Monthly Archives: December 2014

Who’d a thought it a year ago?


Collapsing Oil May Force Maersk to Close Some Oil Sites

The continued falling price of oil may lead Maersk Oil to close some oil sites and operations, Reuters reports. If prices remain at $60 per barrel, the company will be forced to close some production sites earlier than expected, said AP Møller-Maersk CEO Nils Andersen, who also said continued low prices would reduce oil revenues by a third from its level in 2013. The company is now turning to reducing operational costs by focusing on exploration at sites where production costs are low. It is obviously something we have to take very seriousl”As all costs, except taxes, are fixed it is obviously something we have to take very seriously,” Andersen said.Maersk Oil produced 238,000 barrels per day in this third quarter of this year, and is aiming for 400,000 barrels in 2020.”I think it is very important to say to the market and the organisation that we have these ambitions, but also that if they are not reasonable any longer we would have to adjust to the world situation,” said Andersen. Maersk’s box shipping division, Maersk Line, said recently it was not profiting from low bunker prices due to bunker adjustment factor surcharges Source : Ship & Bunker



Thursday, 0730 Margate to Cannon Street. First time in a year for that journey. Still lacking in charm, comfort and dignity. Lovely and a mere £59.40 day return for the privilege.  Lunch with my colleagues from marine department. A good day. Eighteen of us made it. Five pints in the the Lord Raglan and then to the Barbican Tandoori for grub and Cobra. Home on the 1730 from Cannon Street (well London Bridge actually but that’s another story) and through the door at the Towers by 1920. A fine day out and a reminder that the team I work with really are a good bunch. Sharp as razors too, except old allatsea ;o)

Friday, another Christmas do. Martin Lally at the Aqua. Much beer and talking bollox. It’s what allatsea does best.

Saturday. Two Christmas dos.

Lunchtime at the RBL Margate with the class of 1994 RNXS. A few of them have shuffled off this mortal coil, a few were absent without leave, some were recently bereaved (and very brave for attending) and the rest of us sat round and drank beer (apart from the duty driver….well done Kevin) and talked bollox. It’s what we all do best. Four and a half hours soon whizzed by,  then a walk home in preparation for the evening do. Chris and Caroline over for drinks and a 70th birthday do gate crash at the Aqua (again). A fine evening following a fine afternoon. Thank you Lordgod of sailors and warranty surveyors.

Sunday. A morning of compulsive, it seems, Xmas shopping in the madness that is Westwood Cross followed by an afternoon and the Aqua (again and again) drinking beer and talking more bollox than normal. One day someone will actually listen…………..

Monday…..doctors……..hmmm, seems someone’s got to lose weight, exercise more, adopt a proactive life embracing regime and be positive about the future. That’s a some big ask I can tell you. The man must be insane. Home for bacon sandwiches and a laydown, followed by waking up, guitar practice through the Blackheart, 2 x 12,  setup using an old and very cheap Kramer Focus IIIs. Quite a nice sound. Am experimenting with Behringer effects pedals. They’re cheap and a lot of folk sneer at them but they’re cheap and fun and they  make allatsea believe that he sounds like John Frusciante (who is God  in guitarist form). Cook Thai green curry chicken for tea and present her indoors with her evening meal as she walks through the door after hard day at the warehouse. Bless him.


Tuesday through to Friday.

More of the same, sans the visit to the doctor. Shopped to death …………………………….. almost. Cash depleted and credit cards worn out. The Oz lot are coming over for Xmas and we don’t want to run out of anything, ever, at all, not anyfink at all, general panic stuff. Thursday pop over to Ramsgate and try out the newly gotten Lumix camera. Nice bit of kit. The old and well used Canon Powershot was beginning to show its age (over 12,000 work pics taken with it over the last 4 and a half years)  so a fortunate Lotto win at the Aqua on Saturday was put to good use.


A new allycat in town at Rammers. Yorshire registered Dalby Swale. Dalby Maritime is owned by an old Maersk colleague of allatsea’s, Stuart McNiven.


The gloriously named ‘Home for Smack Boys’.


Vattenfall HQ being extended. Things must be on the up? Good!


Strong Westerlies outside so the windfarm fleet stayed tied up. Who can blame them on such a day?


Pat of the Aqua describing the size of allatsea’s beer tab.


The age of austerity. The Royal Navy’s new home fleet flagship.


As you’ll all know, the termination efficiency factor for a hand-spliced cable-laid sling (the splice used to make an eye in a large diameter sling) has been taken as 0.75 since at least the days of the HSE’s PM20 (1987 revision), subsequently superseded by IMCA’s M179 in 2005.  Other codes have copied this value including ND’s 0027/ND, HMC’s SC-291, Saipem’s ENG-212, and BS EN ISO 19901-6.  Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL), however, think this value is optimistic – I’ve just received the following response to a query on why they quoted a termination factor of 0.55 in a design brief:


Based on in-house executed tests on hand-spliced cable-laid slings, SHL has concluded that the efficiency factor for hand-spliced cable laid slings of 0.75 appears optimistic. Therefore SHL conservatively uses an efficiency factor for hand-spliced cable load slings of 0.55. SHL will include a remark in the next revision of the document.


