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Bantry Bay,25 years ago

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  • #16
    Jeez Murph....how can you make anyone out in that pic?....Can barely make out some of the faces!

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    • #17
      Tomorrow night on Tuesday 17 July 2007 8.30pm, a series of documentaries begins on RTE1. The first of these deals with the Whiddy disaster.

      The first programme is the series reveals the story behind the Whiddy inferno. On January 8th January 1979 an oil tanker, the Betelgeuse, exploded at Gulf Oil's Whiddy Terminal, Bantry Bay. The explosion was of such magnitude that it was heard as far away as Kenmare. The resulting inferno killed 50 people, and created a major environmental disaster.
      The explosion was heard much further away than kenmare, which is only over the hills. It was clearly heard in Skibbereen. We could see the smoke plume from my house in east cork, about 80 miles away.
      Last edited by Goldie fish; 16 July 2007, 21:12.


      Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Goldie fish View Post
        Tomorrow night on Tuesday 17 July 2007 8.30pm, a series of documentaries begins on RTE1. The first of these deals with the Whiddy disaster.



        The explosion was heard much further away than kenmare, which is only over the hills. It was clearly heard in Skibbereen. We could see the smoke plume from my house in east cork, about 80 miles away.
        I was on the grainne and we went there on the third day after it happened also there was a french minesweeper called the liseron lt/cdr costello was the captain hard and dirty times as the intake of the 40 horse power and gemini kept clogging up with crude oil any general questions about it just ask..

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        • #19
          I understand Setanta, with Lt Cdr Brunicardi was also involved in the recovery operation. I remember seeing on the news the oil encrusted bodies being recovered from the sea.


          Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Goldie fish View Post
            I understand Setanta, with Lt Cdr Brunicardi was also involved in the recovery operation. I remember seeing on the news the oil encrusted bodies being recovered from the sea.
            I dont think setanta was involved ourselves and the french crew carried two coffins as a mark of respect to the two countries that was involved.. deirdre relieved us after 3 weeks. and then it was us and fola on rotation for a long time .. worst thing you were at anchor all the time and used for all different ops

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            • #21
              Man born the night his father died among Betelgeuse mourners

              By Eoin English
              A MAN who was born on the night his father died in Ireland’s worst maritime disaster will be among those attending a special commemorative event next month to mark the 30th anniversary of the tragedy.


              Liam Shanahan, who turns 30 on January 8 next, will spend the day in Bantry as people gather to remember his father and the others who were killed in the 1979 Whiddy Island disaster in Bantry bay.

              The commemorations will feature a Mass and wreath-laying ceremony.

              Dozens of French nationals, whose relatives died in the disaster, are also expected to travel to Bantry.



              A total of 50 people — 42 French nationals, seven Irish nationals and one Briton — died in the early hours of January 8, 1979, when the 11-year-old Betelgeuse oil tanker exploded as it off-loaded its oil at the offshore jetty at Whiddy Island.

              The force of the initial explosion blew men from the jetty into the sea.

              The Betelgeuse became engulfed in a ball of fire and a series of further explosions broke the vessel in half, igniting the oil cargo still on board.

              Temperatures reached an estimated 1,000C sending giant plumes of thick black smoke billowing hundreds of feet into the air.

              Firefighters couldn’t get close to the burning ship and fought to prevent the other blazes spreading to oil storage areas elsewhere on the island.

              It was two weeks before clouds of toxic and inflammable gas cleared to allow the recovery of bodies to begin. Only 27 were found.

              Liam’s father, Liam Snr, from Ballydehob was among those who died.

              In a tragic twist of fate, Liam Snr’s wife was giving birth in Bantry hospital just a few miles away as the disaster was unfolding.

              And one of the few original Gulf Oil employees, Joe Tobin, who still works at the terminal, will also attend the commemorative event.

              It will be his last working day as he is due to retire.

              A Betelgeuse memorial stands in the grounds of St Finbarr’s Church graveyard, overlooking Bantry harbour.


              Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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              • #22
                Naval Service divers were called at that time, to assist in the recovery of bodies from the Betelguese. One diver, I recall was working in total blackout when his reg became clogged with mud. He made a free ascent from depth to the surface safely, without a supply of air. That was D.O'N. Naval safety training paid off here.
                Last edited by Test Pilot; 15 December 2008, 13:32.

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                • #23
                  The storage facility is still in use today. However ships now load and unload cargo from a floating buoy, as the jetty was destroyed.


                  Tanker attached to the Buoy, with the old jetty at Whiddy on the edge of the frame.


                  The Buoy is in front of the Ship. I had no control over the weather conditions.


                  The demolished terminal, with Whiddy Island storage facility in the background.


                  Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Goldie fish View Post
                    The storage facility is still in use today. However ships now load and unload cargo from a floating buoy, as the jetty was destroyed.

                    .

                    The floating buoy is a single point mooring and discharge buoy, known as a CALM buoy. ( Catenary Anchor Leg Mooring ). It can discharge oil from a tanker useing flexable hoses while the ship 'weather vanes' 360 deg around it.

                    It is self contained and consists of the following:

                    Telemetry and Berthing Aids; to provide the Master and
                    Operators with information on process and ancillary equipment,
                    together with berthing data



                    Load Monitoring Systems; to provide a constant display of the
                    tension in the hawser


                    Quick-Release Mooring Hooks; to provide a means for quickrelease
                    of a tanker in an emergency


                    Breakaway Couplings; to provide the means to prevent over
                    stretching of the floating hoses in the event of overload, thus
                    avoiding any risk of pollution


                    Electrical swivels; to enable power and instrument signals to be
                    transferred between the fixed and rotating parts of the buoy


                    Hydraulic power units and hydraulic swivels; to provide hydraulic
                    power supplies for subsea applications i.e. PLEM control valve


                    Solar and wind power systems; to power the navigation aids,
                    telemetry and berthing aids


                    Outboard product swivels; to limit the stress on the offloading
                    hoses and thereby increase hose life


                    Surge Relief Systems; to provide a means to contain any fluids
                    that may be relieved due to pressure surges during loading/
                    offloading operations


                    Subsea wave, tide and current sensors; to monitor the long term
                    tide height, significant wave height and wave period.

                    Attached Files

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                    • #25
                      it would be a nice idea if the navy top brass would provide a bus to the cermony for naval personell serving/retired who were involved to attend this cermony. the bay is a beautiful place in good weather.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by golden rivet View Post
                        it would be a nice idea if the navy top brass would provide a bus to the cermony for naval personell serving/retired who were involved to attend this cermony. the bay is a beautiful place in good weather.
                        GR, have you not a bicyle?

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Test Pilot View Post
                          GR, have you not a bicyle?
                          not a bad idea to go on one. dont ask tarzan about bikes

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                          • #28
                            Dont ask tarzan about the bicycle or Jimmy C.,will come running after him

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                            • #29
                              The Evening Echo is running a 3 Part series interviewing people directly and indirectly involved in the tragedy. Tonight it spoke to a son of one of the victims, who celebrated his fourth birthday the day before his father was killed in the explosion.
                              There is also an amazing photo of the centre section of the Tanker, as it was being towed away to be sunk at sea.


                              Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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                              • #30
                                interesting article it was the bow section that was sunk at sea that section was scrapped in spain and a lot of it ended up in irish steel. warship deirdre had the task of escorting it out to sea(bow section) and it fired a lot of 40 mm bofors at it to send it to its final place of rest unfortunately cameras were not common articles with us as they are now and we would have got some interesting photographs the tug in the echo picture is the smit tak helping out the lifting platform taklift a great bunch of lads and we got on great with them during the year long operation while they were there.

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