Oil tankers

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
Jon G.
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Re: Oil tankers

Post by Jon G. » 28 Mar 2008 12:09

Here is an interesting paper on Norway's interway Tanker Expansion (pdf link)

The general background was that the world's commercial ship fleets - particularly the US and British fleets - were in decline throughout the 1920s and 1930s chiefly as an effect of the Depression. At the same time, though, tanker tonnage demand was increasing, but leading oil companies frequently preferred to outsource their shipping needs to independent operators, rather than bearing the cost of building the ships themselves.

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Re: Oil tankers

Post by Andreas » 03 Apr 2008 09:41

Checked a few more sources on Iridio Mantovani - it is correct that Force K disposed of her.

She had a sister, launched in 1940, and sunk by HMS Porpoise on 18 Nov. 1942 in another combined air/sea action (torpedoed by air 17 Nov, sunk by sub 18 Nov), Giulio Giordani, 10,534 tons.

http://www.miramarshipindex.org.nz/ship/show/181980

These two were the largest Italian tankers sunk during the war.

All the best

Andreas

Jon G.
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Re: Oil tankers

Post by Jon G. » 03 Apr 2008 20:53

Thanks for the additional info Andreas. Checking with Sadkovich - who incorrectly identifies the Giulio Giordani as a cargo ship on p. 308 - this ship was sunk off Misurata while 'waiting for an overdue cargo' although no further details are given.

In relation to the Libyan port capacity issue which crops up so often, I find it somewhat curious that the Italians' two largest tankers sunk were lost en route to supposedly under-dimensioned Tripoli.

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Re: Oil tankers

Post by JonS » 03 Apr 2008 22:37

Jon G. wrote:In relation to the Libyan port capacity issue which crops up so often, I find it somewhat curious that the Italians' two largest tankers sunk were lost en route to supposedly under-dimensioned Tripoli.

But was Tripoli under-dimensioned' in the sense that it had limited berthing capacity, or because the because the harbour entrance was narrow/shallow?

From - admittedly faulty - memory it was mainly due to limited berthing capacity (coupled with limited cargo handling infrastructure), in which case it'd make more sense to send fewer, but larger, ships.

Also, given their losses and limited fleet, the Italians may not have had much choice about which ships they chose to send.

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Bronsky
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Re: Oil tankers

Post by Bronsky » 11 Jun 2008 12:02

Jon,

The problem with Tripoli was limited berthing capacity as well as the limited unloading capacity i.e. lack of cranes, skilled manpower, storage areas etc. On the other hand, there was a special piping system to pump out the oil from a tanker, on top of the regular discharge rate so theoretically there would be no problem sailing a large tanker to Tripoli. It would rather make things easier on the escorts: given how the ship would be most vulnerable while en route, the Axis could time the trip for when Allied opposition would be minimal (e.g. Malta pounded by a particularly fierce series of raids, etc).

This is off-topic here, but I can post additional details elsewhere if you want.

Regarding tankers, a quick "sort data by type then size" command on my French merchant shipping spreadsheet gave the following largest French oilers:

The columns are name - tonnage (GRT) - year built - fate (when I bothered to note it)

Languedoc - 9,512 GRT - 1937 - sunk 17 Oct 1940 by U-48
Lorraine - 9,512 GRT - 1937
Pluviôse - 9,561 GRT - 1931
Henri Desprez - 9,895 GRT - 1932 - in Casablanca at the time of the armistice
Champagne - 9,946 GRT - 1938
Roussillon - 9,967 GRT - 1936
Théodora - 10,802 GRT - completed in 1940
Marguerite Finaly - 12,309 - 1933 - in Casablanca at the time of the armistice
Salomé - 13,291 GRT - Scuttled 3 June 1940 in Dunkirk, raised by the Germans and turned to Kriegsmarine service 9 July 1941 as KMS Breisgau
Shéhérazade - 13,467 GRT - 1935 - sunk 11 June 1942 while in Allied service off the US Coast by U-158
Palmyre - 13,750 GRT - not quite finished when sunk by mine off Saint-Nazaire 18 June 1940. Captured by the Germans, salvaged and turned to Kriegsmarine service as KMS Vierlande
Emile Miguet - 14,115 GRT - 1937 - sunk by U-48 while in convoy, 12 Oct 1939

Hope this helps.

Jon G.
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Re: Oil tankers

Post by Jon G. » 12 Jun 2008 21:33

Hi again Bronsky and thanks a lot for your input. I concede that my comment about Italy's largest tanker meeting its demise off supposedly under-dimensioned Tripoli was a little flippant. I was just pointing out the irony.

