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Photographer:Chris Howell [View profile]Title:ALBRIGHT EXPLORERAdded:Mar 31, 2011
Photo Category: Special Purpose Vessels
owned neg with copyright
Built 1968
General cargo ship for chemicals
1989 Bright Explorer
1991 broken up Alang
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Photo Comments (7)

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Phil English on Apr 01, 2011 09:07 (10 years ago)
I think 'special purpose ships' will be the right category. As Allan says, the two Albright ships were very specialised and unique.

Chris Howell on Mar 31, 2011 20:52 (10 years ago)
Thanks for info, but is the category I have her in correct ?
Guest on Mar 31, 2011 19:29 (10 years ago)
Lloyd's Register listed the two Albright & Wilson ships as "Chemical Carrier" (ie not tanker) and noted that EXPLORER could carry "Liquid phosphorus in independent tanks in nos 2 & 3 holds". They were the only ships of their type ever built. Phosphorus, which ignites in contact with air, is one of the very few chemicals that need an IMO Type I tanker. That means that it has to be carried in tanks well away from the sides and bottom of the ship so as to minimise the risk of spillage in the case of a collision or grounding. IMO I called for the tanks to be 1/5 of the ship's breadth or 11.5 metres (whichever is less) inboard from each side. After the two sisters were built by Vickers, Newcastle in 1968, the trade petered out due to improvements associated with wet process phosphoric acid. The rest of the holds were for dry bulk cargoes, I believe.
Allan RO on Mar 31, 2011 19:16 (10 years ago)
Hi Phil/Chris

My 1978 LR does describe the vessels as chemical carriers, but the cargo was transported in the holds, the structures on deck are to do with safety venting whilst loading/unloading, as phosphorus is spontaneously flammable on exposure to air. (Similar structures albeit with different venting requirements and functionality are seen on the decks of shuttle tankers.)

Whilst Miramar has its uses, and provides very useful information, saving hours trawling through Marine News, it is not an authority and clearly if it used LR as a reference source it would class these vessels as chemical carriers.

Chemical & Engineering News 1968, 46(29)p62/62 reports the vessels will carry 5,000t lots of white or yellow phosphorus at 60degC. The deck tanks do not look large enough to carry this quantity. Not sure when Chris' photo was taken, but the aft deck structure has already been removed. So whether they are chemical tankers or chemical carriers is a moot point, what's in a name ? But if you try to pigeon-hole things, there is always bound to be an anomaly - so perhaps 'special purpose ships' might be more appropriate, as these were two very special, and completely unique, vessels and that's how I'll class my shot of the Pioneer when I re-post it.

As a footnote, my first post-doc. job was with Albright & Wilson, but not on this side, it was at the detergents factory in Whitehaven, where they imported phosphate rock from Casablanca, firstly in 3 Marchon vessels, then in large bulkers which anchored off and the stuff shuttled into the tiny Cumbrian port on the Marchon Venturer, Marchon Enterprise and the barge Odin.

Chris Howell on Mar 31, 2011 17:23 (10 years ago)
Dear Allan/Phil

Phil is correct as she is listed as a general cargo ship by Mirimar, and World Built ships 1968 has her as a chemical carrier not as a tanker.


Phil English on Mar 31, 2011 16:09 (10 years ago)
It was always my understanding that these ships had dry cargo holds with the molten phosphorous carried in deck tanks, encased by the deck housing which can be seen in the photo. However, I could be wrong.

Allan RO on Mar 31, 2011 14:42 (10 years ago)
Hi Chris

She is actually a chemical tanker, designed specifically to carry molten phosphorus. Built, along with Albright Pioneer, to ship the stuff from the manufacturing site in Newfoundland to Portishead for the local Albright & Wilson chemical plant. There should be a shot of her sister, Albright Pioneer, posted by me somewhere on here.

When sold by A&W in 1989/90, they were converted to general cargo ships - a somewhat hazardous job I should imagine bearing in mind their previous cargo.

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