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What's that toast?

"Officers & Gentlemen of the P & O and other ranks of the Merchant Navy"

They may not have been badly designed but badly used ships could be just as bad. (*))
 

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Gastor Nestor

Not crap ships, but a very bad idea - the LPG vessels "Nestor" and "Gastor" of Ocean Fleets. They never carried a commercial cargo and went straight from the yard to lay-up in Loch Striven. They were eventually offloaded to Nigerian national lines "Port Harcourt" and "Port Lagos" I think. I don't think that this pair of White Elephants can be matched!

Dave
 

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Ron Lloyd said:
get some of the ex SSM engineers to tell you about the RUSTON AO Engines
they were crap with a capital C.
In fact, any ship with a Rusty Weasel in it.
 

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If there's any old BHP engineers out there, get them to tell you about "Iron Parkgate"- ex-"Naess Parkgate", I think. What a bucket of bolts! I seem to recall that they had her on charter for about 2 years and she only did one trip! The rest of the time she was alongside undergoing repairs, hull and engine.
As an apprentice at Newcastle State Dockyard, I recall a surveyor telling us that at one time when tank repairs were being carried out a boilermaker couldn't strike and arc in a tank margin. On further investigation it was found the margin was caulked with oakum!!! And so on.....
 

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I had avery brief spell on the Iron Parkgate as R/O, joined her alongside the Dykes in Newcastle NSW and she was a mess. If the bloke in the next cabin had a shower my cabin flooded. Forget what type of radar she had think it was a KH,all spring-loaded buttons, when you pressed the "Start" button'all the other jumped out and you coul not tell what range you were on. After spending a month in Newcastle, mostly in the pub with the Old Man at night
drowning our sorrows AWA took me off as she did not seem to be going anywhere. I heard later she went to Singapore for drydocking and handing back to Naess and had an engineroom explosion in the dock which killed a few.
I also sailed on the Iron Clipper which was the Naess Clipper on charter to BHP and she was a bit of a wreck too
Ern Barrett
 

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I served as 3rd mate on the GTV REMBRANDT, now there was a white elephant, having a Gas Turbine engine she spent a lot of time moored off Smith's dock Middlesbrough having work done on the engines. Apprentices on one of the Bolton Ore Carriers painted white elephants on the hull while waiting to discharge ore at South Bank. All hell let loose as the ship was shifted and the painting seen.

Spent 4 months on her itching to press the emergency stop button on the bridge. Was actually able to do it on my last day while entering the Royal Docks, London. Got the message from the 2nd Mate that a mooring line had dropped off the lockside and was heading for the variable pitch prop. the noise as the gasifiers went up the funnel was terrific and the old man came charging into the bridge screaming about losing power. We had to move through the system to the grain elevator in Victoria dock completely dead ship.

Changing speed was undertaken by turning a wheel on the bridge to alter the pitch. It was strenuous work and when docking we were convinced there were two engineers holding on the ER wheel to stop us changing the pitch to quickly and losing power.

Still it was better than my next ship the RESTORMEL which took 28 days to get from London to Newport News.

Never ran successfully on four of the five gasifiers seemed satisfactory on three but could never keep an average daily speed on her design speed. When sold to the French the first thing they did was replace the engine.
 

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Shell had a VLCC called the Lotorium built at Harland & Wolff in Belfast back in the the seventies. I joined her when she was six months old by chopper at Las Palmas. There was no paint left on the deck!! Shell said to leave everything for the Gaurentee Dry Dock!! The engine room was a nightmare - we spend countless hours fixing broken bits and pieces - it was the only vessel I sailed on that was built in that yard, thank god!!
On a general note the best ships I sailed on for overall good design and "workabilty " were all built in West Germany.
 

