Abel Tasman Delivery voyage

The following is a log of the delivery voyage from Kiel, Germany to Devonport, Tasmania recorded by Able Seaman, Bob Lucas.


Abel Tasman sailing in the Kiel Canal, near Rednsburg. Bound for Tasmania.
Photo: Stephen Gatt collection.

Sailed Kiel 9:15. At Lock o9:45. Sailed lock 10:20. Passed Rednsburg 13:00.17:30 tied up Brunsbüttel near NTH Sea lock for bunkers.

Sailed bunker berth Brunsbüttel @ o4:00. Tied up North Sea Lock @ o4:30. Departed Nth Sea lock @05:15. Noon Position abeam of Dutch/German border. Midnight abeam Calais in Dover Straits. Weather cold & foggy. Lot of shipping.
152 miles

 Mon 20 MAY
9:00 Abeam Isle of Wight. Dropped NTH Sea/English Channel pilot off Tor Bay (STH Coast England) @ 11:30. Days run from noon 19th to Noon 20th464 miles @19 Knots on two engines. After dropping pilot went on 1 engine @15 Knots. Came across Airship(Airship 600). Midnight starting to cross the Bay of Biscay. Weather cool and overcast.

Noon position puts us half way across Bay of Biscay. Weather cool and clear.
Days run 344 miles at noon. Midnight abeam Cape Finisterre
Have crossed Bay of Biscay.

Noon position 40 miles N.W of Lisbon (West coast of Spain)
Weather fine and clear. Midnight abeam Cape St Vincent. 170 miles to run to strait of Gibraltar.
Day’s run 358 miles.

Noon position entering straits of Gibraltar. @ 12:30 abeam Algeciras Bay. 13:00abeam Gibraltar. Passed another Aussie ship “Fremantle Express” in the straits, also eastbound. Lots of shipping in the straits. Weather fine and sunny.
Day’s run 361 miles.

Noon position 30 miles west of Algiers. Steering east along NTH coast of Africa. Weather overcast and rainy. ETA Port Said 22:00 on 28th @ 15Knots. Midnight abeam Ras-Al-Feir light in gulf of Boheir. (Gulf of Béjaïa?)
Day’s run 379 miles.

Noon position abeam Bizerte. Still storming along NTH coast of Africa. 12:30altered course for port Said. ETA Port Said 20:00 on 28th. Weather overcast.
Day’s Run 361 miles.

4:00 abeam Valletta (Malta). Noon position 135 miles E.S.E of Malta. Heard on BBC World news on Radio, 2 Tankers exploded and caught fire in Algeciras bay 5miles west of Gibraltar yesterday. 25 dead. Both ships sinking alongside wharf.Spain’s worst maritime disaster. Weather fine and sunny.
Day’s run 390 miles.

Noon position 100 miles NTH of Tobruk (Libyan Coast) 15:00 passed P&O passenger liner “Canberra” heading west to Gibraltar then to Southampton for refit before3-month world cruise. Due Melbourne in February 1986. Weather fine and sunny.Starting to warm up in the eastern Mediterranean, now 32c at 2pm.
Day’s Run 373 Miles.

Noon position 60 miles N.W of port said. 15:30 anchored off Port Said. 17:00heaved up anchor. 18:00 -19:15 tied up to buys fore and aft @ far eastern end of breakwater. Strong onshore wind made tie up difficult. Poly line aft parted.Tug assistance needed. 20:00-23:30 hoisted canal boats and rigged searchlight in Bow. Bum boat men set up shop in vehicle deck and Madison SQ. Garden.
Day’s Run to Port Said 445 miles.

1:30 let go fore and aft. 01:55 joined south bound convoy for run down Suez Canal. 12th ship in convoy. 7:00 changed pilots. 9:00-13:00 at anchor in Great Bitter Lake waiting for northbound convoy to pass through. 16:45-17:00dropped pilot, canal boats and search light while steaming past port Suez.18:00 steaming south down the Gulf of Suez.

1:00 still steaming south down Gulf of Suez in traffic separation zone past oil rigs. Lot of shipping. 04:00 abeam shaker Is (Nowadays called Shadwan Is) off Sinai peninsula-into the Red Sea. Noon position 70 miles E.S.E of El Qoseir.Weather very hot with high humidity. A/C useless. Days run (Including Suez Canal) 390 miles.

11:30 came to anchor 2 miles off Jeddah. More than 80 ships at Anchor along the reefs. Some wrecks visible on the reefs. No word from agent-religious holiday (Ramadan)Weather hot and sticky 36c
Day’s run 331 Miles.

