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Glomar Java Sea
Oil Rig Photos
No: 1760   Contributor: ML Gillick   Year: 2009
Glomar Java Sea

Picture added on 14 May 2009 at 08:40
add commentComments:
May the souls that perished rest in peace...

Added by Loyd C on 14 August 2009.
And may the U. S. government forever be ashamed that they had no regard for the 40 Americans who died.

Added by Marti Giffin on 22 April 2010.
Thanks for posting this photo. I was a crane operator on that rig and missed the accident by about a week. I know the company tried very hard to rescue and recover those lost. The Chinese government was a terrible obstacle.

Added by David DeVane on 23 April 2010.
This is one of the biggest unknown scandals ever. Has anyone ever asked why Glomar Java Sea, a drillship supposed to withstand 100 foot waves, flipped over in only 20 foot waves? Why it was so much heavier than it was supposed to be? Anyone? I'll tell you why. Glomar Java was an american spyship in the South China Sea. It was heavy with government equipment, which means it didn't upright itself when it flipped over. Americans survived this disaster but mysteriosuly disappeared afterwards. There are photos of survivors on shore, captured by Vietnamese gun boats. What happened to those men?
This is not speculation but something I know for a fact from VERY inside sources who are too afraid to come out, because the US Government was involved in this, and because they let several survivors rot away in Vietnamese jails.

Added by Leak on 12 March 2011.
I worked on this ship for 5 years, sailed it from San Francisco to Hong Kong. Was fired by a undercover agent when we arrived in Hong Kong for having alcohol and other stuff onboard during the trip across. 11 of us were fired or we would have gone down with the rest.

Added by Craig C on 14 April 2011.
Craig - I have many photos of the ship and I think several of you on it. Happy to hear you and the other 10 were not there.

Added by Mike Gillick on 30 April 2011.
Hey Mike great to hear from you, hope all is well! Would be great to see the pictures, my email is, look forward to seeing them and catching up with my old shipmates!

Added by Craig C on 01 May 2011.
Hello all and to you Craig. This is Mark T. ( TIV ) and you know that I also was a worker on the ill fated ship and that went down. We were also room mates in Arkansas. I hope you all are doing fine. I too would have been on the rig if it were not for a decision I made not to work with C.B.Bracy's crew. I was asked too but refused. Then was immediately fired by Superintendent Malloy for not jumping through his hoops. The best Damn decision I ever made. The reason was because I flew in late and had only been on for two weeks and you know how tight with money Global was they felt I was cheating them out of their money. Well guess what call me a cheat then cause I cheated death on that day. Because while we were still in Hong Kong making the remaining connections to get back to the States was when the rig sank.

Added by TIV on 05 May 2011.
I was on the the Java Sea when we left the shipyard for sea trials in 1975, in Port Arthur, Texas. The captain's name was Gary Reed. There was an Englishman named Andy, who was the bos'n and a deckhand named Richard Padilla, from Honduras. The relief captain's name Ken Webb, from Hawaii. The rig super was I think, Ken Decker. Does anyone know those men? I still have an engraved pocket knife they gave us for some reason.

Added by Dave Andrisek on 22 May 2011.
I worked on the Glomar Java Sea in 1978, I enjoyed working with a fine crew, R.Sonnier, T. Malloy, D. Stewart, B.Lagon, Craig C., Paul C., Steve P.and every one the Java Sea.

Added by Cory Louivere on 31 May 2011.
I was on her in the gulf from December 1975 through May 1976. Worked for Pete "Thumbs" Havard who was a great crane operator and teacher.
Craig Watson and Earl "what are ya all fixin to do" Almond were the pushers and Russell Sonnier was our driller. I worked with Herman Arms (good man!!)aboard the Grand Isle before he moved to the Java Sea.

Added by Charlie Hein on 13 June 2011.
Does anyone remember a William R."Bill" Schug? He was from Houston and one of the crew who disappeared - a rig mechanic.

Added by RBJ on 23 June 2011.
I was on Bill Shug's crew until the summer of 1983 when I was moved to the crew on the opposite rotation to become a crane operator. Bill and I partied a lot during our off times here in Houston. Great guy.

Added by David DeVane on 25 June 2011.
Gentlemen, may I ask if any of you knew John Walter Lawrence? He was an engineer, sent around Labor Day 1983, from Houston to the Java Sea. He was on the ship when it sank. We weren't officially engaged, but we were living together when he went to China, and I would love to hear anything you could tell me about your working with him, if you knew him. Thank you so much for your time. Marti

Added by Marti K. Giffin on 27 June 2011.
Hello, I was given a picture of this drilling rig and decided to look up any history I could find, does anyone remember Jack and Casey Henson?

Added by Mary on 29 July 2011.
I was the Communications Engineer who installed the ship's radio station, autopilot, VHF, LORAN and radar equipment aboard the Java Sea during its construction. I worked for Texas Electronics out of Houston and spent damn near the entire Summer at Levivgston Shipbuilding in Orange, Texas preparing the ship for sea trials.
I was mortified to learn of the fate of the ship and crew. May they rest in peace.

Added by Franklin Roberts on 03 August 2011.
I was the surveyor who was on the first rescue vessel to arrive - there was only two, there was myself, an ARCO seismis QC and a Chinese cook who were the only ones who could stand, everyone was seasick to the point of crawling along the floor. We had a side scan fish, no navigation & the Anchor Buoys as a reference for local positioning. We found the rig on the seabed with the side scan & spent the next few days chasing potential survivors, (empty life jackets) which were being spotted from P4 Orions out of Olongapo.

They were also giving us navigation bearing & distances to the sightings. At one point we were inside Vietnamese waters with a Chinese gunboat shadowing us (protecting?). We did see some floating debris that could have been from the rig but due to sea conditions & none of us being professional boat handlers there was no way to recover anything, sadly I think if there was anyone in a liferaft any rescue attempt may have ended up being fatal.

There was lots of stories about the Vietnamese using the cover of the typhoon to steal the rig etc. this being the first time I've read anything re. the Glomar Java Sea since the sinking I never heard of 40 lost Americans in Vietnamese jails.

After getting off the Chinese Supply boat (NanHai 205?) I was flown from Sanya on the CAAC charter flight which should have carried the incoming & outgoing crew, a pretty surreal flight, myself, the ARCO guy and the Rig Superintendent who was due back from leave. After our first trip we came into Sanya, grabbed the Rig Super and took him out to the Buoy Spread, he identified some debris & we returned to Sanya for the flight to Zhanjiang and for me onto HK. All I got from it was some disturbing memories and a Glomar Java Sea belt buckle made by some famous guy I think in Oklahoma, sad to say someone stole it.

Added by David Knowles on 16 September 2011.
Hello all, I am the daughter of Earl Almond and have followed a lot of the stories about the Java Sea for many years. Fortunately for us my dad was not on that ship during the disaster, but all of his crew was. I was a teenager at the time and I remember how devastated dad was finding out about what happened. He had been hurt while working on the ship a few months before the accident and had been flown back to the States for treatment and was recovering at the time he received the news. My heart and prayers have been with the families affected for many years, I could not have imagined had dad been with his crew what my life would of been like today had I not had him in it. Unfortunately dad passed away 3 years ago due to pancreatic cancer. We have a very nice framed picture of the Java Sea that he was very proud of, that I could possible scan if anyone is interested.

Added by Stephanie Almond Birmingham on 25 September 2011.
Hello everyone. I was on the Java Sea when it was brand new working off the coast of Louisiana in December of 1975 drilling for ARCO. I was a 19 year old roustabout and had a bad fall half way into my first 14 day hitch that fractured several vertebrae in my lower back. That was the end of my offshore career. A guy from New Iberia by the name of Dalton Pratt was my crane operator and boss. I would love any pictures of the ship that anyone may have.

Added by Guy Rodrigue on 21 October 2011.
Guy, did you fall from the main deck down to the lower deck, landing on some big tires? Also, I remember the name, Dalton Pratt. not too many others, though. I remember a welder, named Chuck Willie, from Pine Grove, La.

Added by Dave Andrisek on 24 October 2011.
I was one of the night Radio Operators aboard the Glomar Java Sea from June 1977 to November 1982. I would like to hear from any crew members that I worked with. Thank you Librapix for this site.

Added by Roy Weiler on 24 October 2011.
Hello Guy!!
I was out there when you fell. I hope you're doing ok now.

Added by Charlie Hein (prune picker) on 24 October 2011.
My youngest brother was drilling eng G. Greg Sullivan and was on the Java Sea when it sank. I read the comment re the belt buckle ..I have one..a gift to my Dad from my nephews..made in OK.

Added by Sandra Sullivan Kohls on 27 October 2011.
I really have no memory as to exactly how I fell. I just woke up in West Jefferson Parish Hospital in Morrero, La. I had fractured the two spinus processes, the left and dorsal, which are the fins on each of three lumbar vertebrae. I also fractured my hip and had a rib puncture a kidney. I healed completely with no surgery or residual problems. I did fall through two open hatches about 50 feet to the casing storage room floor. Those tires saved me.

Added by Guy Rodrigue on 28 October 2011.
Hello Everyone, I lost a husband and a brother in law on the Glomar Java Sea. My son will be glad to see these stories you guys have printed. Thanks

Added by Anon on 08 November 2011.
Who was the Canadian on board...I was on the Glomar Explorer, after the CIA was done with it.

Added by Kevin on 17 December 2011.
I believe that in this photo the crew boat alongside the Java Sea is the M/V Sea Dragon.

Added by Roy Weiler on 19 December 2011.
My brother, George G. Sullivan was the Canadian aboard the Glomar Java Sea when it sank.

Added by Sandra Sullivan Kohls on 21 December 2011.
Thank you Sandra. I myself did this business we are all brothers, and we take care as much as we can. I have been International Oil for decades...I lived in Calgary at the time, and I believe George did also...I still own a house there, but reside in Kamloops....

Added by Kevin on 21 December 2011.
Was Bud Benning on the java sea when it sank?

Added by Helen on 31 January 2012.
I worked for a marine supplier in Orange and did a lot of business with Global Marine. I particulary remember the Java Sea and Larry Kelly and Buddy King. The loss at sea of innocent civilians carries a certain aura of deep and personal tragedy. It is like our 911 tragedy.

Added by Paul Mattingly on 22 March 2012.
I worked for Atlantic Richfield in 1978 and was onboard the Glomar Java Sea several times through 1980. Charlie Duke & John Gossett (ARCO Company Men)stayed with her throughout it's ARCO days in the South Texas District. My father, Bob Vuillemont worked on her as well as Jim Jackson and Charlie Cole. Mr. Karl Peterson was our Drilling Manager out of Houston. I don't remember any other ARCO geologists working onboard other a guy we called "Wild Bill" Montgomery and he was "lost" in the late 70's when a Night Helicopter flight crashed out of Sabine Pass going out to the Java Sea and all onboard the Helio was killed.

Added by Kerry Vuillemont on 23 April 2012.
doing some research about this accident after reporting on it when it sank while at a California newspaper. Anybody able to tell me about a diver on the Glomar Java Sea who was from Ventura? The ones said to have survived and come ashore on Vietnam always was a mystery and fascination.

Added by Randall Hackley on 23 April 2012.
My dad Kenneth Wayne Myers was one of the men that went missing. I have some incredible stories and I am hoping some of you do too. Please contact me if you can talk about any of this. It's been almost 30 years, I am hoping the truth will eventually come out. Our families and the missing all deserve more... Please reach out to me if you know anything about the Glomar Java Sea accident, crew, stories, anything at all please.

Added by Dwayne Myers on 24 April 2012.
Hi Dwayne, I spoke to your mother on the phone a few years ago. My brother G, Greg Sullivan was on the ship. It was a good talk. I think about all the missing and the families ..will we ever know the truth??

Added by Sandra Sullivan Kohls on 26 April 2012.
Raymond Miller was from S. CA and was a diver on this ill-fated vessel. He was a retired Navy Seal. I pray he did not end up in a Vietnam prison. He was my room-mate in Pensacola and a wonderful friend.

Added by Gayle on 22 May 2012.
Sadly, the NTSB investigation said Raymond Miller's body was found in a room on the vessel. However a boat did apparently launch before the sinking and there were emergency signals that would have required hand-cranking for a time. Whether anybody did survive seems unlikely but not out of the question even of those who may have gotten off before the Glomar Java Sea went down

Added by Randall Hackley on 26 May 2012.
I worked on the Java Sea in 1979-80 as a roughneck on Earl Almonds crew. I quit to work for Diamond M. It was definitely a defining time in my life. I remember when I found about about its sinking, I was working on a rig in Africa, it upset me greatly, and still gives me chills. I'll never forget Earl Almond, he was kind of a role model, and I still tell stories about him. Many names come to mind as I read these posts. Would love to hear from anyone from that time.

