A history of the Athel Line fleet

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  A history of the Athel Line fleet
   ATHEL LINE will always be associated                      wide. It is another in a series of volumes
   with the United Molasses Company and that                 written by Dr Ray Solly who served
   conglomerate of international repute and                  as a navigating officer in the merchant
   household name Tate & Lyle. The company                   navy on board supertankers and cargo
   did not enter into ship-owning until 1921 and             ships and who later became an histori-
   their fleet of tankers existed for just fifty-nine        cal and technical maritime researcher
   years. Yet, in the eyes of many professional              and author and has had six books pub-
   seafarers and informed enthusiasts, Athel rap-            lished. This book is a comprehensive
   idly acquired a sound reputation for managing             illustrated record of the Athel Line’s
   reliable and versatile ships. To hundreds of              tanker fleet, outlining the history of
   merchant seamen they will be remembered                   tanker development through the story
   as comfortable tankers owned and operated                 of this shipping company. Presenting
   by generally considerate superintendents who              the specifications and history of every
   held concern for and interest in the seafarers            ship run by this major independent
   they employed.                                            operator, this book uses a mixture of
      Indeed in the words of one of their senior             photographs, ship plans and certifi-
   officers “they were a damned good company                 cates to illustrate the development of
   to work for”, while another satisfied mariner             these vessels across the years.
   referred to them as a “Rolls-Royce Compa-                    Chapters in part one of the book
   ny”, unsolicited accolades that speak volumes             cover ‘Modest beginnings 1907-24’,
   for the affection with which Athel Line was               ‘Rapid expansion 1925-39’, ‘Decima-
   held by many, but of course not all, associated           tion of War 1939-45’, ‘The Road to
   with this concern.                                        Recovery 1945-56’, ‘Winds of Change
      The Athel Line fleet was originally                    1957-64’, ‘Athel-Anco Amalgamation
   designed to carry molasses, but was suf-                  1965-73’ and ‘The Ending of the Line
   ficiently versatile to handle crude oil and               1973-1976’. The second part covers
   various product cargoes as well. This volume              the ships owned or managed by Athel Line,
   is set to become a major reference source                 Sugar Line, Anco Fleet and Tankers Ltd plus                          Athel Line: A Fleet History by Dr Ray Solly
   on tanker development, of importance to                   other managed vessels.                                               is published by The History Press
   maritime researchers and enthusiasts world-               Phil Simons                                                          www.historypress.co.uk, £20

                                        Going bump in the night
                                        SHIP COLLISIONS are a daily occurrence and are almost always caused by         early enough or with sufficient boldness. It also draws attention to
                                        human error. Anxious to raise awareness among watchkeepers of the              watchkeepers relying too much on electronic aids – what this reviewer
                                        risks involved in not keeping strictly to the rules, P&I club Steamship        would call radar and AIS-assisted collisions are highlighted.
                                        Mutual has commissioned a DVD entitled Collision Course.                           The DVD will not only be useful to less experienced seafarers, but also
                                             The film explains that there is an increasing lack of experience in the   to ship managers and owners who might have spent little time at sea
                                         shipping industry, mainly caused by a shortage of officers. In its report     themselves. It will help give them an understanding of happenings at
                                         last year, Drewry Shipping Consultants drew our attention to the fact         sea and underline the dangers of complacency, passing too close and not
                                          that there was already a shortage of 33,000 ship’s officers and this         using bridge equipment correctly.
                                          would increase to 87,000 by 2012. The upshot of this is that officers            Callisto Productions has made an excellent job of the production and
                                          are promoted to their certificate status much sooner than previously.        editing and an endorsement by the Nautical Institute adds weight to
                                           So the holder of what used to be called a Second Mates Certificate          the message. As usual with Steamship Mutual DVDs, the disc contains
                                           will much sooner sail as Second Officer – the same with mates and           reference documents, casualty investigation reports and judgments, as
                                           masters. Therefore the pool of experience is getting ever shallower.        well as relevant weblinks.
                                               The film identifies the four main deficiencies spawned by such          Andrew Lansdale
                                            lack of experience – failure to keep a proper lookout, not proceeding      Collision Course is available from Steamship Insurance Management
                                            at a safe speed, failure to assess risk properly and not reacting          Services, email: enquiries@simsl.com

www.fairplay.co.uk                                                                                                                                               5 March 2009 Fairplay 13

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