San Florentino (2)

About

Completed 1953 as San Florentino for Eagle Tanker. 1959 purchased by STUK. 1965 renamed Hemidonax (2). 7-1970 arrived Briton Ferry for scrap.

Information
Also known as
Hemidonax
IMO number
5309724
Call sign
GPZW
Construction number
1220
Tonnage
19.349 ton
Beam
21m
Length overall
169m
Year of construction
1953
Year of renaming/broken up
1970
Service for Shell
1959 to 1970
Cargo
Class
Flag state
Home port
Manager
Shipyard
Status
Photo(s)

Comments

Sailors

Name Job Period Details
Lindsey Wale unknown I am the current owner of the mast head lamp from the san florentino
Arthur Jones 2nd cook and baker 1954 to 1956
Frank Riley 2nd cook and baker 1957 to 1958
Paul Munns deck apprentice 1959 to 1960
John Evans 2nd steward 1959 to 1960
Paul Munns unknown 1960 to 1961
Edward Pringle able seaman 1960 to 1961
Ron Deegan 2nd cook and baker 1961
Chris Robin deck apprentice 1961 to 1962
Richard Hindle 5th engineer 1961 to 1962
Gerald W Brown 4th engineer 1962 to 1963
Richard Tomlinson deck apprentice 1962
Ron Stringer marconi radio officer 1963 to 1964
Roger Sparling 5th engineer 1968 to 1969

Anecdotes

Date Visitor Anecdote
09/24/2011 - 23:16 David Owens

I was a 5th Eng. during the period at Bonny, I remember Gerry Brown 4th Eng, the Chief was Jim Young and the Capt R.Griffiths. It was a unique experience having to follow out and lower our inflated, extra large,tyre fenders to go along side another tanker at sea. The deck had four winches fitted to assist lower and raise the pair of fenders. The routine was for the Ch Off to go onto the forecastle and fire (with a rifle)a projectile attached to a heaving line out to the other vessel, to start the heaving to process. We always did the farewell blasts we also had movies sent across to us from each ship we topped up..we watched some movies on that ship! I can confirm the story of the ex gratia payments, we received them monthly as an 'expense' payment in Nigerian cash. We then exchanged the money into Postal Orders to send back to the UK to be deposited in bank accounts. I received a tax demand for my non-payment of tax almost 3 years after the event! (I have seen a photo of the fenders being removed from San Florentino in the Lairds dry dock on a site, called 'Mersey Gateway' on a link to the Lairds shipyard) Yes a memorable time at Bonny.

08/09/2009 - 22:13 Gerald W Brown

It was interesting to read Rod Stringer's account of the undercover payment for the crew serving aboard during it's time at Bonny. I joined the ship on the 2nd Oct 62 on the Tyne as 4th Eng and was on it all through the Bonny episode and left it at Cammell Lairds 22nd May 63.
We topped up 98 ships from 10 different countries during our stay at both Fernando Po & Bonny. While we topped up the various we did actualy steam while tied together but we only steamed 9,258 N mls in just under 8 months including the trip down and back. We did get ashore on a regular basis and in fact played the local team at football nearly every week. I know I'm getting on a bit but I cannot recall any extra payment being made by Shell because we were there.Perhaps if they owe me any money they might like to send it to me. It was a good ship and we all enjoyed the stay. A far cry from what Bonny is like today

03/25/2009 - 14:27 Ron Stringer

Joined her in May 1963. She was in dry-dock at Cammell Laird's yard following a 6-month period acting as a 'topping-off' vessel in Bonny, Nigeria. Large crude oil tankers could not cross the sand bar at mouth of the Bonny River when fully loaded and so could only leave Shell's up-river Bonny oil terminal with a part cargo. Once across the bar, they anchored on the seaward side. The San Florentino, a smaller vessel capable of crossing the bar with a full cargo, then took out enough oil to 'top off' the larger vessel until it had a full cargo.

To this end, the San Florentino had been fitted with large wheel-type fenders and the necessary davits and winches to enable them to be lowered over the side to hang between the two tankers as they came together to transfer cargo.

In the dry-dock these arrangements were removed and six months' growth of tropical weed, barnacles and other accretions were chipped off the hull. This growth had been so profuse that on the voyage from the Bonny River to the Mersey, the ship was unable to make more than 10-11 knots instead of the normal 15 knots.

Apparently personnel serving aboard her in Bonny had been paid an 'inconvenience bonus' locally, cash-in-hand to compensate for the discomfort and lack of shore leave. As told to me, this was hush-hush and not to be revealed since tax was not deducted. Later, whilst serving on the vessel I heard that the payments had been declared to the UK tax authorities by Shell and all the guys that had received the bonus subsequently received a demand for unpaid tax!