Added by Russ Randoll on 30 June 2012.
Russ Randoll,
I remember you and the crew changes from Sabine Pass Texas with Earl's crew. I was the night Radio Operator. Feel free to contact me.

Added by Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 04 July 2012.
I was the Third Assisant Engineer on the Java Sea when she was drilling in the Gulf. I was on her when we cleaned the fuel oil tanks. I wrote a book about the Java Sea and intend to post it on my web site.

Added by David Williams on 15 July 2012.
Brought the Java Sea out of the yard in 1975 and left her in 1977 after a car accident heading back for crew change. The engineer on my watch was Bill (Bud) Cowsill of pop music fame. I recall the JS as being very unstable in rough seas. Felt like it wanted to "turn turtle" at any moment. The crew that went down with the ship was the one I would've been with had I stayed. No doubt Uncle Scam abandoned the survivors in Vietnam just as he did the POW's and MIA's because the Vietnamese wanted reparations for that military industrial complex enterprise.

Added by Robert on 23 July 2012.
David Williams, I would like very much to get a copy of your book about the Java Sea. Please contact me.

Added by Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 26 July 2012.
My dad was on the JS when it sunk - I was 4 years old. My mom rarely spoke of anything related to this, so imagine my surprise when 25 years later I google my dad's name and see all of the "conspiracy" theories. I would love to see any books, etc that you reference, as all these years later my poor mother still seems traumatized and afraid to discuss any of those dark times after the accident.

Added by Jennifer Robinson-Daley on 02 August 2012.
I also would very much like to read the book. Please contact me.

Added by Marti K. Giffin on 02 August 2012.
Hey, CV three Seed, So glad you did not go down with her. We lost a lot of friends and shipmates. Roy

Added by Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 06 September 2012.
David Williams, Were Donald and Tyrone your brothers? I remember all of you. Does your family still live in N. O. and I hope they all came through Katrina safely. Roy Carl Weiler Sr. I was the night radio operator on Earl Almonds crew. I just learned that Captain Rudy Patzert who took us & the Java Sea through the Panama Canal died in 1998. I recently got a copy of his book from 1994 "Running the Palestine Blockade, The Last Voyage Of The Puducah" he was a great captain; A great man. I will always be glad that I knew him.

Added by Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 06 September 2012.
I worked and had the pleasure to feed several of the crew from the Java Sea however we were ship mates on the Coral-Sea. Ken Myers was one. I remember them like it was yesterday. I asked to ride Java Sea over but was refused thank God. I was in Santa Barbara Channel and watched Java Sea go by heading North.

Added by John McMann 805488-9645 on 11 September 2012.
I was one of three first electricians from the shipbuilding to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. George Watson came aboard as manager. Ken Decker I believe was a Jerk tool pusher. Jerry McDowell and a Whilliams from Wiggins ms was the other two Elec. I transferred because the Chief Eng. did not impress me.Thanks to those two guys...

Added by Marvin Lacoste on 12 September 2012.
I was one of three "the first electricians on board from Orange Texas .sea trials and the first drilling job in the Gulf of Mex. I was heart broken when I received the news..Me and Tom Williams still Keep in touch as he was prominant in the Global Office..Also John Callaway the first Materialsman.. Kiln MS.

Added by Marvin Lacoste on 16 September 2012.
I remember the day well. My father-in-law was Jewel Reynolds and he was on the JS when it went down. I remember I just started working for Halliburton that week and left on emergency leave to be back home with wife and mother-in-law waiting to hear some good news... none ever came. It was and is a trying time.

Added by Mark Bryson on 18 September 2012.
Dear Mark,

I knew Jewel very well. One of the best crane operators in the business. I was the night radio op. on Earl Almonds crew. Please tell your wife and mother in law how sorry I am for their loss. One we all shared.

Added by Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 24 September 2012.
Dear Mark, I too remember Jewel. I was the derrick man on Earl's crew when Jewel switched from crane operator to assistant driller. He would relieve me up in the derrick for dinner which he did not like at all! He was a very nice man and a great person. He spoke of his family often.
Best Wishes to you and his family W.I.P. Jewel


Added by Craig Cunningham on 28 September 2012.
Thank you Roy. He was a great man and always said his shipmates were the best. Years and years later I ended up on a siesmic ship in the East China Sea. And all the memories came flooding back. Lots of hostilities and some fear of all the Korean gun boats shadowing us and taunting us day and night. Anything is possible in that and many areas of the world. Jewel did mention some creepy things (about things going on JS) before leaving the last time, but I never thought a lot about them. Again I thank you and all the others on this subject. PLEASE stay in they will never be forgotten!!

Added by Mark Bryson on 29 September 2012.
Dear Craig, thanks for the comments. That sounds like Jewel alright, he had a very big heart and would totally give you the shirt off his back. Again stay in touch. Regards, Mark

Added by Mark Bryson on 30 September 2012.
My father Russell EJ Reynolds was also killed on the Glomar Java Sea. I would also like more info on this. I also think we deserve the real explanation. My most vivid childhood memory was my mother freaking out about our phone being tapped. I would love to hear from any of the other children of the deceased.

Added by Heather Reynolds on 30 October 2012.
My Grandfather Joe Jarrell worked on the Java Sea but was not onboard when it went down. I never heard him speak of it, I don't know what years he was aboard. I have a hard-hat made of what I think is pewter(?) with the rig and his name among other things engraved in it. Did anyone know him? He is since deceased from natural causes.

Added by Kevin on 15 November 2012.
My dad, Donald Ouellet Snr. died on the Glomar Java Sea, anyone wishing to talk about this can send me a friend request on Facebook (Donald Ouellet) I live in Connecticut ... thanks.

Added by Donald Ouellet Jr on 21 November 2012.
Dear Heather, Loved your dad like a brother. I to would like to have the truth about the loss of the M/V Glomar Java Sea. Remember, the Sea and the government keep their secrets close. Love you, your mom & sister always...Roy

Added by Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 22 November 2012.
Was this this rig renamed, once being called Glomar North Sea, drilling off Kinsale Ireland

Added by Larry Wentzel ,Lunenburg,N.S. CANADA on 24 December 2012.
Larry. No she was always Glomar Java Sea from the time they laid her keel in the shipyard.

Added by ...Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 27 December 2012.
I was 2 years old at the time of this incident. Two of my uncles; David and Tyronne Higgins lost their lives. Yesterday my dad (Donald Higgins) and I were talking about this event and he told me he was asked to do overtime (which he normally wouldn't refuse), but for some reason he said he wanted to go home that day. News of the ship disappearing surfaced before he made it home. I was very young at the time, but only could imagine what would be of my life had he decided to stay for overtime to support the family. For me and my siblings this incident is like an old folktale. It's very interesting to hear those older than me discuss this blurry moment in our family's history.

Added by Freddie Higgins on 30 December 2012.
Thanks Carl, I asked this question as I saw comment on web site for Glomar North Sea stating, sunk in typhoon, South China Sea.Sorry for my mistake, but I asked this as I and close friend Junior Skinner worked Glomar North Sea of Kinsale Ireland and wondered that her fate was. Respectfully- Larry Wentzel, Lunenburg Co. N.S.

Added by Larry Wentzel ,Lunenburg,N.S. CANADA on 02 January 2013.
I too was on that ship however got off six months before going down.

Added by Mork on 03 January 2013.
Dear Freddie, tell your dad Donald, Roy said hi, and I am glad the "DUCK" still lives.

Added by ...Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 03 January 2013.
I remember Jewel Reynolds. good guy. there was welder named Chuck Willey, from Pine Grove, I remember Dalton, Earl, and possibly a materialsman named Wendy. and yes, Ken Decker was an asshole. I met my first wife while staying at the Jack Tar hotel while they were working on the living quarters. she was a lifeguard at the pool and had a sister named Beth. her name was Mij. And there was a roughneck they called Hollywood. This was all in orange, Texas.

Added by Dave Andrisek on 08 January 2013.
Raymond D. Miller Diver Foreman was a great friend of mine. I read a report he was found on the Ship Deck. Any memories of him I would be very appreciative.

Added by Dusty Robertson on 27 January 2013.
I was heavily involved in running S&R out of HK until we had to pack it in after 6 weeks with no results. That search involved the US Navy and Air Force out of Cadena in Okinawa, a number of surface vessels and limited participation by the Chinese Air Force. Later we very quietly conducted searches in Vietnam to follow up the rumors of survivors making it to that country. Again - no real basis for the rumors.

I later went back and assisted in offloading the remains of the 31 people recovered after a very extensive dive effort. We also found that the ship's clock had stopped at 2253 hours. Since the last communication with the vessel from Houston was at 2247 hrs, it is very likely the ship went down very quickly and also very unlikely that anyone made it off in that short span of time. There was video evidence of one of the lifeboat's being torn from it's davits. Might explain some of the rumors of survivors in the boat. For a long time we took EVERY rumor seriously and pursued them to dead ends.

Added by John Auth on 07 February 2013.
Hi Everyone,
As you all know, this October will mark 30 years from the event that changed some many of our lives in so many ways. My Dad was on the ship when it sank, and he was never found. I was 11 years old at the time, 40 now, married with two 11 year olds and a 5 year old of my own. We live in Gulf Breeze, Florida.

If anyone would like to get together for a dinner this year, coffee, tell stories, or make a kind of memorial in October, please contact me. I know a lot of you don't want to talk about what happened, but it helps me remember and honor the sacrifices that our fathers, husbands, brothers, and friends made for all of us. I am proud of all of the men that served on the ship and would like to recognize them this year and share this time with you as well.

Added by Dwayne Myers on 08 February 2013.
At the end of the day this was a horrible tragedy that caused a lot of grief to many families that were depending on their loved ones for the support of their daily lives. Everyone lost a major contributor to their families as well as them being a cherished person.

I knew a couple of the people that did dive on the wreck and found it pretty dangerous to even be there from all of the tangled wreckage. I knew some of the bodies were recovered, but I didn't think it was that many. I do know that some things were found such as life jackets, part of an empty lifeboat, and one persons suitcase washed ashore as well.

At the time the memory of Global Marine's involvement with the Hughes Glomar Explorer was much fresher in peoples minds. Thus when this tragedy happened some pointed to the sudden sinking of a perfectly good ship with the loss of all hands as some sort of a secret conspiracy. It wasn't. I know from being on the Coral Sea in rough weather while under way that a lot of care was taken to insure that with all of the anchor chain, drill pipe, and the BOP on deck that the hull remain water tight. It was said that if one of the water tight compartments was to flood that we were doomed. We needed all of the buoyancy we could get! I would bet that if one or two of the compartments on the Java Sea flooded that stability and buoyancy would have been greatly reduced in pretty short order, and the next good swell would have finished her off.

Wrong place at the wrong time for these great folks.... tragedy

Added by Loyd Champion on 09 February 2013.
Every once in awhile something happens that gets me to think about the Java Sea. I was just a lowly galley hand grunt but I never enjoyed any job more. Reading the above postings and I can almost remember the guys faces that I have tried for years to push to the back of my memories. I was one of the fortunate guys who made a "mistake" on Christmas night and was busted by the undercover guy. I was mortified when I was put off the ship in HK but I was devastated when I arrived back home to the news. Miss you James.

Added by David Lawson on 19 February 2013.
My uncle and cousin both were on the JS. My Uncle was the on-board chef/cook. They found his body in the poop deck. My cousin, Jimmy Gittings, body was never found. I would like to learn more about what happened.

Added by Jim H on 04 June 2013.
the Java Sea was one of the 1st ones my Daddy, Jimmy Sanderson, worked on. I remember when it went down, and how upset he was at losing so many friends. he had only been off of it for a little while before it sank. Several of the men I remember from chilhood died that day. My thoughts and prayers will alway be with their families.
I know how blessed my family has been, my father comes home tomorrow from his LAST hitch. Thank God he made it to retirement.

Added by Tiffany Sanderson Rowinski on 10 July 2013.

