Ships Monthly Magazine


November's mystery ship

mystery ship

This month’s mystery ship was supplied by Mr M. Stevenson, of Tockington, Bristol, who wrote: ‘My grandfather, a ship’s captain in the early 1900s, may have been involved with this ship, possibly around Japan. Unfortunately I don’t have much information on his seagoing service, so I wondered if any reader could supply more information about the vessel.’ So can anyone help? What is the name of the ship? Where was the photo taken? Did she have a long career and who was she operated by?

September’s Mystery Ship Answer

September’s mystery ship

Close scrutiny of the photograph reveals the vessel to be Lempa, the second of two identical fruit ships completed in late 1952 by the German shipbuilders Bremer Vulkan at Vegesak for the Honduran subsidiary of the US-controlled United Fruit Company, Empresa Hondurena de Vapores, and registered at Tela.

Lempa and her sister Leon, initially 2,816gt and 2,970dwt respectively, shared overall dimensions of 104.7m by 13.7m and were powered by paired oil engines with a service speed of 14 knots. They operated principally in the carriage of bananas on routes between the Caribbean and US Eastern seaboard ports until 1959, when United Fruit became part of the United Brands conglomerate, resulting in a major fleet rationalisation. Ownership of the pair was transferred to the Fyffes subsidiary, the Surrey Shipping Company of London, for their operation under the British flag, and they were renamed Leith Hill and Box Hill respectively.

October's mystery ship

mystery ship

This month’s mystery ship shows some kind of small cargo vessel berthed in port. The name on the ship is unreadable, unfortunately, making identification more difficult. So can any reader supply more information about this ship, or indeed the vessel on the left which is partly cropped in the photo? Where was the photo taken? And when? Did these ships have long careers, who were they operated by and when were they broken up?

August’s Mystery Ship Answer

augst mystery ship

The August Mystery Ship was the liner Hikawa Maru, which is preserved in her company colours of the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line (Japan Mail Steamship Co)  at Yokohama.

The 11,622grt vessel was built in 1930 as a passenger cargo liner for the company; she measured 512ft by 66ft and was powered by diesels driving twin screws to give a service speed of 15-18 knots on the Pacific service.

I believe she was taken into military use in 1941 and served as a hospital ship, before being returned to the same company, trading until 1953. She has been preserved to a high standard, as can be seen from her superb appearance, and was one of a class of superior vessels, of which they are clearly very much more proud than any surviving UK shipping company.

M. J. Benning, Somerset



July’s Mystery Ship Answer

mystery reply

The two mystery ships pictured in Newhaven are refrigerated ships. In the forefront is the Soviet Vasiliy Fesenkov, built in 1974 in Gdansk in Poland (6,391gt, 139m length), which was part of the famous and popular B-437 series of 14 reefer ships, many of which were built for USSR shipping companies. The ship traded for Sudoimport (Soviet Union) and was a frequent visitor to Newhaven. In 1991 she was sold at which point she became Vasiliy Fesenkov, and in September 1999 she was scrapped in Alang. The other mystery ship, another reefer, was operated by W. Bruns & Co of Hamburg. She was one of a series of nine ships built by various German shipyards between 1963 and 1965 for the import of bananas from Colombia (4,700gt, 136m length). The photo was probably taken in 1974-75, because most of these ships were sold by Bruns in 1972. Every ship had the prefix ‘Bruns’ in its name. This ship could be Brunsrode, Brunsbüttel or Brunsland. Most ships were scrapped in the 1980s.

Ulrich Delius, Göttingen, Germany



September's mystery ship

mystery ship

This month’s mystery ship was again supplied by Paul Green, who seeks help in identifying another of his photos taken at Newhaven 40 years ago (see SM, July and below for the other photo). This one shows Lenpa, which looks to be of a similar design and operated by the same company as Leon. Paul says: ‘They all have apparent Union Castle characteristics, and I would love to know the ship’s original identity. The photos were scanned from original Agfa transparencies’. So can any reader supply more information about this ship?

August's mystery ship

mystery ship

Cyril Jones, of Seahouses, Northumberland, sent the accompanying photo and said: ‘I would like to learn anything I could about
this ship, which I photographed in Yokohama in 2007. Can anyone help?’ So over to our readers . . . what is the
exact identity of the ship? Where and when was she built? Is she still in existence, and, if so, where is she operating?

June’s Mystery Ship Answer

mystery reply

The submarine pictured is HMS Aurochs, an A class submarine built by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow in Furness. She was launched on 28 July 1945 and commissioned on 7 February 1947, too late for service in World War Ii.

A Class submarines were designed for service in the Pacific, with air conditioning for greater comfort and endurance, although those of us who served on A Class boats might not agree about the level of comfort! Their all-welded hull and pre-fabrication construction allowed speedy build times. They were manned by a crew of about 60.

Apart from HMS Affray, which was lost with all hands in the English Channel in 1951, Aurochs was the only A class not to be modernised during the late 1950s.

While serving in the Far East, Aurochs was attacked, while surfaced, by an unidentified aircraft. There were no casualties on the submarine. HMS Aurochs was decommissioned in 1966.

Steve Buttle, Hythe, Hampshire


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