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"Baltic Wal's" experience with gas turbine ships is quite different to mine. I sailed on both "Seaway Prince" and "Seaway Princess", gas turbine electric, in Union Steamship Co of NZ. These were the cleanest jobs I ever had, you couldn't get dirty! Warm through for standby took a whole 15 minutes! Push the button on the Speedtronic control and the turbine ran up to speed under controlled conditions and then all you had to do was put it on the board. Sadly they were conceived at a time of cheap fuel prices, but after one of the Arab/Israeli wars, the greatly increased fuel costs killed them, so I suppose that they must be classed as white elephants.
 

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I was Electrician on the 'Blanchland' of Stevey Clarkes from Nov. 1964 until May 1965. Only the first or maybe 2nd 'P' type Doxford built. The last ship to be built at Grays West Hartlepool (1961) before they closed. She had 12 Clarke Chapman AC winches with pole changing motors. Everything on the ship was a nightmare. The winch motors would explode with frightening regularity, main engine was constantly going 'BANG'. After loading sugar in Peru took almost a month to cross the Pacific to Auckland after a crankcase explosion left us going 99 clump on 3 legs. Fortunately we had a great crowd almost all Sunderland and 'Shields, but they were used to colliers and would panic if they couldn't see land.(Cloud)
 

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Shell had a VLCC called the Lotorium built at Harland & Wolff in Belfast back in the the seventies. I joined her when she was six months old by chopper at Las Palmas. There was no paint left on the deck!! Shell said to leave everything for the Gaurentee Dry Dock!! The engine room was a nightmare - we spend countless hours fixing broken bits and pieces - it was the only vessel I sailed on that was built in that yard, thank god!!
On a general note the best ships I sailed on for overall good design and "workabilty " were all built in West Germany.
Tmac must have missed this one??
 

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I'm sure that ship was a problem ship due to her being partially built and abandoned at H&W, prior to Shell taking her over, it would be interesting to hear from anyone else who sailed on the subsequent L class vessels out of H&W.
 

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United States

The American super-liner United States is the fastest passenger liner ever built. In this respect the ship fully met her designer’s and owners’ ambitions. She had an instant success in capturing the Blue Ribband for the fastest east and westbound transatlantic crossings. In every other way however, United States was perhaps the most expensive maritime white elephant ever built.

Throughout the great Blue Ribband competition of the 1930s, the American naval architect William Francis Gibbs, dreamed and schemed to design and build an American record holder. In the late 1940s he used the exemple of the British liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth transporting hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops to Europe during World War II, to persued the United States government to sponsor the construction of a large and very fast liner capable of transporting a division of 14,000 soldiers up to 10,000 miles without refueling.

The decission makers failed to register that large numbers of long range troop carrying aircraft were being delivered to the USAF and that with the Soviets building increasingly capable long range bombers and missiles, the US was highly unlikely to ever again place 14,000 troops at risk in a single ship. Nevertheless, the US Government provided a $50 million subsidy towards the ship’s $78 million cost. The present day value of the subsidy is $410 million.

The new liners owners, United States Lines, must have bitterly regretted agreeing to the scheme however, for she never managed to earn enough to cover her crew and fuel costs. To make matters worse, she was frequently strike-bound for months at a time. There were 11 separate strikes between 1961 and the liner’s withdrawal from service in 1969.

By the time the 17 year old United States went into permanent lay-up she was costing her owners $8 million a year in losses. ($45 million a year at today’s values) This was despite receiving a total of $100 million in US taxpayers’ operational subsidies during her service life. During her career she only managed to achieve an average load factor of 54%. She was of course never used as a troopship.

Fred
 

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I'm sure that ship was a problem ship due to her being partially built and abandoned at H&W, prior to Shell taking her over, it would be interesting to hear from anyone else who sailed on the subsequent L class vessels out of H&W.
Umm, what can I say........they were a bit better but had their faults. Hand on my heart I must confess that during this time we (H&W) had lost our way a bit and the pride in the job just wasn't there anymore, sad really but you poor buggers had to sail in and operate them. My apologies to you all, we could and should have done better.(Sad) (Sad)
 
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