Added by Lisa Clark on 14 July 2013.
Its been 30 years and I still think about and ask why this happened. And I still miss Herman Arms Jr

Added by Linda Arms on 20 October 2013.
Good morning all, my name is Dan wilde, I was on the Java Sea off the California coast as a subsea hand. I stayed on board for three months as no one came out to pull my duty, I left the Java Sea when it was at Hunters Point Navy yard being refitting with all that new gear, A welder from Northwest Louisiana I am sorry I do not remember his name. Left the same time as I did. What I did not understand stand was that they keep me on board for three months, was it as I spoke chinese ???. To all who are still missing, may God bless and hold them all to his heart....

Added by Dan Wilde on 24 October 2013.
May the souls rest in peace.

Added by Li Deyi on 23 November 2013.
Hi All. I am the only daughter of Garry Looke. I was 18 months old when the Java Sea went down. My dad was the only Australian on board. I am wondering if anyone remembers him? Any memories would be so greatly appreciated. I have really struggled the past few years to internalise what has always seemed like the story of a big budget Hollywood blockbuster, not the story of my father's death. In many ways I feel like I am grieving alone for him 30 years after he died. My Dad's body was never found so I am haunted by the rumours of survivors making it to the Vietnam coast and speculation about the Java Sea being a vessel for covert activity. It all seems entirely plausible. Particularly as the Java Sea's sister ship the Glomar Explorer was used by the CIA to raise a Soviet submarine from the ocean floor in the mid 70s. I am interested to hear more from the poster calling themself Leak. Obviously I want to see the photos of survivors. I wonder why no one has commented on that post?

My heart goes out to all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.

Added by Marissa Shearsmith on 22 December 2013.
Hi All. I am the only daughter of Garry Looke. I was 18 months old when the Java Sea went down. My dad was the only Australian on board. I am wondering if anyone remembers him? Any memories would be so greatly appreciated. I have really struggled the past few years to internalise what has always seemed like the story of a big budget Hollywood blockbuster, not the story of my father's death. In many ways I feel like I am grieving alone for him 30 years after he died. My Dad's body was never found so I am haunted by the rumours of survivors making it to the Vietnam coast and speculation about the Java Sea being a vessel for covert activity. It all seems entirely plausible. Particularly as the Java Sea's sister ship the Glomar Explorer was used by the CIA to raise a Soviet submarine from the ocean floor in the mid 70s. I am interested to hear more from the poster calling themself Leak. Obviously I want to see the photos of survivors. I wonder why no one has commented on that post?

My heart goes out to all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.

Added by Marissa Shearsmith on 22 December 2013.
I am so happy for you and your dad. My husband and dad to my twin daughter never made it home.I miss him every day. this has been a profound loss for my daughters who were 2 yrs old at the time. god bless

Added by on 24 December 2013.
I was a Assistant Driller and Driller on the Zapata Arctic, which we brought out of the shipyard in Kawasaki, Japan, finished fitting out in Hong Kong, and took the place of the Java Sea in the ARCO drilling program off of Hai Nan Island, China, in late 1983 - early 1984.

It was somewhat errie given what had happened, and certainly something everybody on our rig - and all offshore drilling hands, generally - thought about when doing the work that we did.

I left the oilfield in 1984 to pursue graduate work at the University of Florida, and have been a practicing attorney in Florida since 1993.

Some of the best people I've known, I met in the oilfield. Although I don't see them much anymore, they will always be my friends.

I know that the hands on the Java Sea, were just like them.


Added by Michael R. Rollo on 30 December 2013.
My brother, Tim Jarvis, was one of the four British geologists who lost their lives on the JS. His body was found in his cabin and returned to the UK for burial. He was 24.

Added by Lynne Rackstraw on 10 January 2014.
My brother, Joel (Eddie Joe) Winans just missed the tragic sinking by being on rotation to the states. Documentary on tv tonight with the Glomar Explorer raising the Soviet sub reminded me of the disaster. My brother passed away in 1991 in Hong Kong.

Added by John Winans on 29 January 2014.
Is there a list of names of those bodies retrieved from the wreckage? My cousin, Clarence Reed, was on that vessel. His wife was German and they had two daughters. I lived in Tx and they lived in Washington State so contact became very sparse after loosing Clarence.

Added by Neva Jean Bedwell Brunson on 02 February 2014.
My father was Raymond Miller. I would really like a copy of the book that keeps getting refurred to.

Added by Megan Schutt on 23 April 2014.
My father Garry Looke was on the ship. He was the only Australian. Wondering if anyone remembers him? I too would really like to know where I can get a copy of the book?

Added by Marissa Shearsmith on 26 April 2014.
I tried to post a link to the book, however links are not allowed. If you go to Amazon, look this up: Deep Challenge: Our Quest for Energy Beneath the Sea: Our Quest for Energy Beneath the Sea.

All the best

Added by Loyd Champion on 01 May 2014.
My name is Donald joseph Ouellet Jr., my dad was found on the poop deck. I would like to talk with anyone who worked with my dad.Please feel free to contact me @860-716-9078

Added by Donald Ouellet on 06 May 2014.
I was working on the Glomar Pacific in the SBC at the time of the sinking My wife to be at the time called me to make sure I was OK the company had not said anything yet of the sinking that's how I found out. May they all RIP

Added by Mark Rivers on 07 May 2014.
My dad, Gerard Flanagan, was the radio operator on the Glomar Java Sea. He was on the ship that fateful day and lost his life. I still miss him.

Added by Peggy Flanagan Secrist on 13 May 2014.
I just came across this site and many memories came back especially as I read thru the posts and saw the names of our lost friends and also some of the Java Sea exes that have posted on the site. I was on the Java Sea from day 1 in Orange Texas and almost to the last day in October 1983 but luckily was on my time off.

It has been over 30 years now since that fatefull night and I think of the Java Sea often. RIP.

Added by Steve Poulson on 27 May 2014.
I was a Drilling Supervisor on the Glomar North Sea in 1975/76 and took her to the Marmara Sea, Turkey and Gulf of Gabes, Tunisia, for Marathon Oil. She ended up drilling offshore Australia and laying transatlantic cables. Anyone know anything about the old Glomar V ???? Peter Armitage

Added by Peter Armitage on 31 May 2014.
I was Chief Engineer on the Acadian Patriot in the late 70's and serviced the Java Sea, many times. One of my crewmen was a former employee of Global who had worked the Explorer. The Java Sea had a hell of a crane operator, and he always made the job of our deck hands easy. Very professional. Devastating news when she went down. I'd be very happy to read any book about this.

Added by Jim Harvey on 03 June 2014.
I was on the Java Sea in 1979 working for Martin-Decker on mud tools. I was only there two weeks but I enjoyed every minute of working with those guys. I hope you all get the answers you are looking for.

Added by Mark Freeman on 06 June 2014.
I was on the java sea in Gulf of Mexico for 2-3 months. I remember a Steve P. Don't know all his last name. Plz can anyone help, did Steve P. survive? Also Joe Dore.

Added by Bubba Clark on 27 June 2014.
Dear Peggy Flanagan, I was your dads night radio op. for more than six years. He often talked about his wife Gussy and his family. If you would like to talk with me call 609-965-0680. I tried to post this before with my email address but the site wouldn't let it post so I am trying with my phone number. If you do a google search for my name Roy C. Weiler Sr. you will find my email address...Roy

Added by Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 29 June 2014.
Once I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a remark is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any means you may remove me from that service? Thanks!

Added by Oakley Vault on 03 August 2014.
Does anybody remember Ritchie Gipson from Global?

Added by Nick on 14 September 2014.
I worked on the Java Sea from 1980 through 1982 as a roustabout.Jimmy Sanderson was my boss.I worked on D crew.Sebe Bracy was the pusher, Tom Malloy was superintendent. I transfered to the High Island 6 whem the Java Sea went to California.Its hard to believe that its been 30 years.This is the first time that I've looked into anything about this incident.What a rush of memories.Douglas Pierc your son John was a good friend and I miss him.Jimmy Sanderson; I hope you are doing well.

Added by Dennis Hampton on 17 October 2014.
My Dad David Higgins and my uncle Tyrone Higgins were 2 of the crew members that died upon rig. If anyone remembers them and have any photos they would like to share please contact me.

Added by David Higgins on 25 October 2014.
I'm not sure about how to go about it, but could someone make this photo available?
Peter Armitage

Added by Peter Armitage on 02 November 2014.
Rip sad story still think of my uncle Greg sullivan

Added by Sharna sullivan on 27 November 2014.

Added by Lisa Clark on 04 December 2014.
My husband, David Higgins and Brother Tyrone was on the Java Sea when it sunk. May all souls lost rest in peace.

Added by Betty Walker ( Higgins) on 05 December 2014.
I was a welder working for Pennington Mfg. I spent a month total on the java sea in California, above point conception right before it went to San Fran for dry-dock, I worked with a welder named Kelly and I bunked with a tall thin man they called Slim , Kelly and Slim said they were going back to Morgan City and would not be going to the south china sea (I hope they made it to Morgan City)Kelly said he could get me that job as the rig welder, but I did not really consider it very long because I did not want to do that 28 days on and 28 day off thing. I have not thought about that ship for many, many years now, but a lot of it is coming back to me. If Kelly or Slim are out there, let me know and God bless the souls that lost their lives and their families

Added by Steve Patton on 15 December 2014.
I stumbled across this website and thought I would share my limited experience which is from a different perspective. I worked at an advertising agency on the Global Marine annual report the year of the disaster. The photo for the cover of the Global Marine annual was an image of the Java Sea oil rig. I remember because the presses were literally stopped to replace the image which was similar to the one above. The Johnson & Johnson tylenol pr crisis {murders} in 1982 had occurred the year before and were used as a case study re: how to communicate the oil rig disaster to Global Marine shareholders. My job was at Savage Design Group now Savage Brands in Houston. I am so deeply moved by your personal stories. RIP

Added by Martha on 17 December 2014.
I was the insurance broker handling the Global Marine General Liability and Umbrella coverage placed at Lloyds of London. I handled a lot of offshore contractors but never saw any disaster to compare to this one. I wish I knew the truth, especially about the men in the Whittaker capsule that disappeared.

Added by Richard Wetzel on 30 December 2014.
I worked on the Java Sea as an A.B. just before it left for China. I too wanted to go on that trip but was turned down. Can't remember the names of the crew because it's been to long. If theres someone out there who remembers Freeman the seaman look me up. 530-921-9700. Living peacefully in Northern California.

Added by David Freeman on 02 January 2015.
My dad, Gene Spencer, was one of the captains of the Glomar Java Sea. I am very moved by all of the comments on this page. Just prior to the demise of the GJS, my dad refused to go back onto the ship. That shift was his shift. His concern for the ultimate safety of ship and crew was penultimate in his heart and mind. He thought that the deck loads weren't safe. He knew what his refusal to go back onto the ship would cost him, his job, and he was summarily fired. Then came the tragic loss of the ship. I cannot add much to the previous, posts, herein, except to say that my dad was extremely despondent for the rest of his life following the loss of ship, friends, crew and oil related personnel, some of whose friendships went back to WWII. He had to go before several USCG board of inquiries and of course Global Marine. He had to identify photos of 'his' men taken by divers. His grief was palpable, as though if he had been there his experience could have averted loss of life. He was subsequently rehired and served on other Global Marine ships including the Glomar Explorer. I remember when the CIA was investigating him for job related clearance during his early days with Global. My dad was a lifelong seaman, he was a very tough taskmaster at home, I can't imagine what he was like on the job. I think of those of you who lost your lifeblood in this tragedy and others upon the World's seas. That area of the World in particular is precarious at best, with recent memories of recurring air disasters in that region. I honor you and your lost loved ones, their choice to work at some of the most dangerous jobs in the World are testament to a life of responsibility and diligence, bravery. I wish I knew more. I would think that the complete findings and reports are available through the Freedom of Information Act. I have been tempted to find out for myself about that but to dat have not. I welcome any and all comments.

Added by DC Hooker on 24 January 2015.
Same latitude as Hawaii. Great cheery bomb fishing. Weather almost perfect year round. No ice for two years (unless you stole it from the French reps from Total), horns blasting 24/7, public executions, etc, etc....these are some of the things I remember from that time on Hainan.
I was an ARCO rep stationed for two years in charge of Horizontal radio positioning operations and remember the disaster vividly. That rig, if my memory serves me correctly, was never constructed as a drill ship but converted from something else and was quite top heavy. I was scheduled to make a 24hr trip to the rig to review and check the positioning systems for drift...but it floundered in a typhoon the following day.
Crazy place....being in Red China three years after Mao Zedong being in the 17th century all over again...primitive to say the least.

