A FLEETBANK Copra run
Grateful thanks to Peter Ferrer who has sent in the following pictures and details of his voyage as second apprentice on the FLEETBANK way back in the 1960’s!
2nd Trip Details on M.V. Fleetbank Apprentice P G Ferrer
Below are the details of a typical copra run when I was 2nd apprentice. I didn’t take many notes but did record all the crew, ports, distances etc which are shown below. Digital cameras were not invented and as an apprentice money was short, so taking pictures was at a premium. Many accounts have been written of the Copra run and mine was no different, but Washington Island and Christmas Island were an experience not to be forgotten.
The view from the remote Washington Island. The stranded SOUTHBANK in the foreground with the FLEETBANK standing off.
Southbank wreck on Washington Island
A distant view of the stranded and wrecked SOUTHBANK on Washington Island 1965. Taken from the FLEETBANK – photo courtesy of Peter Ferrer
A full account of the tragedy with pictures can be seen on this site ( search for Southbank)
The wreck shortly after grounding
Pictures courtesy of https://redensignships.co.uk
The 1964 built Hazelbank. The last name she sailed under was Golden Singapore.
Grateful thanks to https://redensignships.co.uk
Bank Line ship art……
A parade (click on the arrows)
Thanks to https://junglecat.de for his paintings
Group photos from years gone by….
Group photos from the sailing era….
Books as Xmas presents……
About the Bank Line……
” Merchant Navy Apprentice 1951-1955″
” Any Budding Sailors”
Available from AMAZON
(Use arrows below – left or right – to scroll through the last 100 posts – enjoy the trip!)
Places we visited….
Kobe was a regular call for Bank Line vessels
The ‘old’ ERNEBANK visited Kobe with bagged sugar for discharge
The Kobe, or Great Hanshin, earthquake struck in the pre-dawn hours of January 17, 1995, with a magnitude of 7.3 near the city of Kobe, about 350 km (210 miles) southwest of Tokyo. It killed more than 6,400 people. Damage was estimated at $100 billion.
Pictures of the modern port
See the book below. Available on Amazon
“Merchant Navy Apprentice 1951-1955”
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This is a list of some earlier posts in a random order. Just click on the heading and download any to read.
- “Any Budding Sailors” is an ebook. (Also in print) This is an account of life in the iconic Bank Line in the 1950’s and much more.
- “Merchant Navy Apprentice – 1951-1955”.
- 1909 Levernbank enquiry
- 1950’s Bank Line
- 1950’s snapshots
- 2020 CALENDAR
- A Bank Line inspired Poem
- A Liberty Ship Apprentice (Article)
- A Voyage around the world in Coronation Year 1953 in M.V. Ernebank. ( An article that can be downloaded)
- About the site…..Much of the content is Bankline history
- About this site …….
- An IRISBANK voyage in the 1950’s
- APPRENTICE INDENTURES FROM 1950. (See first year pay of £55) offer of an apprentceship and a and list of kit to purchase…..
- Article re ” A Bank Line Voyage”
- Bank Line 1885-1985
- Bank Line House magazines
- Bank Line People
- BANK LINE’S ” White Ships”
- Bank Line’s South Sea Adventure
- Bank Lines love affair with the Pacific Islands..
- Beaverbank – one that got away!
- BELFAST SHIP RECORDS
- Blue Plaque project
- Book Treats -Maritime +
- Books for sale
- Books for sale.
- British-Mexican Petroleum Co Ltd. (Andrew Weir Managers)
- Click the Q symbol to SEARCH
- Cloverbank 1980
- Compliments card….
- Contact info…
- Corabank, and the Liberty ship story.
