These web pages are intended as a celebration of a fascinating, challenging, satisfying and ongoing career in the exciting field of gas ships. A career which spans the years from the 1960s to the present day. A few memorable moments spring to mind that give a small insight into my involvement in the richly rewarding gas shipping business.
As a young naval architect at the Tyneside shipyard of Hawthorn Leslie in 1964, I was a member of the design team that carried out an inclining test on, the first vessel in the UK to have a LPG reliquefaction plant installed. This was the conversion of mv BROUGHTY, to pressurised and refrigerated 757m³ LPG carrier ABBAS. The inclining test was carried out on a Saturday morning and according to the Geordie rumours, spreading around the yard at the time, this was because the ship was too dangerous to be inclined during normal working hours.
Theme parks with all their scary rides can not compare with the adrenaline rush of riding the rails, going aft in a duct keel, on a four wheeled, two-man bogie, under the cargo tanks of a LNG carrier which is trimming by the stern.
Officers and crews of LNG carriers are well aware of difficult political situations in certain LNG exporting countries, and of the potential risks involved. With loading taking place throughout the night, there is a quiet eeriness about the ship. Armed guards stand at the gangway. Convoys of buses with military escorts are clearly visible ashore, transferring refinery staff to their places of work. The bright waving lights and moving shadows from the refinery flares, light up the night sky. This all adds to the general feeling of unease.
On the ship's previous voyage, when anchored overnight, three stowaways had entered the vessel by climbing an anchor chain. Knowing this, after leaving the port, there was some apprehension in completing an inspection of the double bottom water ballast tanks. My colleague and myself entered the tanks. The spaces were found in good condition with a little water, sand and pebbles at the bottom shell. The conditions of the previous night were clearly in our minds as we both later confessed to half expecting footprints in the sand from unwelcome stowaways.
How many naval architects can claim to have sat on the insulation, under the weather cover, at the upper pole of a LNG spherical cargo tank containing 25,000 m³ of LNG, on a loaded passage half way between Singapore and Japan?
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