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Naval spotlight on Royal Navy’s biggest ever ship PLUS THE BATTLSHIP QUEEN ELIZABETH HMS HERMES

NOVEMBER 2017 • Vol 52


CARGO What happened to? NOV 2017_mh.indd 1



CLYDE-BUILT Liner on the Lake

CHANNEL FERRIES Noble Earls 05/09/2017 19:19


EDITORIAL Editor • Nicholas Leach Art Editor • Mark Hyde ADVERTISEMENT SALES Talk Media • 01732 445325 Production Supervisor Amy Proud - 01733 353365 Jackie Aubrey • MANAGEMENT Managing Director • Phil Weeden Chief Executive • Steve Wright Chairman • Steve Annetts Finance Director • Joyce Parker-Sarioglu Retail Distribution Manager • Eleanor Brown Audience Development Manager • Andy Cotton Subs Marketing Manager • Dan Webb Brand Marketing Manager• Rebecca Gibson Events Manager • Kat Chappell Publishing Operations Manager Charlotte Whittaker SUBSCRIPTIONS 12 issues of Ships Monthly are published per annum UK annual subscription price: £51.00 Europe annual subscription price: £64.49 USA annual subscription price: £64.49 Rest of World annual subscription price: £70.49 CONTACT US UK subscription and back issue orderline: 0333 043 9848 Overseas subscription orderline: 0044 (0) 1959 543 747 Toll free USA subscription orderline: 1-888-777-0275 UK customer service team: 01959 543 747 Customer service email address: Customer service and subscription postal address: Ships Monthly Customer Service Team Kelsey Publishing Ltd Cudham Tithe Barn, Berry’s Hill, Cudham Kent, TN16 3AG, United Kingdom WEBSITE Find current subscription offers and buy back issues at ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER? Manage your subscription online at DISTRIBUTION Seymour Distribution Ltd 2 East Poultry Avenue, London, EC1A 9PT • 020 7429 4000 PRINTING William Gibbons & Sons Ltd Kelsey Media 2017 © all rights reserved. Kelsey Media is a trading name of Kelsey Publishing Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden except with permission in writing from the publishers. Note to contributors: articles submitted for consideration by the editor must be the original work of the author and not previously published. Where photographs are included, which are not the property of the contributor, permission to reproduce them must have been obtained from the owner of the copyright. The editor cannot guarantee a personal response to all letters and emails received. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Editor or the Publisher. Kelsey Publishing Ltd accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties. Ships Monthly is available for licensing worldwide. For more information, contact


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Ships often come in pairs


his month we have a series of features that cover pairs of ships. The cover story and main item in naval news is the debut at Portsmouth of the Royal Navy’s impressive new aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth, the first of two carriers to be built for the senior service. The arrival at her new home port of the ship received significant news coverage nationally, and we look forward to seeing her sistership Prince of Wales. Then we focus on the two American President Lines’ ships President Cleveland and President Wilson, which were adapted from World War II troopship designs to become two of the longest serving Pacific liners in the post-war era. On the ferry

front, many services are operated by two ships working together, and we look at Earl Godwin and Earl William, which started and ended their careers in different ways, but worked in tandem for years. So why do ships come in pairs? Well, they don’t always, of course, but building two ships, and operating them in tandem, is clearly economic and efficient, and so has been widespread practice for many years.

Nicholas Leach Editor

Contributors this month Allan Jordan

Roy Fenton

Allan Jordan

Roy Fenton

is a maritime

grew up on

historian and


writer who

His speciality

specialises in the history

is writing about cargo

of 20th century passenger

ships from the ‘golden

ships, focussing on the

age’, which he reckons

early cruise ships.

ended about 1970.

Conrad Waters

Paul Brown

Conrad Waters has a long-standing interest in naval history and current affairs. He is currently editor of Seaforth World Naval Review.

Dr Paul Brown is an author and photographer whose books include Maritime Portsmouth; he is also a consultant to National Historic Ships.

Ships Monthly on Facebook REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Andrew & Donna Cooke • Roy Cressey • Gary Davies • Roy Fenton • Nick Hall • William Mayes • Russell Plummer • Jim Shaw • Conrad Waters Data protection Kelsey Media uses a multi-layered privacy notice, giving you brief details about how we would like to use your personal information. For full details, visit or call 01959 543524. If you have any questions, please ask as submitting your details indicates your consent, until you choose otherwise, that we and our partners may contact you about products and services that will be of relevance to you via direct mail, phone, email or SMS. You can opt out any time via data.controller@ or 01959 543524. • November 2017 •


05/09/2017 14:12








Naval spotlight on Royal Navy’s biggest ever ship PLUS THE BATTLSHIP QUEEN ELIZABETH HMS HERMES

HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives at Portsmouth, new technology demonstrated by USS Gerald R. Ford, and USCG names cutters. Gary Davies

16 CARGO Port of Antwerp blocked by grounded CSCL Jupiter, new bulker for Berge Bulk, and will 22,000TEU boxboats be ordered?

NOVEMBER 2017 • Vol 52




CARGO What happened to?

Maintenance work needed for Queen Mary, TS Portwey takes RN salute, and Norman Atlantic impounded in Bari.


10 FERRY CLYDE-BUILT Liner on the Lake


COVER The Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth on trials; see page 14 for more details. (Crown Copyright 2017)


IOM Steam Packet plan rejected, Attica target rival, and royal naming ceremony for new Strangford ferry. Russell Plummer

12 CRUISE Is the Med becoming too busy, expansion for Bahamas Paradise, and new expedition ships for One Ocean. William Mayes

53 SHIPS PICTORIAL Photos of ships around the world, including at Portland, Portsmouth, the Baltic, Antwerp, and Tilbury on the Thames.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY • See page 18 for more info

CONTENTS Nov 2017_NL.indd 4

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The long-serving veteran Cal Mac car ferry Isle of Arran (1984/3,296gt) heads for Ardrossan during a summer crossing from Brodick; for Cal Mac news see page 10. NICHOLAS LEACH





A look at the iconic small ships that provide lifeline links for Vancouver Island. John Martin

Remembering the Channel ferries Earl Godwin and Earl William. Daniel Geare



Some familiar ships in unfamiliar colours, their former identities and fates. Roy Fenton

American President Lines’ President Cleveland and President Wilson. Allan Jordan


A look back over the career of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, which served two navies in a variety of roles. Conrad Waters

38 QUEEN ELIZABETH The battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth, which saw action in both world wars. Paul Brown


42 LINER ON THE LAKE Ilala, a post-war classic built in Glasgow, is still working on Lake Malawi. Thomas Rinaldi


60 SHIPS MAIL A selection of letters from readers.

56 MANXMAN TSS Manxman was the last of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s passenger ferries known as the ‘six sisters’. Dene Bebington

66 FROM THE BRIDGE Captain Kjell Holm talks about his career with TUI Cruises and their cruise ships. John Pagni

62 PORTS OF CALL Cruise ship calls. Andrew and Donna Cooke

63 MYSTERY SHIP Can you identify this month’s mystery ship?

64 SHIPS LIBRARY Reviews and details of new shipping books.

NOVEMBER 2017 • Volume 52 • No.11

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Queen Mary at Long Beach, California, in need of repainting and maintenance work.

CATTLE CARRIER The livestock carrier Gloucester Express, completed last year by China’s Cosco Shipyard for Vroon, has transported a first shipment of live slaughter cattle from Australia to China. The 1,200 cattle were transported from Portland, Victoria to China’s Port of Shidao on behalf of the North Australian Cattle Company (NACC), which had sold the livestock to China’s Baozhu Food Co. The 10,421gt Gloucester Express is one of seven similar-sized livestock carriers completed in China for Vroon. JS

NEW COATING FOR THE QUEEN CLASSIC LINER  The 16.75-knot Gloucester Express, which incorporates a Groot CrossBow for seakeeping and speed, has loaded the first shipment of live Australian cattle for China. VROON

Urban Commons, an LA-based company that has assumed a 66-year lease on Queen Mary at Long Beach, California, is in the process of getting the famous

IMPOUNDED IN BARI FERRY UPDATE The ferry Norman Atlantic, which caught fire in the Adriatic on 28 December 2014 with the tragic loss of 11 lives and with 18 people still missing, continues to languish in the southern Italian port of Bari with her ultimate fate of scrapping awaiting the completion of a complex and lengthy criminal investigation into the fire.

She arrived in February 2015 after being moved from Brindisi, where she was initially towed following the fire off the Albanian coast. Norman Atlantic is owned by Visemar, a subsidiary of her shipbuilder Visentini, and remains a crime scene. She is guarded round the clock. Charges have been brought against 16 individuals, including the master, some crew, Visemar and Anek Lines. MD

Norman Atlantic in Bari. MATT DAVIES

ship repainted. Surveys of the 83-year-old ship, which moved to Long Beach in 1967, disclosed considerable deterioration and corrosion in the hull due to lack of maintenance, with estimates that the repairs could cost up to $289

million. Urban Commons agrees with much of what the marine survey uncovered, but believes the work can be accomplished for about $50 million, with the ship’s owner, the City of Long Beach, providing $23 million.

Some of the tall ships berthed in Kotka, Finland, during the country’s 100th anniversary events. JOHN PAGNI

TALL SHIPS IN FINLAND UNDER SAIL As part of Finland’s 100th anniversary of independence celebrations, TSR 2017 called at two Finnish ports, Kotka and Turku, the latter for a record seventh time. The event started in Halmstad, on Sweden’s south-west coast, on 3 July and raced to Kotka for open days 13-16 July. In all, 48 vessels of various sizes and class took part in the first leg. The most notable vessels were the A class training ships,

including the 82m, 1938-built Romanian barque Mircea, the Brazilian Navy’s 76m clipper Cisne Branco (1999) and the 87m, three -masted Shabab Oman II of the Royal Oman Navy. The Kotka to Turku section was cruise-in-company, while the fleet expanded to 82 vessels in total for the race south-east to Klaipeda in Lithuania, which departed on 29 July. Klaipeda is Lithuania’s only port and as such was hosting TSR for the first time. JP

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news ADVANCED TUG BARGE • Massachusetts-based Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering Corp has designed a new series of articulated tug/barge (ATB) units that will carry gas as a Compressed Gas Liquid (CLG) cargo for Houston-headquartered SeaOne Caribbean. The ATBs, which are to be built in South Korea by Samsung HI, will make use of a new technology that sees raw gas infused into a hydrocarbon solvent cooled to -40°C under a pressure of 100 bar. JS

PORTWEY TAKES RN SALUTE HISTORIC TUG On 4 August one of the last coal-fired twin-screw steam tugs in the world was saluted by the Royal Navy in London to mark the vessel’s 90th birthday. ST Portwey, which was built on the Clyde in 1927, came under the

VICTORIA OF WIGHT FERRY NEWS Wightlink’s new £30 million environmentally friendly car ferry for the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route will be named Victoria of Wight. The name was chosen by a panel of staff who considered 186 suggestions. Work is well under way on the new ship at the Cemre shipyard in Yalova, Turkey, and Victoria of Wight will be officially handed over to Wightlink early in 2018. It has not yet been decided when she will enter service. The new ship is part of a £45 million investment in the route, with new two-tier boarding ramps already in use at both Portsmouth and Fishbourne.

 An impression of the new Wightlink ferry now being built.

command of the Royal Navy during World War II, when she was based in Dartmouth and carried out rescues of vessels and crews sunk by enemy action. She steamed alongside HMS President, the Royal Navy’s permanent shore establishment in London, and was saluted by

Commander Richard Pethybridge, who said: ‘It was a real honour to salute this little steam tug, which was taken under command during World War II and carried out sterling work.” In 1944 Portwey was involved in the D-Day landings. Today she is preserved and run by a charitable trust.

THE FINAL FREIGHTERS NEW LAKER The US Maritime Administration (MarAd) has removed 57 obsolete ships from its Suisan Bay reserve fleet in California’s San Francisco Bay as part of a larger clean-up effort launched in 2009. In the first three years of the programme, 36 vessels were towed away from the lay-up facility for demolition at US scrapyards, most of them breakbulk ships from the 1950s and 1960s. The final vessel of the current

demolition cycle to be removed is the 540ft by 76ft Cape Borda, built in 1967 as the conventional freighter Howell Lykes for New Orleans-based Lykes Line. The ship operated for two decades in commercial service before being acquired by the US government for MarAd’s Ready Reserve Force in 1985. And after being reactivated for a short period during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the ship was moved into the Suisan Bay fleet in 2003. JS

Built by the Avondale yard at New Orleans in 1967, the 10,950gt conventional cargo ship Howell Lykes has gone to the breakers as Cape Borda. LYKES LINES

TUG CELEBRATES 95 YEARS • The 225gt steam-powered wooden-hulled tugboat Master is celebrating its 95th birthday this year. Completed by the Beach Avenue Shipyard in Vancouver in 1927, the 85ft by 19.5ft vessel still makes use of her original tripleexpansion 330hp steam engine, a 1916-built unit acquired secondhand from the RN following World War I. The tug was acquired by members of the Western Canada branch of the World Ship Society in 1962 and eventually restored. JS NEW FAST CRAFT • Another 41m high-speed catamaran, to be named Red Jet 7, has been ordered by Red Funnel from Wight Shipyard, securing the jobs of 85 workers at East Cowes, Isle of Wight. The £7 million craft is a first major investment since the historic company, with car ferry service from Southampton to West Cowes and the fast craft link with East Cowes, was taken over in July by a consortium of British and Canadian pension funds. A sister to Red Jet 6, which was introduced last year, Red Jet 7 hs been designed by One2three Naval architects and will have four MTU diesel engines powering water jets to give a top speed of 38 knots. RP

 An impression of Red Jet 7, due in service next year. RED FUNNEL • November 2017 •

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MARITIME HERITAGE One of the Pacific Coast’s more attractive historic vessels is under demolition in British Columbia after having been towed away from Vancouver Island’s Ucluelet harbour, where she has spent several decades as a floating fishing lodge. Built in 1932 as the Canadian survey vessel William J. Stewart, the ship was renamed Canadian

Princess in 1979, when she was moved to Ucluelet by the Oak Bay Marine Group to accommodate fishermen. She served this trade for a number of years, leading to the construction of a land-based lodge adjacent to her berth. However, the recent sale of the property to new owners did not include the ship, now over 85 years old, condemning her to the breakers. Coal-fired when built, the vessel spent many years charting

 The 85-year-old Canadian Princess (ex-William J. Stewart) under demolition on British Columbia’s Fraser River. ROBERT ETCHELL

British Columbia’s coastal waters, first as a Dominion Government Ship (DGS) and later as a Canadian Survey Ship (CSS), her most awkward moment occurring in 1944, when she struck Ripple Rock and had to be beached to avoid sinking. JS

A new salmon processing and transportation vessel designed by Finland’s Wärtsilä and being built by Spain’s Balenciaga shipyard for Hav Line AS of Norway will incorporate a hybrid propulsion system consisting of a ten-cylinder Wärtsilä 31 main engine and battery bank. The main engine will drive a controllable pitch propeller fitted within a nozzle through a twospeed Wärtsilä gearbox. Upon completion next summer the newbuild will become the world’s first fish farming vessel to use of a hybrid propulsion system. JS

 Norway’s Hav Line expects to take delivery of the world’s first fish farming vessel to make use of hybrid propulsion next year. WÄRTSILÄ


SAL Heavy Lift’s 12,975dwt Lone with a load of Vietnambuilt tugboats on board. DAMEN GROUP

NEWBUILDS London-based Navig8 Chemical Tankers has completed its acquisition of 32 new chemical tankers from South Korean and Japanese shipyards, with the final vessel handed over in August. The additions include 18 37,000dwt ships built by South

Korea’s Hyundai Mipo and four larger 49,000dwt vessels finished by STX Offshore & Shipbuilding. In addition, two similar-sized ships with Epoxy-coated tanks have been delivered by Vietnam’s Hyundai Vinashin facility, while Japan’s Kitanihon and Fukuoka yards have completed eight smaller 25,000dwt vessels. JS

DAMEN STOCKS UP ON THE MOVE The Dutch Damen Group has again contracted a heavylift ship to transport a number of built-for-stock craft from its yards in China and Vietnam to Europe. The latest shipment, carried aboard SAL’s 12,975dwt Lone, which has more than 3,300m2 of deck space available and is fitted with cranes capable of

combinable lifts of 2,000 tonnes, was moved from Vietnam to the Netherlands. Four different models of Damen-designed tugs, as well as a small Multi Cat 1908, were moved. The vessels, which can be customised to an operator’s needs before final delivery, have been made available to Damen clients in Europe, Western Africa and Central America. JS

 The 37,295dwt Navig8 Amazonite, completed by South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo yard, is one of 32 ships acquired by Navig8 Chemical Tankers. NAVIG8

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Two very rare maritime teapots made especially for you The Missions to Seafarers “Flying Angel”

Cunards “QE2”

There are only 50 each of these rare teapots available; hand made in Stoke at one of our finest potteries before EU rules finally forced them to close. Signed by the artist they’re great to look at and will make wonderful ornaments, and being so few in number, they will become very collectable. They cost only £69. 95p each including UK p&p and are worth every penny and much much more. Size: 10” x 5” (inches) Sadly we will never see these ship teapots ever again, especially made with so much hand crafted quality. At last, some great new DVDs in our award winning series, ‘The Great Liners’ Three great new DVDs (38, 39 & 40) all made from newly restored archive film, 90% of which has never been made public before, showing you maritime scenes we never dreamt we would ever be able to see again.

Go to our website at: for full details of programme content, but one thing is almost certain, you will love them: There’s film of ferries, ship builds and launches, rare passenger liners, cargo ships and even a voyage across the Atlantic aboard the old Mayflower… It can’t get much better than that! So now there’s fantastic programmes in this Prize Winning series, and we still have our special offer of an extra DVD for free with every two you buy… So you can buy all three of these for the same price as two, plus just £1 extra postage, which is a massive saving. And finally, we have two great Maritime Memories cruises especially for you this year, with special deals and the now rare chance to sail aboard ships more remeniscent of those we used to sail on in the great age of the British Merchant Navy. Soon they will be just distant memories, so come on, let’s enjoy them while we still can!


With just 400 passengers aboard, they’ll take us far away from the maddening crowds, to enjoy the real wonders of the oceans, as they were meant to be enjoyed. For free brochures or further details call us on: 00 44 (0) 1273 585391 or go to our website at:

FERRY NEWS IN BRIEF NEW FOR ARAN • Journey times from Doolin, Co Clare, to Inis Oirr in Ireland’s Aran Islands have been reduced to 15 minutes each way following a July debut by the 190-passenger Doolin Express as part of an €2 million investment by Bill and Liam O’Brien’s Doolin Ferries. The vessel cuts previous journey times by half and is fitted with a stateof-the-art stabiliser system. STRAIT SERVICE • This year’s traditional summer ‘Passage of the Straits’ services had carried 2.8 million passengers from Spanish ports across the Strait of Gibraltar to destinations in Morocco and Algeria by the end of July, with Algeciras the most popular departure port for ferries sailing to Ceuta and Tangier Med. The figures do not include longer sailings by Grandi Navi Veloci and Grimaldi Lines tonnage from Barcelona to Tangier Med and between Valencia and Mostaganem in Algeria. REVENUE UP • DFDS Group revenue was up four per cent to DKK 3.7 million in the second quarter of 2017 despite a lower result on English Channel routes. Passenger numbers were down following the depreciation of sterling and a drop in freight market share. The Channel decline was offset by growth in Scandinavia, while North Sea freight was up by six per cent and passenger numbers overall were helped by a seven per cent increase due to a late Easter.

