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Glenlyon Class to Liverpool Bay Class.

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  #1  
Old 28th July 2019, 14:29
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Glenlyon Class to Liverpool Bay Class.

1962, Glenlyon Class came into service, 191 days a year at sea.
Priam Class increased that to 216 days at sea.
1972, Liverpool Bay Class, 300 days a year at sea, carrying 6 to 7 times the cargo of the Priams.

Marshall Meek "There go the ships"

Progress was so fast, it had to be disruptive and destructive.
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Old 28th July 2019, 14:57
Makko Mexico Makko is offline
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FJ, I would add to that the last ships, the M´s and RoRo's. The latter especially, the mix of cargos, much of it enclosed inside the vessel, was also leaps and bounds over the old "state of the art" (Dolius, Menestheus etc A6 vessels) which had come into service less than twenty years before. Two months around the world and nearly two loading on the US coast, mainly Gulf of Mexico and Eastern seaboard.


On the RoRo's, standard cargoes were yachts and powerboats from Taiwan to LA, construction equipment and huge tyres, USA to Middle East, containers everywhere. We also took a helicopter from HK to LA. It landed alongside, had the rotors folded and I towed it onboard with the Jeep that we carried. In LA, I towed it off, the rotor blades unfolded and it took off! We could take virtually anything that could be carried by trucks to anywhere.


In my mind, they were the most flexible and possibly profitable vessels ever operated by BF. Then came 86 and, !POOF!, all gone, no more.
Rgds.
Dave
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Old 28th July 2019, 15:33
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What was that song Bob Dylan sang? Something about time.
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Old 28th July 2019, 17:16
Makko Mexico Makko is offline
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Yeah, "...the times they are a changin....."
Good memories though.
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Old 28th July 2019, 17:40
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Makko & FJ, my late uncle Bob and his son (Rob) were both engineers for Blue Flu.....the former was Ch/eng and the latter 2nd Eng (served in Priam I think).
Now - me being of the grey funnel pursuasion - the significance of 1986 is lost on me.....was this the demise of the company or the meteoric rise of the container ship..rendering conventional cargo ships obsolete? My cousins slant of why Blue Flu went under was that they got into Tankers in the 70's (and away from core business) in the trying times of early containerisation and lost lots of Money in the process.
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Old 28th July 2019, 17:44
Engine Serang Europe Engine Serang is offline
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I never knew BF were into tankers.
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Old 28th July 2019, 20:07
Makko Mexico Makko is offline
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Tom and ES,


The core business of BF was always general cargo. The main services were Europe/Far East, Europe/Australia and the old East Asiatic service with Wilhelmsen (Blue Sea) circumnavigating, always east and never returning to UK (the service I was on).


In the early seventies, the then Ocean group expanded, acquiring 2(?) tankers (Tantalus) and small bulkers (Ajax, Anchises etc.). This came about from the complete integration of Wm. Cory operations. Incidentally, this was the origin of the RFA Plumleaf which was never under BF management and the TEU repair service in Liverpool and the "Montag"(?, memory) tyre retreading business. The bulker/tanker venture was not a success and the vessels were quickly sold on. One vessel (I cannot remember the name) was converted into a car carrier under Kawasaki colours. This vessel was known as the company "prison ship" for ne'er do goods!


Not learning from this exercise, some bright spark decided to get into liquified natural gas carriage. Nestor and Gastor were built in France for a proposed service from Indonesia to Los Angeles. The terminal in USA was never built. Both ships went from the yard to Isle of Grain for test cargoes (load/unload) and then straight to lay up in Loch Striven. The original project price for the ships was 13M, they ended up costing 81M!! They never carried a paying cargo and were eventually sold to Nigeria. I was on Nestor in 1981 for reactivation to go to the shipyard in St. Nazaire for required work (some plate work plus guarantee). In service, they were designed to use 10% FO and 90% cargo boil off. However, with no cargo and being steam turbine vessels, the cost of operation was phenomenal.


The BF fleet at its high point numbered 122 vessels. In my time, in the 80's, there were 23 vessels. In fact, I only did two months on my first ship, a Super P, Phrontis, as, after delivering a cracking tower to Labuan, we were sent to Singapore Roads for sale. From here on in, your employment card was marked. Ships were sold or chartered out, ports of registry changed to Panama, Liberia and IoM. As one second remarked to me, one ship sold is equivalent to two crews out of work.


Incidentally, the Bay class re-engining was not very successful and the vessels were very soon outdated by capacity. The M class, while fully TEU capable, were fitted with derricks which were not suitable to efficient cargo operations. The only ships, in my opinion, which could have continued and remained profitable if all other ventures were "amputated" were the RoRo's, but it was too little, too late, and at high management level there was no stomach for shipping. The bean counters ruled!