Bronsky wrote:Jon,

The problem with Tripoli was limited berthing capacity as well as the limited unloading capacity i.e. lack of cranes, skilled manpower, storage areas etc. On the other hand, there was a special piping system to pump out the oil from a tanker, on top of the regular discharge rate so theoretically there would be no problem sailing a large tanker to Tripoli. It would rather make things easier on the escorts: given how the ship would be most vulnerable while en route, the Axis could time the trip for when Allied opposition would be minimal (e.g. Malta pounded by a particularly fierce series of raids, etc).

This is off-topic here, but I can post additional details elsewhere if you want.


That would be very welcome. Either in the old thread

viewtopic.php?f=56&t=63008

...or maybe this newer thread is a better place to continue the discussion about Tripoli's capacity:

viewtopic.php?f=56&t=136337

I could also have moved this post to one of the above threads, but I prefer your post with its tanker data to remain in this thread.

Emile Miguet - 14,115 GRT - 1937 - sunk by U-48 while in convoy, 12 Oct 1939.


From looking over this thread so far, and consulting the Miramax index, the Emile Miguet looks like the biggest 1930s oil tanker so far.

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Re: Oil tankers

Post by Jon G. » 16 Mar 2009 09:29

Andreas wrote:Checked a few more sources on Iridio Mantovani - it is correct that Force K disposed of her.

She had a sister, launched in 1940, and sunk by HMS Porpoise on 18 Nov. 1942 in another combined air/sea action (torpedoed by air 17 Nov, sunk by sub 18 Nov), Giulio Giordani, 10,534 tons.

http://www.miramarshipindex.org.nz/ship/show/181980

These two were the largest Italian tankers sunk during the war..


There was a third sister ship in this family - the Franco Martelli, which was sunk by the sub HMS Urge in the Med on April 18 1941.

All three ships were completed for AGIP in 1939. They're all rated at a round 14,500 dwt, but come out at 10,535, 10,533 and 10,539 GRTs for the Franco Martelli, the Giulio Giordani and the Iridio Mantovani respectively.

I just bought Roger Jordan's wonderful book The World's Merchant Fleets 1939, a wonderful source for this kind of stuff.

takata_1940
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Re: Oil tankers

Post by takata_1940 » 08 May 2009 02:27

Visionist wrote:Does anyone know what was the world's largest oil tanker in the 1930s?
The upper limit for ship size in this period seems to be the 80000+ tons of Queen Mary and Normandie...


Actually, you can't really make comparison using registred tonnage concerning Passenger vessels like the Queen Mary or the Normandie with Tankers. There is a lot of confusion in those answers concerning the ship size which are mixing Gross Registred tonnage, Dead Weight and Displacement. The 'Largest', concerning different class of ships, would mostly depend on what measure is taken:

1. Tonnage:
a) GRT (Gross Registered Tons) is measuring the size of the ships in term of volume but its is slightly variable depending which national system is used (and the period) in the country of registration (some space are counted, other aren't). It is a kind of administrative (custom, taxes, insurances) measurement. So the term "tons" alone for GRT is not correct as it may induce a notion of weight, then the correct unit should be "registred ton". The total space under the main deck is usually provided to give an idea of the repartition of the space available:
. Normandie (Liner 1935): 83423 GRT; 42681 GRT under the main deck; 40742 GRT above (49%).
. Shéhérazade (Tanker 1935): 13467 GRT; 12167 GRT under the main deck, 1300 GRT above (10%).
Normandie is 6.2 times Shéhérazade.

b) NRT (Net Registered Tons) is the measurement of the "commercial space", mixing both cargo and passenger spaces but discarding the space used for service from the GRT. Here again, the category of the ship is important for comparison because the space measured for passenger can't be filled with cargo due to weight limitations and stability:
. Normandie: 36985 NRT (44% GRT)
. Shéhérazade: 7015 NRT (52% GRT)
Normandie is 5.3 times Shéhérazade.

2. Displacement:
There is two measures concerning the mass of water displaced by a ship given in imperial ton (1,016 kg) or metric tonne (1,000 kg), as for the combat vessels, which are a minimum and a maximum limit. The difference between them will give the Dead Weight (DW), which is the maximum cargo weight loadable.

a)'Empty' is not really empty as everything that will make the ship able to sail is included like the fuel load and water ballast, then it means without commercial cargo:
. Normandie: 56,000 tonnes empty.
. Shéhérazade: 8,500 tonnes empty.
Normandie is 6.6 times Shéhérazade.

b) 'Loaded':
. Normandie: 68,900 tonnes loaded.
. Shéhérazade: 27,300 tonnes loaded.
Normandie is 2.5 times Shéhérazade.

c) Dead Weight (DW), the difference between a) and b):
. Normandie: 68,900 - 56,000 = 12,900 tonnes (DW), 19% of max. displacement.
. Shéhérazade: 27,300 - 8,500 = 18,800 tonnes (DW). 69% of max. displacement.
Now, Shéhérazade is 1,5 times Normandie.

