Panama Canal transit
THE LIBERTY SHIP – IVYBANK
This is an interesting first hand account of life as an Apprentice in the 1950’s. Told by Captain Blowers who served his time with Bank Line. The intro only is shown here. (For the full story please click on the orange download button at the end)
A Mystery Voyage with the Bank Line:
Having spent three years at the London Nautical School and after taking the General Certificate of Education in six subjects, including Navigation and Seamanship, the next step was to go to sea. It was first necessary to pass a full medical examination and eyesight test. To avoid oil tankers and experience worldwide trading, I signed indentures in 1955 at the age of 16 with Andrew Weir’s Bank Line and joined, as the junior of three apprentices, a brand-new ship M.V. Foylebankat Harland & Wolf’s shipyard in Belfast for a five-month trip to U.S. Gulf ports, Australia, South Sea Islands and home. When we were in Houston, Texas, we were berthed next to an old Bank Line Liberty ship (generally referred to as Sam boats) the Ivybank, loading a similar assortment of cargo for Australia. We exchanged visits and their junior apprentice went back along the quay crying after seeing our new and much nicer accommodation and facilities. I wrote to my parents that “the ship (Ivybank) was the worst I had ever seen. It was absolutely filthy and the quarters were just shocking. I hope I never see her again in my lifetime.”
So, you can imagine my thoughts, when after three weeks leave over the New Year period 1955/56, I received orders to take the train to Hull and join the S.S. Ivybank,that had followed us back from Australia with a bulk cargo of ore of some kind. On the train I met two of the other apprentices joining, the 18-year-old senior apprentice, Terry, was an old London Nautical School boy, as also was the first trip junior apprentice, Tony, an old form-mate who had stayed on at school for an extra 6 months. The second apprentice, John from Dover, joined later and was a year senior to me. The overnight (non-sleeper) train arrived in Hull at about 5am and we had to kick our heels in the cold until 7am when the nearby seamen’s club opened so that we could get a hot drink and some breakfast As soon as they opened for the day we made the required visit to the company’s agent in the fabulously named “Land of Green Ginger” where we were given the location of our ship and found her high out of the water with a perilously steep gangway to lug up all our gear. The joining date was 18th January 1956.
BALTIC COMET was built at Rendsburg, Germany in 1954. Sister of the BALTIC CLIPPER. Ran to the Mediterranean for 12 years in conjunction with SLOMAN, Hamburg. Sold to Pakistani owners in 1966 when she became the PASNI. In 1977 changed hands again , becoming the SEAMOON 1 under Bangladesh owners, and ended her days at Chittagong in 1982.
The OLIVEBANK (24,270 DWT) on the SAFBANK service . 17 kts, and with 536 teu capacity.
In 1993 refitted to carry another 96 teu and accommodation altered to carry 10 passengers.
Built in 1977 in Tonsberg and given a 7 cylinder B & W Diesel engine – single screw. Built for the French line Chargeurs Reuins S.A. as NARA.
FOYLEBANK – A birthday at sea..
The ex Russian (Finnish built) FOYLEBANK had capacity for 576 teu’s, and was purchased by the Bank Line in 1995 and fitted out with some passenger cabins. She was then placed on the S. Pacific services.
The birthday card above was drawn by the second Mate, Gareth Armstrong, to mark the birthday of Robbie MacKenzie, the Master’s wife, who has kindly agreed to share it with readers.
Views of the LAGANBANK
Loading sulphur in Mexico 1961 ( Courtesy of https://banklinenostalgia.com)
The IVYBANK plus 2 FLEETBANK class vessels from the 1970’s. The BEAVERBANK, and NESSBANK
The SURAT was purchased from James Nourse where she was the BETWA for 10 years. The long hatch at No3 was designed for locomotives for India. Bank Line service was from 1927 to 1935.
The TEAKBANK at Colombo early 1960’s
A closed shelter deck design built in 1958 Sold out of the fleet in 1975 when she became the NEWTON. Photo courtesy of Charlie Stitt and his site. See https://banklinenostalgia.com
The Teakbank was my home for a series of voyages World Wide that over a period over Two years of my life during which time I served as 2nd and 1st Mate on this fine vessel.
Posted by Mike Lindsell
The TESTBANK with open hatches…. 1961 built at Doxford’s. sold 1978 to Greek interests..
The first TESTBANK built in 1937 and lost in WW2 when a liberty ship exploded close by in port in 1943.
THE SKELETON COAST
Bank Line navigators will remember the infamous stretch of coast just round the corner from Cape Town heading North, with a grim warning on the Admiralty charts about shifting sands..
Here is an interesting original article complete with photos written by an ex Bank Line man. To read the whole article please click on the orange download button. Happy reading!
See https://oceanjoss for more material…..
An old Bank Line steamer from 1920 – the ELVERIC
She started the USA – S.Africa service in 1928.
