The factory ships

Oct 14, 2016

A nutritional history has many elements. It is first and foremost about people; workers, managers and owners - about motives, actions, decisions and destinies. But the story is also about the physical framework. When the story is about the maritime industry this becomes particularly clear. Sea and the vessel is inevitable elements. So also in whaling history; the small hunting boats - catchers, and the large factory vessels - the floating factory ships, of course, was at the center of it all. They were in many ways the symbols of this industry's development - both good and bad. They signaled the innovation and tremendous technological development. Boiling contractions were among tomorrow's ships, and they were filled with contemporary most advanced technology. Catch boats evolved likewise, in size, in power and in technical equipment. The shipowners' investments signaled the high expectations and ambitions you had. A name Kosmos says most.

- Bjorn L. Basberg1

Floating factory ships was developed as a response to catch the boats to go farther and farther from shore to find whales and whaling companies to move their factories farther and farther westward. I 1903 decorated Chr. Christensen a chartered steamship, P.A. Grøns DS “Telegraph”, as a primitive factory ship with 2 open cookware. “Telegraph” were sent to Svalbard where there was a conditional success. The principle was successful, but the capacity was too small. For next season bought Christensen A / S eagle into the steamer “Gibraltar” which was built on the factory ship at Framnæs Mechanical Workshop in Sandefjord and renamed “Admiralen”. “Admiralen” would become the prototype of factory ships the next 20 the years.

“Admiralen” would prove to be a huge success for its owners A / S eagle despite a poor season in 1905 which made Christensen in June 1906 was authorized by the board to sell the entire expedition for not less than 500 000 kr. It failed to find buyers.

I 1909 she was sold to Bryde and Dahl Whaling Company and in 1912 she was sold to Alaska Whaling Co. It is uncertain when she went out of whaling, but in 1914 she køjpt of Johan Bryde in Sandefjord who stood as owner to 1918. Bryde had many interests in whaling so it's not inconceivable that he used her in harvesting, but it was also very favorable freight rates during the First World War so it is not unlikely that she was put in the shipping speed.

Between 1903 and 1920 a number seilskip converted respectively. Using factory ships and independent factory ships. This was done because they were cheap to purchase and run.

Sailing ships could be sent to the fields where they were unsure whale occurrences such as “Mimosa”-expedition to Tasmania and east coast of New Zealand in 1911. It would prove to be an unprofitable fishing grounds.

The ship left the four-masted skonnertriggede “Foldin I” who tried their luck at Svalbard 1926 unsuccessfully. She was commissioned in only two seasons.

I 1920 came the first purpose-built factory ship. It was A / S Hector “Ronald” (II). The ship was a substitute for Flk “Benguela” and Flk “Ronald” (I) as Hektor lost during WWI.

“Ronald” operated as floating factory at A / S Hektors land station on Deception Island, the South Shetland Islands, together with the Flk “Hektoria” (II).

She worked as a factory ship until 1931 when she was laid up. In World War II she was under allied command in 1948 she was again equipped as floating factory. This time for parmaceti Whaling Co. I Flk “Jarama” (image right).

Before stern slipway happening flanging from small barges where two men had to hold on to the whale while a third cut of pieces that could be hoisted aboard. This was perilous work and it was constantly experimenting with methods to be able to take on board the major parts, or the entire whale processing aboard the relative safety.
Simultaneously with the outboard flanging was the norm, it was experimented with other methods to get the whale aboard. Over we see a very early version of stern go of Flk "Ambra" in 1909, Solution to hoist the whole (less) whales aboard Flk "Restitution" and a failed sideslip on Flk "Sir James Clark Ross" in 1923. (Side slip was about to capsize the ship and had to be cut loose. The experiment was not repeated.) Another solution attempted was a floating dock on Flk "Solglimt" in 1929 with doors in the side of the hull. (This held also to lead to breakdown and had to be abandoned, next season got "Solglimt» mounted aft drop by Götaverken.)
In the early 1920s came another invention that would facilitate the work of lemmerne on these ships, and land stations, nemmelig the steam powered bone saga. Saga was operated by two people, one was the operator and another had the function to ensure that not the long blade turns flared by guiding blade with an iron bar. The picture on the right shows the saga of meat plan on Flk "Frango".
I 1925 was slipway introduced on Hvalfangersktieselskapet Globus’ Flk “Lancing” Larvik. Behind the invention was whaling manager and the shooter Petter Sørlle, and among the initiators of the mayor of Globus’ representatskap Anders Jahre, as with tremendous effort obtained the 4 million that the expedition was calculated to cost. The task of the stern slipway went to ing. Chr. Fred. Christensen.

