Improvements to the Cray Supercomputer expanded its memory to 2.2 megabytes.

Memory Lane: Big Tankers, Big Units, and Big Computers
Accommodation barge Safi, which will soon house 750 contractor employees, moored off Was Tanura prior to final berthing. (PPS)

Look back to the Sun and Flare and The Arabian Sun provides a view of progress made over decades in the Kingdom.

Here are some of the BIG headlines over the decades.

Sept. 4, 1957

Largest Tanker in Ras Tanura

The world’s largest tanker, the Universe Leader, made her first call to the port of Ras Tanura on Monday, Sept. 2, and started loading during the night. A cargo of 590,000 barrels of oil was taken on the night of Sept. 2 and Tuesday, Sept. 3.

This cargo, destined for the port of Santos, Brazil, is the record cargo taken by one vessel from Ras Tanura. The former record was held by tanker al Malik Sa’ud al-Awal, which took on a capacity load of 344,000 barrels.

Memory Lane: Big Tankers, Big Units, and Big Computers


Memory Lane: Big Tankers, Big Units, and Big Computers
Dowling Gang plank going up on the world’s largest tanker, Universe Leader, whose length makes bow project beyond end of North Pier.

August 30, 1967

Crude Topping Unit Giant Hoisted into Place at RT

Aramco transportation crews had another bout last week with a heavy-weight contender — a 245-ton column for the new crude topping unit under construction at the Ras Tanura Refinery.

Although 30 tons lighter than the record-holding de-ethanizer column hauled to Abqaiq last November, the refinery column holds the edge in height (121 feet to 98 feet) and diameter (25 feet to 14 feet). Because of the relative thinness of the refinery column’s shell, handling required a certain delicacy that wasn’t a factor in moving the de-ethanizer column.

The column arrived from Japan in June aboard the Nachi Muru, and was offloaded to a barge, which was towed to a parking spot at the terminal’s West Pier to await moving day. The column was transferred to moving dollies on August 18 and 19.

Memory Lane: Big Tankers, Big Units, and Big Computers


Memory Lane: Big Tankers, Big Units, and Big Computers
The main column for the crude topping unit under construction at the Gas Tanura Refinery was hoisted into place last Thursday, the last act of the mammoth moving project that began August 18 at the terminal West Pier. (Latin)

August 31, 1977

Barges for Contractor Employees Arrive

A significant portion of Aramco’s contractor program materialized last Wednesday with the arrival at Ras Tanura of two “floating hotels” — five-story accommodation barges with complete infrastructures that were specially built in Japan for Aramco.

The barges, Rabibah and Safi, made the 7,600-mile overseas journey from Japan to Saudi Arabia in about two months.

“Several major industries were integrated to build the total living complexes,” said Aramco Project manager John W. Goodrich, “and they worked under a very tight schedule. Ninety days after construction began, the accommodation barges were delivered at the shipyards, and they were fully operational when they arrived here last week.”

Memory Lane: Big Tankers, Big Units, and Big Computers


August 26, 1987

To Create Accurate Reservoir Models, Supercomputer gets Memory Boosters

The recent addition to the mighty Cray supercomputer’s memory of four mega-words of buffer memory — each mega-word is 1 million 64-bit words — and 14 Direct Access Storage Devices (DADSs) — each holding 75 million words — falls in the category of a nonevent, according to manager Mike Sadlowski of the EXPEC Computer Center’s Network Operations Services Department.

“It was a predicted and normal addition,” he says, but enlivens the description of this particular normal business by adding, “You might say the Cray reached mid-life, and received an invigorating shot of increased memory and DASD.”

Memory Lane: Big Tankers, Big Units, and Big Computers


Memory Lane: Big Tankers, Big Units, and Big Computers
Husam al-Zayer of Console Operations checks out a Cary Direct Access Storage Device, a unit holding approximately 600 megabytes worth of data for retrieval by the Cray supercomputer.

August 27, 1997

Majority of Annuitants Choose Lone Star State

There has been a stampede of U.S. residing Saudi Aramco annuitants to Texas, with the majority moving to Houston.

Of the 2,808 annuitants and widows in the latest edition of Al-Ayyam al-Jamilah’s Annuitants Annual Address List, 636 live in Texas, making the Lone Star State the most popular for retirees. In The Arabian Sun’s last report in 1995, Texas ranked third with 137 annuitants.

California is second on the list with 508 residents, but only 23 new annuitants moved there since the last report.

The sun probably plays an important role in selecting a retirement home, with Florida ranking third (355).

Memory Lane: Big Tankers, Big Units, and Big Computers


— The Arabian Sun: September 01, 2022