As I recall we arrived with the Task Force on 23rd May after being delayed on route when the tanker British Tay had problems with her refuelling rig and were ordered to refuel straight away as the Task Force was operating a policy of keeping the tanks 75% full.
We took up station astern of Tidepool and started to move up on her port side but we didn’t know that she was carrying out an anti-submarine zigzag plan and as our bow drew level with her mid section she turned to port straight across in front of us.
We were able to take avoiding action which reduced the damage to a bent starboard fairlead and a few scrapes down the side. I do remember thinking “Hell, it’s dangerous down here” but when you consider the number of ships operating in such a small area, the weather conditions and the fact that we were all operating in darken ship conditions with no navigation lights etc. it’s a miracle that more ships didn’t run into each other.
AB(R) 1979 – 1982
I was a young (23 year old) 3rd officer in the RFA, at the time of the replenishment I was on the tank deck (the area where the control valves for the cargo tanks were operated from) no automated system alas.
If I remember correctly I had been setting the valves and you were making an approach to our number 3 rig, the probe! We would have been steady on our replenishment course and speed, at this time we would not have executed a turn for a zigzag
That would have been done under a corpen November order.
I recall walking along the midship section of the tank deck watching your approach when all of a sudden you veered to starboard, your bow coming into contact with the forward end of our aft accommodation then riding along the sheer strake. Initially you metal- work got the better of ours, but we were a 1963 River Tyne Hawthorn Leslies creation and were having none of it. By the time you pulled away there was a fair bit of your metal work left on our deck, I remember collecting some, can’t recall if I brought it back home.
We were told you had problems with one of your props thus causing you to shear, however in the end you were successfully refuelled another satisfied customer!
Please don’t think you were the only ship to hit us. HMS Fearless and Intrepid took some good digs at us, but no one was hurt and we could still carry out our task
I am still at sea but now work in the oil and gas industry as a safety professional