Russell Plummer


ISLE OF MAN Isle of Man Parliament Tynwald has rejected an early £170 million offer by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company to continue running the ferry services from mainland England to and from Douglas after its current contract finishes in 2026. The Tynwald said it wants to be absolutely certain that any chosen provider could offer the best possible passenger and freight services adding

that the island’s Department of Infrastructure will continue to explore the options for potential operators, once the current user agreement expires. Steam Packet chief executive Mark Woodward said that if the company fail to win favour with Tynwald members in renewing the contract it would withdraw the £170 million offer. Ro-pax services between Douglas and Heysham continue being operated by Ben-my-Chree (1998/12,504gt) with fast

passenger/car services between Douglas and Liverpool using 96m Incat Manannan (1998/5,741gt). The Steam Packet had a busy TT Race period transporting 7,700 passengers, a 4.8 per cent increase on 2016 while 997 motor cycles were carried, up from 883 handled last year. The Steam Packet has also launched a public consultation over a possible switch of Northern Ireland ports from Belfast to Larne, where both vessels have completed berthing trials.

CAL MAC MILESTONE FOR ARGYLE FIRTH OF CLYDE Cal Mac car ferry Argyle has now completed ten years of service between Wemyss Bay and Rothesay after joining 2005-built sister Bute in early summer 2007 on the year-round route with up to 18 single crossings a day. They were constructed in Poland at Remontowa’s Northern Shipyard

in Gdansk, and have space for 450 passengers and 60 cars and a service speed of 14 knots from twin Caterpillar diesel engines. They replaced Clyde ‘streakers’ Jupiter, Juno and Saturn, which had been the mainstay of Clyde car ferry services for more than 30 years. Bute’s debut was delayed until an end loading linkspan was installed at Rothesay.

The next big change for Cal Mac comes in 2018, when new building Glen Sannox replaces Caledonian Isles (1993/5,221gt) on the Arran service between Ardrossan and Brodick, the latter then becoming second vessel on this and the seasonal ArdrossanCampbeltown route, replacing the long serving veteran Isle of Arran (1984/3,296gt).


ALMARIYA • The 1981-built vessel, originally Olau Hollandia running from Sheerness to Vlissingen, spent the summer on Trasmediterranea’s Almeria-Nador route after a brief earlier spell running from Valencia to Ibiza. Replaced by a larger vessel of the same name in 1989, Olau Hollandia went to the Baltic as Nord Gotlandia.

VETERAN RETURNS • Inactive since 2013 when previous operator IMTC went out of business, ferry veteran Le Rif (1980/12,711gt) is set to return to service between Tangier Med and Algeciras, Spain for new Moroccan owners following an extensive refit in Italy. Built in Belfast by Harland and Wolff as Galloway Princess and later Stena Galloway, she was on the Stranraer-Larne service until sold to IMTC in 2002 and was followed into Sealink service by sisters St Anselm, St Christopher and St David which all saw service from Dover.

VIKING RECORD • Newly introduced Incat catamaran Viking FSTR (pictured), the former Express from P&O’s Larne-Troon/Cairnryan services, helped the Baltic operator record July carryings of 1,021,890 passengers, a nine per cent increase on 2016, while car totals of 138,168 were 14 per cent up on the previous year.

CARVORIA • This is the name to be carried by a Shetland-built passenger and car ferry for service between Oban and Kerrera, a route added from 1 July to Cal Mac’s Clyde and Hebrides services contract, which started in 2016, and now brings the company’s route total to 48 operated by a fleet of 33 vessels. For the past 22 years the five-minute crossings have been provided by Kerrera Ferry, whose owner Duncan McEachen and three crew members switch to Cal Mac employment. Until the new vessel arrives Gylen Lady remained in use.

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before Attica Holdings emerged as the favoured bidder and now have to get clearance from competition authorities. Attica Group last year started Africa Morocco Link, together with a Moroccan partner, and currently have seven car ferries all built since the early 1990s on Greek domestic routes. Superfast figure in Greece-Italy international traffic, with four ferries all introduced since 2000. Hellenic Seaways currently have a fleet of seven conventional ferries and nearly 20 highspeed craft in domestic traffic, including Russian-built Flying Dolphin hydrofoils and four vehicle-carrying vessels, three of them Austal catamarans and the other, Hellenic High Speed, a Fincantieri-built monohull that served as Superseacat Two.

Blue Star 1, a key member of the Blue Star Ferries fleet ran on the North Sea between Rosyth and Zeebrugge in 2007 and 2008.

GREEK BID The Attica Group controlling Blue Star Ferries and Superfast Ferries has signed an agreement in principle with Piraeus Bank and other minority shareholders to obtain a controlling interest in fellow Greek ferry operator Hellenic

Seaways through a transaction consisting of a €30.6 million cash payment and 24,145,523 new common registered shares of the Attica Group. Hellenic Seaways has been a take-over target for some months with the Italian Grimaldi Group building a substantial shareholding

RAMSGATE EYES POLAND FOR HELP OPERATOR SOUGHT Ramsgate Port, without a ferry service since the collapse of TransEuropa Ferries, has been in talks with Polferries, the Polish operator with services in the Baltic. Transport specialist Robert Hardy, who joined the Ramsgate team earlier in the year, visited Polferries HQ in Kolobrzeg in July but neither party has made any comment since. Polferries have long-term plans for up to four new ro-pax ships and boosted their present line-up buying ro-pax vessel Cracovia (2002/24,813gt) from Bulgarian owners in July for service between

TransEuropa’s Ostend Spirit, previously P&O’s Pride of Calais, was the last ferry to operate from Ramsgate.

Swinoujscie to Ystad, Sweden. The vessel, a near sister to Cenargo’s four Racehorse class ferries, ran as Murillo until 2014. Just

where Polferries could fit into the Ramsgate picture is difficult to visualise with a Poland-UK service surely out the question.


 Strangford II was named by the Duke of Kent on 20 July.

STRANGFORD FERRY HRH Duke of Kent officially named the Cammell Lairdbuilt Strangford II (405gt) in a ceremony while visiting the new Portaferry-Strangford route vessel on 20 July during a two day visit to Northern Ireland. The £6.2 million drive-through ferry carries up to 260 passengers and 27 cars and was delivered in 2016, but did not enter service until February due to a problem discharging cars at high tides. Strangford II and the 2001-built 260-passenger/20-car Portaferry II cross Strangford Loch in ten minutes at the narrowest point close to where it joins the Irish Sea. Both are powered by diesel engines driving Voith Schneider propellers at either end. During the Duke’s time on board, he also presented crew member John Nixon with a commendation from the Royal Humane Society for bravery and action assisting in saving the life of a woman at Portavogie Harbour in April 2016.


BIRGER JARL • The veteran Swedish ferry, built as a steamer in 1953 and diesel-powered since 1982, was put up for sale in September. She was originally owned by Rederi AB Svea and was later operated by Silja Line.

MOVE SOUTH • Cruise Loch Lomond has purchased the 120-passenger Royal Scot from Fort Augustus-based Cruise Loch Ness. The 1991-built motor ship sailed south to Dumbarton before overland transfer to Balloch to enter service as Lomond Monarch. Started in 1978 and offering cruises from Tarbet, Luss, Rowardenan and Inversnaid, the line-up consists of Lomond Chieftain (1972/80 pass), Lomond Hannah (1966/55), Lomond Laird (1975/92), Lomond Prince (1978/126), Lomond Princess (1973/87), Lomond Queen (1972/80) and Lomond Warrior (1953/52).

NEW VESSELS • The launch of Thjelvar, second of a pair of 32,000gt ferries for Sweden’s Destination Gotland, was the last at the GSI Shipyard in China with the company moving to new facilities outside Guangzhou. Thjelvar will carry up to 1,650 passengers with 1,650 lane metres of vehicle space.

RED JET 6 • To mark the first anniversary of the vessel entering service after completion by Shemara Refit, Red Funnel catamaran Red Jet 6 set a new record for a multihull craft sailing around the Isle of Wight. With a top speed of 38 knots from MTU engines powering waterjets Red Jet 6 set off from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, the 279-seat vessel making an anti-clockwise circuit in an hour, 17 minutes and 17 seconds. Daily Southampton Town Quay to East Cowes trips take 25 minutes. • November 2017 •

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William Mayes

BRIEF NEWS NOBLE CALEDONIA • The Indonesian Government has levied a fine amounting to about $450 million on Caledonian Sky following her grounding on a coral reef on 4 March and subsequent refloating, during which it is alleged that the ship destroyed or damaged more than 13,000m2 of the reef. TUI CRUISES • The latest addition to the TUI Cruises fleet, Mein Schiff 6, was named in Hamburg on 2 June by the Latvian organist Iveta Apkalna. The ceremony took place adjacent to the recently opened Elbphilharmonie.

Costa Classica off Suez. WILLIAM MAYES


NCL • Apollo Global Management and Genting Hong Kong (through Star NCLC Holdings) have sold 15 million shares in Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings for a total net proceeds of $818 million. This brings Apollo’s holding down to 13.4 per cent and Genting’s to 7.8 per cent.

In December 2016 Kevin Sheehan, former CEO of NCL, and others acquired Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line and its bareboatchartered Grand Celebration (1987/47,263gt), and the company now offers a departure every other day on its cruise route from Palm Beach to Grand Bahama.

NORDIC CRUISE COMPANY • Nordic Cruise Company, another new entrant to the expedition cruise market, has announced that the previously disclosed order for one new ship has been expanded to four. The first of these 220-passenger, 16,500gt vessels will be delivered by Spain’s Metal Ships & Docks in 2020, with the others following at roughly yearly intervals.


CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE • Engine problems on Carnival Dream recently forced the ship to miss a call at Cozumel due to reduced speed. Repairs were carried out while the ship was at sea and she resumed her schedule following her New Orleans call. OCEANWIDE EXPEDITIONS • Steel cutting began on 22 August at the Brodosplit Shipyard in Croatia for the first purpose-built expedition ship for Oceanwide Adventures. Hondius, as she will be named, is due for delivery in 2019 and will carry 196 passengers. She is being built to the latest Polar Class 6 specification. The company’s other two ships are both conversions of older hulls.

NEWBUILD Melissa Applegate named the latest addition to the American Queen Steamboat Company’s fleet, American Duchess, in New Orleans on 14 August. However, the ship was not entirely new, as she is the extensively rebuilt 1995-built Bettendorf Capri, formerly based in Iowa. The rebuild included the addition of a working stern wheel, which is said to increase the vessel’s speed by three or four knots when in use. She now accommodates 166 passengers and 80 crew, and joins American Queen on the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois Rivers, operating from her homeport of Memphis.

 The converted casino boat American Duchess. AQSC

Grand Celebration was briefly a Costa ship between the closure of Iberocruceros and her sale to her current owners, believed to be investors connected with FleetPro. Although painted in Costa livery, she never actually operated for the company. Now it seems that the time is right for expansion, and BPCL has gone to Costa again to take Costa

neoClassica (1991/53,015gt) from the spring of 2018, thus enabling the line to run a daily service. Costa neoClassica (ex-Costa Classica) was one of the last ships to be built for an independent Costa. She was built by Fincantieri at the Breda yard in Venice, the younger of two sisters, and was infamously the final straw in the collapse of Cammell Laird in 2001.

NEW EXPEDITION SHIPS ONE OCEAN With the imminent arrival of two new soft expedition ships in the spring and autumn of 2019, Hapag-Lloyd has disposed of the 184-passenger Hanseatic (1991/8,378gt) by way of a ten-year charter with purchase options to One Ocean Expeditions, a Canadian-based operator of two former research vessels on proper expedition cruising. Currently, the 96-passenger Akademik Ioffe (1989/6,450gt) and her sister, Akademik Sergey

Vavilov, dating from 1988, are operated under charter for part of each year, principally for Arctic and Antarctic cruises. Interestingly, all three ships were built at Rauma in Finland. Operating for One Ocean, she will be named RCGS Resolute and her passenger capacity will be reduced to 166. One Ocean partners the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) in a number of research areas and together they operate expeditions in Northern Canada, hence the ship’s name.

After more than 20 years with Hapag-Lloyd, Hanseatic, chartered to Hanseatic Tours in 1993, is about to move on. HAPAG-LLOYD

12 • November 2017 •

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news A quiet day in Santorini with just Viking Star in the anchorage. WILLIAM MAYES

CROWDED PORTS While the Mediterranean is a favourite cruise destination with all the major operators, a number of problems exist in the region. The first major itinerary difficulty was the inability to use certain ports due to military conflicts. Another problem is terrorism, which has meant the whole of the Black Sea, Istanbul (and some other Turkish ports) and most of the far Eastern Mediterranean are off limits. Libya was the first, then came Egypt and Tunisia, leaving little in North Africa, apart from Algeria and Morocco. As the

Mediterranean is such a popular destination with both Europeans and Americans, there has been a certain amount of bunching in some ports, leading to a new problem – local residents in a growing number of places wanting to see the numbers of tourists, and in some cases specifically cruise passenger numbers, reduced. Venice residents’ desire to reduce the number of cruise ships passing through St Mark’s Basin has been widely reported, but that is due to damage to the fragile canal banks and buildings. There is a desire to cut the

number of tourists too, and the authorities and residents of the small Greek island of Santorini want to cut tourism, as here the cruise ship is the major cause of the problem. As a result, it is likely that something could be implemented quite soon. The old city of Dubrovnik is also overrun at peak times, and again it is cruise passengers descending on the small historic centre causing congestion and making life difficult for inhabitants. Although the income is important, it is claimed that cruise passengers do not contribute much, as they are fully

fed and watered before arrival. The latest city to join the bandwagon is Barcelona, and that will present a real problem, as it is one of the busiest, and therefore most important, turnaround ports in the Mediterranean. The authorities in the Balearic Islands are also thinking along these lines. If some of the proposed bans are implemented, then we could be back to more traditional cruising, with many more sea days. Elsewhere, the residents of Bar Harbor may be about to limit the number and size of cruise ships visiting the small Maine town.

CHANGES IN CHINA CARNIVAL AND RCCL Costa will be bringing Costa Victoria back from China to Europe next year. Costa also has Costa neoAtlantica, Costa Fortuna, Costa neoRomantica and Costa Serena in China and Costa Asia has two ships under construction by Fincantieri, both 135,000gt, due for delivery in 2019 and 2020, also earmarked for China. There are potentially six similarly-sized ships being built locally for Carnival, although orders for just the first pair have been confirmed.

Princess Cruises will move Majestic Princess from Shanghai in March 2018, after which she will operate from Taiwan for four months before heading to Australia. She will return to Shanghai in March 2019. Royal Caribbean already has Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas operating from China for part of the year, and the new Spectrum of the Seas, for which Meyer Papenburg cut the first steel on 15 August, is to go to the Chinese market when she is delivered in 2019.

 Costa Victoria will be returning to Europe in 2018. WILLIAM MAYES • November 2017 •

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05/09/2017 14:23


Gary Davies


ROYAL NAVY HMS Queen Elizabeth arrived at her home port of Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time on 16 August after completing her first phase of sea trials. Despite

the short notice and early hour, thousands of spectators gathered to witness the historic spectacle of the largest ever vessel to enter the harbour. The high profile occasion was also marked with a double flypast from Fleet Air Arm



NOSTALGIC GESTURE The US Coast Guard marked its 227th anniversary with the announcement of names for the first 11 Heritage class Offshore Patrol Cutters. A number of the names, Argus (WMSM-915), Active (WMSM 921), Diligence (WMSM 922) and Vigilant (WMSM 924), were borne by the so-called ‘First Ten’ Revenue Cutter Service vessels in the late 18th century. Pickering (WMSM 919), Ingham (WMSM 917) and


a second phase of trials that will see the return of Britain‘s carrier strike capability. By the end of 2017 the UK will have 14 F-35 Lightning II jets and 120 British personnel training on them in the United States.


The OPC is undergoing a final critical design review ahead of construction.


Merlin, Sea King and Wildcat helicopters, and Hawk jets. Earlier plans for the ship to return to Rosyth for engineering rectifications were changed in favour of the work being carried out at the naval base ahead of

HMS Queen Elizabeth entered Portsmouth for the first time with five Merlin helicopters on deck.

Icarus (WMSM 920) bring back the names of previous cutters that served with distinction during World War II and other conflicts. The remainder bear the familiar names Alert (WMSM 923), Reliance (WMSM 925), Chase (WMSM 916) and Rush (WMSM 918). The OPC programme was awarded to Florida-based Eastern Shipbuilding and is worth a potential US$2.38 billion if options for all 25 vessels are taken. Construction is expected to begin in August 2018.

The Royal Navy’s smallest vessel has spent her final days preparing the way for the largest. Her Majesty’s Survey Motor Launch (HMSML) Gleaner (H86) is to be decommissioned in December after 34 years of service. Over the past few years the 22-tonne inshore survey vessel has conducted numerous surveys with her multibeam echosounder technology to confirm the

available water depth to ensure the navigational safety of the RN’s new 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers in and around home waters. After updating 60-year-old charts in the Firth of Forth, along the route taken for the new ships leaving the shipyard at Rosyth for the sea, Gleaner renewed Admiralty chart coverage of Portsmouth Harbour and Approaches. This was required following extensive dredging operations to remove 3,200,000m3 of mud.

 HMSML Gleaner is to be replaced with a new 18m Safehaven Wildcat 60 catamaran by May 2018. MARITIME PHOTOGRAPHIC

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news Issues with unproven technology have increased costs and delayed the first operational deployment of USS Gerald R. Ford until 2019. US NAVY

US NAVY USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) has achieved a significant milestone with the first successful recovery and launch of a fixed-wing aircraft using her purpose-built Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system and ElectroMagnetic Launch System (EMALS). The first shipboard ‘trap’ of a F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter

Q SHIPS QATARI NAVY Qatar and Italy have concluded a €5 billion deal for seven new warships, despite an ongoing trade embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain over allegations of supporting terrorism. The order for four corvettes, two Offshore Patrol Vessels and a Landing Platform Dock will take at least six years to complete. All are to be built in Italian shipyards by Fincantieri. The corvettes are based on the Comandanti class vessels in service with the Italian Navy. Displacing 2,800 tonnes, they are to be armed with Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship, Aster 30 surface-to-air and Raytheon RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile systems and a 76mm Super Rapid mounting. The LPD is similar to the amphibious transport dock built for Algeria, itself an enlarged and improved version of the Italian San Giorgio class. The contract includes support services in Qatar for a further 15 years after delivery.

jet came less than a week after the ship was commissioned on 22 July at a high profile ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk. The new technology had only previously been proven at a shore-based facility. The AAG system uses softwarecontrolled energy absorbers to reduce aircraft fatigue impact load during landings. Its modular design incorporates self-test

diagnostics to provide higher reliability and safety margins, leading to lower maintenance and manpower requirements. Similarly, EMALS has been designed to provide more efficient and smoother delivery of launch acceleration than a traditional steam catapult. The energy capacity required can be tailored for various aircraft weights.

