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Paul Kennedy
9th July 2012, 07:32 AM
I was on this ship around 1978
anyone else remember this vessel?

Captain Kong
9th July 2012, 07:35 AM
I was on `Big Geordie` in 1976 and then when she broke down in Cape Town. A good trip. Did six months.
I heard there was a Murder on board a few years later, someone went berserk in the galley with a carving knife, , anyone else hear about that??
Cheers
Brian.

Ray Buck
9th July 2012, 10:46 AM
If I remember correctly Esso Northumbria & Esso Hibernia had lifts install that gave a lot of trouble due to the flexing of the ship
Ray

Captain Kong
9th July 2012, 11:50 AM
Hi Ray,
There were four ships of that class, I sailed on them all.
They were designed by a friend of mine who died last year, Joe Hirder, he lived near Norfolk, Virginia.
.
ESSO- Northumbria, and Hibernia, both built in Swan Hunters, Tyne. and Ulidia, and Caledonia both built in Belfast.
.
The two Tyne built ships always had a lot of problems, hull cracking on the Hibernia on the maiden voyage and many problems on Northumbria. The Rudder stock fractured in 1976 off Cape Town and we were towed in along side the outer breakwater. the biggest ship ever to go into Cape Town at that time, three months alongside.
I didnt experience any problems with the lifts.
There was a lot of corrosion causing many problems and a lot of problems in the engine room.
There was flexing of the hull in heavy weather, the fore deck used to go up and down, bending like carrying a long plank. This was necessary as if it wasnt flexible they would have snapped in half. The Sheer strake was made of high tensile steel to accommodate this movement.
They were built 1970.
.
Esso Northumbria
B. 1970. 256,000 dwt, Swan Hunter S. B. Ltd. Steam Turbine. B/U at Kaohsiung in 1982
.
I enjoyed the trip of six months on her.
Cheers
Brian.

Capt Bill Davies
9th July 2012, 12:44 PM
Brian,

I recall we had a mutual friendship with Joe. I have to say I was unaware that he had anything to do with designing ships outside of NBC.

Brgds

Bill

Captain Kong
9th July 2012, 02:19 PM
Hi Bill,
Joe told me he had designed the Northumbria class of VLCC for EXXON.
He also arranged for Princess Anne to launch the Northumbria and then when the launch was delayed for a while he went to Buckingham Palace to arrange a later date for the launch.
Joe was not the type of man to exagerate. so I believed him.
I met him socially many times and he would read out my seafaring poems out to the members of his EXXON Club in Virginia Beach.
It was a great pleasure to have known him and his wife Shirley.
I will send you a PM of exerpts of various emails so it will give you some idea of his life style.
Cheers
Brian.

Gulliver
10th July 2012, 03:49 PM
Hi Ray,
There were four ships of that class, I sailed on them all.
They were designed by a friend of mine who died last year, Joe Hirder, he lived near Norfolk, Virginia.
.
ESSO- Northumbria, and Hibernia, both built in Swan Hunters, Tyne. and Ulidia, and Caledonia both built in Belfast.
.
The two Tyne built ships always had a lot of problems, hull cracking on the Hibernia on the maiden voyage and many problems on Northumbria. The Rudder stock fractured in 1976 off Cape Town and we were towed in along side the outer breakwater. the biggest ship ever to go into Cape Town at that time, three months alongside.
I didnt experience any problems with the lifts.
There was a lot of corrosion causing many problems and a lot of problems in the engine room.
There was flexing of the hull in heavy weather, the fore deck used to go up and down, bending like carrying a long plank. This was necessary as if it wasnt flexible they would have snapped in half. The Sheer strake was made of high tensile steel to accommodate this movement.
They were built 1970.
.
Esso Northumbria
B. 1970. 256,000 dwt, Swan Hunter S. B. Ltd. Steam Turbine. B/U at Kaohsiung in 1982
.
I enjoyed the trip of six months on her.
Cheers
Brian.

Brian,
There were Four more of the same size (250,000 dwt.) :- ESSO SCOTIA built by AG Weser,Bremen,-ESSO CAMBRIA built by Verolme,Rozenburg, and ESSO DALRIADA and ESSO DEMETIA both built by Kockums,Malmo.

