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Letter of the month in Ship's Monthly
COLD COMFORT YARD
I found an recent Aberdeen Datafile (Ship's Montly, Febtuary) very interesting and informative as in 1956. I was assigned
chief mate to the bulk bitumen carrier Esso Preston while she, was still under construction at Hall Russell's Aberdeen
yard. The company's first and only bitumen carrier, she was designed to carry 2,000 tons of cargo in four tanks isolated
from the sea by double bottom tanks and wing ballast tanks.
On the 12 March we eventually proceeded out of an ice-laden harbour to commence sea trails into the teeth of an easterly
gale. Whilst attempting to carry out anchor trials, ridiculous considering the conditions, myself and several crew were
thrown all over the fo'c'sle by the heavy seas.
I shouted to the engineer superintendent to grab the rails around the hawse pipe but he had declined to have any fitted the
week before. He managed to stay on board but the rails were fitted the next day when we got back to Aberdeen !
We took our first load of bitumen to Fawley later that month and as the cargo was carried at 250°F we never complained
about the cold again. Our cabins were very comfortable for a small coaster and the cargo was so hot we had to wear
noisy wooden soled clogs when on deck.
All credit to the shipyard though as the ship gave her owners 18 years of good service until her untimely disposal following
Henly on Thames,