EXPEDITIONARY SHIP RECLASSIFIED US NAVY The US Navy has redesignated USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB 3 ) as a warship. The Expeditionary Sea Base vessel was commissioned as USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) at Khalifa bin Salman Port in Al Hidd, Bahrain on 17 August. The change in status from a civilian-manned Military Sealift Command support ship to frontline warship will give combatant commanders greater operational flexibility on how they employ Lewis B. Puller in

accordance with the laws of armed conflict. The purposebuilt forward deployed vessel will replace the Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce, providing a support platform for 5th Fleet maritime operations. The vessel is now crewed by a so-called ‘hybrid-manned’ mix of sailors, commanded by a Navy Captain, and civilian mariners (CIVMAR) led by the ship’s Master. The military will operate the flight deck and support operational detachments, with the CIVMARs providing essential ship services.

 USNS Lewis B. Puller sailed for her first operational deployment as part of Forward Deployed Naval Forces in Bahrain on 10 July. US NAVY

BRIEF NEWS ROYAL NAVY • The UK MoD has placed a £48 million order with Dorchester-based Atlas Elektronik UK for a fleet of up to 38 workboats, ranging in size from 11m to 18m. Each will feature a hull made from glass-reinforced plastic and twin waterjet propulsion with common steering and control systems. They are to be adaptable to operational demands, with a modular design allowing for rapid re-purposing. The first boat will enter service next year. BRAZILIAN NAVY • A former RN warship has been sunk as a target. The Type 22 frigate Bosísio (exHMS Brazen) was hit by an Exocet missile fired by BNS Rademaker (ex-HMS Battleaxe) and a Penguin anti-ship missile launched from a S-70B Seahawk helicopter. The Niterói class frigates, BNS Liberal and BNS Independência, also used the decommissioned warship for target practice with their 4.5-inch guns. Brazen was acquired by Brazil in 1996 and served for 19 years. GERMAN NAVY • The Bundeswehr is set to use a decommissioned warship to measure the effects of asymmetric threats, such as small calibre weapons and rockets typically used by terrorists and pirates. The 35-year-old frigate Karlsruhe is to be fitted with a range of sensors for the tests, which will take place in the Baltic Sea next year. The outcome of the trial is likely to lead to improved protection measures from an increasing threat. MEXICAN NAVY • Construction of a SIGMA 10514 Long Range Patrol Vessel began at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding in the Netherlands with a keel-laying ceremony on 17 August. Two of the vessel’s six modules will be constructed in Vlissingen and the remaining four in Mexico, where final integration will also take place. The Mexican Navy is a long-standing customer of Damen and currently operates ten Damen-built vessels in its fleet. • November 2017 •

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05/09/2017 14:23

CARGO CARGO TO CUBA TRADE ROUTE A growing number of cruise lines have inaugurated sailings between the US and Cuba, and cargo carriers have also entered the trade. Florida-based Crowley Logistics, part of the large Crowley Group, is now operating three sailings a month between Port Everglades and Cuba’s Port of Mariel using chartered ships, such as the 8,246gt Elbcarrier, owned by Elbdeich Reederei. Crowley was the first US carrier to obtain a licence to provide regularly scheduled common carrier services from the US to Cuba in 2001 but the freight being carried must be licensed individually. JS

 The 11,116dwt Elbcarrier, built in 2007, is one of a number of ships used by America’s Crowley Group to maintain a regular cargo service between the US and Cuba. CROWLEY


 The container ship CSCL Jupiter was on her regular schedule when she went aground leaving Antwerp.

CONTAINER SHIP The 155,480dwt Hong Kong (China)-flagged container ship CSCL Jupiter ran aground on the Scheldt river bank at around 0700 hours on 14 August at Bath, Zeeland, Netherlands while she was proceeding downstream en route from Antwerp to Hamburg. The vessel ran aground while she was travelling at a speed of approximately 13 knots, with a steering failure being the cause.

The vessel went hard aground and all shipping traffic in the area was suspended as a result. More than ten inward and outward vessels were prevented from accessing the port. CSCL Jupiter could not be refloated until the next high tide, while salvors assessed possible hull damage. It was ascertained that there was no visible damage to the hull and the vessel was intact, so she was towed off by numerous tugs working together.

Operated by COSCO Shipping Development of Shanghai, the vessel was refloated at high tide at 1900 with the help of numerous tugs and was taken to Antwerp for survey, being berthed at Delwaidedok after midnight. Vessels of up to 200m in length had been allowed to navigate the Scheldt from around midday on 14 August. COSCO Jupiter was built in 2011 and has a capacity of 13,300TEU. RC

CMA CGM’S 22,000TEU GIANTS NEW BULKER FOR BERGE BULK BOXBOATS CMA CGM of France, already operating six 18,000 TEU container ships, has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with two Chinese shipyards for up to nine 22,000TEU vessels. The LoI has been signed with Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and

Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, both owned by state-run China State Shipbuilding Corporation. The ships will be the largest of their type in the world, exceeding in capacity the 21,413 TEU OOCL Hong Kong delivered earlier this year and which were the first container carrier to surpass the 21,000 TEU mark. JS

 The 179.9m by 29.8m bulk carrier Berge Phan Xi Pang has been completed in Japan for Singapore-based Berge Bulk. BERGE BULK


Not content with its 18,000TEU container ships, currently the largest in its fleet, CMA CGM has signed an LoI for up to nine 22,000TEU vessels to be built in China. . CMA CGM

Singapore’s Berge Bulk, which operates a fleet of over 50 bulk carriers trading globally, has taken delivery of the 37,739dwt Berge Phan Xi Pang from Japan’s Imabari Shipyard. The Isle of Man-registered ship is equipped with a de-rated

and highly tuned main engine for enhanced fuel efficiency, as well as an air-type stern tube seal and a marine growth prevention system to enhance overall energy efficiency. Named for Mt Phan Xi Pang, the tallest mountain in Vietnam, the 23,232gt ship is the 100th vessel of her series to be completed by Imabari. JS

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 Royal Arctic Line have sold their oldest vessel, the 1984-built, Arina Arctica for ship breaking and she arrived at the Jacob Aps yard in Frederikshavn on 7 August. SIMON SMITH

SHIPBREAKING Royal Arctic Line A/S of Nuuk, Greenland have sold their oldest vessel to Danish shipbreakers. Built by Orskov Christensens yard at Frederikshavn in 1984 as the general cargo vessel Nuka Ittuk, she has ended her days at Frederikshavn as the container

vessel Arina Arctica and will be demolished by Jacob Aps at their yard, where she arrived for breaking on 7 August. The vessel had joined the then newly-formed Royal Arctic Line in 1993 as Arina Arctica and was converted the following year from a general cargo ship to a cellular container ship with a capacity

of 283TEU. The 4,330dwt icecapable vessel was able to call at most towns on both east and west coasts of Greenland, where she often carried special barges and trucks to places that did not have harbour facilities. The 14.5-knot vessel was also equipped with two cranes, one of 60 tonnes and one of 40 tonnes. RC

ZEABORN BUYS FROM RICKMERS HEAVYLIFTERS The Bremen, Germany-based Zeaborn Group has agreed to purchase five 30,000dwt superflex heavylift vessels from compatriot owner Rickmers Holding, including Rickmers Singapore, Rickmers Jakarta, Rickmers New Orleans, Rickmers Seoul and Rickmers Dalian. Zeaborn previously took over the operations of Rickmers-Linie, as well as the similar-sized heavylifter Rickmers Hamburg. The six vessels have been operating in Rickmers-Linie’s round-the-world ‘Pearl String’ service and will continue in this trade. JS

 The 30,000dwt Rickmers New Orleans is one of five vessels taken over by Zeaborn. RICKMERS

 South Korea’s Hyundai, which is to become a member of a new Korean shipping consortium, is planning to add more tonnage to its trans-Pacific routes as cargo volumes expand. JIM SHAW

CONTAINER CONSORTIUM INDUSTRY NEWS Following the lead of Japan’s three major shipping companies, which are consolidating their container shipping divisions, South Korea’s 14 container carriers are planning to form a new shipping consortium known as the Korea Shipping Partnership (KSP), which will include industry giant Hyundai Merchant Marine, as well as newly-formed SM Line. The move is being made to

help restore the Asian country’s shipping reputation following the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping last year, as well as to increase the collective strength of Korean carriers through cargo sharing. The new consortium plans to establish operational guidelines by the end of this year and launch full-scale services by January 2018. The Korean shipping industry has been struggling to compete since Hanjin Shipping went bankrupt last year. JS

NEWS IN BRIEF SAIL/SOLAR POWER TESTED • Japan’s Hiroshima-based Hisafuku Kisen KK has contracted Fukuokabased Eco Marine Power (EMP) to install one of its Aquarius Marine Renewable Energy (AMRE) systems on a Hisafuku-managed bulk carrier to see if the system can reduce operating costs. The AMRE system consists of a number of rigid-mounted sails combined with marine-grade solar panels and energy storage modules, all controlled by computers, that allow a ship to use both wind and solar power in combination with its main power plant. EMP feels the system can cut operating costs by reducing fuel consumption while also reducing emissions. JS VALE SELLS VALEMAX SHIPS • Brazilian mining company Vale SA has sold two of its 400,000dwt Valemax ore carriers for a total of $178 million and said it is in talks to sell two more of the ships, but did not disclose their names, nor that of the buying company. JS WIND-ASSISTED CAR CARRIER • Lloyd’s Register has joined the Quadriga sustainable shipping project in partnership with Germany’s Peter Döhle Group and Dykstra Naval Architects to design and build a windassisted 170m car carrier that will be capable of transporting between 1,700 and 2,000 vehicles (pictured). The vessel, an initiative of Hamburg-based Sailing Cargo, which is striving to reduce ship-sourced CO2 emissions, will operate using a hybrid propulsion system incorporating dieselelectric engines, computercontrolled sails and battery banks. This combination is expected to give an initial service speed of between ten and 12 knots. • November 2017 •

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05/09/2017 14:23




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Earl Godwin in the 1980s, when the hull carried the ‘Sealink British Ferries’ marking. FOTOFLITE


Earl Godwin and Earl William gave long service to the Channel Islands, but started and ended their careers in different ways and, as Daniel Geare reports, Earl Harold and Earl Granville, which later joined them, followed a similar pattern.


ritish Rail Sealink brought in a new naming style for its Weymouthand Portsmouthbased car ferries during the 1970s, when Swedish vessel Svea Drott appeared as Earl Godwin, followed by Viking II, the former Thoresen Car Ferries vessel, as Earl William. Later came appearances by the one-time Ailsa Princess as Earl Harold, before ex-Baltic vessel Viking 4 came on stream as Earl Granville. Earl Godwin, recently bought by Greek owners

from the Italian Moby Group, is the only member of the quartet still in service, and is remembered from nearly 15 years of operation to the Channel Islands, starting life at Weymouth on charter in August 1974. Earl Godwin and Earl William were built to a very similar design, with Svea Drott leaving lay-up in Oskarshamn, Sweden when Denny-built turbine steamer Falaise (1946/3,710gt), converted from classic passenger vessel to car ferry in 1964, was withdrawn after boiler failure.

Built at Landskrona, Sweden for Stockholms Rederi AB Svea, the future Earl Godwin was launched on 20 January 1966 and delivered on 8 June that year, sailing on her maiden voyage from Helsingborg to Travemünde via Copenhagen two days later. Svea Drott was powered by two 12-cylinder KlocknerHumboldt diesel engines and two six-cylinder units, which were all single-action and turbo-charged. Twin KaMeWa hydraulic pitch propellers originally produced a speed of

20 knots, although in Sealink service her engineers could never get the ship to run at more than 17.5 to 18 knots. Earl William, named after the Earl of Hampshire, began as Viking II, a second ferry built in Norway for Thoresen cross-Channel services from Southampton. She was launched on 30 April 1964 and she and sister Viking I were the first drive-though car ferries for UK service. Earl William could accommodate 180 cars and 940 passengers on two vehicle decks and four

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 A familiar morning scene at Weymouth, with Ailsa Princess on the port’s single ro-ro berth loading for Cherbourg, while Earl Godwin waits to back down for a 1330 sailing to Guernsey and Jersey. IAN BROWN

passenger decks. Another feature placed funnels on either side of the hull, leaving a drive-through car deck clear of any central casing. Svea Drott’s funnels were taller than those of the Vikings and gave a more eye-catching appearance. Initially chartered by Sealink for 35 days, she entered Channel Island service on 19 August 1974. Despite her lack of stabilisers, the BR management and crews liked the vessel and she was purchased by Lloyd Leasing of London for charter to Sealink and handed over at Helsingborg on 10 January 1975. Renamed Earl Godwin after the English Earl of Wessex and with a skeleton crew commanded by Captain John MacMillan, she left Helsingborg on 13 January 1975, arriving the following day in Harwich, where the two main engines were

 Earl William is ready to reverse to load for the Islands in a picture taken from Maid of Kent while the steamer was departing for her last trip to Cherbourg, 2 October 1981. RUSSELL PLUMMER


1966 as Svea Drott by AB Oresundsvavvet, Landskrona, Sweden, for Rederi AB Svea, Stockholm, for Trave Line, yard no.202


4,018 gross, 1,654 net, 1,064dwt

DIMENSIONS 163.4m x 27.70m x 6.20m PASSENGERS 928 (originally 252 cabin beds) VEHICLES

174 cars/20 trucks (1,745 lane metres)


2 x KHD SBV6m358 and 2 x KHD SBV12m350, output 8,825kW


18.5 knots


Earl Godwin (Sealink 1974-1990), Moby Baby (Moby Line 1990 to June 2017), sold to Portucalence, Greece (June 2017)

removed and sent to Cologne, Germany for re-bedding. She was then moved to Holyhead to present British Rail’s Marine Workshops with their biggest conversion task, including fitting of a new bow door and stabilisers. The Saloon Deck was completely gutted, with cabin space converted into a large passenger lounge with aircraft style seating. A new cafeteria was constructed at this level with a refitted galley, while further aircraft seating was installed on the boat deck in a second new lounge. The only cabins remaining after the refit were 16 under the car deck. After the main engines were sent by road and ferry to be reinstalled at Holyhead, Earl Godwin entered service from Guernsey sailing into

Weymouth on 2 February 1976, her arrival marking the start of Sealink’s multipurpose Channel Islands service running opposite turbine steamer Caledonian Princess (1961/4,042gt). The timetable was long unchanged, with Earl Godwin doing a 1330 sailing from Weymouth and the Dennybuilt Caledonian Princess doing a late evening run. Earl Godwin’s first season was marked by generator problems, and on 26 March 1976 she was withdrawn and had to wait almost a fortnight for spare parts. With Caledonian Princess unavailable, Normannia (1952/3,534gtgt), another conversion from classic passenger vessel to car ferry, was brought in until Earl Godwin returned on 6 April. Sealink was bought by Sea Containers in a £66 million deal covering 37 ships, operating 24 routes on 30 July 1984, with services continuing as British Ferries. During the following winter, plans were announced for a new style of sailings, with Earl William, extensively refitted at Aalborg, Denmark from January to April 1985, on a luxury ‘Starliner’ night service from Portsmouth opposite Earl Granville, while Earl Godwin and Earl Harold ran ‘Sunliner’ sailings out of Weymouth. The services were a disaster from the outset, the venture not being helped by Channel Island Ferries sailing from Portsmouth to the islands at lower fares using Corbière, originally Baltic ferry Apollo (1970/6,840gt), an elder sister of what later became Earl Granville. Sealink figures from Portsmouth were far worse than at the Dorset port, the ‘Sunliner’ service being slightly more successful due to prices being the same as the day sailing from Portsmouth. Losses topped £6 million, and on 30 September 1986 Sealink British Ferries closed Weymouth, which resulted in industrial action. Earl Godwin was stuck on • November 2017 •

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1966 • Swedish ferry Svea Drott as she appeared from delivery in 1966 for Trave Line service until 1974.

1980 • Earl Godwin made a Channel Islands routes debut with hull painted in Sealink’s monastral blue.

1980s • Sealink British Ferries branding and a white hull when destinations also included Cherbourg.

1990 • Earl Godwin as Moby Baby in NAVARMAR colours at the start of 15 years, sailing to and from Elba.

1990s • Moby Line added more extensive decoration during the 1990s – and the whale is still there.

Cartoon themes continued aboard Moby Baby, with Tweety Pie and Sylvester in the cafeteria.

Earl William pcictured on 7 June 1990 during a spell running between Folkestone and Boulogne Ferries without Sealink British Ferries hull branding. FOTOFLITE

the ramp at Weymouth as the strike lasted four weeks, but on 27 March left for lay-up in the River Fal, remaining there for almost a year until opening the seasonal Cherbourg route on 17 March 1988, continuing for two months before being replaced by Earl Harold. Temporary lay-up in Southampton followed until a move to Portsmouth to assist Earl Granville and, after a busy season, she was back on the Fal from 14 October 1988. In 1989 Earl Godwin was chartered by Mainland Market Deliveries for a freight service from Portsmouth to the islands, until she went to Weymouth to open the Cherbourg route on 22 March. When Earl Granville hit an object approaching the French port and had to be taken out of service, Earl Godwin was left to clear the build-up of vehicles, and

Norwegian car carrier Skarvoy was chartered to run cargo services. Later, for seven weeks from November 1989, Earl Godwin carried freight only to Cherbourg from Portsmouth before withdrawal for disposal. She was bought from Lloyds Leasing by Italian domestic operator NavArMar (Navigazione Arcipelago Maddalena), part of the Moby Group, and refitted in Livorno before entering service as Moby Baby from Piombino to Portoferraio on 29 June 1990. After 17 years serving Elba, Moby Baby was handed over at the end of June this year to Portucalence, the emerging Greek owner who provide tonnage for the Azores interisland services of Atlanticoline.

EARL WILLIAM SAILS IN Earl William, bought in December 1976 by Lloyds Leasing, was chartered to

Sealink and started with a visit to Weymouth in March 1978 for ramp trials. She also opened a new second Portsmouth ferry berth in June 1978, continuing from the port until March 1981, when she was replaced by Earl Granville. Before her Portsmouth debut, Earl William was refitted at Holyhead. The work included replacement of couchettes by normal seating, creating a Promenade Deck Lounge for 258, while the midships area was revamped with an information desk, first aid room, tea bar and shops. Extra seating was provided in the Boat Deck’s Veranda Lounge, and some crew cabins were adapted for use by freight drivers. Earl William’s later return to Weymouth was not without incident, and on 26 September 1981 she was holed off Jersey and 300ft2

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1964 as Viking II by Kaldnes Mekaniske Verksted, Tonsberg, Norway, delivered 15 June 1964 to Otto Thoresen Shipping AS, Oslo, Norway. Yard no.1534


3,760 gross,1,784 net, 1,219dwt


99.50m x 17.73m x 4.42m


940 (252 cabin beds)


180 cars


2 x Pielstick-Lindholmen 12 PCV400 diesels, output 7,500kW


18.5 knots


LATER NAMES Earl William (Sealink 1976-92), Pearl William (Hellenic Med Lines 1992-96), Mar-Julia (P&L Ferries 1996), Cesme Stern (Lucky Shipping SA 1997), Windward II (Windward Ltd 2000-06), Ocean Pearl (hotel ship from 2007 in Trinidad), sank 4.4.2011 after collision under tow

1964 • Viking II brought a fresh look to the English Channel when introduced by Thoresen Car Ferries.

