Welcome to the GTZX web site.


Since I became aware of the Centenary of BP Shipping I have been looking around for information on the ships and seafarers that have been involved. It seems a pity that BP have not seen fit to create some form of web archive and there are several comments to that effect on the Ships Nostalgia web site.

It appears that BP are not alone in not providing an archive, Kees Helder has published Helderline, a web site primarily about Shell tankers and Auk Visser has created his Historical Tankers Site, which has information about a huge number of tankers with photographs, including some of BP's, but with a special emphasis on the Esso fleet.

I have taken it upon myself to develop this site and I hope many of my fellow seafarers who have spent time at sea with BP will help in the task of creating a useful and interesting resource for anyone with an interest in the ships and people of the BP fleet, past, present and future.

GTZX was the fleet call sign of BP Shipping until 1986, when the ships were flagged out. It will be familiar to all deck officers and radio officers, as well as others, who sailed on BP ships prior to this date. It seems an appropriate name for a site dedicated to the people and ships of the BP Fleet.

Feel free to upload any photographs you may have to either the Gallery which is superceding the Ships, Archive and Misc Galleries. It is assumed that if you upload a photograph you have the right to do so and will not be infringing any copyrights.

Note that in order to view the crew list information, or add and view photographs you need to be a registered user.

I make no claim that the information on this site is complete or accurate, but I am continuing to research and will add, or edit data as it becomes available.

By the time I left the sea in 1988 I was heartily sick of paint, particulary of the green, non skid variety! I once did a rough calculation and estimated that an R boat, from the 80's had about 4 acres of green deck. Very happy not to think about it anymore.

However, we are not all the same, Julian Brower spends his time painting ships and has send me this photo of his latest work. Perhaps the fact that he was a Sparks means he is not as fed up with green paint as I am.

British Ranger by Julian Brower
British Ranger by Julian Brower

Peter Walker has kindly sent me digital copies of Fleet Faxes from 1998 to 2004. I'm not sure when the old Fleet News became a Fleet Fax but it seems to have fulfilled the same purpose!

I have converted the files to searchable PDF's and uploaded them so they are all there for you to browse at your leisure. Something to do in this tedious lockdown.

I am sure there must be many more Fleet News' or Faxes lying around in garages and lofts. It would be a pity if they were to be lost. So if anyone does have copies it would be great to get them digitised and uploaded to the site.

 

This article is reproduced from The National UAE. Thanks to MIke Harrison for drawing it to my attention It reports on the British Signal carrying the first cargo of crude from Das Island.

 

In a simple folder lies a couple of yellowing pages. Marked secret and written in 1933, the report describes an uninhabited barren island off the coast of Abu Dhabi. A refuge for seagulls and cormorants, the RAF was considering using Das Island as an emergency landing ground for Imperial Airways flights from London to India.

Britain’s Royal Air Force conducted a reconnaissance of the island that year and its report is now available online as part of the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive.

“It is entirely uninhabited but is occasionally visited by Arab dhows. A small cemetery in the south-east corner seems to indicate that it may have been inhabited in the past,” the report noted.

“The northern coast of the island, beyond the hills, is infested by cormorants and seagulls … so far as could be discovered there is no running fresh water.”

Das Island never became an emergency ground as it was believed aircraft could sink into the island’s sand. The images and reports then lay forgotten for close to three decades. But fate had a plan for the island.

It is entirely uninhabited but is occasionally visited by Arab dhows. A small cemetery in the south-east corner seems to indicate that it may have been inhabited in the past

Britain’s Royal Air Force report from 1933

I have been contacted by Philip Preece who is looking for any information about his grandfather, Captain Andrew Preece. He retired, as Commodore, in 1952.

I think it unlikely that anyone using this site will know anything, but if you do, let me know and I'll put you in touch with Philip.

 

Unfortunately some emails sent automatically by the site are being blocked by some email systems. I am not sure why this is but am trying to get it remedied.

When this happens I normally get an email reporting it and I resolve the situation manually, but if you do not get registered within a couple of days then email me and I will get it sorted out.

 

UPDATE: I've been it touch with the ISP that host the site. They are aware of the problem which is related to emails sent from their servers to Microsoft related email accounts such as hotmail and users of Outlook. They are working to resolve the issue.

Regular visitors to the site may notice that the two menu items linked to maps showing the current locations of the Fleet are no longer there. The maps were provided by Vessel Finder. Unfortunately they now limit the number of ships which can be flagged as "My Fleet" to 10 for the free account. In order to add more ships a Premium Account, costing £50 p.a. is required. 

Since users can go directly to Vessel Finder to locate ships in which they have an interest I don't feel inclined to cough up  unless users of the site are keen for me to do so. I can't tell how much use has been made of the maps so if you have an opinion one way or the other let me know in the comments below.