Large Tankers are Awesome!

The afternoon off from work was spent at the harbor taking photos of the Italian Suezmax tanker, Mare Picenum (Picenum is a former region of Italy).

These big tankers are just amazing. The ship was light, so more of her hull was exposed, which made her that much more impressive. I wasn’t the only one fascinated by her. A number of people stopped to watch as she entered the harbor and made her way to Pier 10.

Mare Picenum bow

Mare Picenum

Bow profile:

Mare Picenum bow profile

Name in Times Bold (graphic designer geek time):

Mare Picenum Times Bold

Bulbous bow detail:


One of my friends pointed out that this was a photobomb. Indeed! That’s Captain Ed Enos (Pilot 16) on board the pilot boat Honolulu. 😀 He was shooting photos/video of the ship as well. If you are on Instagram, check out his images @hicapted.

Some of the crew:

Mare Picenum crew

Various fender and bumper patterns on the hull:

patterns on hull

patterns on hull 1

patterns on hull 2

patterns on hull 3

An unhappy encounter with something:

scrape draft marks

More crew:

Mare Picenum crew and tug arrow

Ready with the heaving line:

ready with heaving line

The pilot, Captain Steve Baker, on the bridge wing:

Pilot 12 on bridge wing

Bulkhead and scupper:

bulkhead and scupper

Pi‘ilani (one of the three Foss tugs assisting the ship)…waiting for the line:

waiting for the line on Piilani

Still waiting:

still waiting for the line

Almost ready to go:

Piilani at Mare Picenum stern

Anchor wash still going:

anchor wash and lines

Bow detail:

Mare Picenum bow detail




San Francisco (Monday, August 11)

I had intended to swing by the SUP building (having passed it while a passenger in my friend’s car) first thing in the morning to get a closer look at it. A late start and a glance at squashed that idea.

Ooo Manoa arrival! Time to make my way back to the waterfront. (Yes, I am a sad ship geek.)

I found the solar powered MUNI bus stop shelters fascinating:

bus shelter

We need stuff like this here in Hawai‘i.

I got off the bus and waited for a cable car.

One going in the opposite direction from where I wanted to go:

cable car

I know. Touristy. But, hey, it’s fun!

Across the street from Hyde Street Pier:

across the street from Hyde St Pier

Sadly, the Park store is no longer there in the building on the corner. I remember happily stocking up on nautical books when I visited while it was still open. It’s a shame, really.

And…there’s Manoa!

Manoa Golden Gate Bridge


I’m so used to seeing her in Honolulu Harbor, it’s nice to see her in San Francisco Bay for a change. (It’s that perspective thing.)

I had quite a bit of time before my 1300 appointment at the Research Center, so I lingered to do more ship spotting.

APL Philippines:

APL Philippines

USCGC Bertholf:

USCGC Bertholf

Sirius Voyager:

Sirius Voyager

Seal (as opposed to sea lion) spotting:


On the way to get something to eat, I stopped at the Aquatic Park Bathhouse building to see if there was anything new. On the street level, some things had been moved around. There was also an exhibit on the history of the U.S. Customs Service.

The upper floor was still sadly underutilized. Apart from the radio exhibit, there was only a display of some photos related to the America’s Cup (not my cup of tea).

Some details:

wheel light fixture

Plimsoll line on pillar

davits on pillar

After lunch, it was a short and pleasant walk over to Fort Mason, for the “work” part of my trip. I went to check out what FOC materials the NPS has. I must say the three hours I was there went by all too quickly.

One of the reference photos (not the greatest because of my shadow) I was allowed to take with the fancy phone:

FOC pic sample

Building E at the Fort Mason complex:

Fort Mason Bldg E

The stern of the brigantine Galilee in the parking lot area:

brigantine Galilee

After leaving Fort Mason, I went back to Hyde Street Pier.

Crane for the work being done on the pier:

crane for pier work

Shhhhhhhh…One of the highlights of my vacation was being allowed to go aboard Eppleton Hall or “Eppie,” as she is fondly called.


frames 1

frames 2

Consett mark on frame



The familiar-looking details were strangely comforting.

CA Thayer (ongoing work):

CA Thayer


Balclutha bow

Another shot showing repairs (doubler plates) to the hull:

Balclutha repairs to hull

Grim Discovery on the Pier

A pleasant day at the harbor except for a rather grim discovery.