In addition three slightly smaller ships were built during the previous two years -ESSO MERCIA (170,000 dwt.) built by AG Weser;ESSO ANGLIA (200,000 dwt. )Built by Chantiers de l’Atlantique,St.Nazaire;and ESSO BERNICIA(200,000 dwt) built by Howaldtswerke,Kiel.


 
 
 
 
 
I think this picture will bring back seagoing tanker memories for you . It depicts the VLCC m.t. RAMLAH (300,361 dwt.) of National Shipping Co.of Saudi Arabia off Cape Agulhas,South Africa. 10135
(Picture courtesy of the excellent Auke Visser Tanker Site) (http://www.aukevisser.nl/esso/id77.htm)




Best Regards




 
 

Captain Kong
10th July 2012, 04:29 PM
I sailed on most of the ESSO Big ones, four of the Northumbria class and the best were the Kockums buit ones Demetia and Dalriada.
The ships were slightly larger tonnage and better built, the accommodation was much nicer as well.
The DEMETIA was hit by an Exocet Missile in the Gulf , Iraq/ Iran war.
I enjoyed my time with ESSO and got a great Golden Hand shake when I took early retirement, plus free pension.
They looked after us very well.
.
. The biggest Tanker I ever went on was the BATILUS, French Shell Tanker, I sailed around the Cape on her when I was with Court Helicopters, there were several flights to her with various parcels of cargo from Cape Town, so I stayed on board for around three hours with the Paperwork as she steamed around the Cape. Now she was BIG.!
560,000 tons, she was on her maiden Voyage in 1976. It was like being on the Isle of Man. I have photos somewhere. She only lasted seven years.
CALEDONIA , DEMETIA, HIBERNIA, BATILUS.

Capt Bill Davies
11th July 2012, 02:29 PM
There was very little difference in them Brian. From the 'Bantry Class' in 1970 to King Alexander they all seemed a little 'samey'.

What stays in my mind more is the accommodation and I use the above ULCCs as examples . The Bantry Class were BASIC (steel Bulkheads in accomodation) and I use capitals to make the point whilst the King Alexander was sumptuous due her previous Scandinavian owners. One company I sailed in whose ULCCs were perhaps bordering on the lavish was Grand Bassa Tankers. Absolutely out of this world. All Italian except for me and the German C/Eng.

As for early retirement Brian, you must have 'blue eyes'. In Jan 2005 I had 50 years unbroken and no kindly owner to look kindly on me. That's life.

Brgds

Bill

Captain Kong
11th July 2012, 02:53 PM
Hi Bill,
Esso with the fleet slowly disappearing to Taiwan, wanted everyone to retire at 50, with a Gold Handshake and non contributary pension, I refused and carried on for another three years, then a Friend of mine in the Office, told me to take it, the big money was going to be stopped.
I went into the Office and had a chat to the Man. the figures he showed me were astounding. I snatched his hand off.
I never knew how much they were paying.
It was paid in three lump sums over three Tax years to avoid the tax that would have decimated it if paid in a lump sum. A cheque in March , another in April and the third in the following April. It was like a lottery win.
Now my younger brother had to stay on for another nine years, he got Peanuts in comparison. But enough to get himself a Brewery.
They had excellent Financial Advisers and they really did advise us well and the money made more money.
The best move I ever made in my whole life was to join ESSO.
While working for them they paid all my college and examination Fees whilst on pay for going there.
We had First Class travel and the best Hotels world wide.
They do not have a Fleet now. They just use Chartered tonnage for the transportaion of crude and products.
Cheers
Brian.

Capt Bill Davies
11th July 2012, 06:41 PM
Hi Bill,
Esso with the fleet slowly disappearing to Taiwan, wanted everyone to retire at 50, with a Gold Handshake and non contributary pension, I refused and carried on for another three years, then a Friend of mine in the Office, told me to take it, the big money was going to be stopped.
I went into the Office and had a chat to the Man. the figures he showed me were astounding. I snatched his hand off.
I never knew how much they were paying.
It was paid in three lump sums over three Tax years to avoid the tax that would have decimated it if paid in a lump sum. A cheque in March , another in April and the third in the following April. It was like a lottery win.
Now my younger brother had to stay on for another nine years, he got Peanuts in comparison. But enough to get himself a Brewery.
They had excellent Financial Advisers and they really did advise us well and the money made more money.
The best move I ever made in my whole life was to join ESSO.
While working for them they paid all my college and examination Fees whilst on pay for going there.
We had First Class travel and the best Hotels world wide.
They do not have a Fleet now. They just use Chartered tonnage for the transportaion of crude and products.
Cheers
Brian.

