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Tankers (1950-1959)
Esso Durham - (1958-1967)
"ESSO DURHAM".
 ( Photo thanks to Humber Maritime )

Esso Durham - 9.1958 - 23,862 GT, Registered in London Esso Petroleum Co.
Built: by Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd., Newcastle
Measurements: 733 feet (loa) X 90 feet breadth. 25,673 gt. 40,929 tdw.
1967: Durham (Petroleum Transport Inc. (Liberian)).
1971: Pyrgos (same).
1972: Courier (Helmos Shipping Inc., (Liberian)).
31.7.1975: Arrived Kaohsiung for breaking up.

 
"Esso Durham".
 "Esso Durham", after explosion.
 
"Esso Durham", after explosion.
 
"Esso Durham", after explosion.
 
On 26th January, 1961, the Esso Durham left Fawley for Mena al Ahmadi but before reaching Gibraltar suffered a serious
explosion which blew a hole in her side. The Esso Durham was escorted to Gibraltar by the Esso tanker
Esso Oxford at a speed of 4 knots and anchored in Gibraltar Bay on 30th of January.
It had been thought that the accident was a boiler blow-out but it was later identified as a gas explosion while cleaning
tanks. Such was the force that the ship's sides in way of No. 4 tank were blown out between decks and below the waterline.
After drydocking, the Esso Durham lay at Gibraltar pending a decision as to her future and it was decided that as
the damage was so extensive she would be reconstructed on somewhat similar lines to the Esso Portsmouth. The
reconstruction plans included an insertion of two additional tank sections - a length of 40 feet - and increasing the
deadweight capacity by 2,000 tons. The bridge and accommodation were also moved aft from the midships position.
The ship was then cut in two at Gibraltar, the after part leaving there in tow on 30th September, 1961, and the forepart
on 3rd October, both for Cadiz where they were pined with the additional tank section by Astilleros de Cadiz.
Photo taken at Gibraltar.
( All photos Copyright George Gaskin )

Tony Lane wrote :
Your entry on the Esso Durham explosion has one error; the ship escorting the Esso Durham to Gibraltar was the Esso Oxford,
of which I was 3rd mate at the time. The Esso Oxford was about ten hours steaming astern when we heard news of the explosion.
The hole in the Durhams side at No 4 tank just forward of the bridge was bigh enough for a pair of double-decker buses.
The front end of the ship was connected to the back end by not much more than her deck and bottom plating.
(  Thanks AV. )
 
"Esso Durham", photo taken in Gibraltar 1961,while she was in two halves.
( Photo Copyright Mike Pen )
 
"Esso Durham", passing Suez Canal.
 
"Esso Durham".
"Esso Durham".
 
"Esso Durham".
 
"Esso Durham" being lengthened in 1962, with 40 feet.
"Esso Durham" after been lengthened in 1962, with 40 feet and with removed midships and rebuil aftship.
 
"Esso Durham".
 
"Esso Durham".
( Photo by Hans-Joachim Reinecke )
 
"Esso Durham".
( Photo by Hans-Joachim Reinecke )
"Esso Durham".
"Esso Durham" in Valetta Grand Harbour, Malta.
 
"Esso Durham".

It was in 1951 that the Anglo-American Oil Company changed its name to Esso Petroleum, Co., Ltd., Esso was the brand and Esso was the name arid in this same year expansion of the En; Icy refinery commenced so that, virtually, a new refinery was to he built next to the old one. Two years later it was in production and with its later growth it became the largest in Britain and the sixth largest in the world.
However in immediate days tonnage urgently needed and sixteen vessels were post-war further was acquired, including T2´s from America and British war-built standard types. Meanwhile tin extensive new building and chartering programme had begun, a programme which in the years between 1946 and 1963 was to he worth over £23 millions to British shipyards alone, and some £80 million in all, In the year prior to the completion of the new Fawley refinery orders were placed for a class of six 16-knot tankers and the first, “Esso Oxford” of 26,500 tons d.w.t, was delivered in 1953. Of the remaining vessels, three, the “Esso Cambridge”, “Esso Canterbury” and “Esso Westminster” were delivered in 1954 and the “Esso Exeter” and “Esso York” in the following year.
By the time this last pair was in service, construction had already started on “Esso Guildford”, the first of twelve “ City “ class supertankers of around 36,000 d.w.t. tons, the orders of which were shared between British, German, French and Italian yards.
The lead ship of the class was completed in Germany in 1957 and the last, “Esso Dublin” came from an Italian yard in 1960.
Whilst this series was under construction four further vessels of bridge-aft design and of 47 000 tons d.w.t. ton dimensions of 740 feet by 102 feet were ordered. Of these, “Esso Lincoln” (1962) and “Esso Cardiff” (1963) came from Dutch builders, whilst this latter year saw the delivery of the British-built pair, “Esso Edinburgh” and “Esso Newcastle”.
But even their the growth of Esso tankers was not at a standstill, for as these larger, more efficient tankers came into use and brought with them the economies of cheaper maritime transportation, orders were placed with the At. Weser shipyard at Bremen for a further three vessels, each of 73,000 tons d.w.t, Subsequently these were increased to 77,00 1 tons by additional depth, whilst one-“Esso London”-was later again increased, to 90,000 tons, by an increase in beam. The first of these three -“Esso Pembrokeshire” - was delivered in October 1961 and was the largest merchant vessel ever built on the continent of Europe, her displacement exceeding that of the record-breaking liner Bremen built on the same shipway in 1929. Sister ship to the “Esso Pembrokeshire" was the “Esso Warwickshire”, delivered during 1962.

The Miramar Ship Index for "ESSO DURHAM"
IDNo:
5107281
Year:
1958
Name:
ESSO DURHAM
Launch Date:
20.12.1957
Type:
Tanker
Date of completion:
09.1958
Flag:
GBR
Keel:

Tons:
24127
Link:
-
DWT:
36000
Yard No:
159
Length overall:
210.3
Ship Design:
LPP:
201.2
Country of build:
GBR
Beam:
27.5
Builder:
Vickers-Armstrongs
Material of build:
Location of yard:
High Walker
Number of screws/Mchy/Speed(kn):
1ST-16.5

Subsequent History:
[ 1962 Lg 223.4 / 213.4 mtr, 25673 grt / 40283 dwt ] -
1969 DURHAM - 1971 PYRGOS - 1972 COURIER

Disposal Data:
Scrapped at Kaohsiung 31.07.1975.

History :
ON
LR/IMO
ID
Year
Name
Tons
Change
Main Owner
5107281
5107281
1958
ESSO DURHAM
24127
Esso Petroleum Co., Ltd.
5107281
5107281
1958
DURHAM
25673
1969
Petroleum Transport Inc.
5107281
5107281
1958
PYRGOS
25673
1971
Petroleum Transport Inc.
5107281
5107281
1958
COURIER
25673
1972
Helmos Shipping Inc.