Radio Programme of Note: The Yellow Fleet

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Nov 122010

Peter Flack looks at the forgotten Yellow Fleet

In 1967 a convoy of cargo ships from 8 countries, including Britain, were trapped in the Suez Canal during the Six Day War. They were to remain there for 8 years, becoming covered in windblown desert sand, giving them the nickname “The Yellow Fleet”. For the men involved this was an often dangerous but exciting time which many describe as the best of their sea-faring lives. Yet their stories have gone untold, until now.

Peter Flack was on the Agapenor, a ship heading for home with a cargo of plastic toys for Woolworths. It had been an ordinary sailing until the morning of June the 5th 1967. Peter was on deck when suddenly he saw Israeli jets streaking out of the rising sun towards Egypt. John Hughes was an electrician on another ship, The Melampus. He was at the top of a mast, fixing a light, when -glancing down- he saw Egyptian soldiers dug-in along the banks of the canal pointing their guns directly at him. Shortly after his speedy descent from the mast, the Israeli air-raid began. As his colleague, Graham McMorine, remembers the jets used the ships as cover, crossing the canal at mast height to bomb the Egyptian air-base. Continue reading »


Programme of Note: Shipping Forecast

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Nov 292009

image MAC wakes up to the strains of Ronald Binge’s calming,tacky but tuneful Sailing By and what BBC reporter Nick Higham calls the ‘mysterious and hypnotic’ Shipping forecast on BBC Radio Four so its nice to see – or hear – hat the BBC is featuring this very British institution.

Says the BBC website: “ In a new series, BBC News focuses on aspects of life in countries and cities around the world. What may seem ordinary and familiar to the people who live there, can be surprising to those who don’t.

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Follow The Big Red Box

 container accident, containership, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Follow The Big Red Box
Sep 142008

How does BBC News explain the complexity of maritime trade to its viewers? It tags a container with a GPS and tracks it around the world with the help of CSIS and NYK Lines. Currently it’s stuffed full of scotch on its way to China and websurfers can follow its progress around the globe on the BBC website.

Other than a paint job, the project isn’t costing the BBC much. Explains Jeremy Hillman Editor, BBC business ansd economics centre: “Surprisingly, this project will not be costing the BBC much over and above the coverage costs for the editorial content. ]Whilst we have paid a little for the branding of the box and some technical costs the fact this is a working container means it will be earning its own keep. We are keeping our fingers crossed the Box does not fall overboard”

What adventures await the BBC Box? Will it spent six weeks in a container yard in Ulan Bator? Fall off a ship, like the thousands of teu that drop off decks every year, and circulate in the Sargasso Sea for eternity? Be discovered stuffed full of illicit Mercedes labelled “dry goods” in Manila? Will it be arrested for spying on North Korea? Will it end up being looted on a beach in Devon?

It’s a wild, wild world for a container out there. If you see the BBC Box, let us know, sent a photo if you can.