Added by Mike Ripple on 05 February 2015.
Your thoughts echo some of the issues that my dad, post above, had with that ship.
I remember the first time my dad told me years earlier about the technology that kept the ship on 'station' that the proper nomenclature?...I was amazed. And the parallel tales of life in China.
When I saw this photo of the JS, my first thought was that it did not look like anything but a pile of salvage. I'd seen many other ships in Suisan that looked new compared. You guys are brave dudes.

Added by DC Hooker on 07 February 2015.
I have found very interesting information, maybe already known to those actively posting to this site. Some are found within the site: If you do a Google search for "John Pierce, Vietnamese Prison". you can follow some of the links and articles, more available in the book The Bamboo Cage, by Nigel Cawthorne, excerpts available through Google. I ordered the book from Amazon. When I have more info, I will write it here.

Added by DC Hooker on 07 February 2015.
I was on the wheel the day we left Port Arthur for our first job with Arco. I remember a night cook and baker named Roe Farrington. this was in 1976, I think. good Lord he made good pastries and cookies.

Added by Dave Andrisek on 08 February 2015.
DC Hooker; I'm not surprised to hear that your Father refused to go back onboard. A lot of material and equipment was added during the refit before going to China, some of it high above deck I believe? The same happened to another drillship that capsized in the Gulf of Thailand in 1992, with the loss of 92 lives. In that case also an experienced Master left the ship because he did not feel that he got lisened. The operational criteria had not been changed, thus the ship was not safe in a storm.

I was Captain on a Drillship in GOT some years when a Drilling Engineer from the same Operator, sitting safely in his office in Bangkok, tried to override my instructions when a Typhoon was approaching. In that case nobody died, but I left the ship at the end of my hitch.

The problem in all major accidents involving Drilships or Semisubs and weather has been found to, at least in parts, be the unclear line of command. By law the Master is in overall charge of the safety of the ship/unit, but in reality this is not being followed. In many cases the Rig Superintendent, or shore based Rig Manager, or Operator's personnel without maritime background try to take charge.

What has changed due to these accident: Ocean Ranger; 84, Glomar Java Sea; 84 Sea Quest; 92. Total loss of lives; 260.
We have got a new title on board called Offshore Installation Manager (OIM)
That doesn't mean that he/she has to have a Nautical education, or years of maritime experience, only a short(1 week?) course and pass a multiple choice exam. To be a Master Mariner takes at least 3 years at a Maritime school and several years of seatime.

Added by O.M.Bugge on 09 February 2015.
We made a very quiet but exhaustive search inside Vietnam in the period following the disaster. There were nothing but rumors and requests for money. In addition, we were talking to the rig via radio at 10:53 PM local time when the trasmission was lost. We later found that the ship's clock stopped at 10:57 pm. Certainly not enough time for anyone to evacuate. There is much more information to be had and I provide that directly if you'd like.

Added by John Auth on 10 February 2015.
I worked as a roustabout on C.B. Bracy's crew from 1980 until it left the San Francisco dry docks headed for China. I have pictures of some of the guys I worked with when we had to dock in Port Hueneme, Ca. One of the flare booms broke off the starboard side and fell in the ocean. I also have pics of the ship from the crown looking down from port to aft. I haven't found any other pics of the ship since California. Thank God I was transferred back to the Gulf before it went down.

Added by Robert Kloss on 12 February 2015.
Starting a fb page for Glomar Java Sea. Please come post your pics and stories!

Added by James Gipson on 12 February 2015.
Worked on sister Rig Glomar North Sea, 71& 72 on gas find off Kinsale Ireland, heard our crane operator Mike Meade transfered there, often wonder what happened to him.

Added by Larry Wentzel, Lunenburg Nova Scotia, Canada on 12 February 2015.
In case anyone missed this link

Very interesting reading and oh so typical of our Government.

Added by Jim Harvey on 12 February 2015.
Hi Larry, how king did you work on her? I was a Marathon drilling supervisor on the North Sea 76 after she came back from Turkey. Billy Griffin was the derrickman, did you know him. He and I took the Glomar 5 down to Indinesia in 79 after Global Marine sold her - Petromar V

Added by on 13 February 2015.
The government posting is so full of inaccuracies as to be ludicrous. I was interviewed shortly after the incident at the US Consulate in Hong Kong. There was a gentleman in the room that asked me all sorts of leading questions and didn't seem to like the answers.

The Glomar Java Sea bore no resemblance whatsoever to the Glomar Explorer. The Explorer was built from the keel up to do only one thing - find and retrieve a Soviet submarine. The Java Sea was a purpose built drillship.

The only Vietnamese naval craft that were shadowing the Java Sea were boat people escaping from Nam and looking for food.

I was interviewed several years later by the Chronicle several years later by the Houston Chronicle after the minutes of that meeting were released and debunked everything inaccuracy. I'm guessing the military looking guy was CIA and all that sounded sexier than the truth.

I'd be glad to correspond with anyone seeking further information.

Added by John Auth on 13 February 2015.
Mike Everette, was company man, got us jobs, I left back to Canada Spring 1972, good friend Junior Skinner rejoined later and spent time in spain. I remember Billy Griffin well fron Ireland

Added by Larry Wentzel, Lunenburg Nova Scotia, Canada on 19 February 2015.
Hi John. How are you doing? Working or retired now?

Added by Steve Poulson on 20 February 2015.
Hey steve, how are you doing?

Added by Russ randoll on 20 February 2015.
John Auth thank you. you have answered a lot of questions that I had in your 2 posts. My question is were all the anchors still hooked to the rig? I was on the Java Sea in hurricane Allen in the Gulf of Mexico near Luisianna and we dropped all anchors but one and pointed into the wind

Added by Dennis Hampton on 20 February 2015.
Interesting hearing from you Guys..I have remarks on this page already.. I was an Electrician in the Ship Yard when She was built..Left it after its Maiden trip in the Gulf of Mex..and whent back in the Global Drilling Fleet..Glomar#2--Conception--Back on the Challenger as I was also a first on the Challenger , Leg #2--Grand Isle--Glomar#3...De Commissioned the #2 and #3 scrapped in Malasia...Lots of Great Memories..To w
Williams---Buddy King--Charlie Gautreax--Red Reel--George Watson --and many more...

Added by Marvin Lacoste on 20 February 2015.
Hi Steve - not sure how to answer privately but the answer is a little bit of both.

Added by John Auth on 20 February 2015.
John Auth, I would love to have further information. I knew that the Glomar Explorer was CIA but had no knowledge of the GJS was anything but a drilling, exploratory ship. Can anyone else speak to anything other than that?

Added by DC Hooker on 20 February 2015.
Russ, doing pretty good. You?

Added by Steve Poulson on 26 February 2015.
Dennis, the rig was still anchored on location and riding out the storm.

Added by Steve Poulson on 28 February 2015.
Dennis, Steve - as I recall, it was the failure of the two forward starboard anchor chains that contributed to the sinking.

Added by John Auth on 04 March 2015.
I may have missed it, but is there a copy available of the final determination report of the GJS sinking?

Added by Jim Harvey on 05 March 2015.
John, post your email address and I'll send you a copy of the US Coast Guard report. Peter

Added by Peter Armitage on 06 March 2015.
Interested in the full report that would include quotes from 'a wife's' eye-witness to photos showing an inward hole in the hull.

Added by DC Hooker on 06 March 2015.
i think my dad was one of the remains founf. gustaf f. swanson. anyone remenber him? thanks

Added by Jim Stanley on 09 March 2015.
my dad was gustaf swanson...senior officer? anyone know?

Added by Jim Stanley on 09 March 2015.
There is a report available National Transport Safety Board website, issued 21. Nov. 1984, not only about the GJS, but the capsizing and sinking of the Ocean Ocean Express and the Ocean Ranger. It contains safety recommendations M-84-77 and -78 with regards to the line of command on drilling units.
In all three cases the fact that non-mariners actually gave the orders in an emergency, not the appointed Master, was found to be contribution factor, if not main reason for the sinking. This was also the conclusion after the Seacrest sinking in 1989 with the loss of 92 lives. (See also my post of 09. Febr. 2015)

Added by O.M.Bugge on 11 March 2015.
I would also be Interested in a copy of the full report that would include quotes from 'a wife's' eye-witness to photos showing an inward hole in the hull.

Added by Guy Rodrigue on 11 March 2015.
If anyone knows anything about Kenneth Wayne Myers please talk to me. He was my dads dad and it would really help even if you have any info at all. I would appreciate sooo much and my grandma would too.

Added by Maddie Myers on 20 March 2015.
I was in the same area as the GJS onboard a seismic vessel at the time. The memories of this accident keeps comming back after all this years. A stationary typhoon had for several days set up an extremly rough sea. We understood from the sudden activity on the radio that somthing had happened to the GJS, and called the Chinese imidiately to offer our assistance. The answer was that the GJS had broken the anchor chains and drifted over the Vietnam border and captured by them, so there was nothing we could do. We did not knew the crew onboard personally, but at times they would travel together with us in our charterd plain.

Added by Dagfinn S. on 27 March 2015.
The "entered Vietnamese waters" rumor kept coming up. The vessel was found on the bottom about 1500 yards from the drill site and at least 265 miles from the coast of Vietnam.

Added by John Auth on 02 April 2015.
That begs one to ask the location of the wreckage...China, Vietnam or Iinternational waters and assumes a reasonably straight sink. I'll ask my marine archeology friend how much deflection can occur, re: currents, etc.

Added by Christine Hooker on 02 April 2015.
The wreckage was, as I stated, 1500 yards from the drill site, which was aboit due south of Hainan Island. As to the "waters", depends on who you asked at the time, but was generally thought to be Chinese.

Added by John Auth on 03 April 2015.
Anything exceeding 12 n.miles from the coast is international waters and free navigation is allowed.
Anything up to 200 n.miles from the coast is within a country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which means that the coastal state controls fishery and oil exploration etc. within that zone. This is according to the International Law of the Seas. (USA is not a signatory to the LOS, however)
The location of the wreck of GJS is well within China's EEZ and not disputed by Vietnam. The wreck is only a short distance from the drilling location, where she was anchored with 8 anchors and chains. There is no indication that she broke loose, or that chains were deliberately released while still in upright condition. After capsizing she sunk near the drill site and with some of her anchor chains still connected to the wreck.
Forget speculations about any Vietnamese involvement, or any Chinese conspiracy.
Accept that the cause was man made, both because of the modifications made to the vessel, (which was sanctioned by Class and USCG) and the operational facts:
No preparations to ride out the storm was done and no evasive action was taken.
The decisions were made by people with no Maritime qualifications and sitting safely ashore, not by the Master of the vessel, as is mandatory by IMO Rules and International Maritime Law.
The sad thing is that nothing material has changed to US rules or practices due to this and other accidents involving US owned and operated Drilling Rigs, even when operating outside US waters.

Added by O.M.Bugge on 04 April 2015.
What I find sad other than the loss of life (obviously) is when I look at the photo at the heading of this thread, I see what looks almost like a derelict. When I serviced GJS in the Gulf of Mexico, the ship was well maintained and ship shape. Understand that drill ships by their very nature can become 'messy' so to speak, but the crew of GJS made extraordinary efforts to keep her looking sharp. The photo above is just so typical of US Flag vessels that get sent overseas. After a time, the neglect (cheaper NOT to fix things) takes its toll.

Added by Jim Harvey on 08 April 2015.
Again thank you John Auth for helping me to understand what actually happened to the Java Sea and crew.I put all of this in the back of my head for over 30 years because I just didn't want to deal with it.I was a roughneck on the High Island VI when all this happened and the rumors ran rampant. I think about it constantly over the last year and you've helped me get over the mental stress that it brought.I knew many of the crew that was on the rig when it went down God Bless all of them and their families.Most people cannot imagine what its like to live offshore half of your life. It's not for everyone for sure and its very difficult to lead 2 lives at once.Again thank you John for the information that you've made available to anyone that wants to know.

