Oil spill in Bermuda April. 1951

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Bermuda   20 April to 15 June 1951


Captain Yendell, in command of HMS Superb up until now, was relieved by Captain E W J Bankes shortly after the Ship's return to Bermuda.

Whilst in Bermuda an employee of the Admiralty fuelling installation sank our oil barge. The barge was 60 feet long and held 300 tons of fuel. Whilst filling it, he allowed too much fuel to be pumped into one side of the barge so that the deck became awash, water entered a hatch on the deck, the barge sank, and fuel oil escaped. A boom was put across Clarence Cove to protect one of the beaches.

The three divers carried on the Superb, aided by other seamen, put in many long and sometimes dangerous hours refloating the barge. It was a difficult job, made more difficult by the limited equipment available, and the need to improvise.

All vents and hatches had to be sealed and an air line attached using a Cox's gun. With air being pumped in, the fuel/water mixture was pumped out through a special adapter made on board. After blowing and pumping for many hours the barge suddenly, and without warning, lifted to the surface hitting and nearly sinking the diving boat.

One of the divers, Bernie Robinson was on the bottom at that moment, checking for signs of movement, and was fortunate not to lose his life. 

The oil ruined everything it touched - all of the diver's working gear. All helmets had to be stripped down, springs replaced and suits and boots renewed. But, perhaps worst of all, the Diving Store Parakeet died of oil fuel poisoning after getting soaked in oil. The divers cleaned it up, but it seems the oil affected its brain. It seemed to go mad, attacked all on sight and then collapsed and died (but maybe it was helped towards the end when it was in severe distress).

The pictures shows the barge being recovered and the three divers, P.O. 'Nutty' Carr with the Parakeet on his wrist in the centre, Jack Sayers on the left and Bernie Robinson on the right



Photos sent in by the daughter of Dennis George Hambleton.

More details on the "Crossed the Bar" Page



7 Photos from the 50-51  cruise sent in by Arthur Maxted who  would like help in putting names to faces. Is "Chitty" in there somewhere?

You can enlarge the photos by clicking on the appropriate one



Vic Owen has been in touch and kindly sent us a few words regarding his time on board the Cruiser Superb.  If you remember those times please email us.


Amongst other things Vic says :


I was a National Serviceman and served on the ship from Aug or Sept 1949 till after the Spring cruise of 1950 prior to finishing my time in Aug '50 (papers in the attic).

The first photo is of me with some members of the EM mess. Gwilliam was a NS man like myself the other two were long servicemen.


The second photo is of me with AB Ifor Williams on 'a run ashore'


I was the EM attached to 'A' Turret and Ifor was the communications operative.We were both Taffs (ooops! is that PC these days?) and also Welsh speaking and would carry out a conversation in our native tongue much to the amazement of the guncrew.


The third photo may be of little interest but shows a transfer from HMS Battleaxe, perhaps someone might  remember who it was.


These photos of Patrick Hayes & friends were sent in by Pat's daughter subsequent to his demise in 2014 (see "Crossed the Bar" page).  If you can identify any of the friends please let us know.

Patrick Hayes c. 1950

Patrick Hayes c. 1950

1 - Gordon Truet     2 - Fred Kinsey  

3 - Pat Hayes    4 - John Gaynor   5 - Norman Webber



The following photos were posted by Alexander Birt who worked the Rosyth area on Tug Boats.  They were taken by his father who was a Skipper and Senior Pilot between 1950 & 1956.  The dates of these photos is uncertain but thought to be in the early 1950's.- unless you know different!

You can enlarge the photos by clicking on the appropriate one




You can enlarge the photos by clicking on the appropriate one



You can enlarge the photos by clicking on the photo to magnify it

Scout group visiting the ship in Gibraltar believed to be November, 1950