Giant Tanker that Caused a Splash on Clyde’s South Bank



It looks as though this boat is about to burst out over the yard wall into Govan.

Sometimes we think of shipbuilding in Glasgow being mainly a pre-war activity, but this is the Linthouse yard of Alexander Stephen and Sons in 1962 when it was completing the largest merchant vessel ever built on the south bank of the Clyde, which is why its bow is almost in Holmfauld Road.

It is ship number 672, a tanker for BP named British Bombardier, which sailed for only 14 years before being broken up in Taiwan.  The launch of the 760ft ship at such a narrow point of the Clyde was always going to be tricky and needed to be done at high tide with 1,100 tons of drag chains attached to stop it running into Whiteinch on the opposite bank, while tugs turned it round .

Sadly a strike by tug crews over overtime payments delayed Bombardier’s launch by six weeks, and management at Stephen’s warned that strikes were going to endanger jobs at the yard.

That was a prescient warning as six years later the yard became part of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, and closed soon afterwards.

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Source: Herald Scotland


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