Well Brian, it looks like Esso did you proud and looked after you.

You will no doubt be aware of my own nostalgic attachment to the China for why I ask myself on reading yours above.
Apart from the excellent seamanship training they gave me I received precious little else. I hear the occasional reference, elsewhere, to the 'Calchas Fund' which was set up to assist those in the foc'sle wishing to go up for Second Mates(FG). I was aware it was around in my day but it did not trickle down in my direction. Not a single penny. Holts gave me nothing in that respect. From 08.12.60 when I walked down the gangway of the 'Peleus' I was on my own. So much for Mr Greenwood & Co.

Anyway well done.

Brgds

Bill

roger case
20th June 2015, 01:37 PM
Hi Brian ,,,,,,I was on the There at the same time, Had open days at the week ends Biggest Ship to berth in Cape Town at the Time, Great times, Regards Roger

Captain Kong
20th June 2015, 02:19 PM
Hi Roger,
I was on her , "Big Geordie", in Cape Town when we had three months for the rudder stock repair. in 1976, I was Third Mate at the time. What was you then Roger, ?
A lot of good parties in Woodstock.
Cheers
Brian

stevesherratt
21st June 2015, 10:10 AM
Dear All,

I stood by her building, or more accurately waited at home. Andy Castle COE wanted me to join him, however she was three months late and they sent me on all sorts of training courses and I eventually joined the Mercia (out of the pan into the Fire) I enjoyed my ten years, seven years at sea and three year on the UMS project working for a true Gentleman and friend Don Lodge. I think the Northumbria was my last UMS project.

Happy days

Regards all

Steve Sherratt
R770014
South Derbyshire

Andy Lowe
21st November 2015, 09:46 PM
Hi, I was on for both of those events and still have the photos of her trimmed 40 foot by the head to deal with the rudder and latterly the stern tube issues. I flew out to the Canaries with the team from Scotland Yard following the murder incident. Not a happy ship that time. Have great memories of her and the teams that sailed on her. You must have been on after the rudder repairs when we lost all the steering leaving the Gulf and limped down to Durban using the cargo valve power packs to drive the steering.

Captain Kong
22nd November 2015, 11:27 AM
Hi Andy,
good to hear from you again after all these years, I think the last time I set eyes on you was when Lightering off Brixham, I was on the Hibernia and you were on the Cardiff. around 1978 ish.
Are you still scuba diving?
On the Northumlebum I did a trip to the Gulf and back then down to Cape Town when we had the rudder stock fracture.
You and I went with the Director of Globe Engineering and the Company Welding man, Harry Ebert, from the States, for a tour of the Wineries and a good dinner there and a few cases of wine. I got off when we got back to the Gulf so I missed the following breakdown.
You were also with me when the helicopter came down in heavy weather off the Cape when we were doing the Katrina Maersk, you were sat with a young lady in the back.
I met the widow of Co-Pilot, Fritz, last year on the world cruise of the AMSTERDAM,. she told me he was killed the following year 1977, when they had another crash off the Cape.

Cheers Andy.
Brian.

Graham Payne
22nd November 2015, 02:56 PM
Hi all,
I was never on a ESSO tanker but heard good chatter about them. It seems ESSO stood for " Eat, Sleep, Sh**, & Overtime."
They must have been a lot better than Shell tankers, they went out and forgot to come back, plus the food was by the book, you only got what you were entitled to.

