on a bosun's chair to stick a fire hose down the top. The water froze at the bottom and sealed the leak. He was a volunteer of course, but we made him buy the next slab, in case he got to thinking he was a hero or something.

regards

DerekC
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Gas ship tales

COme on everyone...I know there are some great stories from the annuls of Houlders gas ships...Stir the memories and join in.

Look forward to hearing from you.

regards
DerekC (Thumb)
 

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What not to do....

The names and dates have been ommited to protect the innocent... on one occasion we changed grades by pulling a vacuum (instead of the tedious business of going via a Nitrogen stage). All very safe and relatively harmless, unless when the shore personnel decide to open the valves to their new cargo, they use the wrong tank and instead of taking vapour from another pressure tank, the good ship Humboldt took an entire tank load from an atmospheric tank. The result was one totally flattened shore tank and a lot of bits of dust and scrap metal sucked down the loading manifold.

Happy days when the entire gas tanker industry was learning new tricks

Tonga
 

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My mate who was 3rd mate on the Cavendish told me this.They where in the States discharging when somebody from ashore asked if they had a gas detector handy.My mate sent the cadet off for the Houlders pantented gas detector,he duely came back with a washing up bottle filled with sugee & started squirting it all over manifold.The yank looked on in disbelife and wondered off shaking his head
 

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That sounds spot on, although the Cavendish was relatively normal in terms of gas leaks (as in just a few), not so the Joule, which was quite appalling. You could not enter the compressor room without a full BA set most of the time, so the idea that the USCG was going to inspect her, was a bit too much to bear and called for appropriate action.

Having met the USCG Inspector and discussed how important their job was and how amazingly intelligent they must have to be in order to cope with inspections of modern ships, we set off to inspect the “pump room” – well that what the (temporary) notice on the door read. We entered this space to see rows of gleaming “pumps” and a wonderful clean air with no trace of ammonia – not even a trace reading on the draeger meter ! - The fact that we were standing in the electrica motor room with its positive air lock system might have been part of the reason.

Joule passed her inspection and we were allowed to continue our hazardous voyage un-interrupted. Disgraceful and quite unacceptable, but things were different then.

Tonga
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Shore professionals...possibly?

Once, in Japan, when we were having quite severe fridging problems, or rather, over pressure problems. We had a team of Japanese engineers down to try and find out the problem. About 20 of them turned up all bristling with slide rules and books of tables and design sheets and they went through our fridge plant with several fine tooth combs. After 24 hours they were madly calculating, specific heats, latent energy losses, saturated vapour pressures and everything. But, as all good gassers know, these ships were never meant to be logical. The next day our new Chief Officer arrived on board and listended to the story. He walked down to the compressor room and picked up a 5lb lump hammer, gave each of the expansion valves a light tap and stood back. Sure as eggs is eggs, we started getting liquid cargo in the sight glasses. The expression on the Japanese experts faces was brilliant. As our new Mate remarked later...there is nothing like a bit of precision engineering to make these ships work!!

Regards
DerekC
 

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Tonga

Without a shadow of a doubt the "Hospital" at Curacao. All of the staff refused to speak English to me, I knew very little Dutch. Imagine being bed-bound and needing a potty!!! A nightmare that I would wish on no-one.
Thank you for your kind words, much appreciated
 
L

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Gas Tanker Skipper extraordinaire

Anybody remember Captain Tom Woolcot, I think he just about wrote the book on gas tanker ops. He was also famous for his parties, he would shout down the alleyway "BANZAI" and everyone knew there was a party in the offing. We were joining the Cavendish in Japan(Chita) Jan. 74. Capt. Parkin had given him a cine camera to make a movie of the life of the cadets on board a ship to be shown in schools as a recruitment drive. At one of his parties he got legless and we stripped him naked and dumped him in a locker videoing at the same time. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when the office staff played that
particular movie back. He also knew every dirty sea shanty ever wrote. A great character.
Leo
 
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