ELDER DEMPSTER
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INTRODUCTION
HISTORICAL GUEST BOOK
CUNARD LINE
P & O and ORIENT LINERS
UNION-CASTLE LINE
ANCHOR LINE
BANK LINE
ELLERMAN LINES
GRAND OLD LADIES
BLUE FUNNEL
PORT LINE
CHRISTIAN SALVESEN
PUFFERS-"AULD REEKIE"
PORT OF LONDON-1962
SAGUENAY TERMINALS
"FAREWELL" UGANDA
BRITISH INDIA LINE
BULLARD KING'S NATAL DIRECT LINE
ZIM PICTORIAL
RFA TANKERS
BROCKLEBANK MEMOIRS
WHITE EMPRESSES
CLAN LINE
ELDER DEMPSTER
MANCHESTER LINERS
BLUE STAR GALLERY
ELDERS & FYFFES
CHRISTENSEN CANADIAN AFRICAN LINES (C.C.A.L.).
C.C.A.L. GALLERY
TRAMP STEAMERS & LIBERTY GALLERY PLUS CANADIAN BUILT "FORTS"
FREEDOM FREIGHTERS
TANKERS
CANADIAN NATIONAL S.S. GALLERY.
BOWATER GALLERY
HARRISON LINE (Mini Gallery)
THE THREE "DELS" & DELTA CRUISE LINES
MISC. CARGO ETC.
WEATHER SHIPS (BRITISH & NORTH AMERICAN)
RADIO OFFICER NOSTALGIA
R/O GALLERY
FOUR YEARS OF FUN WITH ANCHOR LINE by Ian Walker
"A SEAGOING SAGA" - Trevor Inman
ALAN SHARD - WARTIME MN REMINISCENCES
CAPT'N PETER ASHCROFT, EXPLOITS OF
SEA STORIES & OTHERS
AIME'S STORY & PICTORIALS
MEMOIRS OF A RADIO OFFICER
RELATED SITES

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aureol.jpg

The former Elder Dempster liner AUREOL (1951/14,083 grt) - seen here at Southampton towards the end of
her career. Since her sale in 1974 she served as the accommodation ship MARIANNA VI based at Jeddah
and then was ultimately laid up at Eleusis Bar near Piraeus.

edroutes.jpg

auriollivpl.jpg
Courtesy A.J. Barratt - SM SEP/02

Above, AUREOL berthing at Liverpool Landing Stage shortly after delivery from Alexander Stephen & Sons Ltd in 1951.

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Courtesy A.J. Barratt - SM SEP/02

APAPA (1947/11,607 grt) at the Liverpool Landing Stage with an I.O.M. steamer astern.

calabar.jpg
Courtesy A.J.Barratt - SM Sep/2002

CALABAR (8,305 grt.1936) was used on the Tilbury to West Africa service between 1957 and 1962.

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Courtesy Paul Boot - SM MAY/89

The name Elder Dempster was linked with the West African trade for well over a century - until 1969 when its title, Elder Dempster Lines, and its final ship were sold to a Belgian concern, the CMB.

The first of its post-war new buildings entered service in 1947 and she introduced a pattern to which, in general, most subsequent designs conformed. Details excepted, their layout was so similar that when one ship was seen alone it was often difficult to determine the class to which she belonged.

As a result of the Kylsant crash in 1931, Elder Dempster Lines was managed by Alfred Holt until January 1944. Pre-eminent in all the trade routes into British Colonial West Africa, 'Elders' had a fleet which was tailored to operate into ports that were as unlikely as they were unsophisticated. Three ports in the River Niger's delta were reached by crossing a sand bar and a labyrinth of channels through mangrove swamps. So under developed were most of the West African ports that Elders, through their shore agency network, provided everything from lighterage to stevedoring and even navigational buoyage.

By the summer of 1945 only 8 deep sea ships of the 1939 fleet were left and all five passenger-carrying mail ships had gone. By 1949 Elder's fleet was back to its 1939 size. ACCRA(III) and APAPA (III) were brand new passenger (428)/cargo ships (7,110dwt) ships for the then three weekly mailboat schedule between Liverpool and Lagos, and a third, AUREOL, was being built on the Clyde.

The advent of the Fourah Bay Class of 1961-64 represented the end of an era, that of the conventionally-shaped cargo liner; those which followed having more efficient but graceless shapes.

obuasi.jpg
Courtesy James Cowden Collection - SMAPRIL/97

The OBUASI, above, was built by Harland & Wolff in 1952. In the Kylsant era (1909-1931) Elder Dempsters had pioneered deep sea-going diesel engines for for OBUASI, engineering director Alan Bennett having decided that a five-cylinder B&W single acting two stroke should be installed; it produced 3,750bhp and a service speed of 13 knots.

OBUASI was not committed to a designated route in the pooled services of Elder Dempster-Palm Line-Guinea Gulf's fleets; she was programmed into sailings as cargoes needed to be moved. This meant that the cadets found themselves on OBUASI, heading for the USA from West Africa and back to the 'Coast'. OBUASI's older sister was ONITSHA which, with a 150-ton heavy lift derrick-primarily for lifting railway locomotives-was unique; the younger exact sister was OWERRI (1954) followed by OTI(1955) and ONDO(1956), the latter pair being built without passenger accommodation and thus with a superstructure one deck lower.

