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    S.S. BRIDGETON, FACT and FANTASY

Although this piece of text was compiled over 12 years ago, considering it as history, it still makes interesting reading, so read on......

N.B. Gallons quoted below are Imperial, which is 1.2 U.S. Gallons, or 10 Gallons Imperial = 12 Gallons U.S.

Click to see Enlarged Photo

Photograph by kind permission of Foto Flight. A copy of this photograph may be purchased from Foto Flight quoting:-

"Al Rekkah - Ref: CN 89112"

The steam ship ‘Bridgeton’ (formerly "Al Rekkah" , finally "Pacific Blue") is classed as an U.L.C.C. - Ultra Large Crude Carrier. With a Summer Displacement of 464,739 tonnes, an overall length of 1200 feet, a beam of 230 feet and a mast truck above keel height of 238 feet, the ‘Bridgeton’ is presently one of the largest ships in the world. She is currently the largest ship to transit the Suez Canal (in ballast condition only) and with an arrival draft of 74 feet, the deepest draft vessel to pass through the Dover Straits and enter the port of Rotterdam.

Propulsion is derived from a 45,000 Shaft Horse Power steam turbine, which turns a single 64 tonne and 32 feet diameter propeller. Maximum loaded speed of the vessel is 16.47 knots, at which the two boilers consume some 230 tonnes of fuel oil per day, equivalent to 36 gallons per minute. The Summer Deadweight of 407,823 tonnes completes the list of vital statistics and there is no doubt that their significance is not always apparent to the layman. Let us consider the statistics pertaining to the ‘Bridgeton’ in a less orthodox form.

Planted in the middle of central London the ship would occupy half the length of the Mall, or completely cover the distance between Buckingham and St. James Palaces. She would be to long to fit into Wembley Stadium, the Oval or any other London Stadia. Parked in Trafalgar Square a Navigator on the wing of the bridge deck would be able to look the redoubtable Admiral Nelson straight in the eye.

Loaded with a full cargo of bunker fuel oil the ship could steam for 12 years and five months at a speed of 10 knots, covering a distance of some 1,087,440 nautical miles. This is equivalent to 50 complete circumnavigation's of the Earth or 2½ round trips to the Moon.

However, if instead of fuel oil, the cargo was motor gasoline then this would come to almost 120 million gallons; that is enough to drive a Ford Escort 5 billion, 40 Million miles. Driven non-stop at 50 m.p.h. this car would run for 11,506 years and, if the drivers all came from the same family - each taking the wheel for 50 years - some 230 generations would be involved.

Chartered by Courage, Whitbread or some other company engaged in their laudable business, the ‘Bridgeton’ could transport 960 million pints of Best Bitter. Distributed to the population of the United Kingdom, on the basis of relative age and capacity, this would be enough to render the entire nation paralytic drunk for about three days.

A normal cargo of Crude Oil is valued at around 84 million dollars. For every dollar per barrel change in the market-place, the value of the cargo changes by 2.8 million dollars respectively. The cargo of motor gasoline at U.K. pump prices would be worth 240 million. The main deck forward of the accommodation housing has an area of five acres which requires over 1000 gallons of paint for a full coat. Three football fields, end-to-end, will just fit in this area or twelve A-310 Airbus Aircraft could be parked on it, two abreast.

Applying the Laws of Motion, the ‘Bridgeton’ fully loaded and at full speed has a Moment of Inertia equal to 35 Jumbo Jets with full payload and at cruising speed/altitude.

In the month of July 1987 the ‘Bridgeton’ gained world acclaim in becoming the worlds largest "Minesweeper", leading the U.S. Navy Escort Service, during the Iraq / Iran tanker war.

The ship is more than twice as long as the famous battleship H.M.S. Dreadnought.

If the 214 tonne rudder was laid flat 33 Leyland Mini Cars could be parked on it.

Another picture, taken at the bow and looking aft

View from for'd.

With reducing interest in oil shipments by ULCC the "Pacific Blue" was sold for scrap to Indian breakers in February 2002

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