I was looking at the larger lines stored on the pier. Some of the ends aren’t whipped, so they aren’t in the best condition.

worn end of line

(If you’re squeamish, stop reading now.)

I saw something that looked superficially like the image above. Upon closer inspection, I noticed some bones.

fur and bones

It turned out to be the remains of a cat.

close up of skull

I’ve never seen any cats wandering around in the area, so it’s rather strange. In a previous post, I mentioned the bait stations that have been set out around the pier to kill rats. I wonder if this poor cat’s death was a result of catching/eating a poisoned mouse or rat?

Anyway, I’m just glad it was on the pier and not on the ship.


A couple of random photos…

Looking aft along hull:


Old wire seizing:

old wire seizing

The door leading to the aft cabins has been missing a proper handle for a long time. Up to now, there was just some thin line looped through the hole where a handle should be:

old handle

It worked, but seemed a bit ghetto. I thought I could make something super simple that would look a little better.

splice beginning


new handle

In the harbor…

Sider Colombia arriving:

Sider Colombia

A better photo, than one I posted earlier this month, of Mikioi with the Foss logo:

Mikioi Foss logo

And Pi‘ilani, also with the Foss logo:

Pi‘ilani Foss logo

Veendam rat guard:

Veendam rat guard

Time Running Out for Kula Kai?

A trip to Kewalo Basin isn’t complete without a visit to the old Kula Kai.

Kula Kai name

This notice (dated May of this year) was posted on board:


Poor girl. Last I heard, a group was trying to save her. Have the plans fallen through?

Photos showing the condition of parts of the wood hull:

poor condition of wood




FG 108

The bilge pump works:

bilge pump works

Male spotted boxfish swimming along the hull:

male boxfish

Details, Details

As promised, this post contains more information about FOC’s former* side ports. Please understand that this is not a formal report, but just a loose collection of notes and observations.

To set the scene, so to speak, here are some photos of one of Balclutha’s side ports that were kindly provided to me by Chris Jannini.

The general location of the side port on the port side of the ship:

Balclutha port side port location

Exterior detail. Note the hinges:

Balclutha side port detail

Interior detail:

Balclutha side port int detail


FOC’s four side ports are all located in the strake we have designated as “K”:

port side K

There are two on each side of the ship. I have marked their locations on one of the drawings by Robert Jamieson:


(The red vertical lines indicate the locations of the oil tank bulkheads.)

Their specific locations, based on visual examination of the exterior of the hull and photos of the interior taken during the recent survey:

Tank 3 between frames** 60 and 62
Tank 5 between frames 24 and 26

Tank 1 between frames 96 and 98
Tank 3 between frames 54 and 56

The following photos are of the current exterior and corresponding interior appearance of each port. The shots of the port side ports were taken from Pier 8 and had to be cropped, thus the poorer quality.

Features to note when looking at the interior shots:

1. Double row of rivets forming rectangular shape, not associated with frames or plate overlap areas.
2. The frame that bisects the rectangle is different from the surrounding frames. It doesn’t have the angle iron piece with the holes and the rivets attaching it to the plates look smaller and form a different pattern (spacing is closer).

Port (aft)

port aft

Unfortunately, this one is partially blocked by the tire being used as a fender.

port fr 24 26

Port (midship)

port midship

You can see where the hinges used to be.

port fr 60 62

Starboard (midship)

starboard midship

This is the only port I have easy access to. It measures about 37″ x 25″. The hinge length is about 15″.

starboard fr 54 56

Hard to see the rivet rectangle here. The two horizontal rows of rivets just forward of frame 56 looks like where the hinges were attached.

Starboard (fore)

starboard fore

starboard fr 96 98

Of all the interior photos, this is the best one in terms of visible detail.