SHL are outnumbered by the rest of the industry’s codes, and rigging systems have successfully been designed using the larger value for over 25 years.  However, as they say that their opinion is based on test results, we should all be aware of it.

Worcester 3

A Brief history of the Worcester

The first Worcester was a 50 gun frigate of 1471 tons loaned from the Admiralty in 1862 to the Association of London Shipowners for training apprentice navigation officers. Initially moored off Folly Rouse, Blackwall, HMS Worcester was towed down river in 1863 to her new moorings close to Erith Gardens Pier because of river congestion in Blackwall Reach.

Remaining at Erith for a little over 5 years, she was moved again, this time because of river pollution, to a remote and more exposed anchorage off Southend where according to contemporary reports, ‘she rolled her guts out.’

Even the chronic seasickness of many of the cadets failed to convince the Worcester committee of the unsuitability of the mooring but being unable to load stores in consistently bad weather eventually persuaded them to consider a more favourable position. Finally, after two years at the anchorage, Worcester was towed up river to a mooring off Ingress Abbey, Greenhithe, Kent.

The success of the schoolship at Greenhithe soon required its replacement by a larger vessel so the Admiralty was approached with a request to exchange Worcester with HMS Frederick William, then lying in reserve at Portsmouth.

The request was grated, but only after lengthy consideration. The new vessel, a 4725 ton, 86 gun steam/sailing ship of the line , had her boilers and engine removed and was converted to a cadet training ship, the former engine room becoming a large gymnasium. Over 5000 cadets were trained on her which, following a naval tradition, received her predecessor’s name.

In 1922 The Incorporated Thames Nautical Training College, HMS Worcester, bought the Ingress Abbey Estate. Playing fields were laid out and Ingress Abbey used as offices, accommodation, laundry, chapel, etc. A swimming pool was constructed in 1929 and in 1938 the beautiful Cutty Sark was presented to the college. Moored close by HMS Worcester, the Cutty Sark’s upper yards and masts were taken ashore in 1940 in case of damage by enemy aircraft. They were never fully replaced during her remaining years at Greenhithe.

During the war Worcester was requisitioned by the Royal Navy for use as an area HQ base for river patrol boats but by 1945 the old woodenwall was leaking badly and had become totally unfit for further cadet accommodation and training use. She was replaced by TS Exmouth the former Metropolitan Asylum Board ship which in turn had replaced the Goliath, lost by fire in 1875. The Exmouth was renamed Worcester in July 1945 and after an extensive refit took moorings at Greenhithe.

The third HMS Worcester was 5480 tons, constructed of iron below the waterline and mild steel above. She was 346 ft long, had a beam of 53 ft and an 18 ft draft.

The Cutty Sark left for restoration in February 1954 before going to Greenwich. Today few people are aware that she would probably not been saved had not the Incorporated Thames Nautical Training College taken care of her.

In 1959 Worcester III was fitted with bunks and naval pattern kit lockers, thus dispensing with the sea chests and hammocks used by cadets since the days of Worcester 1. Three years later, during the college’s centenary year of 1962, the prizes and annual gold medal award were presented by the Queen accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Merchant Navy College was formed in 1968 by merging the Incorporated Thames Nautical Training College and part of King Edward V11 Nautical College. The new establishment, operating in two departments, had facilities in London for junior navigation officers while Worcester, now administered by the ILEA, continued to train deck cadets. During the late summer of 1975 the cadets were transferred to the as yet uncompleted college buildings in Ingress Park where they were joined by the junior officers department. Staff and students of the newly formed Electronic Engineering Department, formerly part of Norwood Technical College, also joined at the same time. A Marine Engineering Department operated briefly but closed due to changes in the industry.

In 1976 the new MNC was officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh. The ILEA closed it less than 13 years later.

** The Worcester, boarded up and ready for sea, left Greenhithe in July 1978 under tow for a shipbreakers yard in Zeebrugge. She was the last UK vessel to train nautical cadets entirely on board a ship.

** Tony Vaughan was a Divisional Officer on the Worcester from 1970 until the cadets were transferred to the new MNC in 1975 where he became a Duty Officer until the college closed. Since then he has been caretaker at Ingress Park.

Worcester under tow

To those of you out there who follow an ‘organised’ religion, the following words may help you to understand life from a different perspective, should you wish it.


…..I cannot tolerate the blasphemy, which is to create a white image, and place it behind the stars, and call it God. I cannot accept tolerance of turpitude and stupidity, which decimates a generation, saying it is ordained: of a society whose logic is to follow religious inhibition of the body with a denunciation of harlotry: and of an octopus of wealth, rampant over half the world, which can go to worship on a chosen day and grasp its salvation, mouthing ‘The humble and the meek.’

There is no God for me, no idolatry of self-excusal. But I am not blind, nor without wit: I try to walk in the light, speaking truth, truth which is poison to some. At times I perceive clearly a spirit behind the sun; and sometimes the world is no more than earth, and all is illusion.

I do not know whether Christ lived; if he did he was a genius, and as a genius was destroyed by the world of men, to whom such greatness seems distasteful. Now his doctrines are forgotten by the mass of professing followers.

My belief is of old time, being reborn with myself. Herein, and not hereafter, shall I seek salvation.

James Farrar from around 1943

Dad boxer ring