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Discussion Starter #1
Another of the Cardiff Class bulk carriers for Reardon Smith built at Govan in 1972.She was scrapped in 2000 as AN DA.
She is sharing the fitting out basin with,I think IRISH PINE another Cardiff Class for Irish Shipping which sadly was lost in the late 1990s and the Brazilian dredger GUANABARA which I think is still sailing.
 

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My last trip with Smiths was on the Alberni in 1974. Bob Fraser C/E. Reg Russell 3/E, me 4/E.

Steel out to the West Coast and timber back to Cardiff, Antwerp.

Was recently back in Cardiff recently for the first time since. Was out in the clubs till 4 am with the players of Redruth RFC trying to stay young (doesn't work though). For old times sake I asked the cab driver to take me back to the hotel in Cardiff bay, via Devonshire Road (where Smiths offices were). He must have thought I was nuts because I was doing a pretty good job of pretending not to be p****d.
 

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Excellent ship the Alberni, did europe-tampa - visak- japan- BC -Europe run on her, best trip i ever did. good crowd with Dave Litson as c/e , Mo Green 2/e , Dougal Quaye 3/e , me 4/e , Round the world with "Bills Boats" all that and wages too.
 

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Excellent ship the Alberni, did europe-tampa - visak- japan- BC -Europe run on her, best trip i ever did. good crowd with Dave Litson as c/e , Mo Green 2/e , Dougal Quaye 3/e , me 4/e , Round the world with "Bills Boats" all that and wages too.
I sailed with Dave Litson on the Maria Eliza (x Houston City) and D Quayle on the Tacoma. Both great ships, but then all Smiths ships were good (even the Wesh City and Cornish City had good points).
 

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Smiths of Cardiff

Everyone I have ever met who sailed with Smiths say they were a good company.... they seemed to be so successful in the 70's. Shame that bad decisions (Celtic Bulk carriers) and poor markets took them out of fleet owenership. The demise of yet another historic British company. I guess thats what Ships Nostalgia is all about!
 

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Yes Smiths in the 70,s were an excellent company but I don,t think it was the Celtic BC link that did for them, I seem to remember they went into oil rigs with Ben Line and couldnt find any work for them, probably that and the beginning of the flag it out era, and the government of the day I think started withdrawing subsidies for new builds.
Very sad day when they finally went.
 

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Thanks for that Cymruman. Seemed to recall reading of a court case in the Irish press regarding Irish Shipping who I believe were members of Celtic Bulk Carriers and thought it was the insolvency of that operation which brought both companies down. Could be wrong though and bow to greater knowledge (POP)
 

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Yes indeed Irish Shipping were part of Celtic Bulk Carriers, didnt realise about the court case, though it may have happened after I was made redundant in 1980, I am by no means expert in these matters and memory is fading ( too many tinnies). Still Smiths have gone which is a shame but time moves on for us all and at the end of the day ......................................... it gets dark.
I heard rumours that they also started up again as Cardiff Ship Management although I lost touch with my contacts after they folded so I may be wrong on that one. Anyone know any details ?
 

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Celtic Bulk Carriers

As you know, this association made up of Smiths and the Irish Shipping Company had identical Cardiff class ships. With a few small differences.

When in Canada, Nanaimo I believe the Alberni and an ISC ship (the name escapes me) were tied up on the same wharf. We decided to go over for smoko and look at the ship. One thing led to another and we were knocked off for the day.

Around about 3.30 ish someone said lets look at the engine room. Right ho along the alley way we walked to to top engine room access. Undogged the door and flung it open and stepped inside, steadying myself against the jamb as I did so.

Then I found out a small difference. The Irish ship had the automatic door returns while Smiths thought them uneccesary (I can't believe they made this decision on cost grounds alone).

Anyway back came the door and closed on my thumb at a rate of knots. Didn't hurt at the time but next morning hurt like hell. I immediately thought that I'd get a medical pay off or at worst a Caribbean cruise on the way home but no luck. It was only badly bruised. Oh well!
 

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The demise of Reardon Smith.
The connection between RSL and Irish Shipping was a lucrative one . The formation of Celtic B.C. (I.S. handling steel products out to the W.Coast U.S.with R.S. handling Forest products back to U.K./Cont.from British Columbia)._ Vessels loaded both ways -who could ask for more?
The following explanaton given to me by a very reliable source is what I understand transpired.
Sometime in the mid 1970s the Irish Government proposed building a coal fired power station on the W.Coast of Ireland. On the strength of this proposal, Celtic B.C. jumped the gun and chartered in considerable tonnage in anticipation of big business transporting coal. However, the outcome was that the Irish Govt. had second thoughts and decided not to proceed with the project. The extra tonnage had been chartered in at a time of falling freight rates and, although the 840s did their best, the situation became untenable and, sadly, the company went into liquidation.
That is as I understand it, but am prepared to stand corrected!!
 