12:05 Agent and Custom boarded. 12:45 commenced bunkering from barges along side ship. No mail from agent. 22:00 finished bunkering. Loaded 110 tons of Diesel.600 tons of heavy fuel oil and 200 toms of water. 22:15 heaved up anchor. 23:00full away. Weather hot and sticky.

00:30 HF call from tanker “Mobil Challenger” at Jeddah anchorage, requesting medical advice. Woman onboard had miscarriage and could not get proper treatment in Jeddah. 1:30 oil spill discovered in passenger accommodation “D”Deck. About 2 tons of fuel oil had leaked out of tank tops. Bloody mess.Weather very humid. Cold water in showers very hot. Might be heaving to off Aden to put German technicians ashore.
Day’s run (From Jedda anchorage) 208 miles.

Noon position 22 miles N.N.E of Perim Is, in Bab al-Mandab Strait (Gates of Hell) 12:30 entered traffic separation zone through straits. 13:30 abeam Perim Is. Out of the Red Sea and into the Gulf of Aden. Weather hot and sticky 38c at Noon. 15:00 altered course for Djibouti to put German technicians ashore. 18:00 hove to in Djibouti harbor. 18:45 Departed Djibouti. Water in showers very hot.
Days run 363 miles.

Noon position 270 miles east of Djibouti in Gulf of Aden. 13:00 running on 2engines @225 RPM @ 17.8 Knots to reach Devonport by 11:00 on 20thfor arrival celebrations. Midnight abeam Cape Guardafui, 15 miles off.
Days run 393 miles.

1:00 off Cape Guardafui, wind SE force 7-8 seas rough. 1:30 altered course and slackened speed to 15 knots to reduce excessive pounding causing sludge in fuel oil, Daily service tanks, clogging engine filters. 3:50 up to full speed. Noon position 170 miles SE of Cape Guardafui. Wind S.S.W force 6-7 Sea rough. Temp 32c. 14:00Stabilizers out-STBD fin not working properly.
Days run 393 miles

100 400 miles S.E of Cape Guardafui with 896 miles to run to equator ETA Equator 5:00 SAT 8th. Weather warm, wind S.S.E 4 sea abating. 2:00 stabilizers out. 10:00 overtook sheep ship “Merino Express” bound for Fremantle from Jeddah. 15:00 both engines increased from 225 RPM to 240 RPM. 13:45 STBD Engine shut down, Overheating-Barnacles in seawater suction box. 16:00 back on both engines @240 RPM (19 Knots) Weather: Wind S.S.E force 3 temp 33c.
Day’s run 417 miles

FRI 7thJune
01:00 wind now light northerly. Seas slight. 10:30 passed container ship westbound for Europe. Noon position 270 miles N.W of equator. 13:00-14:00 STBD engine again shut down for repairs. Temp 32c light S.S.W wind slight swell
Day’s run 420 miles.

Crossed equator @ 2:50 ships time (21:50 GMT) @ 69’18’E Longitude. Now picking up Equatorial counter current adding about 1 knot to our speed giving us a speed of 19.8 Knots. Noon position 170 miles SE of Equator. Had first shower of rain. 03:45 passed LPG tanker “Bergavista” Geelong – Red sea.
Day’s run 475 Miles.

8:00 announcement – Proceeding to Fremantle for bunkers (Diesel and Lube Oil only) 10:00 came across Jap tanker bound for Karachi. Noon position 660 miles SE of Equator, noon temp 34c Picking up constant S.E trade winds.
Day’s run 474 miles

00:30 wind S.E force 5-6 (Right ahead) Pounding and throwing spray overall.Noon position 1083 miles S.E of equator with 2175 miles to go to Fremantle.Temp @ Noon 32c Pounding and shipping spray, no shipping.
Day’s run 423 miles. Averaging 18 Knots   

01:50 wind S.E force 6-6 (Right ahead) reduced revs to 225 RPM due to excessive pounding. Still pounding @ reduced revs. Noon position 1766 miles from Fremantle.Temp @ noon 31c Wind S.S.E force 4 heavy S/E Swell. No Shipping.
Day’s run 409 miles. 17 Knots.

02:00 revs again reduced to 225 RPM due to heavy pounding. Noon position 1364 miles N.W of Fremantle. Temp 26c Wind S.E 5 16:00 Aussie tanker “Nivosa” 24hours ahead of us reports S.E winds moderating. 18:45  port engine shutdown for valve change. 20:30back on both engines. No shipping.
Day’s run 402 miles. 17 knots.