1976 • First look as Earl William in Sealink colours with red and black funnel and monastral blue hull.

1988 • Earl William at Dun Laoghaire while sailing to and from Holyhead between April 1988 and January 1990.

of plating had to be replaced at Le Havre. This gave turbine steamer Maid of Kent (1959/3,920gt), withdrawn after finishing on the seasonal Cherbourg service, an unexpected extra two months of work. Being too long to get in out of St Helier, she went only as far as St Peter Port until making what was the last sailing by a steam-powered Sealink vessel from Guernsey on 24 November 1981. Laid up in the Fal until May 1987, Earl William was then sent to Harwich to serve as an immigration centre, which ended after the vessel was blown by hurricane force winds from her berth at the former train ferry dock and across the River Stour, finishing up aground off Shotley, with more than 30 Tamils on board. After more time idle in the Fal, Earl William opened a new Liverpool-Dun Laoghaire

service on 24 April 1988 and remained on the run until January 1990. Next came a five-week charter to Belfast Car Ferries, a spell running between Dover and Boulogne, and charter work for Stena Line in 1991. The vessel went to Greek interests in 1992 to begin shortlived Adriatic ventures with Neptunus Lines, then European Ferries as Pearl William. This was followed in 1996 by sale to Malta-based P&L Ferries to run from Igoumenitsa to Brindisi as Mar Julia. St Vincent-registered Lucky Shipping were the ship’s next owners, with Stern Line operating a Bari-Cesme connection, the now 33-yearold vessel running as Cesme Stern until being arrested at the Italian port in July 1997. She was sold to Windward Lines in 2000 and refitted at a shipyard in Trogir, Croatia, but lingered there for three years after

money ran out. She next sailed to the West Indies for service as Windward II between Trinidad and Tobago. The former Earl William was opened as a floating hotel at Chaguaramas, Trinidad in 2007, but sank on 2 April 2011 after colliding with drilling vessel Petrosadi Saturn while being towed to Venezuela for a fresh role. The impact also destroyed a new well and cost Lloyds of London US$100 million. • The story of Weymouth’s ‘Noble Earls’ concludes next month with Daniel Geare looking at the service of Earl Harold and Earl Granville. Daniel thanks Brian Searle for information from his book ‘Weymouth ferries: the rise and fall of a Port’ and Russell Plummer for much extra information. Daniel adds: ‘This article and the next are in memory of my grandfather, Brian Hack, the best Electrical Engineer Sealink ever had!’

1984 • Earl William, with British Ferries branding, had left the fleet before Sea Containers bought Sealink.

1997 • The name Mar Julia was briefly carried in 1997 for P&L Ferries between Thessaloniki and Odessa.

2007 • Windward II during time operating as a floating hotel at Chaguaramas, Trinidad. • November 2017 •

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THE PRESIDENTS Running at speed, President Cleveland shows off her solid style and graceful lines. SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

Allan E. Jordan looks back at American President Lines’ sister ships, President Cleveland and President Wilson, which adapted from World War II troopship designs to become two long-serving Pacific liners.


hile World War II was raging, the United States Government’s Maritime Commission began to plan for post-war shipping services. Established under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, the Commission had overseen the development of standardised classes of cargo ships and troop transports that were contributing to the war effort and which they envisioned converting into the backbone of the post-war American merchant marine. Among the shipping companies submitting plans was American President Lines (APL) which, prior to the war, had operated passenger and cargo ships between California and the Far East and around

the world. Established in 1938 by the US Government, the line assumed the operations of the financially troubled Dollar Line. APL’s post-war plan called for resuming the transPacific and around-the-world services, as well as adding new routes from New York via the Panama Canal to the Far East, and from California to the Philippines, Dutch East Indies and India. They proposed a fleet of 30 ships, including chartering four P2 class troop transports from the Maritime Commission and converting them into passenger liners. The P2 was a sturdy troopship and the largest of the Commission’s standardised designs. Initially, ten P2 ships were ordered from the Federal Shipbuilding Company in New Jersey and began entering service in 1943, named for distinguished


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POST-WAR LINERS Army Generals. A second group of ten P2 designs, with slightly different specifications, was built in California by Bethlehem Steel and named for Navy Admirals. In 1944 the first of the Admirals entered service, while the keel for the ninth hull, to be named Admiral D. W. Taylor, was laid on 28 August and the keel for the tenth hull, to be named Admiral F. B. Upham, was laid on 27 November. However, in May 1945, with the war effort nearing its end, the hulls were reassigned to American President Lines to be completed as commercial passenger liners. The 15,300gt liners would measure 610ft by 75ft, with a 30ft draft and a cruising radius of 17,600 nautical miles. American naval architect George Sharp produced a thoroughly modern design for 550 passengers accommodated in three classes, including cabins with foldaway beds, an outdoor pool and air conditioning. Third class would be a mix of cabins and

dormitories, and featured a cafeteria-style dining room. The liners would also be able to carry 300,000ft3 of general and refrigerated cargo and 225,000 gallons of liquid cargo. The cargo-handling equipment included kingposts, masts, booms and winches, plus a first of its kind side port loader for refrigerated cargo. While the liners would have a modern look, featuring an aluminum superstructure, the troopship origins remained in the heavier scantlings and plating, along with two independent engine rooms. Each engine space would have two boilers and a complete set of General Electric turboelectric generators, while two separate motor rooms each had a General Electric propelling motor for one of the tail shafts. Following a naming pattern which had been set up in the 1920s, and which gave the line its identity in 1938, the ships would be named for former American presidents President Cleveland and President Wilson.


With a backlog of over 8,000 passengers booked to sail to the Orient, APL resumed its Pacific passenger service in December 1946. They chartered two of the Federalbuilt P2 transports, General M. C. Meigs and General W. H. Gordon, and, after a brief refit and painting in APL colours, the two ships began an economy passenger service briefly supplemented by two

C4 Marine class troopships. APL’s plan called for the two Generals to be rebuilt into commercial passenger ships after President Cleveland and President Wilson entered service, and eventually all of them would be replaced with modern liners. Construction proceeded on the new liners, with President Cleveland being launched on 23 June 1946, with a projected delivery date before the end of the year,

President Wilson showing off her mix of open deck space and cargo equipment at the beginning of her career. SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

Despite a little rust, 25-year old President Wilson shows off her classical lines as she departs Durban in March 1973 on her last voyage. DAVID SHACKLETON/MALCOLM CRANFIELD COLLECTION • November 2017 •

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President Cleveland docked in Yokohama in May 1954. SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

 Third class dining room with cafeteria-style design. SAN FRANCISCO

Comfortable First class three-berth outside cabin. SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME

 Third class Cathy Bar and Smoking Room in early 1950s. SAN FRANCISCO

 First class main lounge with its 1950s furnishings. SAN FRANCISCO





and President Wilson being launched on 24 November 1946 with delivery expected by July 1947. However, post-War material and labor shortages, compounded by a 120-day machinists strike, slowed the construction. President Cleveland was finally ready for sea trials on 10 December 1947, during which she cruised at 18,000shp producing 19 knots and a maximum of 20,460shp for 22 knots. Handed over to APL on 15 December, President Cleveland commenced her maiden voyage less than two weeks later. Sailing from San Francisco on 28 December 1947, her route covered an estimated 14,800 nautical miles, with calls at Honolulu, Manila, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Yokohama and

Honolulu, before she returned to California on 9 February. She was joined by President Wilson, which arrived in Los Angeles on 2 May 1948 and sailed a week later to the Far East. The sisterships had cost $46.6 million to build, of which the US Government paid $31.7 million, and were chartered to APL by the Maritime Commission. APL continued to expand its operations, but plans to rebuild the two P2 Generals were delayed. To meet modern safety standards, the P2s required extensive upgrades in addition to improved passenger accommodations. In March 1949 APL returned General M. C. Meigs to the Government, and, while they later proposed her reconstruction, it did not proceed. General W. H. Gordon was returned in November

 Sailing brochures for APL from the 1950s (left), 1960s (centre) and a Pacific Island Cruises 1970 brochure (right).

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 President Cleveland drydocked for annual maintenance in August 1952. SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

 Postcard capturing the style of the Presidents and the romance of a Far East voyage for the passengers.

1950, while APL explored adding either United States Lines’ former liner Washington or Matson’s former liner Monterey, or replacing President Cleveland and President Wilson with newly built luxury liners. Instead, they chose to revamp President Cleveland and President Wilson. Designed to operate in three classes, they had entered service with only First class and Third class. In the spring of 1951 APL enhanced First class to 276 berths and expanded Third class from 220 to 506 berths, to compensate for withdrawing the P2 Generals. The trans-Pacific route was also evolving, adding a stop in Kobe and dropping Shanghai, as well as beginning to offer a round-trip cruise option to the liner voyages.


American President Lines was also undergoing significant changes. Faced with growing competition and rising costs, APL sought and won an operating differential subsidy for President Cleveland and President Wilson in 1952. At the same time, a seven-year legal battle between the US Government and the former owners of Dollar Line was settled, with APL being sold in October 1952 to a private investors group. The new owners quickly took steps to enhance the passenger business, including acquiring President Cleveland and President Wilson. They revamped the ships, adding luxurious Lanai cabins in First class, and converting Third class to a new Economy class, marketed to students




Bethlehem-Alameda Shipyard, Alameda, California

Bethlehem-Alameda Shipyard, Alameda, California


Admiral D. W. Taylor (US Maritime Commission)

Admiral F. B. Upham (US Maritime Commission)


1947-1973: President Cleveland (US Maritime Commission/ American President Lines) 1973-1974: Oriental President (Orient Overseas Line)

1948-1973: President Wilson (US Maritime Commission/ American President Lines) 1973-1984: Oriental Empress (Orient Overseas Line)


186 m x 23 m x 9m; 15,359gt, 23,507 tons displacement


550/686/511 passengers (during career) 300,000ft3 of general and refrigerated cargo; 250,000 gallons liquid cargo 350 officers and crew


Four Combustion Engineering boilers, two General Electric turboelectric generator sets and two General Electric propelling motors; twin propellers


19 to 22 knots maximum

 President Cleveland alongside in a busy 1950s Asian harbour. SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

and budget travelers as well as Asian immigrants. Simultaneously, William Francis Gibbs developed a design for a 43,000gt Pacific superliner, dubbed President Washington, and in the interim APL acquired the 1939-built liner Panama from Panama Line, which became President Hoover running alongside the sisterships. Later, another former P2 also joined the fleet, and was rebuilt to become President Roosevelt. While President Cleveland and President Wilson maintained their Far East liner runs, APL also revamped them to reflect changes in the business, especially as the jet airplane began to take its toll. In 1960 the sisterships received further upgrades to their accommodations, and two years later the

dormitories in Economy class were replaced with cabins reducing total capacity to 686 passengers. Flume-type stabiliser tanks were also installed on both ships. By the mid-1960s, though, the business was in decline. In 1964 President Hoover was sold, and three years later President Cleveland and President Wilson began losing money, even with their $5 million annual Government operating subsidy. APL sought to reduce the losses by taking advantage of changes in the subsidy regulations that permitted more cruises. The new schedule included two 63-day Pacific cruises aboard President Cleveland along with a 49-day South Pacific Bali Hi cruise. Late in 1969 President Wilson sailed an 18-day cruise to Mexico, along with short • November 2017 •

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President Cleveland sailing on one of her many trans-Pacific voyages. SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

 President Wilson in Durban in March 1973, ending her 25-year career with an epic 96-day world cruise. TREVOR JONES

 President Wilson passing under San Francisco’s famous Golden Gate Bridge. SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

cruises to Baja and nowhere, and in 1970 ran a 12-day cruise to Alaska. APL also hired Warren Titus, who had headed P&O’s US operations, to oversee the passenger ships and analyse their future. After 20 years of service, the sisterships were facing the end of their economic lives, and were ill suited for the growing cruise trade. In 1970 they lost $2.4 million after a $9.5 million operating subsidy had been paid. Titus proposed replacing them with Moore McCormack Lines’ laid up liners Brasil and Argentina, but that failed and he ultimately resigned to found Royal Viking Line. APL sold President Roosevelt and focused on President Cleveland and President Wilson on long-haul voyages in the Pacific and to Hawaii, where they could supplement passenger revenues with the express cargo

service. At the same time, the accommodations were converted to 511 passengers entirely in First class. The decision was made to operate the Presidents until their 25-year operating subsidies expired.


In March 1972 President Wilson set off on an epic 63-day cruise to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, but her career and that of her sistership was coming to an end. That summer APL applied for an extension to the operating subsidies, but in November 1972 the Maritime Administration turned down the request telling APL it was time to retire the Presidents. MarAd authorised their permanent lay-up, with no requirement for replacements. President Cleveland departed on 28 November 1972 on a 45-day Orient

cruise that turned out be her farewell. She returned to California on 10 January 1973 and was laid up. President Wilson’s farewell was a 96-day world cruise that departed on 4 January 1973. As President Wilson returned to San Francisco on 26 April 1973, her career totaled 200 trips and three million miles. For a few years, APL continued to carry a limited number of passengers on its cargo ships while they expanded their container operations. In 1997 APL was sold to Neptune Orient Lines, and in 2016 they became part

of the CMA CGM Group. With many fine liners going to scrap in the early 1970s, expectations were low for President Cleveland and President Wilson. However, in January 1973 APL announced that they had sold the sisterships for $1.2 million each to C.Y. Tung’s Orient Overseas Line. Ownership of President Cleveland was transferred on 9 February and, renamed Oriental President, she departed San Francisco on 25 February for a 16-day trip to Hong Kong. It was announced that she would be overhauled before running

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POST-WAR LINERS Oriental Empress languished at anchor in Hong Kong for a decade before being scrapped.

President Cleveland in her brief post-career period anchored in Hong Kong as Oriental President. MALCOLM CRANFIELD COLLECTION

short summer cruises to Japan and two economy trans-Pacific voyages were advertised for July and October, but Oriental President was delivered in June 1974 for scrapping in Kaohsiung. President Wilson fared only slightly better, being renamed Oriental Empress and departing on 5 May 1973 for Hong Kong. After a refit, she returned to San Francisco sailing on 18 July 1973 for a 36-day cruise to the Caribbean. Then she commenced a circuit of

100-day world cruises. Her first world cruise sailed from Port Everglades, Florida on 8 August, but her second voyage commenced just as the 1973 Arab oil embargo began. On 7 December 1973 Oriental Empress departed Los Angeles, but when she reached Hong Kong a month later, Orient Overseas Lines said it was impossible to obtain oil to complete the trip. So she was abruptly withdrawn and her passengers flown home. They announced plans to resume the world cruises in July 1974 but,

instead, she briefly operated that summer in the Far East before being laid up in September 1975 in Hong Kong. For the next decade, she languished at anchor, before finally being sold for scrap in May 1984. The Presidents had brought to a close the traditional trans-Pacific liner run that dated back to 1867. Originally envisioned as interim post-war ships, President Cleveland and President Wilson had become two of the longest-serving and most beloved liners of the American merchant marine.

 Excited passengers on board the ship as the Presidents begin another voyage to the Far East. • November 2017 •

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HMSA SHIP HERMES OF MANY LIVES Conrad Waters looks back over the career of the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, which served two navies in a variety of roles.  A rare colour views of Hermes alongside at Portsmouth Dockyard in the early 1960s. She had been ordered during World War II but completed to a significantly modified design during the 1950s. AUTHOR’S COLLECTION


t sunset on 6 March 2017 the Indian naval ensign was lowered for the last time on the veteran aircraft carrier INS Viraat. The ceremony marked the formal end of a 56-year career under two flags for a ship that was commissioned as the Royal Navy’s HMS Hermes on 25 November 1959. During

this time the carrier achieved household fame as the flagship of the British task force sent to recover the Falklands following the 1982 Argentine invasion.

ORIGINS HMS Hermes traced her origins to World War II and a massive programme of aircraft carrier construction intended to boost numbers of a type which was becoming recognised as the dominant factor in naval warfare. In 1942 no fewer than 16 small light fleet carriers of the Colossus and Majestic classes were ordered as part of a

crash programme intended to remedy this deficiency. With the immediate requirement met, attention turned to a new design that would be better able to accommodate the new generation of larger naval aircraft entering production. These inevitably required a bigger ship to accommodate them. The new design’s speed also needed to be higher to generate sufficient wind over the flight deck to launch and land heavier aircraft. Other changes included the incorporation of more powerful anti-aircraft armament and a

HMS Hermes operating in the Mediterranean in the strike carrier role in April 1967. Two Fairey Gannet AEW.3 airborne early warning aircraft are being readied for take-off from the steam catapults, while the flight deck has Buccaneer S.2 strike aircraft and de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW.2 fighters. A pair of helicopters are parked next to the island. CROWN COPYRIGHT 1967 • November 2017 •

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Vickers Armstrong, Barrow-in-Furness


21.6.1944, launched 16.2.1953, commissioned 25.11.1959 (as HMS Hermes)


744ft 3in x 147ft 11in x 27ft 10in (as built), 27,800 tons deep displacement


744ft x 144ft; 8 degree angle deck; 2 x BS4 steam catapults


5 x twin 40mm Bofors


2 steam turbines producing 76,000shp through 2 shafts; speed about 28 knots


17 fast jets (Scimitar & Sea Vixen), 4 early warning aircraft (Gannet), 10 helicopters (Wessex & Whirlwind)


About 2,100

degree of armour protection. Eight of the new carriers were ordered in the summer of 1943. However, the extent of wartime demands on an overstretched shipbuilding industry meant that only four had been started when hostilities ended. Hermes – laid down as HMS Elephant at the Vickers-Armstrong yard in Barrow-in-Furness on 21 June 1944 – was renamed to take the name of one of the cancelled ships, thereby perpetuating the name of the carrier sunk in the Indian Ocean by Japanese forces in April 1942. Hermes’ three sisters – Albion, Bulwark and Centaur  A May 1966 view of HMS Hermes on sea trials after one of a number of periodic upgrades. Her original armament of 40mm Bofors guns has been replaced by the Sea Cat missile system. CROWN COPYRIGHT 1966

Hermes (foreground) in company with HMS Ark Royal in the early 1960s. Hermes was the more modern ship, benefitting from an advanced radar and combat management system. However, the much larger Ark Royal could operate a more sizeable air group. AUTHOR’S COLLECTION

– were commissioned to a somewhat modified design as the Centaur class during the first half of the 1950s. However, completion of Hermes was slower, partly because of priority given to HMAS Melbourne, which was being built in the same yard. The delay was fortuitous, as it allowed Hermes to be redesigned around a new generation of post-war technology. This included a fully angled flight deck, steam catapults and a huge Type 984 radar located on top of the bridge. The latter was used in association with an innovative Comprehensive Display System to identify and track hostile aircraft automatically.