The slip was no longer dependent on the calm waters to build up the whale and one could whaling in international waters without applying for a license from other states. Britain with the Falkland Islands and the surrounding areas were the ones who stood to lose most of the catch was now free. Within a few years ran all the floating factory ships catch on the high seas.

To avoid paying patent fee Petter Sørlle stern release specific A / S Ross Sea to attempt an alternative solution for their new factory ship “C.A. Larsen”. By Foreness Mek. Workshop received thus construct one bow door.

The solution was a success in the sense that it was retained until 1952 when the ship, who by then had been named “Antarctic” (II), was converted to common carriers, but no other factory ships would benefit from the.

Drawbacks were, inter alia. that one could operate while whale was ready to hauled up on the deck and that there was a complicated and expensive solution for a ship which would navigate fairly thick pakkis.

The next big step, and one of the last, in Kokeriet evolution came in 1929 Anders Jahres Flk “Kosmos”. It was an ultra-modern tankers with factory tires fitted upstairs tank covered. When it was launched, it was Norway's, and the world, largest tanker. Design was by Chr. Fred. Christensen and the ship was built by Workman Clark in Belfast.

The order sounded so:

Dear Chr. Fredrik.

I intend now to build a new factory ship 20-25 000 tonns damp- or diesel driven with the utmost cooking capacity and a kokeriarrangement that you find most beneficial.

Regards Anders.

P.S. I should also have 7-8 catchers, seen you in connection with Smith’ Dock. It's urgent.

A more detailed tour followed of course later …

The last major development came in 1932 when whale claw was introduced. Kloa was prepared by A. Gjelstad aboard Flk Kosmos during seasons 30-32 and the implementation and production he got help from Erling Corneliussen by CMV in Sandefjord. Before this had to be four members of the crew into the steeps to attach thick wire to the tail of the whale. No hazardous operation even in relatively calm weather, and in bad weather, it was a virtually impossible task.

As can be read from the graph to the right, it was a relatively steady increase of the size of these ships from “Telegraph” to “William Barendsz” (II). Tendrils of some smaller factory ships that were equipped for hunting in areas where there Potential proceeds implied lower the entire cost associated with expeditions. And the most prominent outcast is Flk “Soviet Kaja Ukraine” showing Soviets willingness to use resources, and the total lack of respect towards the International Whaling Commission they showed.

“Kosmos” i 1929 was the prototype of the large purpose-built factory ships with slipway and the size increased up to war with “Unitas” on top of 1937.

After the war fallen size matter with the exception of the Netherlands' government subsidized expedition “William Barendsz” (II), but the design and layout was still based on the first “Kosmos”.

Business value of all these advances and inventions saw a warning already in 1930 when production was at record levels and the entire fleet had to be put up as a result. Later it go against the almost total extinction of the great whales in the Southern Ocean and the industry's collapse.

The results were not. The profit for the owners was at times enormous, and the industry gave livelihood to many. But trapping material also stands as a symbol of how man's technical superiority hardly conducive whale a chance. Nowhere on the oceans was the Trygg - with tragic consequences. One can say that the industry was a victim of its own success.

- Bjorn L. Basberg2

1,2 Rosset, Geir 2013. The factory ships