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The Giants
From the Book Sailing ship to Supertanker.

ESSO'S huge construction programme of the 1950s and 1960s ended with the Esso London in 1964, but tankers much big-ger than this ship were already under construction and in August, 1965, orders for many huge tankers began to be placed.
The first of the British-flag giants, Esso Mercia, was launched on 18th August, 1967, at the A. G. Weser yard, Bremerhaven, andbegan a class name of old British kingdoms. When completed in 1967 she was the largest tanker ever built in the yard.
At that time, two tankers of 193,000 tdw were building at the Chantiers de 1'Atlantique yard at St Nazaire, the British-flag Esso Anglia and Esso Paris of Esso Standard S.A. Francaise. Two more, the British-registered Esso Bernicia and Esso Norway (Esso Transport Company Inc., Panama) were under construction by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, Kiel. Added to these ships were thirteen tankers of about 250,000 tdw each on order for Esso at various European yards.

Esso Mercia  - 1967, 87,002 GRT
Built by A. G. Weser, Bremerhaven.
Measurements: 1,010 feet (loa including bulbous bow) X 146 feet breadth.
Speed 16'/2 knots. 169,496 tdw.
The first ship to be equipped with a German-built steam turbine where a propeller speed of 80 rpm with 30,000 shp was obtained using special dual-torque path reduction gearing. A single main boiler was fitted but an auxiliary boiler for ancillary work was capable of getting the ship to port in an emergency. There were thirteen cargo tanks. Equipment included two bicycles for crew proceeding fore and aft.
Early in 1977 she was sold to become a non-powered storage barge for positioning at Tapis, Malaysia.
11.2.1978: Following conversion left Sakaide in tow for Malaysia.
8.3.1978: Suffered an explosion 05.31 N 105.01 E.
7.1978: Arrived Tapis Terminal, Malaysia.
1983: (Petronas Petroleum Nasional Berhad) (Esso Production Malaysia Inc.). Sold for breaking up and:
25.9.1984: arrived Singapore en route for Taiwan.

Esso Anglia - 09.1969,97,082 GRT
Built by Chantiers de 1'Atlantique, St Nazaire.
Measurements: 1,056 feet (loa including bulbous bow) X 157 feet breadth.
193,361 tdw.
The Esso Anglia was launched on 15th May, 1968. On 4th July, 1969, she was on trials but boiler trouble caused her to put back to port. The vessel was eventually handed over on 9th September, 1969.
On 14th December, 1978, Esso Anglia arrived at Kaohsiung for breaking up.

A sistership to the Esso Anglia was Esso Paris, launched on 28th January, 1969, by the same builder for Esso Standard S.A. Francaise.
She, too, was broken up at Kaohsiung, arriving there on 14th December, 1978.

Esso Bemicia - 1968, 96,903 GRT
Built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, Kiel.
Measurements: 1,062 feet (loa including bulbous bow) X 155 feet breadth.
193,658 tdw.
31.3.1979: Arrived Kaohsiung for breaking up.

Esso Scotia - 07.1969, 127,158 GRT
Measurements: 1,141 feet 9 inches (loa including bulbous bow) x 170 feet breadth.
253,962 tdw.
At the time of launching on 31st March, 1969, the Esso Scotia was the largest vessel in the world to be launched from a slipway,as opposed to being floated out from a drydock. The hull was all-welded and there were eleven cargo tanks, these being handled by four turbine-driven centrifugal pumps, each having a capacity of 3,000 tons per hour (sea water) and two steam reciprocating stripping pumps, each of 300 tons per hour capacity. The upper deck was continuous to the bow where a short foremast which accommodated the foghorn and lighting was placed. The draught was 65 feet 5 inches.
Propulsion was by steam turbine, driving a propeller through reduction gearing at 80 rpm and giving 16 knots.
Officers and crew were accommodated aft, each in a single cabin. All cabins were air-conditioned as were the messrooms and other amenities. A swimming-pool was on the boat deck. At her launching the total steel weight to be moved was 36,600 tons.
From trials off the north-east coast of Spain the Esso Scotia sailed for Ras Tanura.
The Esso Scotia was broken up at Kaohsiung where she arrived on 6th June, 1981.

"Esso Scotia" - 1969.

Esso Cambria  - 12.1969, 127,158 GRT
Built by Verolrne Dok en Sheepsbouw N.V., Rozenburg.
Measurements: 1,141 feet (loa including bulbous bow) X 170 feet 2 inches breadth. 253,962 tdw.
The Esso Cambria was the first of the 250,000-ton tankers to berth at Fawley, on 7th February, 1970. She came from Ras Tanura, although part of her cargo of light crude oil was discharged at Milford Haven.
On 30th August, 1970, she stranded for a time offJazirat Island, Persian Gulf, 26.15 N 55.15 E, but refloated, unaided, on 2nd September with some bottom damage.
The Esso Cambria arrived at Masan, South Korea, on 1st October, 1981, for breaking up.