RN SERVICE When Hermes entered service in 1959 she was the most modern British aircraft

carrier. She was also the last conventional CATOBAR (catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recover) carrier to enter Royal Navy service, and larger than any subsequent British warship until the present-day Queen Elizabeth. However, she was still relatively small in an era of naval aviation increasingly dominated by the new US Navy ‘super carriers’. This was reflected in a modest air group based around just 17 Sea Vixen or Scimitar jets, four Gannet early-warning aircraft and ten anti-submarine and rescue helicopters. On completion of flying trials and operational work-up in the Mediterranean, Hermes sailed for the Far East Fleet towards the end of 1960. It was here that she was to spend the majority of her life as a conventional aircraft carrier, helping to maintain stability in the final stages of Britain’s withdrawal from empire. Alongside the larger Ark Royal and Eagle, the rebuilt wartime Victorious and her much less extensively modernised ‘halfsister’ Centaur, she formed part of the Royal Navy’s fivestrong strike carrier fleet. Throughout this time, Hermes was periodically upgraded. For example, the Sea Cat missile system was

installed to replace her original 40mm Bofors guns. Her air group was also modernised, with Buccaneer strike aircraft replacing her Scimitars in the mid-1960s. However, the 1966 decision to cancel the next generation of British aircraft carriers and phase out strike carrier operation altogether by the 1970s meant that her long-term future became increasingly uncertain. It was eventually decided to retain Hermes in the fleet as a commando and antisubmarine helicopter carrier when her strike carrier role ended. Her older half-sisters, Albion and Bulwark, had undergone a similar successful conversion in the 1960s. Early in 1971 work commenced at Devonport dockyard on the necessary modifications. The steam catapults, arrester gear and landing sights needed for fast jet operation were stripped out, along with the complex Type 984 air surveillance radar. Accommodation, storage areas and magazines were modified to house a Royal Marine Commando unit. In keeping with a new emphasis on NATO operations, the modified ship’s primary role was to support forces in Norway in any conflict with

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SHIP OF THE MONTH shorter distance than possible on a conventional deck.

In 1980 Hermes was taken in hand at Portsmouth Dockyard for conversion into a CVS support carrier capable of operating the new Sea Harrier. A prominent ski jump was installed on the forward end of her flight deck. CROWN COPYRIGHT 1981

the Soviet Union. The modified Hermes proved an immediate success as a commando carrier when she returned to service in 1973, embarking Wessex transport helicopters and Sea King anti-submarine helicopters for the new role. However, another change in

priorities meant that the antisubmarine warfare role started to assume greater importance. A further refit in 1976 enhanced her capabilities in this regard while retaining her commando-carrying capacity. By this time, plans to introduce the new Invincible class ‘through deck’ cruisers

 An atmospheric view of HMS Hermes taken while she was operating in the strike carrier role in 1967. The four Buccaneer strike aircraft, eight Sea Vixen fighters and two helicopters take up most of her flight deck. AUTHOR’S COLLECTION


and Sea Harrier ‘jump jets’ were well advanced. Hermes was heavily involved in trials to develop the new concept of STOVL (short take-off and vertical landing) associated with this combination. In 1980 Hermes was taken in hand for yet another conversion, this time to equip her for operational service as a CVS support or ‘Harrier carrier’. The plan was to use her in this role until all three purpose-built Invincibles had entered service. An important feature of this refit was the installation of a distinctive 12degree ski jump at the forward end of her flight deck. This allowed Harriers to take off with a much greater weight of stores and fuel and/or over a

In 1982 came the most important events in Hermes’ career when, as flagship of Rear Admiral ‘Sandy’ Woodward, she headed the Royal Navy task force hastily assembled to recover the Falkland Islands from Argentina. Although her notional air group was just five FRS.1 Sea Harriers and 12 Sea King helicopters, she sailed on 5 April 1982 with 12 jets and 18 helicopters embarked. The air group inevitably fluctuated in the course of operations, including the addition of ten RAF GR.3 Harriers ferried down to the South Atlantic. The Sea Harrier was undoubtedly the deciding weapon of the Falklands Campaign, effectively securing the air superiority needed for the successful land campaign. Flying from the new HMS Invincible as well as Hermes, the jet flew 2,000 operational sorties, destroying 32 aircraft in air-to-air combat. The Argentine forces surrendered on 14 June 1982, bringing the 74day conflict to an end. Hermes finally returned to Portsmouth to a hero’s welcome on 21 July. She had been at sea continuously for 108 days. In spite of her key role in the Falkland’s victory, Hermes’ subsequent Royal Navy service was to be brief. The arrival of the Invincible class meant that she was effectively surplus to requirements,

 HMS Hermes was reconfigured to support deployment of a Royal Marine commando by means of embarked helicopters and landing craft. This picture shows her during a deployment to Canada in 1975. COURTESY IAN SHIFFMAN • November 2017 •

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HMS Hermes returning home from the Falklands to a hero’s welcome on 21 July 1982. She had been at sea continuously for 108 days. CROWN COPYRIGHT 1982, CROWN COPYRIGHT IMAGES ARE REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION OF THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE UNDER THE TERMS OF THE OPEN GOVERNMENT LICENCE

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A view of Viraat at the time of the Indian Navy’s 2016 International Fleet Review, her last major public outing. She was finally decommissioned in March 2017. COURTESY HARTMUT EHLERS

 Hermes was sold to India in 1986 and renamed Viraat. This 2007 picture was taken while she was in the middle of exercises with the US Navy in the Indian Ocean. US NAVY

and she undertook her last operational deployment – to the Mediterranean – in 1983. Following a brief refit and trials with a reduced crew, she was laid up pending the arrival of the new Ark Royal.

INDIAN SERVICE Although Hermes’ future looked grim, a new life beckoned. The Indian Navy had already acquired the Sea Harrier to operate off its existing

Majestic class carrier, Vikrant. It now looked to reinforce its carrier fleet by adding Hermes. In 1986 it was announced that Hermes would be sold to India for £60 million, the price including an extensive refit at Devonport dockyard. The work was completed in May 1987, with Hermes being commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Viraat. Legend has it that a ‘Bounty Bar’ was substituted for the traditional

coconut used in Indian launch ceremonies when she was floated out of dry dock. Viraat spent nearly thirty years in service with the Indian Navy, significantly longer than her operational Royal Navy career. Throughout this time, she benefitted from ongoing modernisation and refit work to keep her fit for frontline service, receiving new radar systems and the Israeli Barak I surface-to-air missile system. Delays to replacement ships

 The Type 45 destroyer Defender alongside Viraat at the time of the Indian Navy’s International Fleet review in February 2016. The picture gives some idea of the carrier’s comparatively modest size. CROWN COPYRIGHT 2016

meant that she remained in the fleet far longer than originally intended. However, the cost and practicality of maintaining such an elderly vessel inevitably posed a mounting challenge. Another problem was an increasing shortage of serviceable Sea Harriers. In February 2015 the axe finally fell. It was announced the ship would be retired soon after a farewell appearance at an International Fleet Review scheduled for February 2016. The following July she undertook a final voyage under her own power, sailing from Mumbai to Kochi to be prepared for decommissioning. The final ceremony was attended by both India’s Chief of Naval Staff and the Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord, reflecting Hermes’ importance to both fleets. Hermes’ future is now uncertain. Proposals to convert her into a floating hotel and museum in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh remain under discussion, while scuttling as an artificial reef has also been mooted. However, disposal by scrapping is probably still the most likely outcome. Whatever her future, Hermes leaves a lasting legacy as a major participant in the history of two navies.

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QUEEN ELIZABETH As the new HMS Queen Elizabeth is being readied to enter service, Paul Brown recalls the previous warship of the name, a battleship which saw action in both world wars.

 Queen Elizabeth served in the Dardanelles campaign in 1915, and her 15-inch guns which bombarded Turkish shore batteries are shown here at that time.


n 16 October 1913 the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth slid down the ways in Portsmouth Dockyard watched by 70,000 spectators and accompanied by all the ritual and panoply of a battleship launch in peacetime. Her keel had been laid just under a year earlier, on Trafalgar Day, 21 October. She was the first of a new class of five super-Dreadnoughts

that would be bigger, faster, more powerfully armed and more heavily armoured than any of her predecessors. And, for the first time in a British battleship, she would be oilrather than coal-fired. While the Admiralty was nervous about being reliant on imported oil rather than home-mined coal, Winston Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, persuaded the government to invest in the Persian oilfields to secure

supply. To achieve a speed of 24 knots, three knots faster than the preceding Iron Duke class, required doubling the power output of the steam turbines and employing 24 boilers, six more than in Iron Duke. The boilers were arranged in four adjacent compartments, aft of which were four engine rooms. The new ships would provide a fast wing for the Grand Fleet and, it was considered, obviate the need for more battlecruisers. Four Queen Elizabeths were ordered in 1912, and a fifth was added in 1913. The decision was taken to design and mount a new 15-inch gun in four twin turrets in order to outgun the 14-inch guns of

new Japanese and American battleships, and in the knowledge that Germany was to increase the calibre of its battleships’ main armaments. The main armament was complemented by 16 quickfiring six-inch guns, mounted in casemates on either side of the hull. The four guns under the quarterdeck were found to flood in heavy weather or at high speed, so were soon removed and two single guns in shields were fitted amidships above the casemated guns there. The side armour protection was, at its maximum of 13 inches, an inch thicker than in Iron Duke, compensating for the loss of protection from the

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HISTORIC WARSHIP coal-bunkers. It extended out to the turret bases and then tapered down to six inches towards the bow and stern. The turret faces were also protected by 13-inch armour, while that on the control tower was just two inches thinner. Three-inch deck armour protected the magazines, engine room and steering gear, while one-inch deck armour was used elsewhere.


Queen Elizabeth was hailed by the press as a ‘wonder warship’ and a significant advance in Dreadnought evolution. She was completed on 22 December 1914 and went to the Mediterranean to work up, before being deployed to the Dardanelles to support the Gallipoli landings. Between 25 February 1915 and 14 May 1915 she fired 86 15-inch and 71 6-inch shells. However, following the loss of the preDreadnought HMS Goliath she was withdrawn from this theatre. She returned to home waters to join the 5th Battle Squadron under Admiral Hugh EvansThomas, part of the

Grand Fleet based in Scapa Flow, but was absent from the battle of Jutland, being in refit. She became fleet flagship from February 1917 and was present at the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet in 1918, when the terms of surrender were given to Admiral von Reuter on board. Between 1919 and 1924 she was flagship of the Atlantic Fleet, before taking this role in the Mediterranean Fleet. She entered Portsmouth Dockyard for modernisation in May 1926: the two funnels were trunked into one, the hull was externally bulged to provide protection against torpedoes, and two four-inch guns were mounted in positions formerly occupied by the fo’c’sle deck guns. The submerged torpedo tubes were removed and fire control arrangements were improved with additions to the bridgework. Rejoining the fleet in January 1928, she was deployed to the Mediterranean as flagship of the fleet. In 1936 she had two eight-barrelled pompons added to her antiaircraft defence. She was present at both the big naval

 The launch of Queen Elizabeth at Portsmouth Dockyard, 16 October 1913.

 Queen Elizabeth passing the stern of the battleship USS New York in 1918. The British ship’s aft secondary armament had been removed and the casemates plated over.

reviews of that decade, in 1935 and 1937, at Spithead.


On 11 August 1937 Queen Elizabeth was taken in hand by HM Dockyard, Portsmouth for a second, and major, modernisation. She was completely re-engined: her boilers were replaced by eight high-pressure type, saving 50 per cent in weight and 33 per cent in space, and giving

her a speed of 25 knots. Her main armament elevation was modified to increase the range by 8,000 yards to 32,200 yards. Close-range AA defence was improved, aircraft hangar stowage was provided abaft the funnel for three Walrus Queen Elizabeth during World War II, after her second modernisation. The five port side twin turrets of the new secondary armament can be clearly seen, as can the crane and athwart catapult for her aircraft carried abaft the funnel. • November 2017 •

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aircraft, and an athwart ship catapult fitted, and the bridge structure was completely redesigned as a slab-sided tower citadel. By late 1940 she was in the process of final fittingout and trials, but because of air raids she left Portsmouth in December 1940 to complete the work and final trials at Rosyth in January 1941. Emerging from this comprehensive makeover, she was to play a frontline role in the fleet, as were the other modernised Queen Elizabeths, in contrast to the newer but less extensively modernised Royal Sovereign class. Queen Elizabeth joined the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow and proceeded to work up, but in a full-power speed trial on 27 February 1941 serious defects developed in two of her turbines due to the presence of undiscovered obstructions. The trial was suspended until repairs could be carried out at Scapa Flow. Following repairs, she performed a full-power speed trial on 18 March. On 5 May 1941 she joined the escort of Tiger convoy 200 miles west of Gibraltar. The five merchant ships in the convoy were carrying desperately needed tanks and crated Hurricane aircraft to the Middle East. Because of the urgency, the convoy was routed through the Mediterranean rather than around the Cape of Good Hope. The voyage to Alexandria was hazardous: Queen Elizabeth was attacked by Italian torpedo bombers but emerged unscathed, but the merchant Empire Song was mined and sank. The escort and the remaining four merchant ships arrived in Alexandria on 12 May, and Queen Elizabeth became the flagship of the 1st Battle Squadron (Vice-Admiral Pridham Wippell) there. In May 1941 she became part of a force attempting to defend Crete against German invasion, and then supported the evacuation of British troops from the island at the end of that month.

Queen Elizabeth’s appearance changed little during the early years after World War I; she is seen here leaving Portsmouth.

On 25 November 1941 she was at sea in support of Operation Crusader, the 8th Army’s attack on Tobruk, and was leading a line of three battleships, when the middle ship, Barham, was torpedoed and sunk by U 331.


On the evening of 18 December 1941 the Italian submarine Scire arrived off the entrance to Alexandria harbour. At 2047 three manned torpedoes (each with two commandos on board) were launched from the submarine and headed for the harbour entrance. There they found the anti-submarine boom open for the passage of the cruisers and destroyers returning from escort duties. The three manned torpedoes followed those ships into Alexandria harbour and headed for their targets, the battleships Queen Elizabeth and Valiant and an oiler, placing charges under each target. At 0606 on 19 December the explosive charge went off under Valiant, followed four minutes later by that under Queen Elizabeth, and the latter began to roll to starboard and sink. The ship’s bottom was damaged over an area of 190ft by 60ft, including both the port and starboard bulges. A, B and X boiler rooms and the forward 4.5in magazines were flooded. Y boiler room and several other compartments in the vicinity flooded slowly up to main deck level. Boilers in the boiler rooms and the




27,500 tons (standard), 31,500 tons (full load)

31,585 tons (standard), 36,565 tons (full load)


645.75 x 90.5 x 28.75

643.75 x 104 x 31.25


8 – 15in, 16 – 6in, 2 – 3in guns, 4 – 21in beam torpedo tubes

8 – 15in, 20 – 4.5in, 32 – 2pdr AA, 16 – 0.5in AA, 3 - aircraft


4-shaft Parsons turbines

4-shaft Parsons turbines





23 knots

25 knots


4,500nm at 10 knots

13,500nm at 10 knots




Queen Elizabeth at anchor in 1943. The slab-sided bridge, conning tower structure and tripod mainmast, features of her second modernisation, can be seen, as can the new 4.5-inch guns of her secondary armament amidships and aft on the weather deck.

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 During her first modernisation, in 1924-26, Queen Elizabeth’s two funnels were trunked into one and anti-torpedo bulges were added to the hull.

 Queen Elizabeth seen leaving Grand Harbour, Malta, where she served as flagship of the Mediterranean fleet in the 1930s.

auxiliary machinery, together with electrical equipment, were severely damaged by the explosion and subsequent flooding, and all hydraulic power was lost. The armament was undamaged but was unusable due the loss of electrical and hydraulic power. Both battleships settled on the harbour bottom on an even keel in a few feet of water, but the oiler was severely damaged and a massive blow had been delivered to the Mediterranean Fleet. When Winston Churchill received

for Devonport, where the refit would be completed. At the end of August the ship proceeded to Scapa Flow to work up before leaving on 30 December with Renown and Valiant to join the Eastern Fleet, being joined off the west coast of Scotland by Illustrious and Unicorn, and making passage through the Mediterranean and Suez Canal. On 29 January 1944 she arrived in Trincomalee, Ceylon, and on 16 April became flagship of the Eastern Fleet (Admiral Sir James Somerville). In the ensuing months she was heavily involved in Eastern Fleet operations against the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies. She was refitted at Durban in October and November 1944 and in January 1945 supported the amphibious assault on the Ramree Island off the coast of Burma, bombarding Japanese positions; here she fired her main armament in anger for the first time since the Dardanelles in 1915.

news of the sinkings he said: ‘Six Italians, dressed in rather unusual diving suits and equipped with materials of laughably little cost, have swung the military balance of power in the Mediterranean in favour of the Axis’. For the first six months of 1942 Queen Elizabeth was undergoing temporary repairs in Alexandria, before she sailed on 27 June for Norfolk, Virginia via Suez and Cape Town for permanent repairs and refit, arriving there on 6 September. On 26 June 1943 she left Norfolk Navy Yard

In April and May 1945 she supported the amphibious landings near Rangoon, and later in May was covering the force of destroyers and aircraft carriers that sank the Japanese cruiser Haguro. The end of the war was in sight, and on 17 July she sailed from Trincomalee for the UK, reaching Rosyth on 15 August to pay off. With the war ended, Queen Elizabeth was used briefly as an accommodation ship at Rosyth and then joined the Home Fleet. She was based at Portland in December 1945 and served in Home waters until relieved by Howe in February 1946. She was then reduced to reserve at Portsmouth, remaining in commission with a reduced complement. But there was no place for a 30-year-old battleship in the slimmed down post-war fleet, and she was placed on the disposal list in January 1948 and sold on 19 May for breaking up. She arrived at Dalmuir on 22 June to be de-equipped, before the hull was taken to Troon in for demolition.

 Queen Elizabeth on sea trials in December 1914. The original secondary armament in casemates includes two six-inch guns aft on either side under the main armament, which were soon removed due to flooding in a seaway. The admiral’s walk on the stern was also removed. • November 2017 •

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LINER ON THE Thomas Rinaldi tells the story of Ilala, a post-war classic built in Glasgow in 1949, which plies her trade on Lake Malawi.


atching Ilala heave and pitch her way through rolling troughs and swells, it is easy to forget that all of this is happening 1,600ft above sea level. Yet, here on Lake Malawi, this is a spectacle that looks today exactly as it has for the last 65 years, ever since this little liner on the Lake first entered service in 1951. The lake itself and the nations beside it have changed names and flags, but Ilala remains a constant, an unlikely mainstay. The second Ilala, she took her name from a previous lake steamer built in 1875. The name is a homage to missionary explorer David

Livingstone, who died in the Ilala territory of what is now Zambia in 1873. The ship’s beat is a weekly route up and down Lake Malawi (formerly Lake Nyasa), a 600-mile round trip. Leaving Monkey Bay at the south end of the Lake each Friday, Ilala makes her way north as far as the village of Chilumba, before turning back for the return voyage before dawn on Monday morning. I joined Ilala at Chilumba, about a two-hour drive from the border with Tanzania,

for the southward voyage to Monkey Bay. Previously, Ilala’s route continued further north to Tanzania, but the development of paved highways in northern Malawi made this northern part of her route redundant. The rest of her run is necessitated by the ruggedness of the terrain along the Lake, which means many lakeside villages are all but inaccessible by land, and by Likoma Island, whose inhabitants depend on Ilala for provisions and for transport to the mainland. For the contemporary traveller, Ilala is Malawi’s answer to the somewhat better

known Liemba of 1914, which plies Lake Tanganyika to the north. Both vessels are relics of European colonialism in East Africa. Scottish missionaries began sending steamboats to Lake Malawi (then Lake Nyasa) in the late 19th century. One of these early vessels, Chauncy Maples of 1901, survives at Monkey Bay today, though efforts to preserve her have been abandoned. Typically, these vessels were built in Europe, then dismantled, crated, and shipped to Africa for reassembly. Ilala was commissioned for Nyasaland Railways in the late 1940s and constructed at

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HE LAKE Yarrow & Co, on the Clyde at Scotstoun. She was built to replace an earlier vessel, Vipya, which tragically sank on just her third voyage in 1946, with nearly 150 lives lost. At 172ft long and 600 tons displacement, with accommodation for 368 passengers on four decks, Ilala was substantially larger than her predecessors. From Scotland, she was shipped in pieces to Beira, Mozambique, then by rail to the lakeside port of Chipoka, and finally to Monkey

Bay, where she was reassembled and launched amid great pomp and ceremony in 1951. She was originally operated by the Lake Services sector of Nyasaland (later Malawi) Railways, but in recent years her operation has been contracted to Portuguese conglomerate Mota-Engil. I encountered an Ilala little changed from the day she


entered service. Her original diesel engines have twice been replaced, vastly improving her reliability (most recently in 2015 with a new set of Caterpillar marine diesels). Otherwise the ship looks much today as she did in 1951, with riveted steel bulkheads, bakelite light switches and teak decks that recall a generation of passenger ships now largely gone. On my trip, Ilala lost time on the northbound journey, so made a quick turnaround before casting off from Chiumba promptly at 0200. Settling into my cabin on the Promenade Deck, I found the ship’s gentle movement rocked me quickly to sleep.

