(For news items up to and including June 2010, please visit the Archive)

Tom Smith

posted 26 Nov 2020, 12:41 by Mike Chapman

We've received the very sad news that former P&O Containers and P&O Nedlloyd sea staff colleague Tom Smith has passed away.  Tom's twin brother William has provided the following:   

We are sad to report that a long time serving Officer and colleague, Tommy Smith (RO/2OR/2OT), has passed away after a brave battle with cancer.  His first vessel was DOLIUS in 1970, his final HEEMSKERCK December 2004.

Our condolences go out to his wife, Fiona, who travelled extensively with him in his early career.

God speed Tommy on your final voyage.

Baron Maurice Velge

posted 7 Oct 2020, 11:16 by Mike Chapman   [ updated 7 Oct 2020, 11:16 ]

Sad news as Baron Maurice Velge has passed away at the age of 84. Mr. Velge was amongst others founder/owner of P&O Container Agencies in Antwerp, also founder of Polytra. With the utmost respect for his professionalism, Mr. Velge was much admired by his human interest and his remarkable capacity of remembering everyone he ever met by first and last name. 

This is the link to the official announcement in Flows:

(This announcement first appeared earlier today on the PONL Facebook group and is reproduced here by kind permission of Johan Vissers)

World in a Box

posted 9 Dec 2019, 12:43 by Mike Chapman   [ updated 9 Dec 2019, 12:44 ]

We have received the following communication from Martin Orchard about a fascinating video commemorating the 50th anniversary of the start of the deep-sea container trade in Australia:   

Dear David & David,

I have pleasure in attaching a link to the short documentary film’ World in a Box’ which commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the arrival of the first international container service into Australia - the joint OCL/ACT/ANL service between Australia and UK/Europe.

The full-feature film is 22-minutes in duration and there is an abbreviated version of 10-minute duration, plus a short promotion. To  access the film, highlight the link, click on the right button of your mouse and then click on ‘Open Link’.

The film was launched in Adelaide on 22nd October by the Australian Federal Minister of Trade, the Hon Senator Simon Birmingham, to general acclaim.

One of our sponsors, and most keen supporter throughout this venture, has been the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) in Canberra. DFAT is now distributing the film to their Australian offices as well as to various Australian Embassies around the World to promote trade with Australia.

I would appreciate if you could send this link to former OCL/P&O Container and ACT(A)/ACT(S) employees in UK and beyond, as you see fit. In addition, I would appreciate if you could consider sending the film to other interested parties, i.e. the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, UK Chamber of Shipping, et al. I would be interested to be made aware of any reactions you receive from the various parties.

I have spoken to John Spurrett on the subject of distributing this film in UK to the OCL/P&O Container and ACT(A)/ACT(S) personnel, and we both agreed that sending it to you both at the same time is the best course to take.

I hope you enjoy the film.

Kind Regards,

Flinders Bay model at the Fremantle museum

posted 31 Aug 2019, 09:55 by Mike Chapman   [ updated 2 Sept 2019, 00:03 ]

David Iredale has kindly sent through the following report and photographs covering his visit to the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle, Australia:    

The SS Flinders Bay Model (wrongly indicated as a ‘MV’) is in the new Fremantle Maritime Museum on the west end of Victoria Quay at the entrance to Fremantle Inner Harbour and is approx 300km north of the small town of Augusta that is on the northern end of Flinders Bay. It says the model was donated by OCL but I’m not sure when. It’s great that it’s on display in the 50th year celebrations of Encounter Bay arriving followed soon after by Flinders Bay in WA and Australia. The model has cutaways showing stowage in the holds, cabins and engine room and looks in good condition. The Flinders Bay met her end in 1996.

Flinders Bay stretches about 120km from Cape Leeuwin (Near Augusta) in the north to Point d’Entrecasteaux in the south, the SS Flinders Bay would have passed this way many times. There are no settlements on the bay, there was a bleak looking mural in the dining saloon of the SS Flinders Bay depicting what I presume was Flinders Bay in WA. Point Matthew near Cape Leeuwin has a plaque marking where Matthew Flinders commenced the charting of the Australian coastline. Matthew Flinders actually named Encounter Bay in South Australia after meeting Nicolas Baudin there.