Andy Lowe
23rd November 2015, 08:41 AM
Hi Brian, good to hear from you that's for sure. I well remember that whole episode in Capetown very fondly. The helicopter incident was certainly pretty scary, had the ship not started manoeuvring we wouldn't have taken all that spray into the engines which caused the problem. Didn't think we would make it back and landing in the sea in that weather would have been the end of it. I wasn't aware that one of the pilots had crossed the bar as I kept in touch with Gavin the engineer for some time after. I'm still diving when the weather suits and left Esso at the end of '87 when my wife was taken ill. Took on a masters job with a local high speed ferry company and was there for 14 years until a Pilots job came up and been doing that since. I went to an Esso re Union in Sheffield earlier this year and met several legends that are holding up well. I'd have loved to take the Big Geordie to scrap as I did several trips on her and every one was exciting as you never knew what was going to drop off it next. The company offered it to me but I was at college at the time about to do the final exams so missed it. Hope you are well and thanks for getting back.

Captain Kong
23rd November 2015, 11:37 AM
Hi Andy,
I was on the world Cruise on the Amsterdam in 2014 and in the South Pacific, a lady came to me, she had a South African accent, and it turned out to be Fritz`s wife, I had met her at some of the parties in Cape Town when we went to their homes, in Paarl, `Stretch` was the Pilot, She told me the Helicopter had come down in 1977 and with one fatality, her husband, Fritz. I had heard about the crash but didn't know until last year it was him. I remember Gavin, was it his wife who was always saying , "Oim Peest", sat in our bar on the gin? I heard later that they went to Brazil to open a Helicopter Service there for the Off Shore Oil trade. and then Scotty went to Sharjah to start up helicopter operations there.
I took the Handshake from ESSO in November 1986, I had refused to go until Gareth Jones phoned me from the Kremlin, to say the big money was coming to an end, It was an offer I couldn't refuse. I snatched their hand off, My brother stayed for another ten years but no big pay off.
I went Mate on a Shell tanker, but was not happy there, after ESSO it seemed to be in the dark ages. I did a Masters job on the Infamous Bow Belle for a spell after the disaster, then went to Singapore and Master on a tanker, Tung Tsing, out of Singapore and the islands to as far as Fiji. for a year, we trained up a Chinese crew and then handed over. I bought my lady friend a Flower Shop and I helped her and from a roughy toughy Sailor became a roughy toughy florist. I learned to make beautiful bouqets, what a change.
Did a lot of funerals and helping out in the Undertakers next door carrying stiffs for them. quite interesting.
Sold up 15 years ago and have been doing the world cruises ever since, going again in January..
I have been to a couple of Funerals, Nigel Payne, Second Mate down in Hastings and Capt, Frank Clayton in Oldham a couple of years ago. Not been to any reunions, not heard of any.
Cheers
Brian.

.

Andy Lowe
23rd November 2015, 07:32 PM
Can you send a pm through this forum Brian? I'd give you my email address so I could get you in the loop for the next re Union which I believe is in Cardiff. Dave Pilgrim organises it. Bumped into George Rhymer, Willy Mac and Jack Aalen to name a few at the last one. Ever been through this way on a cruise? We get over 100 liners a year here more so because we are not in the EU!

Keep in touch and good to hear from you.

Captain Kong
23rd November 2015, 09:32 PM
Hi Andy, thanks for that.
Not been to Guernsey for 20 years now, used to go regular on the Esso Caernarvon.
I have sailed with Jack Aalen`s son, Ashley, a few times on the QE2, first as a Cadet with Cunard and then later as Second Mate on QE2, but not seen him since QE2 went off to Dubai and lay up in 2008.
When I left ESSO they phoned me for an Interview in Manchester to fly as Observer in Helicopters on Pipe Lines. A good job.
It was to fly the new Line from Manchester to Glasgow. to make sure no one was going to excavate or build near the Line. I got the job, I was looking forward to doing it, had the training and the plans for the Pipe Line, then a week before I was due to start, I got voices in my head saying ,"Don't do it" night and day.
I phoned them and said I cannot start, they were not amused as they had to start all over again.
Six months later the helicopter crashed alongside the M6 Motorway and the Pilot and Observer were Killed.
I guess it pays to listen to the voices .
So that is two near misses in Helicopters, I am staying away from them now.
I will send a PM with the EMAIL ADDRESS.
Cheers
Brian.

Andy Lowe
23rd November 2015, 10:30 PM
Hi Brian, you probably remember Capt Tom Walsh then. Unfortunately he passed away only a couple of months ago. I have just been down to Spain to visit Tom Stone with Kev Bosanquet who is still working for pipelines although in a state of semi retirement! It's a small world!!