Official Number
Yard Number: 849

Delivered to Esso on 19 March 1956 at Fawley. Vessel was Esso's first bulk bitumen tanker. When not engaged in carrying bitumen, also transported heavy fuel oils, particularly in later years of service. Bitumen was loaded at a temperature of 280-300F and was kept at this temperature during voyages by a bank of steam-heated coils in each of the five centre cargo tanks.
In later years, ESSO PRESTON was on a regular run supplying fuel oil to Barking Power Station on the River Thames.
On 14 January 1959 ESSO PRESTON was in collision in the River Mersey with MV VELARDE which was at anchor off Sandon Dock. Sustained damage to sheer structure, deck plating, starboard ballast tank, hatch coaming, main and boat deck guardrails and poopdeck guardrails and flagstaff.
On 4 January 1963 ESSO PRESTON collided in the River Thames with MV HERMANN BLUME which was at anchor off Goldsmith's Wharf, Grays. Minor damage caused to both ships.
At 20:53 local time on 31 January 1975 ESSO PRESTON ran aground on Calf Rock, near Roches Point, County Cork, during a moderately heavy sea. Had been en route to the Whitegate Refinery to take on a cargo of fuel oil. Holed in numbers 1, 3 and 4 of cargo spaces. Refloated under own power within 13 minutes and anchored off Whitegate Jetty for the night. Port anchor had to be jettisoned to avoid being dragged further on to the rock if it had been weighed.
Received approval from Lloyds to sail to Cardiff 2 February 1975, arriving on 3rd. Examined in the Mount Stewart Drydock of Bristol Channel Shiprepairers Ltd, Cardiff on 6 February, severe damage being found to cargo tanks, pipework and engine room. Full damage survey was carried with Lloyds on 7 February.
ESSO PRESTON remained laid up at Cardiff pending a decision on repairs, which were later found to be uneconomic. Declared a constructive total loss to Esso's Underwriters on 14 February, as the value of the hull and machinery was estimated at £84,000 and the cost of repairs estimated at £200,000. Crew was advised on same day and paid off, articles closed on 17 February. Deck log was closed the following day and ship's log sent to DTI Cardiff.
Replaced in 1981 with ESSON AVON.
Sold to Jose Luis Blanco (shipbreakers) at Aviles, near Gijon, Spain. Arrived there 1 April 1975.
Hall, Russell & Company, Limited
Esso Petroleum Co. Ltd, London
length 299' x breadth 43' 6" x depth 17' 4"
Gross Tonnage: 1965 ton

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