While I haven’t located anything that mentions FOC’s ports, here is an interesting excerpt from a report about another Falls Line ship, the Falls of Afton (launched in 1882), which mentions the ports:

The next question to be considered is, “When did the vessel first begin to leak, and what was the cause thereof, and were prompt and proper measures taken to stop the leaks?” On referring to the log book we find that the first time the well seems to have been sounded was on the 17th of April, and we are told that there were then 4 inches of water in it; and on the 19th the same depth is recorded. Seeing, however, that, according to Messrs. Stark and Newman, the pumps sucked at 5 inches, it is clear that up to that time the vessel could hardly have been making any water, even assuming that she was quite dry when she left Port Glasgow. On the morning of the 21st, however, we find that there are 7 inches in the well, and in the evening of the same day it had increased to 12 inches. The next morning it is said that the carpenter went down the pump well to see how much water there was, and came to the conclusion that there were about 8 inches in her. On the following morning, the 23th, they sounded the well, and on finding 12 inches in her, the captain, chief officer, and carpenter went below, and according to the log book they then found “the decks leaking like a shower bath,” and the water “spurting in at a great rate” at the angle iron round the ports, more especially at the main port on the port side. The same afternoon they found 6 feet of water in the fore peak, and it was then that they stood to the eastward with the view of returning to this country; and in the evening we are told that there were 15 inches in the well. It would seem, therefore, to have been during the 22nd and 23rd, when according to the master the gale was at its height, that she began to leak, the vessel at the time making very bad weather, and shipping large quantities of water on her decks. Now that some water did come in through the cargo ports seems to be admitted, for Messrs. Stark and Newman tell us that when they surveyed the vessel at Madeira, the cargo ports were leaking, more especially the main port on the port side, where it is said that the water was coming in pretty lively; but they told us that this was due to the shrinking of the packing, and that if the ports had been screwed up and chinsed from the inside, the leaks would probably have stopped. The captain also told us that the water was pouring in at a defective rivet hole on the fore part of the main port on the port side, but this Messrs. Stark and Newman distinctly deny; they say that the water which was coming in round the port struck against one of the rivet heads, and gave the appearance of the rivet hole leaking, but that they tried all the rivets round the port, and found them all sound. As to the water found that day in the fore peak, the master and mate told us that it appeared to them to be coming in through the bow ports and on each side of the stem; but Messrs. Stark and Newman told us that they carefully examined the stem, and could find no traces of any water having come in there; and that, in their opinion, the principal part of the water which was in the fore peak, must have come in through the hawse holes and the fore scuttle under the topgallant deck. They said that they came to this conclusion from seeing the saturated condition in which the articles in the lower forecastle were, and which must have been due to water coming in from above, and not from below. They told us that some water no doubt may have come in at the bow ports, but that none came in at the sides of the stem, and that they carefully examined the vessel all over, and could discover no appearance of her having strained in any part. If then the master, instead of merely stopping up the leaks in the ports with grease and tallow, had screwed up and chinsed the ports from the inside, and if he had secured the hawse holes, and seen that the hatch was put over the fore scuttle, it is probable that he would have stopped the vessel leaking in these parts; and this the assessors tell me he ought to have done. As to the water coming in through the decks like a shower bath, we believe it to be, like the account given by the master and mate of the rigging, the nuts, and the bolts, a pure exaggeration.

Source: Wreck Report for Falls of Afton, 1882 from the PortCities Southampton website


What are referred to as the main ports in the Falls of Afton report, are most likely the ports located amidships. The fore and aft ports seem slightly smaller in size (more square as opposed to rectangular in shape). I will attempt to measure the other port on the starboard side of FOC to confirm this.

*Sealed up, probably when the ship was converted into a tanker.
**Numbered British style, aft to fore.

Easy Tasks

Saturday turned out to be a lazy sort of day.

The tide was quite low when I arrived at the ship:

low tide

Oops. The location of the white paint mark is not quite right. I’m the one who painted it on the hull, so I can be critical. 🙂 It’s supposed to line up with the vertical double row of rivets. It indicates the location of one of the oil tank bulkheads.

I didn’t feel like doing anything too strenuous, so I decided to do a bunch of whippings…easy, relaxing, and satisfying work. I also cleaned out one scupper that was partially blocked by debris. I need to inspect the rest this coming weekend.

The scuttlebutt is that the upper floor of the Aloha Tower Marketplace is being converted into dorm rooms for HPU students. Lucky sods.

future HPU dorm rooms?

After I left the ship, I went to take a look at Shonan Maru.

Rope mat chafing gear:

Shonan Maru rope mat

More chafing gear:

Shonan Maru chafing gear

A fender, I think:

Shonan Maru fender?


The pressure’s on! Slightly less than a month left to get everything ready for the photographic survey of the hull. Eek.