 Plaques on Ilala, from top to bottom: engine room telegraph; Paisley-based engine manufacturers Thomas White & Sons; Henry Browne & Son provided the Sestrel compass; and the Yarrow builder’s plaque is mounted above the recommissioning information.  The 1901-built Chauncy Maples lying in limbo at Monkey Bay. She spent her entire career on Lake Malawi (formerly Lake Nyasa), the most southerly lake in East Africa, but she faces an uncertain future. • November 2017 •

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Ilala at Likoma Island, near the Lake’s Mozambique shoreline. Likoma is known for its impressive Cathedral of St Peter, built circa 1905.

Ilala offers berths for just a dozen first class passengers, in cabins on Promenade Deck. The rest sleep on benches on the Main Deck, or wherever space can be found. Though toilets and showers are shared (only one passenger cabin has en suite facilities), a steady supply of hot water is welcome. By breakfast, we reach Ruarwe, one of several isolated villages along the Lake for which Ilala facilitates nearly all contact with the outside world. The ship’s pair of small lifeboats shuttle passengers and freight to and from the town beach. In a scene repeated all down the Lake, half the town seems to turn out for Ilala’s twice-weekly visit, meeting and seeing off friends and loved ones, parcels and packages, as those bound

for points south wade kneedeep into the Lake to climb aboard the old tenders. Ilala’s passengers are almost all Malawian, which makes a voyage aboard her something of a crash course in local customs and culture. There are students and teachers, shopkeepers and fishermen, and others travelling in search of a new livelihood. A small number of western travellers are usually aboard as well, some committed expats, others just passing through. Everyone travels by Ilala. By Monday evening we have reached Nkhata Bay, a tumbledown port with busy beachside markets and bars. Ilala anchors in the bay while sacks of maize and drums of oil bound for isolated Likoma Island are tendered out from

 Accommodation on board Ilala consists of a few cabins for first class passengers, while others occupy benches and the deck, where space permits.

old warehouses on shore, a laborious process that takes most of the evening. From Nkhata Bay, Ilala sets course across the Lake. Despite its placid appearance, Lake Malawi has a reputation for tempestuous weather, which makes itself known on this stretch of the voyage. Cabin passengers are advised to stow toiletries before retiring for the evening. Yet it is here that Ilala seems most in her element, plying her way across the lake she has known for nearly 70 years.


Morning finds us on the approach to tiny Likoma Island. Ilala spends a few hours here, offloading stores from the mainland. The beachfront bustles with activity like a town square. We collect our passengers and cargo, including a fleet of small wooden fishing boats, which are hoisted out of the lake and onto Ilala’s well deck. Delays of one form or another are common for Ilala. Since leaving Chilumba, we have lost about six hours, mostly due to complications related to the sinking of the landing stage at Nkhata Bay. For me, the extra time aboard is welcome, the only possible drawback being that we arrive

at Monkey Bay in darkness on Wednesday evening. By 2100 we are alongside at Monkey Bay’s landing stage, Ilala’s home of 65 years. The town looks much as it did in 1951, trees taller than buildings, hills overlooking the sheltered bay. True to its name, there are monkeys here, and I meet one perched atop the sign marking the entrance to the port. Ilala’s fleetmates are here too. Some have lain idle for years and will almost certainly never sail again. Off in one corner of the bay lie the abandoned hulks of Mpasa (built at Harland & Wolff in 1935) and Nkwazi (built at Yarrow’s in 1955). At least twice, new vessels have been sent to the Lake to replace the aging Ilala. The German-built Mtendere arrived in 1980; the smaller Chilembwe, essentially an oil rig supply vessel, entered service in 2015. Yet neither has proved as well suited for the role as Ilala. Mtendere lacked Ilala’s cargo capacity and now lies unused at Monkey Bay. Chilembwe’s higher speed comes with prohibitive fuel costs, so she serves as a reserve boat during Ilala’s annual overhaul. While nothing is to be taken for granted, for now Ilala’s place on the Lake seems secure.

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TOUGH LITTLE SHIPS John Martin looks at the iconic small ships of Vancouver Island.

 Uchuck III, the West Coast First Nations Nootkan word for ‘healing waters’, has been serving the Vancouver Island area for over 50 years.  Frances Barkley near Bamfield. BY COURTESY OF MIKE BONKOWSKI


n most sectors of the shipping industry ships are getting larger to benefit from economies of scale, so it is easy to forget the contribution that small coastal vessels still make, something demonstrated nowhere better than in the Canadian Province of British Columbia, where two small shipping companies and their elderly but unique vessels operate services on the remote west coast of Vancouver Island. On this eastern extremity of the Pacific Ocean, one can still find communities with no road connections, relying on the sea to provide freight and passenger links to the outside world with two companies, Lady Rose Marine Services and Get West, operating lifeline services from their home ports of Port Alberni

and Gold River respectively. The two ports are located at the head of very long sea inlets which terminate at road and rail junctions. Port Alberni lies 25 miles inland from the Pacific, and is reached via a myriad of island systems, the Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet. Gold River lies at the head of Nootka Sound and the Kyoquot Inlets, also 25 miles inland from the Pacific, and around 100 miles north of the Barkley Sound. Lady Rose Marine Services’ two ships, Francis Barkley and Tenaka (recently acquired from the BC Ferries fleet), serve the whole of the Barkley Sound and Alberni Inlet Area. The company takes its name from a much loved 1937 Clyde-built ship that was used for nearly 50 years on their routes, which is now sadly • November 2017 •

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128ft x 24ft x 9.5ft




11 knots




100 tons


Rennesoy, Hidle (Norway)

deteriorating under different ownership up the west coast of Vancouver Island in the tourist outpost of Tofino. Get West Adventure Cruises (previously Nootka Sound Service Ltd) cover an even more remote area consisting of meandering fjord-like sea inlets on the North West Coast of Vancouver Island. Their only vessel, Uchuck III, (‘healing waters’ in the First Nations’ language) has been serving the area for 50 years. The 285gt Uchuck III still displays much of her origins as a World War II wooden-hulled minesweeper, although she has been skilfully converted into a passenger/cargo vessel. Two swinging derricks are permanently rigged on her foredeck, where the cargo hold (capacity 70 tons) is located, and also where all the deck cargo is stowed. Abaft of the midships, the superstructure houses the passenger facilities for up to 100 persons, and a unique wheelhouse still retains many functioning items that can no longer be seen outside maritime museums. During her conversion from a minesweeper, the brass engine-room telegraph system and wooden steering wheel were sourced from equipment

Frances Barkley sails from Port Alberni to Kildonan and then to Bamfield, before retracing the route back to Port Alberni. COURTESY OF MIKE BONKOWSKI

stripped off the famous CPR passenger vessel Princess Victoria, while the derricks and lifeboats came from the same company’s Princess Mary. Cargo winches and much other equipment was cannibalised from other scrapped vessels, but nowadays whatever is needed to maintain the ship has to be manufactured to order. Much of her hull and deck planking has been replaced, and underwater valves and fittings are regularly renewed. Bearing in mind her advancing years, the Canadian Maritime authorities (through their stringent survey requirements) keep a close eye on her seaworthiness. The ship has a comfortable interior lounge, offers cafeteria services and boasts generous outdoor seating areas, the latter enabling passengers to appreciate the unique beauty of the inlets and islands and the proximity of wildlife. Passengers have a good chance of seeing bears ambling along beaches or bald eagles circling overhead. Orca and grey whales, dolphins and seals regularly cavort around the sturdy wooden hull of this fine old vessel as she goes about her daily business. Uchuck III and her

environment give a special glimpse into our maritime past. Here Captain James Cook first arrived aboard the survey ship HMS Resolution in 1778. In the Nootka Sound he traded furs with the local Mowachat ‘First Nation Peoples’, and surveyed virtually all of this part of Canada’s Pacific coastline. One of the other islands Uchuck III regularly sails past bears the name of R. W. Bligh, Cook’s navigating officer at the time and later infamous as captain of HMS Bounty. During this voyage both he and Cook developed the skills which later marked them both out as legends in the science of charting the world’s coastlines.

 The main towns of Vancouver Island on Canada’s Pacific coast.


Meanwhile, further south, Francis Barkley goes about her business in a similar fashion. This 300-ton vessel serves the small remote townships of Bamfield East and West (where the western end of the famous British Empire ‘Red Line’ undersea cable linking Australia and the South Pacific to Britain and Europe was first established) and Ucleulet on other side of the Barkley Sound. The curious floating post office of Kildonan and the company’s

 Wheelhouse of Uchuck III showing the old CPR telegraph and wheel. BY COURTESY OF NEIL HAVERS

 Frances Barkley alongside the tiny Kildonan Post Office. COURTESY OF MIKE BONKOWSKI

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SMALL FERRIES Uchuck III berthed at Nootka Island. BY COURTESY OF GET WEST

own remote outpost of Sechart Lodge (from where passengers can explore the Pacific Rim National Park by kayak or on foot) are also included in the schedule. Other island communities are called at by arrangement, often at short notice via the ship’s radio. The ship, like the Sound, takes her name from the redoubtable wife of Captain William Barkley of the sailing ship Imperial Eagle, which arrived at Nootka Sound in




12 knots


70 tons




Former US Navy Minesweeper

1787, and was taken south to explore the area which now bears the Barkley name. Frances Barkley was built in 1958 in Stavanger for service with what is now the DSD shipping company. Originally named Rennesoy, and latterly Hidle, she provided interisland services from Stavanger and Boknafjorden to an area similar to her current area of operation. Bridges between the islands and tunnels to the mainland rendered the ship

redundant, and so, after some modifications, including the closing of her car deck, she was sold to Lady Rose Marine Services in 1992. Her engine, a Bergen eight-cylinder diesel which gives her a speed of 11 knots, was sourced directly from Norway, with another being held in reserve for spare parts as needed. Francis Barkley operates daily from Port Alberni, a town where the still important lumber industry is declining Uchuck III not far from Bligh Island. BY COURTESY OF GET WEST

but which is refocussing on tourist related businesses. However, large ocean-going forest product ships still navigate under pilotage along the confines of the steeply wooded inlets to the port. Dense sea fog is a regular hazard, and both Francis Barkley and her predecessor Lady Rose were captained by men who knew how to keep their ships safe and in midchannel use the echo of the ship’s foghorn, and time the sound as it bounced back from the steep mountain sides. For the last ten years, Francis Barkley has been the sole vessel, but a growing demand for services in the Barkley Sound area resulted in Lady Rose Marine Services acquiring Tenaka from BC Ferries to meet future needs. Tenaka, in her previous role, was able to transport vehicles, and if safety regulations and infrastructure issues can be addressed within budget, the owners have said they would consider expanding services to include such an option. Get West and Lady Rose Marine Services, with their three elderly vessels, are truly unique, providing essential services to some of Canada’s most remote communities. • November 2017 •

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Roy Fenton selects some familiar-looking ships in unfamiliar colours, and reveals their former identities and fates.

UNITED MARINER Her odd, cone-shaped exhaust outlet should narrow down the identity of the former British turbine-driven cargo liner United Mariner, which has changed little apart from her funnel colours. As the 1951-built City of Singapore (above right) for Ellerman Lines, her builders

ESTIA Painted grey, carrying a timber deck cargo for which she was never designed, and apparently burning oily rags in her furnaces, the 1952-built turbine steamer Estia (below) is well disguised.

The upper photograph shows her as turned out by Cammell, Laird and Co Ltd as Manchester Spinner, one

KAROS of two sisters built for Manchester Liners Ltd by the Birkenhead yard, the second being Manchester Mariner of 1955. Both were sold in 1968 as the company’s first pure containerships were introduced. Estia retains the white-painted top strake from her Manchester days, but the exhaust pipes

protruding from her funnel are now of unequal heights. Her ultimate owners were Stravelakis Brothers of Piraeus, who ran Estia under the Greek flag until 25 November 1971, when she sank after a boiler room explosion off Paramaribo while carrying a cargo of phosphate from a port in the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil.

The profile of Karos (below), with her long bridge deck, suggests she was built as a refrigerated meat carrier, but her original name and owner may be difficult to guess, as she was very much a oneoff in her fleet. She too was a turbine steamer, and was completed and engined by Hawthorn, Leslie and Co Ltd on the Tyne in 1947. In the second photograph (right), a black funnel with a broad white band helps identify her as Cortona of Donaldson Line Ltd, built for the Glasgow company’s chilled meat trade from Argentina.

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were Alexander Stephen and Sons Ltd, Linthouse, who also supplied her three Parsonstype turbines. In 1975 she was sold to the Gokal brothers of Pakistan, who were quickly building up a significant fleet under a variety of flags, including the Red Ensign, but using finance arrangements which were ultimately to

prove their downfall. First renamed United Mariner (above left), in 1976 she became Gulf Mariner, but had barely a year under this name before arriving at Gadani Beach in May 1977 to be dismantled.


A new, single funnel and other modifications cannot adequately disguise Marianna (above), a motor ship of 1929 which was once again built for the River Plate meat trade, albeit with extensive passenger accommodation.

Regarded as particularly advanced for her day, her refrigeration machinery could maintain the temperature in her holds to within a quarter of a degree, in any conditions. In 1967 Cortona was sold to a Greek-registered company

controlled by Nicos VernicosEugenides, who at the time had a large fleet comprising many reefers. Karos worked for him until May 1978, when she was laid up in Piraeus. Just over two years later she was sold to breakers at Kaohsiung.

As Highland Brigade (below), she was the third of six sisters which Harland and Wolff constructed for Nelson Line. Transfer to Royal Mail Lines Ltd in 1932 saw funnel colours changed from the distinctive red with a black top, on which were two

white bands, to plain yellow, but their names were unaltered. Highland Brigade was sold in 1959 to John Latsis of Piraeus, who intended her for a service from Italy to Australia and renamed her Henrietta. The upper photograph was taken some time after 1965, when, renamed Marianna, she was rebuilt with a single funnel and the forward wells fitted for use carrying pilgrims to Mecca. After a long and varied career, Marianna arrived at a Taiwanese scrap yard in June 1965. â&#x20AC;˘ November 2017 â&#x20AC;˘

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The solid-looking motor tramp Aegean Navigator (left) poses a slightly harder problem in identifying her origins. She was built in 1954 by Lithgows Ltd for a company managed by Lambert Brothers of London,

and looks more familiar when seen in their distinctive funnel colours as Temple Lane, a name she carried until 1968. Aegean Navigator was her sixth name, adopted in 1974 when G. Spanos put her under the Panama flag,

and she carried it until 1977, when she became North Wave for the same ultimate owner. Details of her fate are vague. She is known to have arrived at Alexandria in April 1978, and later that year is reported

to have sustained collision damage. She was beached in a leaky condition some time prior to April, but nothing more is known about her end, presumably at the hands of local ship breakers.


Those familiar with the shipping scene in the 1960s and 1970s will know that the ships of British companies often had distinctive styles, still apparent when hull

and funnel had been repainted following a sale. The small cargo liner Naftilos (above) was built at Burntisland in 1954 for the Furness Withy group. Originally Beechmore

(below), she was registered in the ownership of Johnston Warren Lines Ltd, Liverpool, owners who were unchanged when she became English Prince in 1965.

A fire in a cotton cargo while at Charleston in December 1969 led to her sale, unrepaired, to members of the Lemos family as Mandraki. The name Naftilos was carried while she was owned by other members of this family between 1972 and 1975. Next renamed Mariber, which was subsequently shortened to Mari, she caught fire and was stranded on the coast of Yugoslavia on 8 July 1978 while on a voyage from Rijeka to Alexandria with a timber cargo. The fire eventually burnt itself out, but left the ship as a constructive total loss, and in 1979 she was broken up at Split by Brodospas. PHOTO BY ROGER SHERLOCK

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GLENDALOUGH If a clue to the former identity of Glendalough (right) is needed, there is a rather oblique connection between this name and her original owner. Named after a valley and monastic site in County Wicklow, Glendalough was owned by a subsidiary of Mullion and Co Ltd, a company which sounds Irish but was based in Hong Kong.

‘Irish’ is the clue, as she was built in 1953 by William Gray and Co Ltd as Irish Elm (above), the last of six

similar ships with conventional triple-expansion machinery for Irish Shipping Ltd of Dublin. Her photograph was taken in Dublin Bay in February 1954. Mullion and Co Ltd bought her in 1963, initially renaming her Ardrossmore, then Meadow Court and finally, in 1970, Glendalough. Not surprising for a steamer built so late, she did not achieve two decades of service, and in December

1971 was laid up in Bantry Bay – appropriate in view of her Irish connections. From there she was

towed to Aviles in Spain, where she arrived in March 1972 and was subsequently broken up.


The new funnel of Pantarali (above) is somewhat at odds with the hull of this steamer built in 1937 at Burntisland. Her unusual arrangement of hull and superstructure, with the latter perched about three quarters aft on a raised

quarter deck, gives a clue to her original owners, Glen and Co. This Glasgow company ordered several intermediatesized tramps to this general design between 1930 and 1957. As Glen’s Shuna, she would have often carried a timber cargo similar to that on Pantarali. Shuna (left) survived the takeover of Glen and Co by Everards in December 1961, but in November 1963 was sold to Panama owners as Julie. The name Pantarali was bestowed a year later by a new Greek owner, Savas Zervos. Her relatively long career came to an end on 21 December 1969, when she was wrecked south of Susa on the coast near Tunis, a port to which she was bound in ballast. BOTH PHOTOS BY J. & M. CLARKSON

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS • Photographs are from the author’s collection or the print collection of the World Ship Society unless stated. Career details are based on entries in the Starke/Schell Registers and other sources. • November 2017 •

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The US Navy’s Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea (CG-58), dating from 1987, departing Portsmouth on 1 August bound for Exercise Saxon Warrior 2017 off the coast of the UK. She was named for the World War II battle and is the second ship to bear the name. CHRIS BROOKS

SHIPS PICTORIAL Have you an outstanding photo that would grace our gallery? Send your image to Ships Monthly for inclusion in these pages, which showcase the best in ship photography around the world.