There’s two YouTube videos of the SS Flinders Bay, one showing a rescue and another covering the last voyage to the scrap yard:

David Iredale

BT to move to former Beagle House site

posted 18 Aug 2019, 12:47 by Mike Chapman   [ updated 18 Aug 2019, 12:53 ]

It has been announced that BT (British Telecom) will be moving their HQ from St. Pauls in London to One Braham by the end of 2021.  One Braham has been built on the site formerly occupied by Beagle House, the OCL/P&O Containers/P&O Nedlloyd HQ.

50 year anniversary for containerisation in Fremantle

posted 31 Mar 2019, 12:54 by Mike Chapman   [ updated 31 Mar 2019, 13:03 ]

Many thanks to David Iredale who forwarded on this link to an article in The West Australian about the arrival of the Encounter Bay in Fremantle in March 1969.  This was the first visit to Australia of a purpose-built container ship for international long-haul trade.  Well worth a read!

Peter Jollie AM

posted 13 Dec 2018, 14:46 by Mike Chapman

We have heard the sad news that Peter Jollie passed away on Saturday, 8 December 2018.  

Peter held various senior positions with Overseas Containers Australia Limited (OCAL) and P&O Containers leading to being CEO for P&O Containers in Australia from 1987 to 1996.  In more recent years he had held a number of board level positions with various organisations and was  past President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.  He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2000.

The demolition of Beagle House is underway

posted 2 Sept 2017, 09:27 by Mike Chapman   [ updated 2 Sept 2017, 09:27 ]

The first reports that the demolition of the former London HQ for Overseas Containers Limited, P&O Containers and P&O Nedlloyd appeared on the PONL Facebook group just over two weeks ago.  

Clive Allen has just provided an update having visited the site on Thursday 31 August.  He has kindly provided the photograph below which clearly shows that the restaurant block has almost gone entirely and the scaffolding is up around the main building which presumably means that the internal structure and windows are being stripped out.  

It seems likely that the work will be completed within the next few weeks.

On a brighter note, Bob Hughes has kindly sent us the photo below which was taken in much better days.  The building looks to be complete and in contrast to today it is dominating the local landscape.  By the look of the buildings and car park in the foreground this photo was presumably taken around 1974-75.

See also:

Denise Durrant

posted 29 Jul 2017, 02:50 by Mike Chapman   [ updated 29 Jul 2017, 12:16 ]

We have received the sad news via the PONL Facebook group that Denise Durrant has passed away.  Sim Coenradi very kindly passed on a translation of the original announcement which was posted by her company, Newport Tank Containers, on the 
Mensenlinq website.

"It is with great sadness that we have to announce the unexpected passing away of our colleague  Denise Durrant.

Denise was the centre of our office, arranging and organizing all sorts of different matters in the office. She took time for everyone, puting an arm on your shoulder. With the passing away of Denise we not only lose a very capable colleague but also an extremely good human being that took the interest of others above her own. She leaves a great void.

Our thoughts are with her 'better half' as she used to call, Erik, the children and grandchildren and family.

Denise, rest in peace, we will miss you enormously.

On behalf of all employees

Newport Tank Containers"


Captain PJ Clark

posted 25 Jun 2017, 11:48 by Mike Chapman   [ updated 25 Jun 2017, 11:49 ]

The following sad news has been posted on the Bay Boats (ex-sea staff) Facebook group by Rob Gurney (who in turn received the news from Ian Walters and Derek Warmington):

"Captain Peter Clark passed away on Sunday 18 June in Poole, Dorset, at the age of 85.

"Peter attended Warsash College before joining P&O as a Deck Cadet and serving in passenger and cargo ships during the 1950/60’s. He was First Officer on the maiden voyage of CANBERRA in 1961 where he met his wife Anne (Thompson) who was a Nursing Sister.

"Later he was seconded ashore to assist with the setting-up of OCL, before returning to sea to take command with OCL/P&OCL until his retirement in 1990.

"The funeral will be at 2.45 pm on Friday 30 June at Bournemouth Crematorium, North Cemetery, Strouden Ave, Bournemouth BH8 9HX, followed by a gathering at Parkstone Yacht Club, Pearce Ave, Poole BH14 8E, at around 4.00 pm."

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