Added by Dennis Hampton on 09 April 2015.
I am not sure when the picture of the rig was taken but while the rig was in the GOM between 1975 and 1981she was a "drilling machine". The GOM is mostly fast drilling and the rig was well thought of especially by Arco. The rig was so efficient that Arco drilled wells with the rig that Jack ups were designed to do but the GJS was able to out perform them. This took a toll on the rig as far as equipment wear and looks but as stated above the crews took pride in her and did the best they could considering the quanity of work the rig achieved in the GOM.
When the rig went to the west coast in 1981, the first well drilled was about 6 months long! Normally we would have drilled and moved 7 times in the time span in the GOM. By the time the rig finished the 6 month well she was shining and the envy of the other Global rigs in the area that had been drilling these same type of wells for years.
The best compliment I know of that reflected the work and pride of the crews while the rig was in the GOM is when the long term west coast Global rigs had to move to the GOM for work and the rig crews had a culture shock as they were not use to or prepared for the pace and hard work it took to keep up and many of them quit. We on the GJS called offshore California "Roughneck Heaven" because of the slower drilling and longer time on location between compared offshore to the GOM. Little did we know that barely 2 years later those 2 words would have a different meaning. RIP Glomar Java Sea.

Added by Steve Poulson on 09 April 2015.
Dennis, truer words were never spoken. Anyone who has worked offshore has most likely known someone who died there. The tragedy of losing an entire crew is massive. Workign offshore may be seen by some as "romantic" but it's hard work, lonliness, separation from family and it takes a special person to be a part of it. We are all diminished when we lose ship/rigmates. But I like to think of the Ancient Egyptians who believed that as long as one ws remembered, they never really died.

Added by Jim Harvey on 09 April 2015.
Steve, you are right about the pace and hard work it took to be part of crews on the Java Sea. I never worked so hard in the oilfield as when I was a roustabout. When I went to the High Island VI it had been drilling for 2 weeks and was perfect. As a roughneck there I always talked about the pace on the JS and that everyone should work on a floating rig to understand what being tired meant at the end of 12hrs. We even had a pool table on the 6. My 1st hitch on the JS was rigging down to move. I had been sitting in a classroom at TSTI in Waco for 3 years before that and had no idea what physical labor was about. Talk about being whipped.When I hired on they told me I was going to work on the Java Sea, I said Id rather work in the Gulf Of Mexico.The man who hired me pointed to a large framed photo on the wall and said "this is the Java Sea" and I thought holy crap what am I in for? Yeah;wasnt prepared for that.Fortunately everyone took care of me and held my hand.Jimmy Sanderson told me he didn't expect much from me my 1st hitch, but by hitch#2 Id better know what was going on around me.It worked out fine.Im glad to have been part of the Java Sea experience and have lots of great memeories. I still see their faces.I don't remember all their names but they were all good people and worked hard to make a living and take care of their families. As I wrote before, God Bless all of them and their families RIP

Added by Dennis Hampton on 10 April 2015.
FYI, the USCG report is freely available here:
A very interesting and enlightening read.

Added by on 22 April 2015.
It was the most interesting of times aboard The Glomar Java Sea. I was part of the dive team with Sub-Sea Int Jefferson La.

Dan De Jonge

Added by Dan De jonge on 23 April 2015.
Does anyone know if there is an official list of the crew members that were lost? I think my Uncle, Peter Popiel, was one of the crew members on the ship when it went down.

Added by Ed Tabbert on 16 May 2015.
Visit fb Group - GlomarJava Sea!

Added by James Gipson on 19 May 2015.
Ed if you google search John Pierce POW you will find a crew list at the beginning of that article

Added by Dennis Hampton on 19 May 2015.
My cousin, John Pierce was on the Glomar Java Sea. His dad, my great uncle, an attorney, spent the last few years of his life trying to find his son. Do any of you know anything about him?

Added by on 31 May 2015.
My dad Bryan Grimes was a roustabout and a crane operator in training and my grandpa (fred grimes) was a sub sea engineer on the ship.

Added by Travis Grimes on 01 June 2015.
John Pierce was a roughneck on the same crew when I was a roustabout.He was a good friend and a good person .We all got along very well and worked together well.When I transferred to the High Island 6, he stayed on the Java Sea and went to California with the rig and then overseas when it left.I know about Duane Pierce doing an Exhaustive search for his son that came up empty handed.We worked together for nearly 2 years so we all became family on the rig.Feel free to contact me by email if you like. Lots of memories that go back many years

Added by Dennis Hampton on 02 June 2015.
I worked for Global Marine Drilling in the Houston offices when this happened. I worked in the engineering /operations division for John Thorson and Tom Covellone. I will never forget that horrible day and the days following. I remember once the investigation reports came out I had to type some of the descriptions from what the divers had found inside. it was very detailed and you can imagine how gruesome the descriptions were. I don't know what made me search the internet for I this accident tonight some thirty years later.

Added by Dana Hartman Burleson on 26 June 2015.
Dana: Is it possible for you to locate the report that you speak of?

Added by Jim Harvey on 26 June 2015.
I worked as a mudlogger for Dresser Magcobar on its duty in the Gulf of Mexico offshore Louisiana in the early 80's. I will always remember the great men that worked on that rig. My prayers and thoughts of the father who searched for John Pierce who I remembered to be such a great guy. May God rest their souls.

Added by Tom Madden on 30 June 2015.
Jim, I have no idea where these reports are, that was so long ago. We were using "Wang" word processors back then, if you remember!

Added by on 30 June 2015.
Don't forget , join the fb page dedicated to this great crew and her family!

Added by Nick Gipson on 02 July 2015.
Wang Word Processors? Heck! You were ADVANCED! I was always jonesing for an IBM Selectric! But back on point, there is somethign haunting about the Javaa Sea. So many of us were touched in some way. I knew a lot of peopple over the years that perished in the oil fields, Odeco Ocean ranger, Xitoc, etc. But the Java Sea haunts me for some reason.

Added by Jim Harvey on 02 July 2015.
Jim I feel the same way. I put it away for over 30 years and now I cant leave it alone. when I made my first post in Oct 14 I went home and cried like a baby. My wife didn't know what to think. Once she saw all these posts she understood how much of a family everyone was. many of these people were children when the Java Sea went down, and its awesome that they show interest in wanting to really know what happened. I have found that Mr John Auth has been the most reliable source of true information and again thanks john for all your posts.

Added by Dennis Hampton on 03 July 2015.
The USCG report cites Raymond D. Miller's body was recovered from Boat Deck SR 19. Where on the vessel would this be located? Anyone out there have memories of my dear friend, Ray?

Added by Dusty Landry Robertson on 16 October 2015.
Been a long time and I don't have any prints of the vessel, but typically the Boat Deck is about 2-3 levels off the main deck and is where personnel boarded the lifeboats. I sort of remember we found some remains snarled in the lines on that deck. But I wouldn't swear to it. Anybody on this thread who actually served on the GJS who can help us out?

Added by John Auth on 20 October 2015.
Dusty, if you look at the photo and see where the lifeboat is in it's davits. The deck right below the lifeboat is the boat deck. As night radio op. I spent most of my time on the navigation deck right below the helio pad and bridge. Right above the life boat. Roy

Added by Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 21 October 2015.
Have a look at the photo above. You can see the boat deck and as John Auth said, it is 2 levels above the main (drilling deck) deck. If I recall, there were life cans were also located forward of the derrick.

Added by Jim Harvey on 22 October 2015.
Jim/ Roy, does the SR 19 refer to a room on the Boat Deck?

Added by John Auth on 22 October 2015.
Tomorrow marks 32 years since we lost so many good people. May they rest in peace.

Added by John Auth on 22 October 2015.
I Uploaded a Plan view of teh GJS but it looks like it will need to be approved by the site owners. Here is a link to it on my server. I hope this helps; (Due to someone spamming this site, they will not allow the prefix of the website that begins with "h". You probably don't need it but if so, add it and you can access the image)

Added by Jim Harvey on 22 October 2015.
John, sorry but I don't know what SR 19 means or refers to.

Added by Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 22 October 2015.
John: I believe that would refer to the berthing area. If you look at the plan view numbers run low at the bow and increase towards the aft of the ship. SR 19 would be right in the berthing area.

Added by Jim Harvey on 22 October 2015.
I believe SR stands for state room..

Added by on 23 October 2015.
The numbers you are referring to are Frame Numbers. In this case specifying at which frame major transvers bulkheads are situated, forming the watertight compartments below the main deck.
The cross section is at Frame 90, just forward of the Moon Pool.

Added by O.M.Bugge on 23 October 2015.
Could SR-19 stand for "State Room 19"?
Being on the boat deck the rooms here were probably for Senior GM Personnel, the Companyman etc.

Added by O.M.Bugge on 23 October 2015.
Greetings from the Electrician on Leg #2 ..Hoboken NJ to Dakar Senagal..An amazing Ship and Her purpose at that time..Kiln Ms 228 493 4614 if anyone remembers me..

Added by Marvin lacoste on 23 October 2015.
Thanks to Carl and Jim. Especially for the plan. It appears as if Ray Miller's remains may have been recovered in quarters.

Added by John Auth on 23 October 2015.
Makes perfect sense (SR = State Room)

Added by Jim Harvey on 23 October 2015.
32 years........ unbelievable

Added by Dennis Hampton on 23 October 2015.
You guys are awesome, Thank you for helping me understand. I saw the orange life boats in the picture at the beginning of this thread. I wondered if SR meant state room. Three bodies were recovered from SR 19 and a total of 15 men were found on Boat Deck SR's 14-20. My buddy, Ray, was the diving superintdt with SubSea International. John Jennings Jr was the storekeeper and Guan Jun Tian was the interpreter. In normal circumstances would the 3 of them roomed together? I know the weather was much worse than what they expected, but I have secretly hoped all these years that they may have been sleeping. :( When I read the USCG report again I hoped SR meant state room and maybe they were sleeping although all recovered had on life vests. What I can't tell from the report is whether or not the capsizing was swift or a slow roll. I don't have enough knowledge to know the normal progression of a capsizing of this size of vessel. Jim, your link worked like a charm and John your words made it so obvious to me how you wanted to help me understand. Forever in my heart -Dusty

Added by Dusty Landry Robertson on 24 October 2015.
Just checked with ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) and SR stands for "Survey Report". Which would indicate as O.M. Bugge suggests, that this was a section on the construction plan.

Added by Jim Harvey on 27 October 2015.
Having worked on the Java Sea's sister ship, the Coral Sea, I ended up knowing 2 of the people that went down with the Java Sea. I just went and skimmed through the USCG report. It reveals a few interesting facts, which for me having worked on a drilling ship also poses some questions based on common sense and human nature. One is that the ship was stated to have a 15 degree list to starboard. What is not stated is how much drill pipe was in the hole, and how much was on the ship (or at least I didn't see it.). I would presume that most of the drill pipe had shifted to the starboard side, and was not able to be moved or re-secured because of the storm. It was also not stated if the drilling mud was still in the storage tanks or not (or I didn't see that either.). The key to staying afloat os stability and buoyancy. Seems both were compromised. Furthermore it was stated that many of the water tight doors were found open. Again, the intent is to keep the water out. From the time of the phone call to Houston, until the time the clocks stopped was 3 minutes. This is not very long for a 400 foot ship to capsize and then start to sink. In bad weather like that the crew sadly didn't have the time to do anything but perhaps get outside, let alone get to a lifeboat. I would say that in this tragedy, all of the crew knew they were not likely to come out of it alive. Those that were found with their life jackets on, and still inside their state rooms were likely trapped there when the ship rolled over, and the water came rushing in. Keep in mind, that a life jacket was stored at each bunk. Were there things that could have been done different? Of course, hind sight is always 20/20. But from the sound of the report it seems that preparations for the storm were not started soon enough, thus making the preparations that needed to be completed harder to complete, and this, not being as well done as they should have been. Like all tragic accidents such as this, there isn't any single event or action that was the cause, but a collective chain of errors. Lastly, keep in mind that many of the drilling crew on these rigs are not seamen. They are there to work, make money, and are very good at the drilling of wells.

My condolences to all of you... and my their souls be resting in peace someplace with the knowledge that all of you hold them in your hearts.

Added by Loyd Champion on 27 October 2015.
I just read the Official Coast Guard Report - - My Uncle, was Henry Gittings and my Cousin, was James Gittings. See page 86 on the Government Report. My Uncle's body was recovered. My Cousin's body is missing. Can someone tell me why the names of the missing is redacted on the Government report ??? Why are any of the names redacted ???

Added by Jim H on 28 October 2015.
I worked for a supplier of equipment for the Java Sea. At the time Global was trying to create the best drillship for international drilling. Recently I was told that a foreign gov't official tried to get money from Global for information about some of the Java Sea survivors being held as POWs' by Vietnam. Global hired Henry Kissinger to determine the truth of the story. It was decided his story was a scam to extort money from Global. Also, the Java Sea had nothing to do with the CIA. The CIA's Hughes (Howard) Glomar Explorer built to pickup a Russian sub from 3 miles deep in the Pacific Ocean was inspired by the sister ship of the Java Sea, Glomar Challenger built by Levingston Shipbuilding Co., in 1968.