Esso Northumbria - 05.1970,126,543 GRT
Built by Swan, Hunter Shipbuilders Ltd., Wallsend.
Measurements: 1,143 feet 3 inches (loa including bulbousbow) x 170 feet 3 inches breadth.
254,277 tdw.
Named by Princess Anne on 2nd May, 1969, the Esso Northumbria presented a problem by her sheer bulk, for a considerable portion of the opposite riverbank had to be cut away. All-welded in construction, she was given a raked stem, pronounced bulbous bow and modified cruiser stern of the "clearwater" type. The sternframe was of cutaway "ham" type and the rudder of semi-balanced design. An overall discharge rate of 10,000 tons per hour could be made by means of four turbine-driven centrifugal main cargo pumps. Propulsion was by geared turbines to a single screw to give 16 knots.
She left on trials on 8th February, 1970, with some 200 people, including research specialists, on board with a drydocking at Lisbon.
However, due to turbine trouble, she was not handed over until 14th May, then sailing on to the Persian Gulf. On the return leg ofher maiden voyage from Kuwait, she became the third 250,000 tdw tanker to use the Esso refinery at Fawley, where she arrived at the modified and strengthened berth on 23rd July.
On 7th May, 1982, she arrived at Kaohsiung for breaking up.

Esso Hibemia  - 12.1970, 126,539 GRT
Built by Swan, Hunter Shipbuilders Ltd., Wallsend.
Measurements: 1,122 feet (loa including bulbous bow) X 173 feet 10 inches breadth.
254,277 tdw.
4.12.1970: Left Tyne for Lisbon on maiden voyage.
24.10.1982: Anchored off Langkawi Island and on 5.1.1983 moved to theJohore River for lay-up.
25.4.1983: Arrived Kaohsiung for breaking up.

Esso Ulidia - 10.1970,126,538 GRT
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Belfast.
Measurements: 1,143 feet 3 inches (loa including bulbous bow) x 170 feet 3 inches breadth.
254,011 tdw.
11.5.1970: Floated at Belfast.
01.1983-03.1983: Laid up in Johore River.
20.4.1983: Arrived Kaohsiung for breaking up.

Esso Caledonia - 09.1971, 126,535 GRT
Built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Belfast.
Measurements: 1,143 feet 3 inches (loa including bulbous bow) x 170 feet 3 inches breadth.
250,011 tdw.
Floated on 2nd June, 1971, the Esso Caledonia was completed three months later. When she arrived at Southampton on 18 th September, 1971, she was, to that date, the largest ship ever to berth in Southampton Docks, where she occupied three berths - Nos 34, 35 and 36 on the Itchen Quays. Six tugs assisted her to berth. The ship arrived direct from her builders for adjustments after running trials and berthed on a draught of twenty-nine feet. The depth of the Esso Caledonia from keel to main deck was 84 feet and her superstructure rose another 116 feet. Steel weight was some 34,800 tons and there were 26 1/2 miles of piping and 66 miles of electric cable in her construction.
Laid up in Johore River in April, 1982, she arrived at Masan, Korea, on 19th July,
1982 for breaking up.

Esso Demetia - 05.1973,  125,293 GRT
Built by Kockums Mekaniska Verkstads AB., Malmo.
Measurements: 1,117 feet 2 inches length X 170 feet 2 inches breadth.
258,979 tdw.
10.1994 Scrapped at Gadani Beach.

Esso Dalriada - 07.1973, 125,331 GRT
Built by Kockums Mekaniska Verkstads AB., Malmo.
Measurements: 1,117 feet 2 inches length x 170 feet 2 inches breadth.
259,042 tdw.
02.1984: Seal Island (Seal Island Shipping Corp., Liberia).
08.10.1994 Fire Hovic ( 3 dead ) & scrapped at Chittagong arrived 13.05.1995.

The 1960s and 1970s were the years of the building of the world's largest oil carrying fleet, with huge tankers, ever growing in size, to carry 200,000, 300,000 and then over 500,000 tons of crude oil.
Tankers were well over the 100,000 deadweight tons mark in the early 1960s. Many were constructed in Japanese yards and incorporated endless new features. Tower bridge structures seven decks high were introduced, which contained all the accommodation and gave a wide field of vision. Moreover, as each tower was constructed as a separate component it was devoid of noise, vibration and heat. It was merely lifted to fit on the hull.
In 1957 the capacity of a tanker had not quite reached the 100,000 deadweight tons mark. The largest tanker in the world was the Universe Leader of D. K. Ludwig's Universe Tankships Inc., 51,400 gross tons and a deadweight capacity of 85,500 tons. But even as this ship was delivered, other company acquired the Bellamy a for scrapping in October, 1985, and at the same date her sistership Batillus was sold to Taiwan shipbreakers.
One more ship in the 500,000 tdw class was the Seawise Giant, of Universal Petroleum Carriers Inc., of Hong Kong, but registered in Liberia. This vessel was launched as Oppama, for Greek owners, at Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd., Oppama Shipyard, Yokosuka, in 1975, but was never delivered. She then measured 189,200 gross tons on a length of 1,237 feet and breadth of 226 feet. Deadweight capacity was 418,610 tons. Sold in 1979, her leap in Ultra Large Crude Carrier status came in June, 1980, when she went to Nippon Kokan KK, Tsu, where a new centrebody was fitted and the ship completed. Her hull then measured 1,504 feet and her tonnages were increased to 238,558 gross and 564,739 tdw. She was, indeed, the largest ULCC and the largest ship ever. Since 16th May, 1983, she has been in the Caribbean, at Cayo Areas Terminal, Mexico, in use as a storage vessel.
One problem to be overcome with the advent of the huge crude carriers was that when loaded they were too deep to enter some ports and waterways. This was solved by working some tankers as lightening ships which would transship crude oil from an anchored VLCC or ULCC alongside, protective fenders being carried by the lightening vessel and lowered between the two ships when working. At varying times the Esso York, Esso Cardiff and Esso Forth were used in this work. Loads of 50,000 to 90,000 tons were transferred, allowing the larger ship to move on to oil ports such as Fawley, Antifer and Europort.