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Robert Cole recalls his time as a deck cadet on Esso Ulidia, as well as the unreliable nature of similar ships...

I was deck cadet on the Ulidia from August to November 1976, and I also did trips on the Caledonia and Northumbria. The other Kingdom ships were the Scotia and Cambria (German built 250s) and the Anglia, Mercia and Bernicia (French built but 'only' 190 K dwt).

Reliability was not a strong point of the four UK 250s. One set a record for the number of blackouts between Dubai and Ras Tanura: four I think. The main engines were all steam turbines. Luckily the crews were of a reasonable size and when time allowed there was a decent social life, with Saturday night horse racing for example.

Robert Cole

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