Added by Paul A. Mattingly, Jr on 28 October 2015.
One of the problems at the time was that the lifeboat radios needed to have a ground wire immersed in seawater. The Mackay lifeboat radio 401A was standard equipment at the time (Roy C. Weiler can confirm or correct), In order to transmit effectively, you had to open a hatch and throw the wire into the water. Hardly a good idea in the midst of a typhoon. Modern emergency radios have no such requirement as far as I am aware. We can all be thankful that modern day seamen have far better equipment and training than those who came before. I also think that the problem of command has been solved and now the master is the ultimate arbiter of when and where to bug out NOT the Oil Company Rep (the Tool Pusher) At the time of the GJS sinking, the Tool Pusher had authority OVER the master of the vessel. Crazy huh?

Added by Jim Harvey on 28 October 2015.
There were four bunks in the bow. That's were some of the divers from Sub-Sea camped out, I should know I was one of them.

Added by Dan DeJonge on 28 October 2015.
SR is Storage Room

Added by Dan DeJonge on 28 October 2015.
Can you give it a rest. SR-1, 2, 3.... is State Rooms. Store rooms are not numbered but named.(Main Store, Heavy Store, Mechanical Store etc.)
It also don't stand for Survey Report in this case.
Frame Nos. are FR..... for short. It is used to identify where main items are located longitudinally. That is what you see on the drawing and nothing else. It is not detailed enough for anything else. You would need a full scale GA-Plan to identify individual State Rooms in the accommodations and their numbering.

Added by O.M.Bugge on 29 October 2015.
All of these years later, the families never get over what happened. There is a permanent hole stuck in our hearts. My Uncle was mentioned earlier in this thread - Jewell Reynolds. Still miss him everyday. May God Bless all the families on this site

Added by Melissa Spaniel on 29 October 2015.
Just trying to address some of the comments made recently.

Global Marine's stated policy and practice was that any decisions related to the marine side of the operation were solely reserved to the captain. We had gone to the mat more than once to make sure both the client Company and our Drilling Superintendents understood that.

The Coast Guard report is somewhat flawed and was released before we had the opportunity to launch additional dive operations after the remains were recovered. While it wasn't touted publicly because of litigation concerns, I did hear that the two foreward starboard anchor chains parted. These were brand new chains and hardly expected to fail. The loss of these chains effectively negated the aft port chains. The ship was headed into the wind and taking waves on the foreward starboard quarter. It is presumed the ship rotated on the remaining chains (foreward port and aft starboard) causing it to "flip". The chain company very quietly assumed most of the litigation and loss costs. Again - that's just my recollection.

We seriously investigated dozens of false claims of "prisoners in Vietnam". We also used a very large charity to conduct a search for us in Vietnam in return for a shipload of food. A Global Marine official actually went into Vietnam (not a safe idea back then) and met with those that conducted the search. The outcome, no real substance to any of the claims.

I personally met with some of the crazies that claimed to have "classified information" about prisoners in Vietnam. The monetary demands ran from $50, 000 to a million for each prisoner. We left no stone unturned.

There were, I believe, 83 crew on board. 31 were recovered and, as I've said before, recovery of the ship's clock identified a very short time frame between our last radio contact and the last time on the clock. Pretty much no time for anyone to have gotten off. I have no idea why the names of those left on the vessel have been redacted from the Coast Guard report. I used to have a full listing of all those on the manifest, but it's long lost - sorry.

Once again - anyone wishing to discuss any of this is welcome to contact me. I did a 9 hour deposition in a room with over 10 lawyers so a lot of this is kind of burned into my head. But I have slept since then.

Added by John Auth on 29 October 2015.
On all the Drill Ships and Semi Submersible captain was master and always had final say in Weather situations, Larry Wentzel crewed on Glomar North Sea off Kinsale Ireland and Bow DRill 2 Grand Banks Newfoundland, Hope you don't, just my 2 cents worth.

Added by Larry Wentzel, Lunenburg Nova Scotia on 29 October 2015.
The loss of life that fateful day was the fifth most in the history of the oil industry.
I was a mud logger for Magcobar in the Gulf of Mexico and I will always fondly remember this tour as the most rewarding of my career as far as the accommodations and the professionalism of the crew and its facilities. May they all rest in peace. The following is from "Offshore Technology's" list of the worst offshore rig disasters.
Glomar Java Sea Drillship disaster, South China Sea.

The Glomar Java Sea Drillship disaster which took place on 25 October 1983 in the South China Sea caused the death of 81 people when the drillship capsized and sank at depth of 317ft about 63 nautical miles south-west of Hainan Island, China, 80 nautical miles east of Vietnam.

The 5, 930t Glomar Java Sea drillship was built by the Levingston Shipbuilding Company of Orange, Texas, in 1975 and delivered to Global Marine. The 400ft long drillship was contracted to ARCO China at the time of the disaster. The vessel had performed drilling for ARCO in the Gulf of Mexico between 1975 and 1881, and operated off the coast of California for some time before its arrival in the South China Sea in January 1983.

Operations ceased prior to the arrival of tropical Storm Lex as it approached from the east of the drilling site. Global Marine's office in Houston, Texas, reported that the drillship was experiencing 75kt (138.9km/h) winds over the bow, but the contact was abruptly lost.

No survivors were found in the extensive search operation conducted thereafter. The wrecked drillship was found in an inverted position 1, 600ft south-west of the drilling site. Only 36 bodies were found, and the remaining 45 crew members were presumed dead.

Added by Tom Madden on 30 October 2015.
I have not read the theory of the breakage of the chain. But I was told by a Global Marine official at the time, that he thought it was the chain breakage that cause the Java Sea to flip. I assume that part of the liability settlement among insurers was a secrecy agreement of who paid and how much was paid.

Added by Paul A. Mattingly, Jr on 30 October 2015.
Just a couple of items from my old age memory to clear up some errors in the "Offshore Technology" listing The rig was found significantly further away from the drilling site - abut 1300 yards, give or take. Of the 83 crew listed on the rig, 31 were bodies were found. That one I'm sure of since I brought them into Hong Kong. I learned a lot about the media during that time and I pretty much don't take as gospel anything in either print or broadcast media.

Added by John Auth on 03 November 2015.
My name is Maddie Myers, I'm 14 years old, and my father, Dwayne Myers, lost his dad in this shipwreck when he was little. If anyone at all has any information about Kenneth Wayne Myers, or Ken, please contact me or my dad. Anything helps, thank you so much.

Added by Maddie Myers on 10 November 2015.
Hi Maddie. I recall working with a "Kenny Wayne" aboard the Glomar Challenger in the late '70's... is this the same person?

Added by on 10 November 2015.
Hi Maddie - I was the Personnel Manager for Global Marine at the time and I believe I remember Kenny. But it's been over 30 years and I can't remember any other details except an image of him in my head. I can tell you that, since this was a very high profile project we picked the best of our fleet's crews to man the GJS. This was the first offshore rig to work out of China - ever. And travel and access to China was nowhere near what it is today. China had only opened it's doors to the West 17 months prior to and we were careful to not only pick crew members with a high level of technical skill but also excellent people skills.

Added by John Auth on 12 November 2015.
Thank you so much for responding. It's nice to hear from somebody else that knows about the Java sea. I just talked to my grandma and she said she doesn't think he ever worked on the challenger but he did go by Kenny, he was 31 when the ship sank in 1983, he was 6 feet tall, had reddish brown curly hair, and was from Washington state. If you remember anybody or run into anybody who worked on the Java Sea, please pass on my information, I would love to talk and learn about my grandpa. Thank you.

Added by Maddie Myers on 12 November 2015.
Maddie: I didn't know your grandpa personally, but I did service the Java Sea when she was in the Gulf of Mexico. I can tell you this about your grandpa and all the other men who served aboard the GJS.

1) They were all hard working individuals who knew the value of an honest day's work for an honest day's pay.

2) They were all highly skilled in their jobs. From the roughneck and roustbout to the driller and the tool pusher, from the loggers and mudmen, to the cooks, crane operators, engineers and radiomen, ALL were experts in their fields.

3) Every last man aboard had a thirst for adventure and was open to new experiences and places.

4) They weren't afraid to go into uncharted waters so to speak (and even literally!). 4) Each and every man on the ship was a man that you could depend on. At sea, a good crew is a blessing, and the crew of the GJS was as good as they get.

5) You should always be proud to be the grand-daughter of such a man. remember HIS genes are in you and his greatness is also in you. As you grow up, you will recognize the wonderful legacy that is yours because of your Grand Father's life and sacrifice. remember YOU can accomplish anything that you set your mind to. It's in your genes!

Added by Jim Harvey on 13 November 2015.
Jim Harvey, did you know my Uncle, Marion Kinzie "Sonny" Gittings, and my Cousin, James Gittings ? Jim H.

Added by Jim H on 20 November 2015.
Wow Jim what a beautiful tribute to the men of the Glomar Java Sea. My dad, Gerard Flanagan, was the radio operator on the ship and I still miss him. I have my own grandchild now and I like that his strength is in her.

Added by Peggy Secrist on 20 November 2015.
Thank you so much Jim, that was amazing. I love to see people that are still interested in this. That was so inspirational and I am so proud to have his genes in me. Thank you again.

Added by Maddie Myers on 24 November 2015.
I live in Kiln Ms.. and worked the same shift as Mr Flanagan from construction to Sea Trials to assignment in the Gulf of Mex.. La...Super nice Fellow..I was one of the very first Electricians.

Added by Marvin Lacoste on 24 November 2015.
Thank you so much Jim, that was amazing. I love to see people that are still interested in this. That was so inspirational and I am so proud to have his genes in me. Thank you again.

Added by Maddie Myers on 25 November 2015.
You know, there is something magical about the GJS. I worked at a time when there were a lot of accidents in the industry. Odeco Ocean Ranger (84), Ocean Express (13), Ranger 1(8), etc. But the GJS(81) haunts me for some reason. Maybe because I spent so much time servicing her. I don't know. I do know that anyone who was touched by her will never forget her or the men who served on her.

Added by Jim Harvey on 25 November 2015.
I agree with You ..!!! I would like to hear from any member that was on her from the Ship Yard, Sea Trials etc..

Added by Marvin Lacoste on 27 November 2015.
I worked in the galley and. Remember Ken Myers very well. Served him many meals.

Added by John Mcmann on 27 November 2015.
Jim, maybe part of that mystical feeling we get about the GJS is the top notch quality of all the personalities we lost that October in 83. Ray Miller was so significant in my life -not romantically but a true friend with really good advice and support. I understand what you mean about the magical feeling you describe and it's still so strong even after decades of time. Maddie mentioned her grandfather was in his 30s, Ray was 33 and most likely be a grandfather now. He's been gone almost as long as he was alive. By the way, I am so impressed by the kindness you all have demonstrated through your responses to Maddie. You ALL are top quality people, too. -dusty Landry Robertson

Added by Dusty Landry Robertson on 27 November 2015.
Would it be inappropriate to introduce a bit of humor here? I installed the ship's radio, radar and navigation systems at Levingston Shipyards in Orange, Tx in the Summer of 1975. I can still remember the radio callsign that the FCC assigned to the GJS before she went to sea trials. Heck, who could forget? The callsign, WFDS, just also happened to be the name of a brand of women's hygiene products popular at the time. As I recall, the last three letters stood for "feminine deodorant spray'. As if it was even possible to make it worse, one of the other technicians informed me that the call sign had been assigned to another ship previously, and had just recently become available again. When I asked if the previous ship had rid itself of the WFDS callsign because of the unfortunate product tie-in, he just lowered his head a bit and muttered "Nope...sunk".

As I stood in the Texas sun watching her steam down the Sabine River on her way to her sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico , I remember thinking two things. I was wondering what adventures awaited her out there. I also hoped that somebody in Global Marine in Houston would get that God awful radio callsign changed.

Added by Frank Roberts on 01 December 2015.
Roy Weiler could answer that question. He was the Night Radio man on GJS, so he would obviously know the call sign. I don't think that anyone minds a bit of levity, however, I think that story falls more into the "was there a jinx"? I know there is an FCC database where you can look up call signs, but I'm not sure where the commercial database would be.

Added by Jim Harvey on 02 December 2015.
Frank, I was an Electrician on that trip and Buddy King was the Manager. Ray Fink and Dale Koltis was the Engineers. Golden memories. Ate at the Pitt Grill..John Calloway was a Materialsman.

