I was delighted to read John Murray’s article in the February 2016 issue of Sea Breezes, on the Shell super tanker, Velutina and his experiences on her as an engineer apprentice.
My interest comes partly from my having taught engineer cadets at Plymouth College of Technology (now Plymouth University), and partly from the research I have undertaken into the history of the training, education and licensing of merchant ship engineers. In the course of my research, I have examined a large number of “Agreement and List of Crew” (Eng 1, ship’s articles), and purely by chance I have images of a crew list of the Velutina dated 16 November 1954 to 1 March 1955. The National Archive reference for this document is BT99/4794.
John Murray is named in the special section for apprentices which gives details of five other engineer apprentices and six deck apprentices. He is welcome to make contact with me for these details. Velutina is also of significance to the college in Plymouth owing to the arrangement it made with Shell in the early 1960s for all Shell cadets to undertake their shore training in Plymouth. Shell appointed one of its masters resident locally as its training officer to the College and presented its fine large builders’ model of Veluntina. It was clearly intended as an instructional model as it has cut out sections of the engine room and pump room. The model remains on display at Plymouth University.
It was in 1952 that the long vaunted “alternative training scheme” for training marine engineer apprentices/cadets at sea was agreed between the shipping industry, the engineering institutions and the education sector. John Murray must have been amongst the earliest marine engineer apprentices to be enrolled. In the early 1950s Velutina seems to have been operated as a sea-going training ship.
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