The J.R. Rix Maritime Bunkering Ltd. tanker barge "Rix Merlin" left Immingham on a sunny August morning in 2000 and travelled up the Humber to Kingston upon Hull, where it waited to share the lock into the historic Alexandra Dock.
That morning, the three ships to be bunkered by Rix Merlin all happened to belong to Rix. The first was the seagoing bunkering tanker Rix Harrier which regularly took heavy oil to ships around the coast to places like Dundee and Scapa Flow.
The other two were Harrix and Lerrix, large Rix Shipping cargo vessels both bringing timber to unload in Alexandra Dock.
The Merlin then left Hull with 296 tonnes of gas oil remaining and headed for Grimsby Royal Dock. As the tide was high, the route could be fairly direct and there was another chance to see the impressive industrial landscape either side of the estuary, including BP chemical works at Salt End.
At Grimsby, the Merlin bunkered the Lapthorne ship Hoo Beech moored in Royal Dock, with 20,000 litres of oil - ‘20 cubes’. They would then have to wait until 21:30 before the tide allowed them out of the lock again.
A few example shots from "Rix Merlin", but without the commentary.
The crew’s working day had started at 01:00 that morning and wouldn’t finish until they reached an overnight mooring in Immingham dock ready for another job at 02:00 the next morning!
The captain, Lez Middleton gives a running commentary throughout the trip and the crew contribute their own insights about the bunkering job and their lives on the ships and barges.
Immingham Dock TA 199 165
Hull Alexandra Dock TA 124 288
Grimsby Royal Dock TA 278 114
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The images on this page are taken from the video.