3. Dimensions:
a) Length at water line:
. Normandie: 299.2 m
. Shéhérazade: 167.4 m
Normandie is 1.8 times Shéhérazade.

b) Breadth:
. Normandie: 36.9 m
. Shéhérazade: 21.9 m
Normandie is 1.6 times Shéhérazade.

c) Depth:
. Normandie: 17.6 m
. Shéhérazade: 12.1 m
Normandie is 1.5 times Shéhérazade.

Now, concerning the question about the tankers, here is a list of the largest, sorted by DW, in the 1939-1940 Lloyds Register. The first column is the nationality of the shipyard, next the year of building, following the specs with their name and flag in 1939. It looks like the largest in term of GRT was the CHARLES G. BLACK followed by ÉMILE MIGUET.

DEU..1928..Grt.13006..Nrt.7765..Dw.24000..Lg.172...C. O. STILLMAN (PAN)
USA..1921..Grt.12590..Nrt.7853..Dw.22600..Lg.169...JOHN D. ARCHBOLD (USA)
USA..1921..Grt.14054..Nrt.8790..Dw.22390..Lg.169...WILLIAM ROCKEFELLER (USA)
USA..1921..Grt.14305..Nrt.9161..Dw.22135..Lg.169...CHARLES G. BLACK (USA)
FRA..1937..Grt.14115..Nrt.7780..Dw.21735..Lg.166...ÉMILE MIGUET (FRA)
USA..1930..Grt.11752..Nrt.7328..Dw.20615..Lg.160...G. HARRISON SMITH (USA)
USA..1930..Grt.11787..Nrt.7362..Dw.20615..Lg.160...W. S. FARISH (USA)
USA..1927..Grt.12510..Nrt.7834..Dw.20040..Lg.160...GULFPRIDE (USA)
GBR..1922..Grt.13031..Nrt.8216..Dw.19800..Lg.162...SAN FABIAN (GBR)
GBR..1919..Grt.13056..Nrt.8335..Dw.19800..Lg.162...SAN FERNANDO (GBR)
GBR..1921..Grt.13037..Nrt.8216..Dw.19800..Lg.162...SAN FELIX (GBR)
GBR..1919..Grt.12842..Nrt.8107..Dw.19540..Lg.162...SAN FLORENTINO (GBR)
GBR..1921..Grt.12910..Nrt.8152..Dw.19245..Lg.162...SAN GASPAR (GBR)
GBR..1922..Grt.12915..Nrt.8150..Dw.19245..Lg.162...SAN GERARDO (GBR)
USA..1939..Grt.11615..Nrt.7258..Dw.19200..Lg.160...E. J. HENRY (USA)
USA..1938..Grt.11651..Nrt.7258..Dw.19200..Lg.160...J. W. VAN DYKE (USA)
USA..1938..Grt.11651..Nrt.7258..Dw.19200..Lg.160...ROBERT H. COLLEY (USA)
USA..1928..Grt.11628..Nrt.7221..Dw.18686..Lg.155...AUSTRALIA (USA)
FRA..1935..Grt.13467..Nrt.7015..Dw.18530..Lg.167...SHÉHÉRAZADE (FRA)
ITA..1928..Grt.13896..Nrt.7920..Dw.18425..Lg.163...JUVENAL (ARG)*
USA..1939..Grt.11323..Nrt.6646..Dw.18300..Lg.161...MARKAY (USA)
USA..1938..Grt.11824..Nrt.6985..Dw.18300..Lg.161...CIMARRON (USA)
USA..1939..Grt.11323..Nrt.6646..Dw.18300..Lg.161...ESSO TRENTON (USA)
USA..1939..Grt.11340..Nrt.6694..Dw.18300..Lg.161...ESSO NEW ORLEANS (USA)
USA..1939..Grt.11335..Nrt.6705..Dw.18300..Lg.161...SEAKAY (USA)
DEU..1914..Grt.09724..Nrt.6138..Dw.18075..Lg.160...STANDARD (USA)
DEU..1932..Grt.11194..Nrt.6912..Dw.18070..Lg.159...FRANZ KLASEN (PAN)
GBR..1929..Grt.11999..Nrt.7074..Dw.18045..Lg.160...ATHELCROWN (GBR)
DEU..1933..Grt.12223..Nrt.6571..Dw.18025..Lg.159...D. L. HARPER (PAN)
DEU..1933..Grt.12197..Nrt.6626..Dw.18025..Lg.159...ROBERT F. HAND
DEU..1933..Grt.12502..Nrt.6769..Dw.18025..Lg.159...GEO. W. McKNIGHT (PAN)

* Note:
From 1937, JUVENAL (ARG) was rated:
- GRT 9459
- NRT 5165
- DW 13500

S~
Olivier
Last edited by takata_1940 on 08 May 2009 03:03, edited 1 time in total.

takata_1940
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Re: Oil tankers

Post by takata_1940 » 08 May 2009 02:49

Jon G. wrote:
Andreas wrote:Checked a few more sources on Iridio Mantovani - it is correct that Force K disposed of her.
She had a sister, launched in 1940, and sunk by HMS Porpoise on 18 Nov. 1942 in another combined air/sea action (torpedoed by air 17 Nov, sunk by sub 18 Nov), Giulio Giordani, 10,534 tons.
http://www.miramarshipindex.org.nz/ship/show/181980
These two were the largest Italian tankers sunk during the war..