The 2012-built Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Antonia S (45,263gt, ex-Merit Sino) ploughs her way through the western Baltic on 20 July on passage to Port Kamsar, Guinea from Stade, Germany. JONATHAN ALLEN • November 2017 •

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The cargo vessel Kristel (1999) departs Barrow Haven, near New Holland, on 25 July and heads into the Humber after delivering a cargo of timber. The vessel was heading for Montrose in ballast. DAVID FLETCHER

The multi-purpose drilling vessel Omalius (1985) departs Antwerp on 27 July en route to St Nazaire. The 3,364gt ship was built in Norway in 1985 as a supply vessel but is now used as a drilling vessel. PETER HOLLANDS

The 85ft preserved steam-powered VIC 56 (Victualling Inshore Craft) at Tilbury. Launched at Faversham in 1945, she is based at Chatham Historic Dockyard and is maintained in working order by volunteers. FRASER GRAY

Busy times at Portland Port as two cruise ships visited on the same day, 12 August: Balmoral (43,537gt) departs for Falmouth, while Oceania’s Marina (66,084gt) leaves for Le Havre. STEVE BELASCO/JURASSICPHOTOGRAPHIC

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MANXMAN REMEMBERED TSS Manxman was the last of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s passenger ferries known as the ‘six sisters’. Dene Bebbington looks back at this workhorse of the Irish Sea.


he famous passenger vessel Turbine Steam Ship (TSS) Manxman was launched from the Cammell Laird shipyard, Birkenhead on 8 February 1955. She was the final vessel in a class of six similar ships, the ‘Six Sisters’, ordered by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, and was the second of the Company’s ships to carry the name. After a long and successful career on the Irish

Sea, she was withdrawn from service in 1982. Following a failed preservation attempt, she was broken up at Sunderland in 2012, a tragic end to a fine ship. Manxman served the routes to the Isle of Man, an island reliant on ships and ferries for links with the UK, Ireland and further afield. With the Post Office Offences and Isle of Man Post Act of 1767, a regular mail service to and from the island began. The awarding of a mail contract led to some

improvement in the island’s mail service. But the notoriously rough Irish Sea meant winners of the contracts had to be as diligent in taking the money as they were in providing a good service, to ensure the Manx people were satisfied. The initial providers of the service left the islanders disgruntled until, in August 1830, the newly formed Isle of Man Steam Packet Company commenced sailings between Douglas and Liverpool using the paddle

steamer Mona’s Isle; and subsequently, a mail contract was awarded to the company by the Postmaster General in 1831. The initial investment by the company proved to be so successful that, despite periods of fierce competition by a rival operator, by the beginning of the 20th century its fleet numbered 11 vessels. The first Steam Packet Company ship named Manxman was bought in 1920. Launched in June 1904, she had been built for the Midland

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IRISH SEA FERRY The Manxman in dry dock at Pallion shipyard, Sunderland in 2012 prior to scrapping. COURTESY OF TIM SAXON

Railway by Vickers, Sons & Maxim at Barrow-in-Furness, and named Manxman because she operated a passenger service between Heysham and Douglas, the Manx capital. World War I ended her service with Midland Railway, and she was bought by the Admiralty in 1915, whereupon she became a naval asset. The Steam Company bought Manxman from the Admiralty in 1920 to help meet the post-war growth in tourist numbers to the Isle of Man. A decision to convert her to an oil burner proved its worth in 1926, when the general strike in support of coal miners disrupted the supply of coal which steam ships relied on. Several Steam Packet Company ships had been co-opted for the war effort, of which Ben-my-Chree and

 The IOM Steam Packet’s first steamer, Mona’s Isle, leaving Douglas.

 The first Manxman to serve with the Isle of Man Steam Packet.

 The Isle of Man Steam Packet Co’s last Manxman being manoeuvred into Cammell Laird’s fitting-out basin at Birkenhead. STATE LIBRARY OF QUEENSLAND

Viking were converted to become seaplane carriers, as was Manxman. Measuring 341ft (103.94m) by 43ft (13.11m), Manxman was of a similar size to Viking, but smaller than Ben-my-Chree. In 1939, for a second time, war interrupted Manxman’s civilian life. During World War II she became a personnel carrier for the Ministry of War Transport and took part in Operation Dynamo, rescuing soldiers from Dunkirk. In October 1941 she came under the remit of the Admiralty, who renamed her HMS Caduceus, as the Navy already had a HMS Manxman, a minelayer launched in 1940. Caduceus was involved in radar training, operating out of Douglas, but later resumed personnel transport duties, again under the name Manxman. She continued to • November 2017 •

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work as a troop transport until 1949, by which time she had to be scrapped, never having returned to civilian service. The name lived on when the Steam Packet Company ordered their ‘six sisters’, six King Orry class passenger ferries, of which she was one. The others were named King Orry, Mona’s Queen, Tynwald, Snaefell and Mona’s Isle, and were built for the company between 1945 and 1955 by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead. Despite having a similar appearance, some of the vessels had slight differences in tonnage, size and other details, such as rails and mesh, instead of solid bulwarks at the stern. Like her sisterships, Manxman was fitted with twin screws, but her engine room was different. The screws turned at 275rpm and were powered by twin Pametrada (Parsons and Marine Engineering Turbine Research and Development Association) turbines, with superheated steam through double reduction gearing. Seasonal demand for ferry services to the Isle of Man required a fleet to cope with the summer schedule. Each vessel had capacity for over 2,000 passengers, but only two of the ships were needed through winter. Passenger numbers peaked for the famous annual Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) motorcycle race, when round-the-clock sailings were put on to keep up with the number of people travelling to the island. In May 1955 the second Manxman undertook her maiden voyage with a sailing from Douglas to Liverpool. From then on, she plied the routes from north-west England and North Wales to the Isle of Man and Ireland for more than 25 years. At 344ft 2in (105.11m) in length, she was a little longer than her predecessor and had a marginally higher gross tonnage of 2,495. Aptly for a mail steamer, she carried members of the Union of Post Office Workers , who had

TSS Manxman seen at Liverpool in front of the Liver Building in July 1976. DAVID CHRISTIE

 The majority of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s passenger fleet at Douglas Harbour in 1970: Mona’s Isle, Lady of Mann, Tynwald, Snaefell, King Orry and Manx Maid. COURTESY OF DAVID CHRISTIE

 King Orry after she started service with the Isle of Man Steam Packet.

attended a conference, on her first revenue service. Initially, she operated with two classes of passenger accommodation, and had been certified for voyages of up to ten hours, well within her range of 1,000 miles. The forward lounge provided passengers with the comfort of

sofas and armchairs. In 1967 she changed to a single class, with a crew of 60. Though she was built as a combined passenger and car ferry, vehicles and cargo offset available passenger space. Typically, up to 16 to 20 cars were carried for a passenger capacity reduction of 500-600.

Manxman worked several routes while in service with the Steam Packet, including operating the Douglas to Ardrossan service. Besides Douglas, she sometimes sailed to and from Ramsey, and was the last of the company’s ships to call at the Queen’s Pier in September 1970. By 1982 Manxman was no longer economically viable, as passenger numbers had dropped so much. She operated until the end of the season, at which point the Llandudno-Douglas route also closed. Two years later, increases in fuel costs forced them to prematurely phase out the remaining steamers. Four of the six ships were operated by the Steam Packet Company until they were withdrawn and scrapped. Only two saw further service elsewhere. Mona’s Queen was sold to become a cruise ship with Chandris Line and had four name changes, while Manxman also had a further working life. She swapped the romance of the sea to end her working life as a floating nightclub and restaurant for several years after being sold. Manxman can occasionally be seen on TV, since she had a fame of sorts, having taken part in a few notable films, including

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IRISH SEA FERRY ‘Chariots of Fire’, as a crossChannel ferry, and as the rescuing ship RMS Carpathia in ‘SOS Titanic’. On 3 July 1982 Manxman sailed from Ardrossan for the final time. This was followed by last sailings from Fleetwood on 15 August, Belfast on 27 August, and Dublin on 28 August. On 30 August Manxman sailed ‘light’ from Douglas to Workington in preparation for a 1015 sailing back to the Isle of Man. That evening, the return trip departed Douglas at 1900 in foul weather. A force eight gale was blowing in the Irish Sea and it was not possible for the ship to berth safely in Workington. Manxman was forced to sail north, with over 1,000 passengers on board, and ride out the storm in the shelter of the Solway Firth. The ship finally docked at Workington at 0900 the following morning, having given those on board a farewell trip they were unlikely

to forget. On 1 September the final departure from Llandudno took place, and that evening the ship sailed light to Liverpool in preparation for what would be her penultimate public sailing. Following the ship’s withdrawal from revenue service, and relocation to Preston Docks, Manxman’s new owners intended to convert her into a floating museum and visitor centre. This venture was not a success, and the ship became a floating nightclub and restaurant. Before moving to Preston docks she was used as a location for the film Yentl, starring Barbra Streisand. Redevelopment of the Preston docks area again made Manxman homeless, and in 1991 she was towed to Liverpool, where she was again used as a floating nightclub in the Trafalgar Docks area. In 1993 she was again moved, this time to Hull, being moored in the disused





Maiden Voyage


345ft 1in

47ft 2in

21.5 knots

18 January 1946



47ft 2in

21.5 knots

26 June 1946



344ft 11in

47ft 2in

21.5 knots

31 July 1947



344ft 10in

47ft 2in

21.5 knots

24 July 1948




47ft 2in

21.5 knots

22 March 1951



344ft 10in

50ft 9in

21.5 knots

21 May 1955


Ruscador Dry Dock. A fire in August 1997 seriously damaged many of the vintage wood panels of the ship’s interior, and she was moved to the yard of Pallion Engineering Company Ltd on the River Wear, inside the Pallion Dry Dock shipyard. A preservation group, The Manxman Steamship Company, was formed with the aim of securing the historic ship, the last of her line, and the last remaining classic British passenger turbine steamer. She was also the last surviving passenger ship constructed by Cammell Laird. A charity cruise on the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co’s Lady of Mann took place to

raise funds for the project. Several celebrities supported the Manxman Steamship Company, including Paul O’Grady and Tom O’Connor, but it was of no avail. The ship continued to deteriorate, parts were stolen, and a fire damaged much of the interior woodwork, and the preservation campaign was ultimately unsuccessful. By January 2011 work on the ship’s decommissioning had begun and she was dismantled by G. O’Brien & Sons, a specialist heavy industrial and marine demolition company. The dismantling took place in the Pallion shipyard, and the ship was finally broken up for scrap in 2012.

 LAST TRIP TO PRESTON FOR STEAM PACKET STALWART • Manxman passing Longton Marshes on the River Ribble during a last voyage under her own power to Preston following purchase for preservation as centrepiece of a scheme at the Albert Edward Dock (writes Russell Plummer). On 3 October 1982 the turbine steamer sailed from Liverpool Pier Head to where many of a 1,000-plus passenger compliment has been brought by coach from Preston. With both her last season’s regular masters Captains Peter Corrin and David Hall on the bridge, a silver band played on the foredeck as Manxman left the Mersey for the last time to start a 38 nautical mile journey with crowds lining the seafront at Lytham St Annes, while further groups along the banks of the Ribble were saluted by the glorious sound of the steamer’s triple whistle. Something of a carnival atmosphere on board was aided by the sale of beer at 10p a pint, equivalent to the two old shillings price when Manxman made her debut in 1955. Manxman’s final Steam Packet sailings attracted big crowds in late August and early September 1982, with three loads in excess of 1,000 carried and a capacity 1,350 on board for a last Liverpool-Douglas day excursion brought the vessel’s total of passengers carried through 27 years of service to 1,998,867. On 3 October, even at high water, progress along the Ribble was cautious with at times little depth to spare under the keel, the journey ending with Preston Fire Brigade providing an archway of water jets at the inner end of the lock. COURTESY OF NORMAN BOND • November 2017 •

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Navy days

Remember when we had Navy Days in UK naval ports? Queues snaked a mile or more as members of the public waited to gain access to the bases and ‘see the ships and meet the men’. With ships dressed overall and ensigns flying, a smiling sailor welcomed visitors of every shape and size, with Royal Marine Bands injecting pride in the crowds awaiting

their turn to clamber up a gangway. Regrettably, those days are long gone, as our politicians have cut the size of the Royal Navy, meaning the ships and manpower are simply not available to host such an event. So if you still hanker after a good old-fashioned Navy Days, you may have to repeat my visit this summer to Russia. If it is the last Sunday in July, it is Navy Days in all the Russian military ports from St Petersburg in the Baltic to Vladivostok in the Far East and the others in between. This year it was the 100th Anniversary of the Soviet/Russian Navy as my group flew to Moscow

for a tourist trip. After a visit to some fantastic palaces and cathedrals, we headed to Kronstadt, one of the main bases of the Russian Baltic fleet, where young Lt Augustus Agar RN earned his Victoria Cross in 1919 in Coastal Motor Boat 4. A rather run-down base hosts a wide range of small coastal craft and up to medium-sized destroyers and corvettes. A booked harbour cruise round the forts and piers that make up the base was soon diverted when our skipper spotted the massive battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy lying at buoys a few miles from the base. As we headed towards her, we expected

local police boats would head us off, but that never happened, and within a few minutes we were cruising close to this huge battlecruiser. Surprisingly, next to the battlecruiser, also secured to buoys, was the Typhoon class ballistic nuclear submarine Dmitriy Donskoi. Built in the 1980s as one of a class of four vessels, she is the only one left in the active fleet and is now a test bed for new missiles. She had arrived in the Baltic from the Northern Fleet, undertaking the passage on the surface all the way. Mike Critchley Cornwall

The nuclear battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great) passing Spodsbjerg as she makes her way through Danish waters on 21 July on her way to St Petersburg to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Russian Navy. She travelled in company with the nuclear submarine Dmitriy Donskoi. JIM MOLLERUP

Childhood memories

John MacCalman’s letter about the cruise ship called Killarney (SM, July) revived childhood memories of summer holidays at Oban in 1947-49. The ship in the photograph is indeed the veteran TSS Killarney, operated on cruises to the Scottish lochs. She was built by Harland & Wolff as Magic in 1893 for the Belfast SS Co’s BelfastLiverpool service. After serving as a

hospital carrier in World War I (being renamed Magic II to avoid confusion with a submarine), she returned to Irish Sea duty as Classic in 1918. In 1921 she was transferred to the City of Cork Steam Packet Co, initially on charter, for their Cork-Fishguard route, and renamed Killarney in 1924. She was converted for cruising by Langlands in 1930 and would have been a regular visitor to Oban until

HMS SHEFFIELD • In response to the article about HMS Sheffield (SM, June), Bob Chalmers, of Warminster, sent this photo of her and wrote: ‘I thought that you might be interested in this picture taken by me on 3 May 1964 showing her on her reserve fleet mooring at Whale Island’.

1939, when she again saw war service. Thereafter she was apparently laid up until sold as Attiki to Epirotiki Lines in 1947. She was renamed Adrias in 1948 and declared a constructive total loss after running aground in a storm on Falconera Island, while on passage from Crete to Piraeus in October 1951. When Coast Lines resumed Scottish cruises in 1948, Killarney’s place was taken by the then singlefunnelled Lady Killarney, built in 1911, also by Harland & Wolff for the Belfast Steamship Co, as the twin-funnelled Patriotic. She too had a chequered career on the Irish Sea, latterly for the British & Irish Steam Packet Co as Lady Leinster and then Lady Connaught, and service in both wars. I remember her visiting Oban in both 1948 and 1949, coinciding with the West Highland Yachting Week regatta

It seems from that Mr MacCalman’s photograph must have been taken no later than 1939. Moreover, neither of the other two vessels partially visible has the profile of the steam (actually diesel) yacht he remembers as ‘Hudson’s Yacht’. This was HMS Troubadour, which dominated the view from the Esplanade, moored opposite the Great Western Hotel, still in her wartime dark grey. My father and I rowed out to take a closer look one afternoon and were invited on board by the watchman. There was still a big piano in the wardroom/saloon. She was built by Krupp at Kiel as Vanadis in 1924 for a Texas oil millionaire, C. K. G. Billings. Among 11 changes of ownership and name, she was owned for a time in the 1930s, as Warrior, by Barbara Hutton, grand-daughter of Woolworth’s

Write to Ships Mail, Ships Monthly, Kelsey Publishing, Cudham Tithe Barn, Berrys Hill, Cudham, Kent TN16 3AG, or email sm.ed@kelsey. Please note that letters via email must enclose sender’s full postal address. Contributions to Ships Monthly must be exclusive and must not be sent to other publications. The editor reserves the right to edit material. Kelsey Publishing reserves the right to reuse any submission sent in any format.