My own lay off was rather cold and impersonal - "Come into the office" - Here is a letter, we are granting you X pounds severance. When I asked if the company could give me tips or recommendations to find at such short notice continued employment, it was just a shrug of the shoulders and clear that you were out on your ear and had to fend for yourself.


In 86, the company sold off all of the remaining vessels (BF and EDs) and became Excel Logisitics, dedicated solely to road transport solutions. The shipping company and sea staff was no more.


On a positive note, my short time with BF gave me a first class engineering education and solid sea going experience with truly fine, capable and upstanding company: There was always "the wrong way, the right way and the Blue Funnel way"!!! Something all BFers are rightfully proud of (not to be confused with the ongoing myth that we were "aloof" or thought of ourselves as being above others! We were just competent and well trained).


Rgds.
Dave
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Old 28th July 2019, 21:37
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Makko, many thanks for that detailed explanation, looks like my cousin Rob wasn't far off the mark, the management seem to have lost their way when they started dabbling in markets where they had no real experience! I have to say that your employment termination was somewhat substandard!

I always find it exceedingly sad when I see Liverpool and Birkenhead docks today, and then compare it to what I remember in the late 60's and early 70's - when visiting my Uncle Bobs ships...many BF ships alongside, all looking elegant and smart with towering blue funnels. Things of beauty unlike the boxlike monstrosities of today!

We often ate onboard with Uncle Bob during these visits (normally before he sailed) and I recall the food was largely very good and served by immaculate Chinese stewards (and had been made by Chinese chefs). It left a huge impression upon me as a young boy. I still have many fond and happy memories of these days. My Aunts husband James Lamb, was also a Ch/Eng with the Palm, Stag and Bank Lines, who's ships I also had the pleasure of visiting, they always seem to have been somewhat 'agricultural' in comparison to my BF visits!
.
Had I of been unsuccessful in my application to join the RN, Blu flu was my second choice, sounds like I was lucky that I got into the RN - as I would only have have 8 years employment before the company folded!
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Old 28th July 2019, 21:44
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I worked for a company for 20 years, my final communication was a compliments slip with a finishing date written on it.

There is a photo in Meek's book of the interior of one the tankers, I will add it in tomorrow if I get the chance. It is a book I have enjoyed reading a couple of times.
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Old 29th July 2019, 01:12
Makko Mexico Makko is offline
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S C (member of the "other site", a contemporary of mine) resigned as ChEng after 25 years with P&O (He was an Eng Cadet with BF). He told me he received a very bland "thanks and good luck" reply!!! The way of the world, suck it in and move on to better things.


Tom, BF were prodigious feeders! Even as lowly Cadets at Iliad House, we had shipboard menus from the daily recipe/menu book. Breakfast, for example, always included fruit, yoghurt, milk, porridge, toast & jam, cereal, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, sausages, kippers etc. etc.! But we were growing lads and the job was very physical. I used to partake of everything, and even then seconds.


Rgds.
Dave
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Old 4th August 2019, 11:19
Dave McGouldrick Dave McGouldrick is offline
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'But we were growing lads and the job was very physical. I used to partake of everything, and even then seconds.'


The whole shipping industry has changed over the years, but there is one constant: Cadets will eat their way through whatever menu there is (and any extras). It was still good to see even on my last 'helping out' a couple of years ago.
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Old 4th August 2019, 16:27
Makko Mexico Makko is offline
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I think that the physical demands on the Engineer officers is overlooked. Maybe we just took it for granted! Starting off with the engine room temperature, many times 50 to 52oC. Even the most mundane of watch activity required an awful lot of effort, trudging around in a sopping wet boiler suit, pouring the sweat out of your boots and wringing out your socks after looking after a HFO separator. Making sure that the sweat didn't drip onto the log sheet, just where you were going to write! And then the maintenance, a change of ME injectors in Japan, 9 x 92 Kg., one set shipped off to MHI, one set into the engine and another to the stores. Rigging chain blocks, unseizing stuff, torquing down big ends, taking leads, grinding in genny and compressor valves, etc. etc.! But what about the satisfaction of a job truly well done. And it was the same for everyone, so no one talks about it. Just the job,"Hard working ship!, or "sweet job".

The other week, my garage door jammed and two outer hinges split. Even with a gammy leg (inner left meniscus), I didn't think twice about getting the welding set out and making good, lifting the door with one hand and taking off/fitting the hinge with the other. The only thing is, at nearly 57, I was knacked and everything seemed to take forever! "In the old days" it would have taken less than half the time! But, job well done! Give oneself a pat on the back!

Rgds.
Dave
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Old 5th August 2019, 12:21
Dave McGouldrick Dave McGouldrick is offline
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Hey Makko
You seem to be at the age when you notice that everything has been made heavier by the manufacturers.

Personally I've realised that the cwt bags of cement now weigh at least 20% more than that.
The young lad says it's just me, but I know better......
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Old 5th August 2019, 14:48
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It's that gravity has increased due to inflation.
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