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FOURAH BAY - Courtesy James Cowden Collection - SM APRIL/97

FOURAH BAY was a significant development for Elder's cargo-carrying fleet. She was designed by George Hunter and once again showed how changing trade patterns affected the shape of ships. Not only had Elders invented their own innovations, namely inert gas fire extinguishing (ONDO) and recirculatory heating systems for vegetable oils, (EGORI, 1957), but they used others too. FOURAH BAY had an aluminium superstructure and three bi-pod masts.

The "F" class vessels, of which FOURAH BAY belonged, had been designed to fit into the 'South Coast' trade, that which saw Matadi in ZAIRE, and Lobito in Angola, as terminal ports. Cargoes of zinc and copper ingots were handled through wide hatches. FOURAH BAY was followed into service by FALABA(II), FULANI(IV), FORCADOS(IV), FREETOWN(II) and FIAN. In just fourteen years inflation had seen OBUASI built for 700,000 pounds, contrasting with FIAN which cost 2.2M.

On FOURAH BAY the cadets' two berth cabins were in the centre-castle on the port side. Their dinghies were on the after end of the boat deck.

swedru.jpg
Courtesy Laurence Dunn - SM FEB/98

The company's post-war building programme started with the 'S' class, the SWEDRU (1947/4,809grt) being one of six motorships which had a listed speed of 12 knots and an overall length of 408ft. Others in this series were the SHERBRO, SALAGA, SHONGA, SEKONDI and SULIMA. Five of these went to the Guinea Gulf Line in 1965, the sixth in 1982. Distinguishing features were the open base to the massive centrecastle and the presence of three hatches between the forecastle and bridge.

eboe.jpg
Courtesy Laurence Dunn - SM FEB/98

The EBOE (above) 1952/9357grt, and her sister EBANI were 16 knot, 12 passenger ships with a difference having been designated for use between South and West African ports and North America. Their main recognition feature was the long bridge deck which extended aft to the mainmast.

As with many, a fore topmast was repositioned by the funnel. The EBOE served the company for 25 years before being sold.

onitsha.jpg
Courtesy Laurence Dunn - SM FEB/98

The ONITSHU above (1952/5,802grt) and OBUASI (also 1952) headed a group of five, all built at Belfast, which had a listed speed of 12.5 knots, a length of 450ft and a light draught of only 23ft. Three others, the OWERRI, OTI, and ONDO, which followed 1955-56, differed only in having a fractionally greater beam. The ONDO came to an untimely end by grounding off the German coast in 1961, but the others remained with the company until 1972

patani.jpg
PATANI - Courtesy Laurence Dunn - SM FEB/98

The PATANI (1954/6,181) and PERANG (1955) were built on the Clyde and North-East coast respectively. They too were 450ft in length but with a dw tonnage of 10,000, needed more water, their draught being 26ft. Obvious recognition features were the heavy hull lines, deep cruiser stern and low crosstrees. Brian Dickson (Guest Book entry) sailed as engineer with E.D. and mentions that the masts were telescopic and the funnels had a removeable section to facilitate shipment through the Manchester Ship Canal.
They were certainly not the most handsome vessels in the fleet and, like so many, were sold in 1970.

egori.jpg
EGORI - Courtesy Laurence Dunn - SM FEB/98

The EGORI (1957/8,506 was a one-off, but had hull dimensions, speed and machinery similar to the EBOE and, like her, was designed for trans-Atlantic service. Noteworthy in being the first Elder Dempster ship to have bipod masts, she had other distinctive features - in the pronounced sheer right forward, short centrecastle and very sloping cruiser stern. Kept for 21 years, she saw brief service as the AZIZ before being broken up.

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DEGEMA - Courtesy Laurence Dunn - SM FEB/98

The DEGEMA (1959/5,902) was the second of a faster (14-knot) class of six, the others being the DARU (1958), DIXCOVE, DUNKWA, DEIDO and DUMURRA. All had a length of 460ft and a draught of just over 26ft. The three later ships were given slightly more beam, their breadth being 63 ft. The ships came from several yards, hence minor variations in detail. The DEGEMA is shown after she had been given heavier kingposts aft. All were sold 1979-81.

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FIAN Courtesy Laurence Dunn - SM FEB/98

The FIAN (1964/6,783) which rounded off the six-ship FOURAH BAY Class, was the final conventionally shaped cargo liner to be delivered to Elder Dempster. Others in this 16 knot group were the FOURAH BAY (1961), FALABA, FORCADOS, FULANI, and FREETOWN. Ships of just over 8,100 tons dw, they were 465ft in length and had a modest draught of some 25ft.

As was then customary, they had a black forcastle and poop and a signal mast stepped conveniently close to the bridge. Most of these ships were sold in the late 1970s and by 1985 the FIAN had gone to the breakers.

The progressive merger of Elder Dempster's sea staff and Blue Funnel's to become a common manning force meant that the need for two cadet ships, in times of a changing syllabus, became superfluous. From 1973 onwards, with the transfer of AUREOL to a singleton service between Southampton and Lagos, the Polish-built New 'S' Class took over the scheduled services.

The story ended with the advent of seven 'M' class ships which came from the parent Blue Funnel fleet. These were the MENELAUS (1977/16,031), MEMNON, MELAMPUS and MENESTHEUS which had been built in Japan and the Clyde built MARON (1980/16,482). All 18 knot ships of around 21,000 tons dw, they were 539ft in length. The MARON, like the rest, was frequently chartered out and finally disposed of in 1987; by 1990 the rest had gone to new owners.

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"DIXCOVE" Courtesy Ray Simes

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