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The article about the US Coastguard (SM, May) mentioned many types of vessels that were built specifically for different tasks. I was especially interested in the photograph of the 44ft lifeboat Chatham (USCGC 44301), as I had seen a number of similar lifeboats in use by the RNLI. The US Coastguard built the first Waveney class lifeboat for the RNLI founder, and was thereafter known as her yacht. She was bought by the Admiralty in 1940 and renamed Troubadour, serving as an antisubmarine vessel. Now named Lady Hutton, she is still afloat as a hotel and restaurant in Stockholm, and was featured in ‘Stockholm: jewel of the Baltic’ by Nick Hall (SM, Nov 2016). Peter Asplin Newton Mearns

Small ports, big ships

One of the ships featured in the article Small ports big ships (SM, Aug), Egton, may well have been laid up in 1977, but her problems began immediately after her sea trials. This handsome cargo ship, built by Bartrams in Sunderland, was powered by a Doxford 67PT4 diesel engine which had the distinction of being the only Doxford engine ever built with the engine controls mounted at mid-height level in line with the camshaft and facing aft, this at the special request of the owner, William Headlam. After the successful trial trip on 11 July 1962, the ship was moored at a layby berth in the North Dock, Sunderland, awaiting trade. Headlam manned the ship with a Chief Officer and a Deck cadet for security. Doxfords were commissioned to check engine room machinery weekly. It was expected that the ship would

and it proved to be so successful that 21 further boats were built in the UK to a similar design. The Canadian Coastguard also built a number of these cutters, and many are still in use, although they have been retired from lifeboat duty. One of these is CCGC Souris 151. Built in 1985 at Hike Metal Products. Ontario, Canada, she enter service soon, but unfortunately this did not happen and, in a heavy snowstorm and north-easterly gale, the moorings gave way and the powerless ship drifted into the centre of the River Wear before the officer could drop both anchors. Greenwells launch was able to put two Doxford engineers aboard via a rope ladder, a generator was started to provide power and some hours later two tugs attended and the anchors weighed and stowed. The tugs were unable, in the storm, to return Egton to her berth, so under a controlled drift they took her alongside the (fortunately) vacant Corporation Quay on the south side of the river. In the absence of replacement ropes, the ship was moored with used crane cables from Greenwell’s Dry Dock. David Aris (Installation Manager, Doxfords, 1957-64) Oxenholme, Kendal

Propeller effects

There seems to be some confusion about the so-called paddle effect of propellers. Propellers do not paddle. Let us consider a fixed pitch, righthanded propeller on a single-screw ship. When the propeller is going astern, it rotates counter-clockwise, and there is a forward, rotating slipstream. On port, the slipstream is angled somewhat downwards, and

was stationed at Souris in Prince Edward Island from 1985 to 2004. She was later used as a crew transfer boat in the Port of Dover, Ontario from 2006 to 2009, and is now a pilot boat in Castletownbere, West Cork, Ireland (pictured), where I photographed her in May 2011. Ray O’Donoghue Ladysbridge

escapes partly under the keel. On starboard, the slipstream is angled upwards, and it impinges on the hull plating on the afterbody, causing a force to port. This is not a paddle effect – it is correctly described as propeller bias. This force acts on a lever equal to two-thirds the length of the ship, the pivot point being located about one third of the ship’s length from the bow. Propellers have no transverse thrust. On ahead operation, the slip stream impinges on the rudder, causing a small force to starboard. There may also be a slight effect in the same direction due the low pressure region in front of the propeller. In case there is a small difference in thrust on propeller blades in different positions, the turning moment is negligible. Most single-screw ships have righthanded propellers. If the propeller is left-handed, the propeller bias is in the opposite direction. Could it be that Clive Spencer (SM, Sept) has piloted some ships with left-handed propellers? Jan Tornblad, Kristinehamn, Sweden

ICELAND UPDATE As an update to the recently published features Car Ferries of Iceland and View from the Bridge featuring Captain Hilmar Snorrason, Master of the Icelandic training ship Sæbjörg, I thought readers may be interested to learn of recent developments in the country. The Eimskip car ferry route to the Westmann Islands operated by Herjólfur is now marketed under the new Seatours Eimskip brand along with the Baldur ferry Eimskip, which was acquired with the Seatours business in 2014. Seatours Eimskip has this year introduced a new seasonal passenger ferry between Reykjavík

and Akranes across the bay, saving an hour’s drive and utilising the former Norwegian Nordled catamaran Tedno, now named Akranes. The 112-passenger craft makes four return trips a day, with the crossing taking 30 minutes. Finally, the one-time car ferry Akraborg, which operated the Reykjavík to Akranes route until 1998 before becoming Sæbjörg, was slipped in July for the first time in many years to repair her hull. Captain Hilmar Snorrason, who is immensely proud of his vessel and the work done by ICE-SAR, kindly supplied the picture. Matt Davies, Bolton • November 2017 •

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CHARTROOM Ports of call • NoVEMBEr








Marco Polo

Cruise & Maritime Voyages



Phoenix See Reisen



Phoenix See Reisen






GREENOCK (Glasgow) 7 11 16

0800/1930 0800/1930 0800/1930

Hebridean Princess Hebridean Princess Hebridean Princess

Hebridean Cruises Hebridean Cruises Hebridean Cruises

2,112 2,112 2,112

Black Watch Black Watch

Fred. Olsen Cruises Fred. Olsen Cruises

28,613 28,613


Phoenix See Reisen


Saga Pearl II Braemar Queen Mary 2 Queen Elizabeth Navigator of the Seas AIDAprima Oceana Braemar

Saga Cruises Fred. Olsen Cruises Cunard Line Cunard Line Royal Caribbean Cruises Aida Cruises P&O Cruises Fred. Olsen Cruises


0600/1730 0530/0930



SOUTHAMPTON 1 3 5 6 6 7 8 10

0800/1600 0630/1630 0630/1630 0530/1630 0530/1630 0930/2130 0630/1630 0630/1630

18,627 24,344 148,528 90,901 139,570 125,572 77,499 24,344

Date 10 10 13 13 13 13 15 16 18 18 19 20 20 22 22 23 24 27 28 29 30

Compiled by Donna and Andrew Cooke

Arr/dep 0630/1630 0630/1630 0800/1600 0630/1630 0630/1630 0630/1630 0630/1630 0630/1630 0630/1630 0700/1630 0630/1630 0630/1630 0800/1600 0630/1630 0700/1630 0400/0900 0630/1630 0630/1630 0630/1630 0630/1630 0730/1600

Ship Aurora Ventura Saga Sapphire Queen Victoria Oriana Ventura Arcadia Queen Elizabeth Queen Victoria Arcadia Queen Mary 2 Oceana Saga Pearl II Aurora Arcadia Braemar Ventura Ventura Queen Elizabeth Oceana Balmoral

Operator P&O Cruises P&O Cruises Saga Cruises Cunard Line P&O Cruises P&O Cruises P&O Cruises Cunard Line Cunard Line P&O Cruises Cunard Line P&O Cruises Saga Cruises P&O Cruises P&O Cruises Fred. Olsen Cruises P&O Cruises P&O Cruises Cunard Line P&O Cruises Fred. Olsen Cruises

GT 76,152 116,017 37,049 90,049 69,840 116,017 83,781 90,901 90,049 83,781 148,528 77,499 18,627 76,152 83,781 24,344 116,017 116,017 90,901 77,499 43,537

TILBURY 13 1400/2200 (TBC) Black Watch Fred. Olsen Cruises 28,613 13 0800/1600 Magellan Cruise & Maritime Voyages 46,052 NOTES This information is given in good faith, and neither the authors nor Ships Monthly can be held responsible for any changes to ship arrivals or departures.

MYSTERY SHIP SEPTEMBER’S MYSTERY SHIP • The mystery ship is a cargo liner

owned by Ellerman’s Wilson Line of Hull, and is one of eight near-identical ships of the Malmo class of around 1,800gt which were built in 1946-47. The ships were built by Henry Robb, Leith (four); Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Newcastle (two); Hall Russell, Aberdeen (one); and William Gray, West Hartlepool (one). Like most of Wilson Line’s many ships built in the post-war years, they were rather anomalous in being steam-powered as opposed to the motor ships being built for the majority of competitors. They traded mainly to Scandinavian ports, carrying 12 passengers as well as cargo. I believe that the ship in the photo is one of the Swan Hunter ships, either Leo or Volo, as evidenced by the spacing of the portholes in the passenger accommodation. As to the ship in the background, it came from the USSR or one of its satellite states, but there is little further I can add. I would like to add that I grew up with the Wilson Line ships, as our family took their summer holidays for almost ten years visiting all parts of Scandinavia in one or another of them (I sailed in six of the Malmo class), and those holidays were some of the happiest times of my life. Christopher Frame Sidmouth, Devon

• The mystery ship is one of six built

just after World War II for Ellerman Wilson Line of Hull, and I think I have narrowed them down to two – either Volo or Leo – but I really do not know which one is correct, though I am going on a hunch that it is Volo. She was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson on the Tyne in 1946 for Wilson Lines Scandinavia-Hull route, and during the course of her career suffered a grounding, in 1954, followed by a more serious incident in 1960, when she was severely damaged by fire in Oslo. In 1969 she was sold and became Avolos under Maltese ownership, and in 1974 she became Mdina. At some

point she was modernised, with her midship accommodation ports being replaced by larger windows and a new modern tapered funnel. In 1979 she was sold and broken up. I assume the photograph was taken

in Hull docks, with possibly an East German/Russian vessel behind her and a T&J Brocklebank steamer beyond the sheds. Peter Sommerville Greenock

This month’s mystery photo shows some kind of small passenger vessel, probably used for coastal operations. But what was her name? What was she used for? When was she built and with which company did she serve? Where and when was the photograph taken? What was the ultimate fate of the ship? Send your answers, including a postal address, by email to, or by post to Mystery Ship, Ships Monthly, Kelsey Media, Cudham Tithe Barn, Berrys Hill, Cudham, Kent TN16 3AG. Emails preferred.

62 • November 2017 •

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bookof themonth

Ferries of the Irish Sea Across Four Decades Miles Cowsill For anyone who has travelled by ferry across the Irish Sea, this photographic record of the various modes of transport within and from the British Isles will appeal. This book documents in pictures the busy ferry industry on the Irish Sea over the last four decades. It features many of the ships and companies which have linked Britain and Ireland over the last 40 years, a period which has seen enormous change. The publication also includes the ferries operating to and from the Isle of Man, as well as continental services to France operated by Brittany Ferries and Irish Ferries. It consists of photographs of each of the many ships that have served the various routes, with detailed captions about the vessel and her Irish Sea service. Highly recommended. NL • Published by Ferry Publications, PO Box 33, Ramsey, Isle of Man IM99 4LP; tel 01624 898445, info@, 96 pages, softback, price £16 plus postage.

We Die Like Brothers John Gribble and Graham Scott Nearly 650 men were lost when the troopship Mendi sank off the Isle of Wight in February 1917 following a collision in fog. The wreck is now

Atlantic Container Line 1967-2017 Philip Parker Published by Bernard McCall, 400 Nore Road, Portishead, Bristol BS20 8EZ, tel 01275 846178,, 144 pages, hardback, price £19.50 plus £1.90 UK postage.

This well-produced book, which marks half a century of Atlantic Container Line’s operations, has been written by a former employee of the company, Philip Parker, who enjoyed a long career managing ACL’s Marine Operations. recognised as one of England’s most important World War I heritage assets. The loss of Mendi occupies a special place in South African military history, because the majority of the victims were from the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC) travelling to serve as labourers on the Western Front. They had been prevented from being trained as fighting troops by their own Government, and hoped that their contribution to the war effort would lead to greater civil rights and economic opportunities in the new white-ruled nation of South Africa after the war. These hopes proved unfounded, and the Mendi became a focus of black resistance before and during the Apartheid era in South Africa. This book looks in detail not only at the collision and its causes, but the authors also cover the story of the SANLC and other labour corps, as well as the wider treatment of British imperial subjects in wartime. And the political, social and cultural repercussions of the sinking are brought up to date with a new archaeological perspective. NH • Published by Historic England, The Engine House, Fire Fly Avenue, Swindon, SN2 2EH; tel 0370 333 0607;; hardback, price £17.99 plus p&p.

ACL’s first 50 years have seen the Line involved in many industry innovations and history-making events, and this volume chronicles the creation and growth of the company. Containerisation revolutionised the shipping industry and ACL was the first European carrier (the second overall) to embrace the concept with dedicated container ships. ACL is now the longest continually operating container line in existence, with a unique business model and unique series of vessels, the newest of which were profiled in Ships Monthly. The book traces the founding of ACL and the involvement of Olaf Wallenius, with the venture being formed in 1965, two years before the first ship was delivered. Six different

companies were involved, and each had various shareholdings. The first vessels that entered service are covered, as are the different generations of vessels, starting with the G2s, which entered service in the late 1960s. This book is profusely illustrated and covers all aspects of the ACL operations, with the main focus being on the ships and the cargoes carried. NL

QM2: A Photographic Journey

Rochester to Richmond: A Thames Estuary Sailor’s View

Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross

Nick Ardle Author Nick Ardley, who was brought up on a Thames spritsail barge, sails his clinker sloop around the Thames estuary, among the tidal marshes, on a journey between the Pools of Rochester and London, a path once of commerce, but now pleasure. Rochester was once of immense importance to Britain’s trading richness, but is no longer an industrial centre. This book is very much a personal account of a journey down the river, looking at the towns and villages that supplied building materials, food and cargoes carried by the sailed barges to London. • Published by Fonthill Media, Millview, Toadsmoor Road, Stroud GL5 2TB,, 240 pages, £18.99.

Cunard’s liner Queen Mary 2 is one of the most famous ships in the world, and this book is a photographic tribute to the vessel to showcase the 2016 refit. The lounges, dining rooms and the largest dance floor at sea are all featured among over 200 hitherto unpublished photographs of QM2. They also cover the public rooms and accommodation, exteriors, engine room and bridge, and go behind the scenes, while little-known facts about the ship are part of the text. This is very much a book to be dipped into for anyone wanting a glimpse of life on board the famous ship. JM • Published by The History Press, The Mill, Brimscombe Port, Stroud, Gloucs GL5 2QG, tel 01453 883300, www., price £19.99. • November 2017 •

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Conrad Waters provides an in-depth review of the new aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth and her progress towards delivery to the Royal Navy.

CUNARD’S CLASSIC LINER To mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of Cunard’s famous liner Queen Elizabeth 2, naval architect Stephen Payne looks back at the ship, and analyses her design and its impact on her long and illustrious career.

WORLD SHIP SOCIETY Founded in 1947, the World Ship Society has some 2,000 members worldwide who are interested in ships, past and present. Its monthly journal “Marine News” and its naval companion ”Warships” are bywords for accurate information. MARINE NEWS - comprehensive listings of merchant ship activity for enthusiasts – some 10,000 entries a year covering launches, name and ownership changes, casualties and demolitions, in a 64-page digital magazine delivered to members’ computers around the first of each month. There are feature articles, topical warship coverage, photographs and Society news. MARINE NEWS SUPPLEMENT - The monthly digital supplement to ‘Marine News’ contains supplementary photographs Fleet Lists and long feature articles covering modern and historical subjects. NEW PUBLICATION – Everard of Greenhithe: 2nd Edition Completely Updated by K.S. Garrett. Hardback, 288 A4 pages dealing with 479 vessels the majority illustrated in colour or black and white. Tells the complete story of one of the UK’s best-known and much-missed coaster fleets from inception to final demise in 2006. Available from WSS, 274 Seven Sisters Road, Willingdon, Eastbourne, BN22 0QW United Kingdom, price £30 to members (quoting membership number) or £36 to non-members plus P & P £3 (UK), £13 (Europe) & £20 (RoW). Payment may be made by GBP cheque or credit card. For the latter please state whether Visa or Mastercard and quote card number, exact name on card, card expiry date, card validation number and address of cardholder. BRANCHES - The World Ship Society has over 50 local branches worldwide which hold monthly meetings involving slide shows, Powerpoint presentations and illustrated talks given by invited speakers and Branch members. MEMBERSHIP - annual membership of the World Ship Society (includes 12 digital copies of “Marine News” and digital Supplements per annum) costs £24 (£20 outside UK and EU). Get a trial digital copy of ‘Marine News’ by e-mailing your name and address to: or write to the Membership Secretary, World Ship Society, 17 Birchdale Road, Appleton, Warrington, Cheshire WA4 5AR (UK)

64 • November 2017 •

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The Honourable Company of Master Mariners Formed in 1926, we are a professional body for Sea Captains and a City of London Livery Company with membership open to British and Commonwealth Master Mariners, from both Royal and Merchant Navies, and to others with a strong association with the maritime industry in general. For further information, please contact The Clerk:

HQS Wellington, Temple Stairs, Victoria Embankment, London WC2R 2PN Tel: 020 7836 8179 Email:

Ships Corner To Advertise: Telephone 01732 445325

The Black Ship’s Odyssey Please do read my book, The Black Ship’s Odyssey, Book One by CPT Dick Brooks published by Amazon on Kindle. My 12 year voyage on Debut around the Tropical world. B00TE99EUK Tel: 01473 421742 Email:


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Nauticalia’s Able Seaman Simon ship’s cat model. Mr. D.Pearce, 52 Offington Drive, Worthing, West Sussex BN14 9PS Tel: 01903 262459 Cost would not be a problem, and could collect.


SHIPPING BOOKS FOR SALE, RARE AND SECONDHAND, ALL ASPECTS. Including Sail, Steam, Naval, Coastal & Cross-channel, Shipping Line histories. Shipbuilding, Shipwrecks etc., Free bi-monthly catalogues from Terry Smith, 62 Chapelfield, Freethorpe, Norwich, NR13 3LY. Tel: 01493 700004. Email:

m o fr w e A vi idge the Br


Captain Kjell Holm has been the takeout captain for all TUI Cruises newbuild cruise ships Mein Schiff 3 to Mein Schiff 6 from the from the Meyer Turku yard in Finland since 2009. He talked to John Pagni about his career and the ships on which he has served.

WHERE WERE YOU BROUGHT UP? I was born in Helsinki, but was brought up in the archipelago in Porvoo. My family is Swedishspeaking, and when I was seven we went to Sieppijärvi in Lapland (north Finland by the Swedish border), where they only speak Finnish, which is where I learnt the language. My father managed state-owned forests and we lived there for five years. But my parents wanted me to keep up my Swedish, so I returned to my grandparents in Tolkkis to finish school before moving back to Helsinki.

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO GO TO SEA? When I was 16. I had to argue with my father, but he backed down eventually and I embarked on my career. My first ship was the Finnish Steamship Co’s Vega, which was about 100m long and traded in the Baltic and North Sea, taking paper to Europe and bringing general cargo back. She had a large crew, and was equipped with hatches and derricks.

certificate and then gained more practical experience in different positions before I got my Master’s ticket in 1974.


I worked firstly on cargo ships, and then ferries. My first passenger ship was Swedish Lloyd’s Saga, sailing from Gothenburg to Tilbury. I served on Silja Line’s Finland-Sweden ferries Svea Jarl and Svea Regina before having over 16 years with Wallenius Lines delivering cars around the world. Their ships combined cars and bulk and, when I started, the company had eight ships; when I left, their fleet numbered 80 ships. I was a young captain (32) and, after Wallenius, I tried to save my marriage by coming ashore.

Furuno’s Finland subsidiary, running it for three years. Then in 1995 my father showed me a Star Cruises Asia ad recruiting officers and two weeks later I was in Singapore, and I have been on cruise ships since. I was over 14 years with Star, though Gemini was the only real cruise ship, as the others were floating casinos.

AND THEN CAME TUI CRUISES? I was approached by TUI in 2009 but I knew nothing about them or RCCL, but soon realised they had enough experience not to start something without knowing what they were doing. They jokingly call me ‘Commodore’ now, as I


While the latest is the most modern, I would say Norway, on which I was twice captain, being her last master before she went to India for scrapping. She was the most interesting and historic ship, and was still glamorous. My cabin was 70m² with lots of wood and a private galley. There was a private gentlemen’s section for their extra-curricular activities, complete with pool.


HOW LONG DID YOU STAY ASHORE? I owned and ran a small yard for two years in Turku with a 200ton slipway capacity – it nearly killed me! I sold it and started

have taken out four of the Mein Schiff ships. But I will do the next Mein Schiff, although I will be 70 when she is delivered.

 Mein Schiff 3, the first of six newbuildings for TUI Cruises.

People often ask about cargo and passenger ships. I reply that cargo rolls on and off and remains quiet on board and is no trouble. With ‘wo-wo’ (walk on-walk off), the cargo comes aboard, moves around and thinks for itself and has all sorts of strange ideas.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES? I have been at sea for 53 years, gone round the world 32 times, and lived in nine countries. Every place has something, but in Australia you find it all: nice things, people, culture, etc. I live in Bundaberg (north of Brisbane).



After serving on Vega, I went to a Swedish-speaking academy in Turku. In 1969 you had to do two years as deckhand before studying. I got my mate’s

I am a keen yachtsman, but my craft, Stephenson, a 53ft barque built by legend Rolly Tasker, has been ashore since I joined TUI, and I think it’s time she got wet again.

66 • November 2017 •

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Family days out Afternoon river cruises Wildlife spotting Visit seaside towns RESTAURANT



Scotland N. Wales & Isle of Man Bristol Channel South Coast The Thames

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MV Balmoral is owned by MV Balmoral Fund Ltd (Registered Charity No. 1155339)

Or Pay On Board


YEARS (1917-2017)

Supporting seafarers in need and their families since 1917 To ďŹ nd out about our work or to make a donation visit phone 020 7932 0000 or email Sea afarers UK (King Georgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fund for Sailors) is a Registered Charityy, no. 226446 in n Eng gland and Wales,, inco orporated under Royal Charter. Registered in Scotland, no. SC038 8191