Added by Marvin Lacoste on 03 December 2015.
John, I see you were the personnel manager. Was that in Houston? If so you may have hired me and known my sister Jeanette "Jeri" Geary.It may have been your office with the large framed photo of the Java Sea that I posted about earlier

Added by Dennis Hampton on 03 December 2015.
Frank Roberts, Glomar Java Sea call sign Whiskey Foxtrot Delta Sierra or WFDS. Was the call sign of the Glomar Java Sea from the time she came out of the yards till she was lost in the South China Sea. It was never changed. I find it interesting that it was with another ship that sank before that. I never knew. Thank you.

Added by Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 03 December 2015.
FCC database didn't have the information (They did have Shipping there) I was looking for but I did find a radio call sign DB that did list GJS' call sign as you stated WFDS. So I assume that it never changed...

Added by Jim Harvey on 03 December 2015.
Glomar Java Sea was not a ordinary movable drilling rig. It had a unique pedigree. A sister of the famous Glomar Challenger, scientific drillship, 1968, the first deepwater drilling rig that could drill in 20,000 feet of water and replace the drill bit. Its step-sister the Hughes Glomar Explorer, 1974 recognized as one of the outstanding engineering achievement in recovering part of the Russian sub-K-129 in 16,000 feet of water. The sinking of the GJS was a haunting blow to the whole marine offshore oil drilling industry.

Added by Paul Mattingly on 03 December 2015.
John if you were the personnel manager in Houston you may have hired me, if so that was your office with the large framed picture of the Java Sea. you may have known my sister Jeanette "Jeri" Geary.And again thanks for all the information you have posted over the years.

Added by Dennis Hampton on 08 December 2015.
Dennis - your name is familiar, but I've slept since the. :-) If you hired into the GOM you probably spoke with Mike McLean. Good hearing from you.

Added by John Auth on 09 December 2015.
John- you may be right, seems like the name Mike Mclean does ring a bell(I, as well, have slept since then).Like I posted before, I can see their faces, Ijust cant remember all their names.John, you Jim Harvey and several others have been a very good source of information in helping me sort through all the BS that had accumulated over the years. as much as it sucks, this was all pretty much human error which turned into a terrible terrible tragedy.One can only guess at how many lives this incident has affected over the years.Open wounds heal but they always leave scars.God bless everyone that has been involved over the time that has gone.

Added by Dennis Hampton on 09 December 2015.
The call sign WFDS was never changed.

Added by Roy Carl Weiler Sr. on 10 December 2015.
Thanks Roy> I knew you'd have the answer. Whiskey Foxtrot Delta Sierra...

Added by Jim Harvey on 10 December 2015.
Just looked this up, my name is Greg Harris ( nickname Gizzard) worked on the Java Sea for 2 yrs ended up being Asst. Derrickman working for David Clifton. As Roustabout worked for Jimmy Sanderson. Remember Tom Mallory, Dennis Stewart, wild Bill Logan, Of course you Craig C., Jimmy Crawford and the Higgens, Shorty Griffth and Johnny Cash Roy and many more. took a L.O.A. to go back to school or I would have been on the rig. Going to look for some old pictures. Brings back a lot of memories.

Added by Greg Harris on 29 January 2016.
I worked with John Lawrence, Global Marine Drilling Company, Houston, Texas, from 1980-1983. I was his Administrative Secretary. John was a Manager in the Jackup Construction Group, under Marvin E. Schindler, who was in charge of the group. John and I worked well together, however, we were also good friends. John was never supposed to be out on the Java Sea, however, once a year, all Rig Managers were called to the Houston Office for a meeting, which lasted a week. John Lawrence was on the Java Sea, filling in for the Rig Manager. He was in the Radio Operator's office; and he was the last one to have communications with the Houston Office. His body was never recovered. When the Rig was listing approximately 10 degrees, John Lawrence was calm as could be, which reassured the President, Vice Presidents, and all others of high ranks. What they were not aware of was that John Lawrence always remained calm, no matter what. Therefore: nobody realized the seriousness of the situation. I worked in the Engineering Department, and all of the Engineers reassured me that everything would be alright and not to worry. Well, you know the rest. I would like to keep in touch with anyone affiliated with the Java Sea. Best Wishes to all, Lois

Added by Lois Dunning on 23 March 2016.
Did any of you know my dad "Sam" Dero Clayton Jones? John Callaway worked with him in Anchorage. He was on the Grand Doll, as we called it. Mel Graun (?). He started working for Global in 1970 and I can't remember the year he left. He passed away April 16, 2009 here in TX.

Added by Sherri Jones Davis on 20 May 2016.
Greg Harris!! My dad was David Higgins and my uncle Tyrone Higgins both were on the ship! My uncle Donald "Duck" Higgins worked on it also!!

Added by David Higgins on 26 May 2016.
Hi to all, my name is Bob Haese.I was the buyer for the Java Sea at I.S.I. in Houston Texas when My Dad J.R.Haese was rig manager at that time.I was shocked to hear about the rig when the news came out. I tooked several buyers out to the rig while it was in the Gulf Of Mexico for 2 days so they could see a drillship in "action" and how the buyers job helped with keeping the rig supplied with equipment and parts and turning to the right.

Added by Bob Haese on 08 July 2016.
Jerry Manfrida, one of the geologists on GJS was my best friend in high school (Lincoln High School, Seattle) and college (Univ. of Washington). If any of you have memories to share about Jerry I would love for you to share them here, or contact me.

I have read a lot about the sister ship Glomar Explorer and can't help but wonder if the GJS was also working for the CIA at the time it went down and that may be why it's been so difficult to find the survivors that may or may not be in Vietnam. I know that Jerry's body was found, so may he rest in peace.

But it still bothers me that some of the survivors may be rotting in a Vietnam prison - how do we get to the truth???

Added by Dave Warthen on 19 July 2016.
I just ran across this posting. The story of this ships tragedy has haunted me for years.

I worked for Global Marine back when this happened. I was on the Glomar Grand Isle, one of the Java Sea's sister ships. We were supposed to follow the Java Sea to the South China Sea a couple of weeks later after the tragedy but that never happened. All I remember hearing from the bosuns mate was that the Java Sea hit a naval mine and sank with all hands. I have never heard that story again and do not know if it is true but it has nagged me for all these years. Has anyone else ever heard that tale? It was not until a few days later that we started hearing the story about a typhoon sinking this vessel.

I was on the Grand Isle during a hurricane off the coast of Morgan City, LA my first tour on the ship and I can tell you, the typhoon I heard described in later stories does not seem likely to have sunk the Grand Isle. I never laid eyes on the Java Sea personally but if she was built with the same jib as the Isle then I find that story hard to swallow.

I am from Austin, TX and a few months after this event a man living here was contacted by a friend of his with a picture of his son who worked on the Java Sea, still alive, in what looked like a POW camp. He spent years dealing with the State Department trying to get results but as far as I know never got any. I did not know the man or his son I just remember the papers and local news followed the story for a while.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, I am just retelling what is now an old story as best I can. I didn't work for Global Marine for long, only about 3 years. I look forward to reading all your posts.

I did not know anyone working on the Java Sea but to all of you who lost friends and family on that ship, I am sorry for your loss and wish you all peace.

Added by ME Brooks on 27 July 2016.
I've been reading the posts today and they brought back a lot of memories. The time I served on the Java Sea was some of the best a young man breaking out in the oil field could have. But the ride through the Panama Canal and following the coast to Santa Barbara was the trip of a lifetime. I worked for Sebe Bracey, Jimmy Sanderson, and David Clifton. I made the decision to leave the rig in California to work on a land rig, glad I did. Kevin Swanson took my place and went down with her. Before he left though he came by my house to give me a Java Sea belt buckle, that was the last time I saw him. Sebe Bracey came by my home before the sinking. He told me this was to be his last hitch. He loved Global Marine but he was worried saying something didn't feel right. That was also the last time I saw him. I miss those men and many more that made made a lifelong impression on a young man from Mississippi. When this post I would love to hear from anyone with an attachment to the Java Sea. May they all rest in peace.

Added by Dwain Case on 13 August 2016.
Next month will be 33 years

Added by Dennis Hampton on 16 August 2016.
Yesterday I saw the movie Deep Horizon and cracked up on the way home as I remembered the two days I spent in the ARCO radio room with the Chinese radio operators as I interpreted for all and sundry trying to find out what had happened to the GJS. Google gave me this webpage. I met many of the GJS crew on their way in and out of Zhanjiang but I can't remember their names.The top three ARCO honchos were not in the ARCO Zhanjiang base at the time and the senior geophysicist was in charge. All the crew in ARCO Zhanjiang scratched their heads on hearing that GJS was to stay tied fore and aft to the buoys instead of riding out Typhoon Lex under its own steam. Personally, I had learnt what the South China Sea was like through my six years in the Royal Australian Navy. The USAF Orions often reported that they could see no debris, probably because the sea was too choppy. I was employed by ARCO in Hong Kong as an English teacher (often interpreter) from 1982 to 1984. The chief geophysicist told me that his opinion was that tension on the buoy cables from wind and waves flipped the GJS upside down and then the aft cables either snapped or came adrift and the ship filled with water and went under. I could write a lot more detail if I tried. I have a photograph of myself having a drink in the Nanhai Hotel bar with a young Australian crew-member of the GJS. I now live in Sydney Australia. If Merissa Shearsmith could contact me on, I can send her a copy of the photo. One never knows.

Added by James (jim) Bullen on 18 October 2016.
I had a friend who worked as a crane operator on the GJS in the GOM circa 1978-80. He brought home stories that made this drillship a memorable entity, almost a living breathing being, in my mind. I have enjoyed reading all these posts. I mourn with you all for the loss of those amazing people, and this glorious ship.

Added by Susan Eberly on 20 October 2016.
I was the Texaco Rep or "Bird Dog" on the GJS for the Santa Barbara Channel gig just before it sailed to the East to it's grave. I still have the hard rock bit that was kick'n around my office -- forgotten and left there by the previous Texaco Rep. I remember having to time my traverses across the deck because waves would wash across during storms. I remember thinking this odd. One night we had an H2S alarm and I huddled freezing and wet at the bow with all the lights off for fear of explosion. For a moment we all panicked when the wrong alarm was sounded for moment for the all clear. Someone instead thought it was a signal to abandon ship. I was just the geophysicist on board. What would I know. Although its more than 30 years later, I remember hang'n with the crew and wonder how many of them went on to perish.

Added by Joe Jackson on 23 October 2016.
My daddy went down with this rig. Thirty three years later it still causes me pain. His name was Todd Bracey.

Added by Yvette White on 25 October 2016.
My name is Thom Robinson and my father was Tim Robinson who went down on this ship. 33 years ago today. I remember reading all the articles and studying maps trying to figure it out. Lots of conspiracy theories have floated around and I know at least one lawyer spent a lot of money trying to find his son in Vietnam. I'm just curious why there has never been a detailed look into what really happened. RIP all on board and prayers to all the families for whom this tragedy still affects today. I was young (8 years old) but still remember everything like it was yesterday. My sister unfortunately didn't really know our father

Added by Thom Robinson on 25 October 2016.
I was on the Java Sea for about28 no. I made the trip to Hong Kong and was one of the Dirty dozen just about all of "B" crew my heart goes out to all the guys trying to stay alive waiting for help that never arrived.. shame on the US state department.

Added by Steve Schillios on 27 October 2016.
Can anyone tell me anything about Clarence reed? He's my grandfather. My mom told me stories about how this ship was some sort of CIA cover? She told me that Clarence knew something was about to happen. She showed me the videos of the scuba divers investigating. I have so many questions. My mom was still pregnant with me when the ship went down, and she passed away without any closure. Can someone e-mail me with any info please?

Added by Kendra Smith on 03 January 2017.
It's actually very complex in this full of activity life to listen news on Television, thus I just use world wide web for that reason, and obtain the latest information.


Added by Elwood on 07 January 2017.
I am the son of Capt John S Hinds (from Grand Cayman) who died in 1978 in a helicopter accident going out to the GJS in the Gulf of Mexico from Sabine Pass. If you have any information or stories, please email me. I was just 14 yrs old at the time and would love to share some of the information and history with my children.

