Swansea and Port Talbot Docks History

Loch Fyne (March 1976)

  Another  high  profile  job  for  the  company  was  the shifting  of  the new  gas  production  platform  T.P.1  built  for  the  Frigg  gas  field  in  the  North  Sea  from  Ardyne  Point, just  north  of  Rothesthay,  on  the  Isle  of  Bute  to  Loch  Fyne,  of  kipper  fame.  Loch  Fyne  has  some  of  the   deepest  water  on   Scotland’s  west  coast  and   was  an excellent  location  to  finish  the  work  of  this  production  platform.  
Suitably kitted out on the after deck.
T.P 1 underway with Crosby, Winchman, Guardsman, Alfred in foreground
with Victoria and Margam at rear.
After 48 hrs we finally finished berthing the TP1 platform at her anchorage in Loch Fyne. The greatest difficulty experienced in this operation was positioning the rig at her anchorage. It proved far more difficult than anyone had anticipated, to stop the rig turning. The four Alexandra tugs tied up on a small jetty in East Loch Tarbert, an idyllic little fishing village on the Argyllshire coast.
Crosby, Alfred, Victoria and Margam at East Loch Tarbert.
East Loch Tarbert with Loch Fyne in background
Alfred with T.P.1
  While awaiting orders we availed ourselves of the local hospitality. Myself and another crewmember went ashore mid evening, much later than the rest of our crew and some of the Victoria’s crew. We decided that the back part of one pub, with an entrance in a small side street, would be our best bet for a quiet drink, before joining the fray. No sooner had we sat down with our pints, then the rest of the gang came in, slightly the worse for wear. A quick attempt at a song was soon extinguished by a rather severe looking landlord, who was in the company of some equally severe customers, and that was just the women’s skittles team.

One of the early starters from Swansea, who for the reasons of decency, shall remain anonymous, was prone to the odd damp fart, when inebriated, and this was brought to the attention of the landlord’s very large Alsatian dog, who insisted on discovering the source of this strange smell. The third time that the dog was pushed aside and told to go forth and multiply was the spur that the landlord needed to ask us all to leave.  
Safely back on board for some supper
and a hat swapping party.
  The following morning a request to our Swansea office for some money to be wired up to a local post office was agreed and with funds running low, a tarpaulin muster was organised for those wishing to go ashore. The night was spent in a hotel bar near the jetty where we were moored, where we were duly offered afters if we entertained the locals with a bit of Welsh singing .We were only to happy to help foster international relations, but Captain Heslop wasn’t to happy to be awoken with the gift of a can of ale on our return, although he did put on a brave face for the photograph.  
  The following morning we suddenly received orders to sail, still unaware of our destination. A case of ‘if they’re spending money, they must be enjoying themselves, Get em out’.

This resulted in the Margam and Victoria sailing from East Loch Tarbert and because of adverse weather forecasts, arriving in Campeltown a few hours later.

We spent one night in Campbeltown and , after pressure from our Swansea office, sailed the following morning with severe weather forecasts still in operation. Both tugs experienced horrible conditions in the North Channel and sought shelter in Belfast Lough for a couple of days before proceeding on passage to Swansea.


Other Tug related pages:

Alexandra Tugs

Swansea’s First Tractor Tugs

The Enugu Palm

Tug Mumbles last Voyage

HMS Warrior

Indefatigable and the BOS 400

Ron Tovey Index Page