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Ships Monthly Magazine


June's mystery ship

mystery shipThis month’s mystery is a submarine, which is pictured at Weymouth in 1947. Or is it Portland? Can any reader supply more information about the exact identity of the boat? Where and when was she built? How long was her service career? Did she serve during World War II and in what capacity? And what was her eventual fate?

April’s Mystery Ship Answer

April’s mystery

Several readers correctly identified the April mystery ship as the motor vessel Photinia. Ray Hedley (3rd Mate Photinia 1969) of Sudbury, Suffolk supplied the following information: Photinia was built by John Readhead & Sons, South Shields for Stag Line Ltd, North Shields, and was delivered in 1961. The 7,665gt vessel measured 480ft by 60ft and had an average speed of 13 knots.

She was a 10,500dwt bulk carrier, with four holds separating the aft and midship accommodation/bridge, and a further two holds forward of the bridge. She was a tramp ship, and was used to carry any type of bulk cargo. Like most of the Stag Line vessels, she often traded in the Great Lakes when they were ice-free.

In 1965 she had a career change when she was converted by Readheads into a cable layer, and Harry Pollitt’s photograph was taken while she was loading cable in Manchester, at BICC’s (Glovers) submarine cable loading gantry on Trafford Wharf, Manchester Docks, prior to sailing to New Zealand, where the cable was laid in the Cook Strait. The job was completed in May 1965, and for a while she remained on charter to BICC, laying a further cable between the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

March’s Mystery Ship Answer

maymystreplyThe two Mystery Ships in March jumped out at me as soon as I saw them. One is Kye Torrent, the former RMAS torpedo recovery vessel Torrent A127, which I helped build during the summer of 1971 at the Clelands Shipyard, a small yard which was part of the Swan Hunter Shipbuilding conglomerate in Howden, Northumberland. Her sistership, which was built almost simultaneously, was Torrid A128.

These were torpedo recovery vessels with a centerline stern ramp to pull the torpedoes up to the main deck for return to the submarine base. A small boom was mounted from a foremast and a hydraulic crane was mounted aft. Two tracks carried the torpedoes along the sides of the main deck. Both participated in the Falkland Islands campaign as minesweepers. Only these two were built in this class.

May's mystery ship

mystery shipJohn Burling sent the accompanying picture of three old ships laid up in the river Itchen at Southampton. It was taken a few years ago and all have now gone, but he has been unable to find out their names. At least one appears to be an old tug. But can any reader supply the names of any or all of the ships, and maybe also supply information about their careers. Where and when were they originally built, and by whom? What were they used for during their lives? And when exactly were they dismantled?

April's mystery ship

mystery shipHarry Pollitt, of Ashford, sent in the accompanying photo, which was taken in Manchester Docks in the summer of 1964. He wrote: ‘The photo was stored away with many others and only came to light recently. I am now intrigued by this ship and wonder if any reader can provide information about her?’ Where and by whom was she built? What was she used for? By whom was she operated? And what became of her?

February’s Mystery Ship Answer

replyThe February 2014 mystery ship is the motor vessel Lancashire Coast, built for Coast Lines, Liverpool. One of a class of two (the other being Cheshire Coast), Lancashire Coast was a product of the Bristol firm of Charles Hill and was completed in April 1954, with a length of 256ft and a service speed of 12 knots. Registered in Liverpool, Lancashire Coast (1,283gt) was employed on various Coast Lines trades, becoming well known in Belfast as she operated on the Antrim Ore Traffic trade. On 29 September 1965 she was transferred to the Belfast Steamship Co, but ownership reverted to Coast Lines from 1967 to 1972. She was rebuilt by Harland and Wolff in 1969, and in 1972 was again transferred to the flag of the Belfast Steamship Co, averaging of three round trips a week between Belfast and Liverpool. In 1980 Lancashire Coast was sold to Middle East interests, renamed Paolino, and used as a sheep carrier until being broken up in 1985.

Joe Hamilton, Preston

January’s Mystery Ship Answer

Mystery Ship replyThe mystery ship is the Swedish-owned passenger/car ferry Öresund, the hull of which was built in 1960 by Sölvesborg Varv Ab, Sweden (yard no.55) and towed to Aalborg Værft, Aalborg, Denmark to be fitted out. She was completed in 1960 (yard no.132), named Öresund and entered service with RAB Öresund, on the Malmö-Copenhagen route.

In 1980 she was sold to Ångfartygs Ab Saltsjön-Mälaren, Stockholm and rebuilt for cruising by Nico Group, Göteborg, being renamed Lindblad Polaris and used for various cruises. In 1986 she was sold to a Bahamas-based shipowner and renamed Polaris and used for cruising in the Galapagos Islands. In 2008 she was renamed National Geographic Polaris but two years later reverted to Polaris for a final voyage to breakers in Ecuador.

March's mystery ship

mystery shipCan anyone identify these two  vessels moored at Lowestoft? They appear to have seen better days, but where and by whom were they built? Who operated them and what happened to them during their careers? The names read Torch and Kye Torrent, but were these their original names or are they recent additions?

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