As a follow-up to the previous post, below is a photo of one of the coastal tankers I worked on, the Steamship (SS) Lompoc.
The Lompoc was named after the city in California, located near Santa Barbara and Buellton. She was an old T2, a standard design built during World War II. She was about 530 feet long and carried about 17,000 tons of oil. The captain and mates (like myself) lived in the midships house (located in the middle of the ship), just below the bridge, where the steering and navigation equipment were located. The job of the mates was to navigate and pilot the ship when at sea, and to load the oil when in port.
In the early years of my career as a ship’s officer, I worked on many T2 tankers (there were hundreds still in service in the years after World War II). The T2 tankers were all built from the same basic design, so if you knew the layout on one, you could find your way around on any of them.
This post has generated so much interest from all over the world, that I’ve decided to add to it. See the new material below.
The T2 tankers were designed and built during World War II and were considered a cutting edge technology in their day. When I started going to sea in the late 1960s, there were quite a few of them still around, and I served on several of them. Most of these were owned by Chevron, and several are pictured in this post. Interestingly enough, my dad, Phil Marton, also served on a T2 tanker in 1944: the SS Quebec. I recently found his name on a crew list from 1944, when he was serving on the Quebec as First Assistant Engineer.
The first T2 tanker I sailed on was the J.H. MacGaregill in 1969, my very first ship as third mate. At the time she was carrying San Joaquin Valley heavy crude from Estero Bay to Richmond, California — a very short trip.
A few years later, I was second mate on the MacGaregill when we took her across the Pacific and delivered her to Su-Ao, on the east coast of Taiwan, to be scrapped — a sad journey!
Other T2s I served on included the J.L. Hanna, the Arizona Standard, the Oregon Standard, the Washington Standard, the Idaho Standard, the Nevada Standard, and there are probably some others I’m not thinking of.
In an ironic and frightening coincidence, two of the T2s I had worked on, both owned by Chevron, collided in heavy fog under the Golden Gate bridge in 1971. Luckily for me I wasn’t on board either of them when it happened. There was no loss of life, but quite a large oil slick resulted.
When the T2s were introduced in the early 1940s they represented a genuine leap forward technologically. One of the modern improvements in their equipment was the use of centrifugal pumps instead of reciprocal pumps for the main cargo discharge system. The cargo tanks were divided into three groups, each with a dedicated pump. These three systems could be isolated from each other or made common by means of crossover valves in the upper and lower piping, and also in the pumproom. I searched the internet, and below is the best diagram I could find of the T2 piping system (click on the diagram to enlarge).
As indicated in the diagram above (although it’s less than clear to the inexperienced eye), the forward system consisted of tanks 1,2,3, and 4; the midships system consited of tanks 5 & 6; and the aft system consisted of tanks 7,8, and 9. Each group of tanks (except #1) consisted of three separate tanks: for example 5 port, 5 center, and 5 starboard. The only exception was #1, which consisted of port and starboard tanks only.
An overall plan of a typical T2 is included below:
The propulsion for all of the T2s on which I served was virtually identical: turbo electric drive, consisting of a steam turbine that generated electricity, which in turn drove the propeller. Generally speaking, the design of the T2s was highly standardized, at least on board the ships I worked on. Although there were minor and superficial differences, the equipment was very much the same, and the ships behaved very predictably both at sea and in port.