Added by Phillip Hinds on 20 February 2017.
anadrill Schlumberger lost 6 guys on this ship. I would have been one of them had our crew not been late on completion in Bass Straight Victoria Australia.
A year later I was sent down to Devonport to set up a unit on the sister ship glomar RF Bauer. This was a nightmare an anchored drill ship in the roaring forties. Stuck on the rig for 6 weeks we were snapping anchors regularly. I slept in my dry suit nightly.
The captain of the ship told me that the report on the reasons for the sinking of the Java Sea concluded that there was a design flaw and that the drilling contractor had waited too long to pullout leaving them stuck with the drill string hanging off whilst all other boats had made it safely to harbour.
Doesn't take much to imagine what happens to a boat when it has many thousands of pounds hanging off the moon pool.

Added by James Hyland on 08 March 2017.
I am sure that many lives have been saved from the learning experience of the tragic 'Java Sea' disaster.
I have written a book that is available on Amazon.FROM ORANGE TO SINGAPORE: A SHIPYARD BUILDS A LEGACY.BY Paul A. Mattingly Jr.
Levingston Shipbuilding Company built 7 sister ships of the java Sea. Four of them are mining for diamonds on the Orange River in South Africa.

Added by Paul A. Mattingly Jr. on 27 March 2017.
Thank you to all who have made posts herein. I have made previous posts abouut my dad, Eugene Spencer, one of the Captains of the GJS. He was also the supervisor on the Glomar Explorer as it was 'decommissioned' for Mothball storage. That transition took place in 1976-77 in Los Angeles Harbor, I can't remember which shipyard. My dad had a very long history on ships starting prior to WWII at the Maritime Academy in Vallejo. He was on many ships, primarily tankers and drilling ships. Over all those years, there was never a possibility of our being on any of those ships...until the Glomar Explorer when it was on its way to storage at Suisan. He was allowed to give his family a tour of the Explorer. To say I was impressed by the ship and the enormity of my father's responsibilities, his experience, his accomplishments was an understatement. But what remains in my mind was the glance I had of CIA control room and the story of the how, what and why of that ship. There is still a question in my mind as to a CIA presence on the Jave Sea. After the vessel's loss, my dad was interviewed repeatedly by the Coast Guard and he testified at the Board of Inquiry about his opinion as to what had happened during his tenure there, why he refused to go back on the GJS, etc. Identifying those he could on the underwater films was his undoing and tortured him for the rest of his life. With all of our discussions about his testimony and his experiences on the GJS , I feel sure that he would have said something about Government personnel like CIA. Alternately, he was a man of his word and if revealing CIA participation was not to be shared, it was not. I do remember the CIA interviewing our neighbors, family and friends prior to his sailing on a particular ship for Global, but that was sometime prior to 1970. I would love to hear from other family of ship's officers who know remember more than I do, who can share their remembrances. What do you know that I should know?

Added by D Hooker on 01 April 2017.
Mr. Phillip Hinds I was an Able seaman on the gjs at the time of the helo crash. I am truly sorry as Capt. Hinds was one of the better people on that rig. I was on the lifeboat that went to rescue the passengers on that flight. We were given conflictingreports from the capt. about radar ranging as to where the wreckage was it was capsized and floating by it's inflatable pontoons these pontoons only inflated in an emergency. The wrong radar report was due to one of the drill crew a toolpusher whom I will not mention was fiddling with the range finder ring and giving the Capt. the wrong indication. We came upon the wreck at about the same time as a work boat. As earlier reported by someone all were not lost the pilot co-pilot and tom malloy were clinging to the wreckage. My experience with the mixing of oil-field personnel and marine crew was tantamount to mixing oil and water there was some very bad blood.

Added by Paul on 10 April 2017.
In the Spring of 1983, I was observing tests on one of our jackups in Hong Kong, and was asked to travel to Zhanjiang to do a rig inspection on Java Sea. Quite a trip. I was also Java Sea's Planned Maintenance Supt. Knew many of the crew. I was on my way to Japan to be QA manager for the CIDS construction when she sank. Didn't know about it until I arrived in Japan. It was a shock I've never fully recovered from. I have discussed this with Fred G in the opinion (after reviewing photos of the "cracks" in the side plating) is she was sunk by Limpet mines attached to the hull. She also was still attached to all 8 anchors. Normal routine during an storm of this intensity would have been to swing off two forward anchors if the "bucking" motion of the waves was getting too severe. I have kept this to myself, but at 78 yrs old...what the heck. Also, a shout out to any old friends from my days as a Maint Supt (drill ships), and the Glomar Explorer and CIDS.

Added by Steve Schneider on 27 April 2017.
Do any of you remember my dad, David Walton? He was on the Glomar Explorer and the Java Sea.

Added by Kathy Davis on 31 May 2017.
Do you know that there is a Facebook site dedicated to the GJS, "Glomar Java Sea". Mercifully I was on leave when the ship went down.

Added by Tim Smith on 26 July 2017.
Wow, I have just found this website. I recognize some of the posts. Craig and Mike. I was just thinking of the GJS and still today there has never been a explanation to believe. I was in Hong Kong going back to the GJS the next day when she was reported missing. John Pierce was the person that I relieved. ( God rest his soul)

Added by Al O'Neil on 23 August 2017.
I worked on the glomar Grand aisle, the sister ship to the java sea.We were in the gulf of Mexico when we heard the news of the sinking.may god bless all that went down on that ship.Billy Hayes, I was a roughneck on the grand isle.

Added by Billy Hayes on 23 August 2017.
Amazing to come across this website today and see comments from friends I haven't seen in over 35 years. I was a roughneck on the Java Sea in '80 & '81 working with Mark Thibodeaux, Craig Cunningham, Steve Paulson and others. I left the Java Sea in August of '81 to go back and finish college at TAMU.
I still remember reading the short article in the Wall Street Journal following the tragedy and contacting Steve to find out he was on days off when the rig went down. My condolences to all here who lost friends and family in this disaster.

Added by Sam McDonald on 15 September 2017.
I was only recently informed about this site/posting regarding the JAVA Sea rig and to sit down and review everyone’s comments and memories of the men that were on this rig is amazing. I roughnecked on the Java Sea in the GOM and offshore California, also rode the rig through the Panama Canal. I roughnecked with John Pierce for a couple of years, Matt Medford too (who didn’t go with the rig to China). Cebe Bracey was our TP, David Clifton was our driller, Jimmy Sanderson was our crane op. Some of the other guys I remember on our crew were, Dwain Case, Dennis Hampton, and Kevin Swanson. It’s good to see Dwain and Dennis sending in their comments. Other names that bring back memories as I read comments from Greg Harris and Robert Kloss, I too was on the rig offshore San Luis Obispo when the starboard flair boom went crashing into the ocean, crazy stuff to remember! Someone mentioned Bill Schug, I believe he was the rig mechanic on our crew.
I was asked to go with the rig to China but declined (because I had just gotten married) and came back to the GOM where I worked on the Main Pass II & High Island IX, before leaving Global Marine.
I recently came across a folder I had stored away with many pictures of the rig and crew, along with the original newspaper articles of the event and investigations afterwards.

Even after all these years, it’s hard to talk about. What a great team of men that worked on that rig! And now as the anniversary of this tragic event approaches, I just wish everyone that had friends or family on that rig my most sincere condolences.

Added by Steve McCullough on 02 October 2017.
Steve, Dennis Hampton here, good to hear from you and Dwain I remember Bracey calling you"McCutcheon" Lots of memories. I recently lost everything in the Harvey flood in Dickinson Texas but you guys remain fresh in my mind like last week We were all young and bullet proof back then I got transferred to the High Island 6 between hitches so never got to say proper goodbyes to anybody but its good to see posts from guys I worked with back then.

Added by Dennis Hampton on 03 October 2017.
I was a first Electrician as I was in the Shipyard during construction.. Went on Sea Trials with Her.. Buddy King was the Manager.. Dale Koltes and Ray Fink was the Chief Engineers.. George Watson soon took over Manager..!!!

Added by Marvin Lacoste on 03 October 2017.
I was an AB seaman on the trip from Long Beach to China. I begged them to let me stay & was told we were being replaced by $200 a month I crew. I blame the inexperienced crew. I knew that ship blindfolded. I always told myself I could find my lifeboat blindfolded. It never made sense to me that no one survived. I sailed on many global ships, Glomar Atlantic, Glomar pacific, Glomar Grand isle, Glomar tender II. I saw many a storm & am still baffled as to how this happened. RIP crew

Added by David Freeman on 04 October 2017.
Here it is almost the anniversary of that tragic day. I have been reading the posts on this website and on Facebook. As I stated in my prior comment that I had found this website and also in Facebook. I am SO HAPPY that the Crew that lost there lives on ignorance from the Government and of Global Marine are being thought of and remembered . My heart goes out to those families, I feel there pain. I have seen a lot of names I recognize if I don't then I apologize . I am quite sure I have worked with many of you and I am glad we All come together to remember those people that where lost. If anyone never worked on a rig you would not understand the BOND that all of us had. I was on the Java Sea until she was reported missing . I was in Hong Kong going out the next day when she was reported missing. Again I was always remember and pray those families who lost someone get the answers they need.

Added by Al O'Neil on 05 October 2017.
Was the Java Sea the sister ship to the North Sea? She was a converted Great Lakes ore carrier, I believe, with a recipe steam engine using HFO (bunker 'C'); also had an Ajax steam drawworks motor! Did the Java Sea have the same? Did she not have a supply vessel (AHTS) standing bye alongside at the time of the storm? I share David Freeman's being baffled about how she could have capsized with loss of all life aboard.

Added by Peter Armitage on 06 October 2017.
I was a rig crew member from the time in the Gulf to Offshore California I sailed the Javs Sea to Hong Kong. And worked Derivks until the day she sank. Mike Brendel was the Driller . I read a post from Mr. Champion from Feb of 09 making a conclusion that the rig flooded and that it why it sank. Not that your

Added by on 06 October 2017.
John Auth made a post on Oct 15 2015 that will answer a lot of questions. He was heavily involved in the search and recovery for months after the fact.He has been an excellent source of information and has helped me understand many things that bounced around in my head for years.

Added by Dennis Hampton on 07 October 2017.
I knew the ARCO Drilling Supervisor on the Java Sea when she went down. Clarence Reed and I were the Drilling Supervisors on a rig in the Java Sea offshore Jakarta for one hitch before he was transferred to Java Sea Drillship. I received the news from our Jakarta office that the ship had been lost. RIP all.

Added by Errol Kerr on 17 December 2017.
I remember Pete, crane operator. I Was 18 years old. He took me under his hat to make sure I learned. He gave me my first jumpsuit with a Java Sea logo which actually belonged to Pete.

Added by Greg on 22 March 2018.
My name is Mike Nelson, I was on GJS 1977-1979, my first rig, I worked for TP Bob Brown, Driller was Ray, "Country" worked derricks, Ray Chatlian(?)and David Cox was on the crew with me, just typing this brings up memories and feelings I thought where long gone, people I have not thought about in a long time.But good memories too.I am retired now and was putting away old oil patch junk and ran across a pair of Java sea coveralls so I just had to look her up ....coming up 35 years ..... Whiskey Foxtrot Delta Sierra...come in........ Come in Whiskey Foxtrot Delta Sierra.......... Whiskey Foxtrot Delta Sierra .............. negative contact....

Added by Mike Nelson on 08 May 2018.
Does anybody remember my Uncle, Kinzie "Sonny" Gittings? - he was the ship's steward - he died, and so did his son, James K. Gittings, who was my first cousin (on my mom's side) - they never found my cousin Jimmy's body - - - does anybody know if it's true about the N. Vietnamese maybe taking my cousin Jimmy and other guys as prisoners - ???? Please reply - post a comment and let me know - thanks Jim H. Keokuk, Iowa

Added by Jim - Keokuk, IA on 24 June 2018.
83 people on board. no survivors 31 bodies were recovered on the rig. last communication was 10:53pm clock stopped at 10:57pm. rig turned over and went straight to the bottom. look at previous posts made by John Auth. he helped me understand what happened

Added by Dennis Hampton on 27 June 2018.
My uncle, Patrick Cates, was the safety officer on the GJS. He knew he wasn't coming home.

I stand with you all.

Added by Walton Cates on 13 July 2018.
Did anyone happen to know leonard e ganzinotti he was on the glomar java sea in 83 when it sank any memories or pictures.

Added by Jessica Wagoner on 24 August 2018.
Please join the Glomar Java Sea FB group. I think there are two, but I am admin for one.

Added by Chip Kidd on 03 October 2018.
35 years later this month!

Added by Peter Matthew Armitage on 04 October 2018.
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