Oilrig Photos

Vickers Voyager through Heather Alpha's flare boom

Vickers Voyager through Heather Alpha's flare boom

Date Added: 12 February 2011 Contributor: Tony Easom Year of Photo: 1978 Picture No: 2383

This ship was converted from a factory trawler ship to a research vessel in Manchester Dry Docks around 1975 when I worked there. I was quite surprised to see her again alongside the Heather Alpha whilst I had my camera in hand around 1978, on better money!!!!


There were several Vickers Oceanics boats, this was one of two sisters, either the Vickers Viking or the Vickers Vanguard which were converted German trawlers. The "Vickers" prefix was changed to "British" in about 1979. The maneouvering close to the platform is pretty impressive as she had to stay close to the submersible, no mean feat without a bowthruster and a single screw. Comment left on 16 February 2011 at 23:50 by Pete
I'm sure it is the Voyager, we did convert one which was renamed the Viking as I remember. The first one we did had the orignal name of 'Fairtry' what ever that really meant as a name I don't know. I do know she arrived under tow in the Mersey at dead of night and then the Manchester Ship Canal with no power, lights or engines, the skeleton crew had a devilish time with her.
She looks fine now though in my picture!
Comment left on 26 February 2011 at 10:18 by Tony Easom
Tony, here is a picture of the Vickers Voyager, ex_Fairtry.


Here is the Vickers Viking


There was a fleet of submersible ships all beginning with Vickers. There were Vickers Viking, Vanguard, Viscount, Voyager, Venturer. You may have been involved in the others conversions as well.
Comment left on 27 February 2011 at 18:28 by Peter Wright
Vickers/British Oceanics had a base at Leith Docks, I did some fab/welding work on their manned subs, I think they named them Pisces 1-2-3 etc? Comment left on 27 February 2011 at 22:09 by Terry
Thanks for that Terry. There were others which I think were the Viking and the Venturer we worked on.
The one I photographed at the Heather must have been one of the later ones as can be seen from the picture of the Voyager on the ships nostalga site, she was much older looking in her lines and the first one we converted, a more 'tub' like looking vessel. Good memories, days long gone, the old docks are more a yuppy land of des res apartments now.
Comment left on 28 February 2011 at 22:02 by Tony Easom
Having looked at a couple of photos at home I am sure this is the Vickers Viking so it seems you did work on her after all, you did a good job! She rolled like a pig as she was always in light condition without fish and ice in the holds but going straight into a sea she was like an armchair. Her bow was a piece of art and really took the weight right out of the sea. Comment left on 03 March 2011 at 17:21 by Peter Wright
Your welcome Tony, I'm trying to remember the vickers sub that got stuck on the Irish Sea seabed for I think 48 hour-ish, life support was close to depletion? Then there was the redundant sub (8 man diver lock out I think?) that lay just inside their Leith basegates. I did hear this sub ended up in the Carribean, stripped out and used for tourists to view a reef, sub did not swim, basically up and down like an elevator? I think a lot of the Leith based guys set up business over the estuary in Fife to produce tourist subs!

Docks have dramatically changed, although you still get the odd interesting vessel making an appearance. I missed Goliath this morning, to early and foggy.

You know your Leith, are you the Tony I know who was a commercial diver?

Comment left on 03 March 2011 at 22:13 by
So you sailed on her, great to get positive feedback on a job well done. Comment left on 04 March 2011 at 19:21 by Tony Easom
Ref the Pisces III incident in Irish Sea some info is here:


Roger's book "No time on our Side" is an amazing read.
Comment left on 08 March 2011 at 00:30 by Peter Wright
I don't really know Leith but have passed through Edinburgh a few times heading for Aberdeen. The Vickers Voyager was there with some our lads after the refit, and although I'm not a commercial diver, I am a SCUBA diver with BSAC. Comment left on 08 March 2011 at 21:14 by Tony Easom
Thanks for book info Peter, I'll be looking for one to purchase over this weekend. Interesting to read, I reckon the first ROV (CURV III) that locked on to Pisces III to bring her up to surface. Myself, and a couple of others
manufactured SubSea Offshore (now SS7) prototype Pioneer workclass ROV, and a whole fleet after this. There is a WIKI on Pisces III, and the other Pisces submersibles, brings back fond memories of when we use to manufacture cutting edge equipment!
Comment left on 08 March 2011 at 23:06 by Terry
i was acting ship manager for over two years and have photos and some files of all the operations , during these years Comment left on 06 July 2014 at 15:32 by David Southall
This is either the Vickers Viking or the Vickers Vanguard. Was on the Vickers Voyager as 2nd Mate and also the Viking. If it is the Viking she used to be the Dortmund. Comment left on 05 April 2016 at 15:14 by Victor Conway
Voyager first shipb sailed on out of Leith down the med and was based out of Palermo Sicily in 70s Comment left on 28 April 2017 at 17:29 by Ally hume
Form Goes Here