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Thread: Bitter Lakes

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    Default Bitter Lakes

    I was with the Scottish Star when we got trapped in the bitter lakes, I was wondering if the was a crew member who might have taken photo's at that time, I
    'm talking about the first 6 months.

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    Default Re: Bitter Lakes

    HI John
    Welcome to the site hope you enjoy your stay plenty to search for and enjoy. I remember a few years ago someone on the site was posting about being on one of the ships stuck in the Bitter Lakes and there was a discussion about the ships, maybe someone will come up with when it was.
    cheers Des

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    Default Re: Bitter Lakes

    There used to be a Bitter Lakes Association, don't know if it still exists.......

    Great Bitter Lake Association, try SHIPS NOSTALGIA, FOR MORE INFORMATION. Scottish Star is mentioned.
    Brian


    The Yellow Fleet was the name given to a group of fifteen ships trapped in the Suez Canal (in the Great Bitter Lake section) from 1967 to 1975 as a result of the Six-Day War. Both sides of the canal had been blocked by ships scuttled by the Egyptians.[1] The name Yellow Fleet derived from their yellow appearance as they were increasingly covered in a desert sand swept on board. After eight years the only ships able to leave under their own power were the German ships, Münsterland and Nordwind.


    In June 1967 the fifteen ships were sailing northwards through the Suez Canal as a war broke out between Israel and Egypt in what was to become known as the Six-Day War. Both ends of the canal were closed, and after three days it became apparent that the canal would remain blocked for some time as a result of the scuttling of ships to block its passage. Fourteen ships were forced to anchor in the widest part of the Suez Canal, the Great Bitter Lake. Some of the scuttled ships cut off the SS Observer from the other ships and it had to anchor in Lake Timsah.[2]

    Ships, dredgers, other floating craft and even a bridge were sunk to block the canal.[1] As well as vessels that were sunk there were a number of sea mines that prevented navigation. Throughout the eight years the Israeli and Egyptian armies faced off against each other on either side of the Suez Canal. Sometimes raiding parties from both sides would slip across the canal to carry out intelligence gathering missions.[2] One of the big concerns was that the canal would become silted up without regular dredging. It turned out to be a non-issue as 90% of the silt is a result of currents caused by the turning of ships' propellers, which was virtually non-existent during this period.[2]

    In October 1967 the officers and crews of all fourteen ships met on the Melampus to found the "Great Bitter Lake Association" which provided mutual support. In the time to come, the crew members regularly met on board their ships, organized social events, founded a yachting club and held the "Bitter Lake Olympic Games" to complement the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Life boat races were arranged and soccer games were played on the largest ship the MS Port Invercargill while church services were held on the West German motorship Nordwind and movies were shown on the Bulgarian freighter Vasil Levsky.[2] The Swedish Killara had a pool.[3]

    In time it was possible to reduce the number of crew members on board the ships, and in 1969 the ships were gathered into several groups to further reduce the number of crew necessary for their upkeep. Those crew that were left to maintain the vessels were rotated every three months. In 1972 the last crew members of the German ships were finally sent home, with the maintenance of the ships left to a Norwegian company.

    In time, a postal system evolved, the hand-crafted stamp of which became collectors' items around the world. The Egyptian postal authority recognized the stamps, allowing their use worldwide.[2] In terms of the postal system, this resulted in the creation of group stamps such as:


    Group name

    Abbreviation

    "Müwinikies” Mü = MS Münsterland
    Wi = MS Nordwind
    Ni = MS Nippon
    Ki = MS Killara
    Es = MS Essayons
    "Ledmelaga” Led = MS Lednice
    Mel = MS Melampus
    Aga = MS Agapenor
    "Djabiporst” Dja = MS Djakarta
    Bi = MS Boleslaw Bierut
    Por = MS Port Invercargill
    St = MS Scottish Star

    In early 1975 the Suez Canal was once again opened for international transport, and on 24 May 1975, the German ships Münsterland and Nordwind reached Hamburg port, cheered by more than 30,000 spectators. They were reportedly the only ships to have left the canal under their own power. For the Münsterland this was the end of a voyage to Australia which had lasted eight years, three months and five days.

