Eriskay II

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Eriskay II
ID. No. 7345746.
Type VLCC.
Gross Registered Tonnage 115,966 grt. 90,802 nett. Before lenthening Feb 1st 1975.
Builder Nederlandsche Dock & Shipbuilding Co.,, Amsterdam.
Delivery date May 1975
Hull Steel, 19 tanks.
Decks 1.
Length 329.68 m. over bulbous bow. LPP 314 m.. F'c'sle 26.9 m. After being lenthened.
Width 48.75 m.
Depth 25.61 m.
Engine Builder Verolme Machinefabreik, Isselmonde.
Engine Type 2 x General Electric steam turbine with double reduction gearboxes.
Engine Power 31,500 bhp.
Propulsion mode Single screw.
Speed 16 kts.
Power Steam turbine.
Boiler 2, water tube.
Boiler pressure 513 psi.
Fuel Heavy fuel oil.
Draught Forced.
Propeller Solid
Propeller formation Cast.
Propeller material Bronze.
Launched Nov. 16th. 1974.
Original owner Harry Borthen's A/S Oljefahrt & S/A Motortank, Oslo.
Delivered to owner May 1975.
Scrapped Sept.2003.

History

Built, in two sections, by NDSM. The tank hatches for this ship were made, to an unique design, and supplied by Cowal Engineering, a Swire Group company.

Completed, to a very high spec. as the "Harry Borthen" in 1975, for Harry Borthen & Co. A/S, an old established and well regarded Norwegian tanker owner, but alas delivered straight into the "tanker crisis".

Feb. 1st. 1975. Forepeak lenghtened, dimensions now:- 117,511 grt., Deadweight, 229.886 tons., Overall length 329.7 m., LPP 314.0 m.

This fine vessel was immediately laid up and was not traded until after her sale in 1979 to Anders Jahre. After a short career of only seven voyages as "Jagarda", she was laid up again in 1981 due to the general depressed conditions of the large tanker market. "Jagarda" was purchased by the Swire subsidiary Halsbury Shipping Ltd., Monrovia, in June 1982, and was "moth-balled" for a further four years. Renamed "Eriskay II". China Navigation Co. as managers.

Following the collapse of oil prices in 1986, however, the tanker market began to improve, as Far Eastern demand for oil increased, and in October of that year "Eriskay", as she was now called, was “reactivated” and placed on charter, trading continuously on the spot market into the Gulf throughout the Iran/Iraq war of the late 1980's.

1986. Owned by the subsidiery Co., Bisley Shipping Incorporated, Monrovia.

1988. Transferred to the Taikoo Navigation, Hong Kong. The same managers and name. The reason for the change was that the Royal Navy had belatedly, organised protective measures for British ships in the Arabian Gulf and the ship was re-registered in Hong Kong to benefit from this.

1995. Sold to Dong Shen Tankers Pte., Singapore. Renamed "Song San".

1997. Renamed "Giant".

1997. Renamed "E Mei San".

Sept. 2003. Broken up at Bangladesh.

Service

As C.N.Co.’s first V.L.C.C., Eriskay II made her first loaded voyage from the Arabian Gulf to Singapore in October 1986, carrying a cargo for Shell Oil, Singapore.

Eriskay II was traded continuously on the physically and financially risky spot market trading between the Arabian Gulf and eastern destinations, throughout the Iran/Iraq war of the late 1980s.

Choosing to be an initially inconspicuous participant in the Gulf in the unstable climate of the time, the ship’s nondescript grey hull and buff funnel colours were retained, and in view of C.N.Co.’s lack of experience in this ‘new’ business, her manning was placed in Wallems’ hands.

By 1989, however, the Company had gained sufficient self-confidence to retrieve Eriskay II from Wallems, repaint her in C.N.Co. colours and to fix her on long-term (three years firm, two years CHOPT - the options were taken) charter to Chevron. This was a significant arrangement, as it was the first V.L.C.C. continuous charter to an oil major, since the 1970s.

This move also secured C.N.Co. sufficient cashflow to purchase another V.L.C.C., T.S. Fortune, which became Eredine III - at 274,626 dwt, the biggest ship in the C.N.Co. fleet at the time.

C.N.Co.’s approach to tankers so far, had been to buy second-hand ships in good condition, and to overhaul and upgrade them; and the Company had thus gradually built up the skills required to participate successfully in this trade.

Events / Stories

"Eee - risky!" (the late A.T. Williams)

Sums up the feelings about this ship in most of the Swire Group! She was much the most controversial and divisive unit in the CNCo fleet, not least because, being the only steamer and far bigger than any other ship until EREDINE arrived, her demands for money, when she needed anything, far outsripped those of other ships, and, of course, she was Of the Dangerous Sort.

Actually a very sucessful and a very lucky ship, popular with all who had to do with her.

She twice saved the crews of other ships that had sunk due to stress of weather in her vicinity.

The idea of buying a laid up VLCC came from the late Sudhir Mulji.

Her life in CNCO falls into four stages - the lay up, the reactivation and spot trading, the Chevron charter and afterwards.

Lay up

The ship was bought from Anders Jahre at the bargain basement price of five million dollars. She was laid up in Eleusis Bay, along wth what seemed like half the Greek merchant fleet, and with severe pressure on lay up berths there was a worry that we might be forced to move out, at huge expense, if the change of ownership became known. The Jahre name "JAGARDA" was left painted on the bows and no Swire flag was displayed.

Whilst laid up a skeleton crew was retained on board rather than simply relying on watchmen, and so CNCo officers got the opportunity of spending six months doing very little beyond keeping the Volvo emergency generator running. This was seen by some as a mixed blessing and when Mike Swift was posted to her a second time he was heard to wonder what he had done to get into Jimmy Lough's bad books. On the other hand it gave Graeme Drewery a chance to perform a notable act of seamanship - in shifting berths with a Greek run crew the port anchor had been allowed to run out from the locker unbraked and the anchor and all the cable were lost. Captain Drewery was informed by the Agents that there was no way to get it back but he decided to try anyway, dragged for the anchor from a lifeboat, found it and suceeded in recovering the anchor and chain.

Reactivation

Mike Lewis was keen on getting ERISKAY into operation as the tanker market started to improve.

In reality we had almost no choice; as a laid up ship, her certificates had lapsed, and a ship is always worth much more with full trading certificates than "out of class".

I should record an outbreak of "hands in pockets" - when we decided to reactivate this ship, a quick check of the sea staff showed that one person in three in SPSM had a DG endorsement; of these, approximately none showed any interest in having anything to do with a tanker! Consequently we went to PAL Shipping Services, Isle of Man, the Wallems owned "rump" of Panocean Anco, for tanker people, since they were already responsible for manning the three parcel tankers and had supplied tanker officers to stand by the PROBOS under construction. We were not very fair to Wallems; over time, we sidled up to men whom we liked the look of and "poached" them for CNCo.

The reactivation came in two parts; some preliminary work was done at Hellenic Shipyards under the supervision of Chris Bleasdale, to bring her to a state where she could be reacitivated promptly, and subsequently a full reactivation. Our experience of Hellenic Shipyards during the preliminary work decided us in favour of steaming to Dubai Drydocks for the full reactiivation docking.

Images