There was a third sister ship in this family - the Franco Martelli, which was sunk by the sub HMS Urge in the Med on April 18 1941.
All three ships were completed for AGIP in 1939. They're all rated at a round 14,500 dwt, but come out at 10,535, 10,533 and 10,539 GRTs for the Franco Martelli, the Giulio Giordani and the Iridio Mantovani respectively.
I just bought Roger Jordan's wonderful book The World's Merchant Fleets 1939, a wonderful source for this kind of stuff.


I've got this nice book but it is very painfull to list the ships as they are sorted by company !
Just a note about the links to the Miramar database you provided above. It actually link to another ship as the /ship/show/#number is randomized after each update. You have to provide a link like this one for the Giulio Giordani:
http://www.miramarshipindex.org.nz/ship ... No=5613937
or (Émile Miguet)
http://www.miramarshipindex.org.nz/ship ... No=5614694

S~
Olivier

Jon G.
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Re: Oil tankers

Post by Jon G. » 08 May 2009 09:38

It is good to see you posting on the forum again, Olivier :)

takata_1940 wrote:
Jon G. wrote:...I just bought Roger Jordan's wonderful book The World's Merchant Fleets 1939, a wonderful source for this kind of stuff.


I've got this nice book but it is very painfull to list the ships as they are sorted by company !


I agree. Jordan's decision to list ships by company/operator is perfectly logical, but it is definitely not ideal for our purposes. I've been wanting to make a list for this thread of all Italian oil tankers in Jordan's book, their GRT sizes, their whereabouts on June 10 1940, and their wartime fates, but I haven't yet gotten round to it. Maybe I can find the time to do it over the weekend; this is the kind of job which you'll want absolute quiet around you to do, like building ships in bottles or something :)

Just a note about the links to the Miramar database you provided above. It actually link to another ship as the /ship/show/#number is randomized after each update...


Right! But it can only be a good thing that the Miramar index is updated regularly.

takata_1940
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Re: Oil tankers

Post by takata_1940 » 08 May 2009 17:34

Jon G. wrote:I've been wanting to make a list for this thread of all Italian oil tankers in Jordan's book, their GRT sizes, their whereabouts on June 10 1940, and their wartime fates, but I haven't yet gotten round to it. Maybe I can find the time to do it over the weekend; this is the kind of job which you'll want absolute quiet around you to do, like building ships in bottles or something :)

Hello Jon G.
I've got too few spare time to post here as much as I did, but I should be able to spare a bit of yours. Actually, I've got already such a list [somewhere] of all Italian Tankers by 1940 (including their fate and details) and I'll send it to you (once I find it !). It would be easier than going thru this Jordan's book...
:-)

S~
Olivier

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Re: Oil tankers

Post by ozjohn39 » 14 May 2009 01:46

One of the questions that has always intrigued me is the number of tankers sunk in WW2, and the volume of oil released into the world's oceans.

It must make the Exonn Valdez look like a picnic, and I am willing to bet many are still leaking oil today.

Lucky the sun evaporates most if not all of it.


John.

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LWD
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Re: Oil tankers

Post by LWD » 14 May 2009 13:45

I also would like to see a list of Italian tankers with sizes. In particular there is a thread in the what if forum discussing increased axis activity in the Med early in the war. Tankers and their capacities are a key component in examining the topic.

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Re: Oil tankers

Post by cstunts » 22 May 2009 04:59

Hello,

An oil industry article from ca 1937 that I found details the emergence of JAPAN's fast tankers, and the arguments (numbers, that is) in favor of this approach. At least commercially, pre-war, this seemed to make sense. More oil could be transported quicker and therefore at less expense, generally speaking.

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Re: Oil tankers

Post by Jon G. » 22 May 2009 11:18

Cstunts, do you remember the article which you got that information from? If I can find it I can perhaps post a pertinent scan or two here.

Takata_1940 has very generously forwarded me a massive amount of data which he has compiled for all (917 ships!!) Italian merchantmen on the eve of war. As I already promised above, I shall concentrate the tanker data in legible form and post it here when I get round to it - that is, name, GRT & dwt size plus rough dimensions, speed and whereabouts on June 10 1940.

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