    Stranded ships[edit]


    Name

    Image

    Nationality

    Owner

    Captain

    Cargo

    Gross tonnage

    References


    MS Nordwind West Germany Nordstern Reederei Gerhard Lomer T-shirts 8,656 [3]
    MS Münsterland West Germany Hamburg America Line Karl Hoffmann, replaced by Jürgen Katzler, Wolfgang Scharrnbeck Eggs, fruit 9,365 [4][5]
    MS Killara Sweden Rederiaktiebolaget Transatlantic Sture Sundnér Wool, hides, fruit, lead pigs from Australia 12,990 [6]
    MS Nippon Sweden Svenska Ostasiatiska Kompaniet Arthur Bjuréus, Ulf Bergman Case goods from Far East 10,660
    MS Essayons [A 1] France 7,051
    MS Agapenor United Kingdom Blue Funnel Line Plastic toys for Woolworths 7,654 [7][8][9]
    MS Melampus United Kingdom Blue Funnel Line Jim Starkey 8,509 [8][10]
    MS Scottish Star United Kingdom Blue Star Line Brian McManus 10,174 [7][8]
    MS Port Invercargill United Kingdom Port Line Arthur Kensett 10,463 [8][11]
    SS African Glen [A 2] United States Farell Lines 6,116
    MS Djakarta Poland Polish Ocean Lines 6,915
    MS Boleslaw Bierut Poland Polish Ocean Lines Bogdan Kryspin 6,674
    MS Vassil Levsky Bulgaria Navigation Maritime 4,975
    MS Lednice Czechoslovakia Československá plavba dunajská (Czechoslovak Danube Navigation Shipping) raw cowhides from Ethiopia 1,462 [12][13]
    SS Observer [A 3] United States Marine Carriers Corp. Charles Kapelowitz Wheat (Galveston to Bombay)

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    Default Re: Bitter Lakes

    Interesting Link here....................
    Brian.

    Maritime Topics On Stamps, Great Bitter Lake Locals

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    Default Re: Bitter Lakes

    Hi Brian.
    I was on one of the last tankers to go through the Canal. Yesterday my son lent me a book on the worlds worst decisions and one of them was Anthony Eden's decision to send troops into Egypt along with the French. What I didn't know was that Eden was on Speed for some ailment he had and wasn't functioning to well, they ended up sending him to the Bahamas to recover.
    Cheers Des

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    Last edited by Des Taff Jenkins; 27th October 2015 at 04:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Bitter Lakes

    Des, Suez 'de regeuer, all dressed up in those budgie smugglers. I reckon one is a ring in though. Looks to me like it's a white cockatoo.
    Richard
    Our Ship was our Home
    Our Shipmates our Family

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Bitter Lakes

    #5, Des, I HAVE TO ASK, which one are you?..........Now is not the time to be modest

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    Default Re: Bitter Lakes

    Quote Originally Posted by Des Taff Jenkins View Post
    a book on the worlds worst decisions and one of them was Anthony Eden's decision to send troops into Egypt along with the French.
    Cheers Des


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    I was in the '56 Suez invasion and all was going well and Anglo/French Forces in control of the Canal, but because of political pressure from USA then we ceased operations after gaining control. Biggest mistake was listening to the Americans. I have posted various photos of my time in Suez in 56 (although they are widely dispersed under various headings for some reason, including buildings?!)
    Last edited by Ivan Cloherty; 27th October 2015 at 04:07 PM.

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    Default Re: Bitter Lakes

    Hi Marian,
    Modest as always second from right.
    Cheers Des

    - - - Updated - - -

    Hi Richard.
    He was the cabin boy, nor sure if this was taken after he flaked out from taking a dose of so called Spanish fly he bought off one of the bum boats in Port Said, but he was one sick boy for a while. and Marian he was a naughty naughty little Scots boy on his first trip.
    Cheers Des
    Last edited by Des Taff Jenkins; 28th October 2015 at 03:08 AM.

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  12. #10
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    Default Re: Bitter Lakes

    #9, Maybe he thought Spanish Fly was minadex tonic to build him up Des Never seen such a scrawny Scotsman.......are you sure he was Scottish He's built like a whippet!
    Last edited by gray_marian; 28th October 2015 at 03:39 AM.

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