Location? Anyone? My (pure) guess – Las Palmas
The interesting history of the BALTRAFFIC, built in Sunderland at the end of WW1. She was the WAR COPPICE ordered by the government and unwanted as the war ended, so sold to the French government who named her NORD. A year later they sold her to a Lorient based company who fitted her out as a reefer vessel and named her ( imaginatively?) REFRIGERANT. Much later in April 1933 she was sold to UBC and named BALTRAFFIC. During WW2 she went down to New Zealand for the duration of the war and returned to Europe in 1946 resuming her trade on the Baltic run. In 1952 at the age of 34 she was sold to a Pakistani company who named her SAFINA-E-TARIQ and who traded her for 4 more years. Broken up in Karachi in 1956 after 38 years afloat.
In the fleet from 1963 to 1979 when she became the Greek EVOICOS GULF for 6 more years.
The world of model making (some samples)
Views of the 1958 TEAKBANK
Built 1958 and sold 1975 . She had a further 4 years under the Liberian flag as the NEWTON. Scrapped in 1979 Calcutta.
UNITED BALTIC and MACANDREWS & Co.Ltd
The 1938 POZARICA, received an aerial torpedo while on convoy duties in January 1943.
An interesting article follows. Please click on the red download button
Note:(UBC 50% owned by Andrew Weir & Co. and MACANDREWS a 100% subsidiary of UBC.)
See https://oceanjoss.com for more from the author
The RIVERBANK, NORTHBANK,GARRYBANK, and ASHBANK during the heyday of Bankline Ltd.
The Lovely 1924 BALTAVIA
Built as ” CITY OF PANAMA” for Pacific Mail S.S. and built in Gothenburg. Served for 20 years from 1937 to 1957 for UBC, the Bank Line sister company owned 50% by Andrew Weir
Booth Line – A Liverpool Legend
The Booth Line passanger vessel HILLARY pictured in the Mersey in the 1950’s
An interesting article about the Booth Line by an ex Bank Line man. Liverpool and the Mersey were both to play a big part in any Bank Line career, and it was home to many famous companies such as the Booth Line.
Click on the download button to read the whole article. More at https://oeanjoss.com
Featuring the 1966 NAIRNBANK
and in another life as GULF HAWK…….
Paintings of Bank Line ships seen on an auction site
No identification so far… Anyone?
Built in the new Pallion yard of Sunderland Shipbuilders in 1976. Sold out of the fleet in 1983, and became the ELLI. Later names were IRENE and NINI. Scrapped in 1999
The 1926 built SPRINGBANK converted for war use. See the models below…
Models by “Junglecat”
See ‘SPRINGBANK’ entries elsewhere on this site…
For more interesting maritime material see https://junglecat.de
This vessel was in the Bank Line fleet from 1990 to 1999 when she was scrapped. Previously had been chartered for a short spell. Had a few different names and owners in her time afloat from 1977 to 1999.
The real vessel… Models kindly sent by ‘Junglecat’ . See the interesting website at https://junglecat.de
FIRBANK – Lead ship of a massive 21 ship order
Myself as C/O of the SOUTHBANK in 1960 with the Lascar deck crew. The men either side of me claimed to be graduates, needing to work as seamen. Serang on the extreme left.
This is an old 1937 wage and provision scale for Lascar Seamen. Water may have been stipulated ” as required” but it was under strict lock and key for issue twice per day!
The Serang and the Chinese ‘ Chippy’
Another of Charlie Stitt’s pictures. This one is the Inverbank in the Panama Canal circa 1962/3
I did a fantastic 20 month trip as 2nd Mate on this fine vessels maiden voyage. A very happy ship with a great bunch of lads. Master Capt John Kemp MBE. Mate Carl Jacobs. C/E Joe Hanover. 2/E Jim Cairns. She was one of the first Bankline ships with the new P type engine so had a few teething problems which kept the Engineers busy. but as professionals, they took it in their stride. Happy Days.
The 1962 FORRESBANK loading copra at Honiara in the Solomon Islands in 1966
Photo courtesy of Charlie Stitt ( c/o on board) and his website https://banklinenostalgia.com
Is it 1937 in Belfast, or 1965 in Sunderland?? The accommodation says it is the earlier one but not 100% sure. Anyone? ( The Union Jack flying could indicate Belfast)
(click on ‘ view all comments ‘ below.)
ASHBANK at CAPETOWN
A lovely photo of the ASHBANK at Capetown.
Completed in 1959 in Belfast and one of the 17 ship order starting with the CLOVERBANK. She was sold out of the fleet in 1976. Ended her days wrecked on the Spanish coast in 1983 when being towed for scrap.
INVERBANK (built 1963) discharging phosphate at Albany, West.Australia in 1965
Pic courtesy of Charlie Stitt and https://banklinenostalgia.com
A lovely evocative scene in the river at Chalna with gunny bales on deck… Another Bank Line ship in the distance..
Picture courtesy of Peter Howells and https://banklinenostalgia.com