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Just got back to this thread...... interesting factoid Capilano. No doubt had the power station gone ahead then Celtic Bulkers may still be around today....although probably under some other flag!
 

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Capilano,

My last trip with Smiths was on the Alberni. The officers were:
Captain Tom Mcnulty
Mate K Fulker
2 Mate Ken Jones
3 Mate AJ Smith
Radio Officer Joe Pagnam
Chief Steward D MacPhail
Chief Engineer Bob Fraser
2 Engineer DP Jones
3 Engineer Reg Russell
4 Engineer Dave Ricketts
J4 Engineer RV Williams
J Engineer Alan McNally
Electrician Phil Edgell
Eng Cadet DA Roberts
Deck Cadet RK Phelps

Interesting story about the demise. I was living in Southampton at the time and did read an article at the time of the demise. The article also said that the ships were being brought back to Cardiff. On the streength of that I drove down to Cardiff in the hope of seeing the fleet but no luck. I went back to Cardiff last April for a Saturday night last April. First time in 21 years. How places change. On leaving a bar at 3.30 am on Sunday morning I asked a taxi driver to take me to Greyfriars Road on the way back to the hotel. Nothing of Devonshire House left that I could see. Mind you to be fair I wasn't seeing too well at that time of the morning.

I have another trip planned for next April, who knows I might just have another taxi ride to Greyfriars Road.
 

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Delighted to get feedback re RSL. Being a 75 year old "rustbucket" I do recall names you have mentioned. Ken Jones was an App on the Great City with me (I was Mate) Dave Litson, C/E when we handed over Houston to the Mexicans. You must forgive me if my memory fades at times!! My last command was "BIBI" before having to leave on medical grounds. I had the Port Alberni fron Jan76 to July 76
 

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Intruder on the Thread

Anybody on the Alberni City when she was in a Japanese port with the O.B.O. Furness Bridge. We invited the lads over and we had one hell of a party. I think it might have been 74/75 and I can't even remember the port, it must have been something I drank.
Regards
Marinero(Thumb)
 

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I was on the Alberni in 1974 (first half of the year) so your party must have been after that. The one party I remember was the one described earlier.
 

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I was on the Port Alberni as 'leccy' in 1978' Have sailed with Capt Mcnulty.Ken Jones (he liked to gamble as he had to give up drinking) A.J.Smith (I think he married an american lass?) and also Reg 'Tex'? Russell on my last trip with Smiths 1988 on the Sonia M
regards Malcolm Bennington
 

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Tex Graham Russel was with me on a couple of ships as 2nd Engineer. I met him at the last reunion- we have a common interest as he is (or was) a Justice of the Peace up there in Newcastle. Strange that we both hung up our chipping hammers for a gavel!! Anyway, nice to see there is still some interest in the Company. I think "Large enough to matter, small enough to care" really summed it up.
Regards to all
"J.C."
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Remember when IRISH SPRUCE arrived in Glasgow in 1984 for repair and suddenly went into layup. That must have been around the time of Irish Shipping's demise perhaps.
 

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I sailed on 3 ships of the Cardiff Class. The Tacoma, Victoria and Alberni. The Victoria was, I believe, imperial size and the other two metric. That was the only difference as far as I remember. They were easy to bunker and reliable. A B & W 6 cylinder main propulsion unit that was a dream as far as maintenance was concerned. I forget the make of generator. The usual peripheral machinery such as Alpha Laval purifiers.

I don't know why but the Tacoma was my favourite.

I was also meant to sail on the Vancouver but was taken off after 10 days in Amsterdam in drydock and promoted to the Victoria. An old school friend, Phil Julian had joined and if I had stayed I'm sure it would have been an interesting trip.

Researching the Internet it was a sad moment to realise that ships on which I had spent so many happy times had all been scrapped. It is puzzling that some were scrapped after 20 years and some after 25 years (in some cases the newer vessels were scrapped first). I had often wondered why. I suppose though in the end it was purely an economic decision that decide the time.

Sad though I am I think it was on learning the fate of those ships that made me realise how fast time flies and mortality catches up with everything in the end.
 
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