02:00 S.E wind moderating. 18.5 knots. Noon position 950 miles NW of Fremantle.ETA Fremantle, depending on speed over next 48 hours 15:00-18:00 SAT 15th.Noon temp 27c Wind E by S force 4. Starting to pick up Southern Ocean S.W swell on starboard quarter.
Day’s run 414 miles.

00:00 passed 10,000 Mile mark on log recorder. Wind E by S force 3. Averaging18.3 Knots. Noon position 505 miles N.W of Fremantle Averaging 19.2 knots.Noon temp 25c wind E.S.E force 3 low long S.W swell.
Day’s Run 445 Miles.

Noon position 92 miles N.W of Fremantle pilot boarding position. Noon temp 21c Wind N.N.W force 2. Low long swell. Saw first albatross. 15:05 made landfall on WA coast (Sighted lighthouse on Rottnest Island) Total for Indian ocean crossing, Cape Guardafui-Rottnest Island Landfall, 10 Days 15 hours. 16:20 hove to 3 miles off Fremantle harbor. Pilot boarded 16:35 paramedics and doctor boarded. 17:10 John Benson transferred to launch on stretcher. 18:15 underway proceeding to anchorage for bunkering. 19:10 at anchor. 19:30 bunker barge secured alongside. 20:00 commenced Bunkering.22:00 finished bunkering -100 tons Diesel, 30x 44 Gallon drums of Lube oil. 22:20 started to heave up anchor. 23:30 anchor aweigh. 23:40 full away.
Day’s run to Fremantle anchorage 510 miles.

Noon position 19 miles E.S.E of cape Leeuwin. Noon temp 16c Wind S.W force 6-7 seas rough. Heavy swell. 19:00 abeam Albany.
Day’s Run 291 miles (From Fremantle)

Noon position 195 miles S.E of Esperance. Noon temp 15c Wind SW force 7-8 seas rough, Heavy swell. 13:00-14:05 slowed to 8 knots to water wash turbines.
Days run 430 miles 17.9 Knots

Noon position 230 miles S.W of port Lincoln. Noon temp 15c wind S.W force 7 seas rough, Mod-Heavy S.W swell.
Days run 376 miles. 16.3 Knots.

Noon position 65 miles S.W of Portland. Temp at noon 13c. Wind S.W force 5-6 Seas moderating. Moderate S.W swell. @ noon sighted Aussie tanker “Nivosa” about 10 miles to STBD. Had been ahead of us all the way since the 12th.
Day’s run 407 miles, speed 16.9 knots
19:15 raised loom of cape Otway light. King Island 35 miles ahead on radar.

6:50 abeam Stanley, wind light easterly, temp 4c
7:30 hove-to off port Latta, Embarked customs
8:00 Abeam Rocky cape light. 8:40 Abeam Table cape
9:20-9:50 Hove-to off Burnie breakwater, embarking media, Press, Gov and TT-Line officials
10:40 abeam Uluerstone
11:10 Hove off Mersey Bluff embarked Pilot
12:00 All fast Devonport.


Kiel (LAT 54’20’N Long 1’10’E) To Devonport (LAT 41’11’s Long 146’22’E)

Total Miles Steamed: 11,895 Miles

Total Steaming Time: 699 Hours (29 days 3 hours)

Total time spent in locks at anchor, Hove -to etc: 63 Hours 50 mins (2 Days 15 hours 50 mins)

Fastest Speed: 19.8 Knots (on the Equator) on 2 engines

Slowest Speed: 14.5 Knots (Across Bay of Biscay) on one engine

Overall average Speed: 16.87Knots

Best Days Run (Noon to Noon): 474Miles (On the Equator)

Least Days Run (Noon to Noon): 344Miles (Across the Bay of Biscay)

Overall Average Day’s Run: 380Miles

Maximum Temperature:38.3c @ noon in Red Sea

Minimum Day Temperature: 10.2cin North Sea

Total heavy Fuel oil consumption: 1070.65tonnes

Total Diesel fuel consumption: 360tonnes

Engine Hours Port Engine: 620hours

Engine Hours STBD Engine: 588hours

Total Beer consumption: 5,200stubbies
= 2.28 miles per Stubbie
(or 0.44 of a Stubby per mile)
(or 6.82 Stubbies per Hour)