- Forresbank Enquiry
- Foylebank in WW2
- How to browse the site
- Inchanga Days – An article about Bank Line’s ‘white ships’
- India/Africa service vessels with passengers and cargo…… (see ” Inchanga Days”, an article about life on board in 1952)
- Interesting Web Sites
- Inver Tankers Ltd
- Kelvinbank – First Trip
- LINDENBANK LOSS 1975. (Loss report in full)
- M.V. Southbank – Washington Island and Press cuttings from the time…
- M.V. Springbank
- M.V. Testbank
- MARITIME BLOG – Random thoughts on Maritime History, or today’s events………………
- Maritime reading
- MASTER AT LAST…
- Meadowbank loaded down
- MOVE CURSOR OVER THE HEADINGS HERE TO SEE A LIST OF ITEMS FOR SELECTION
- Pages and Posts
- PHOTO FEAST – Images from the Maritime world
- Poems about the Bank Line experience
- Projects and Events
- Sailing Ship Cedarbank Crew
- Sailing Ship Fleet
- Sailing ship Olivebank in 1898
- Sailing Ship Stories
- Sailing ship, Isle of Arran. Purchased in 1895 and served 20 years in Andrew Weir’s. Captured and sunk by a U boat in 1917.
- Sea Chest
- SHIP ART
- SHIP SHOWCASE
- ship showcase………
- Sibonga Rescue 1979
- SIBONGA RESCUE REUNION
- SITE MAINTENANCE DONATIONS MOST WELCOME!
- SOME OTHER CLASSIC SHIPS ……
- Southbank and her Sisters (published article)
- The Engine Room
- The Log Of Davy Jones
- The Pilot
- The Ship List – Bankline early ships and their fate…….
- The TRENTBANK loss…
- Thornliebank – suffered the worst fate in WW2. Torpedoed when full of ammunition in 1941 and blew up killing all on board.
- Trentbank Video
- VERSE of the Sea
- Vintage Group photos from earlier times…
- Welcome to Bank Line Plus…………
First trip Fleetbank….
This true account kindly submitted by Peter Ferrers who joined the Fleetbank as an Apprentice in May 1964.
The FLEETBANK was one of the highly successful ‘ Copra’ vessels serving for 17 years. Usually, but not always, voyages lasted around 5 months loading from US Gulf ports for Australasia and returning home through the Pacific islands with Copra. The programming of vessels in the Bank Line was always subject to change and for those onboard this meant a level of uncertainty and some curiosity re the length of voyage and the itinerary.
click on the link to download
For an even earlier account from the 1950’s see the book, ” Merchant Navy Apprentice 1951 – 1955″ available from Amazon as either an e book or a printed version.
There were record viewings last week…. See the statistics below.
Built in 1959, the ASHBANK became the NEWCREST in 1976.
Here is a fascinating article about the Australian paddle steamers, written and edited by Geoffrey Walker.
Please click on the red download button to see the whole thing.
See the details of what was interesting last week……
Note: All of the downloads are articles by Geoff Walker – see https://oceanjoss.com
Vagaries of a first Command
Geoffrey Walker has kindly submitted the following article detailing the ‘ups and downs’ of serving as Master on deepsea vessels. Geoffrey commenced his sea-going career in the 1960’s in the Bank Line.
Click on the link to download and read the full account
The author of the article maintains a maritime site, full of interest at https://oceanjoss.com
The Auxilliary cruiser Michel
Read the interesting story of a war-time raider!
Written by Geoff Walker. His Maritime site can be viewed at https://oceanjoss.com
The link to the full article is above
See Bank Line ebooks to buy with paypal at https://payhip.com/fairwinds. Printed versions on Amazon.
The 1961 Doxford built TESTBANK
John I Jacobs & Co Ltd – London
An interesting and original article written and edited by Geoffrey Walker. See his speciality maritime site at https://oceanjoss.com
The whole article may be read by downloading – click the link above
Christmas is approaching -Bank Line ebooks are at https://payhip.com/fairwinds
A slide show featuring Pikebank,Tenchbank, Roachbank, Dacebank, Ruddbank, Troutbank. Please use the arrows to see the images…
The newly formed Sunderland Shipbuilders completed all 6 of the ‘ Fish’ class Bank Line vessels in 1979. They were purchased in turbulant times, as the rush to containers challenged the whole industry. Designed with the maximum flexibility for the rather unique trades of the company, they were a partial success. Most stayed 8 years before being sold on.
SIBONGA ( The Bank Line FIRBANK on charter)
Vietnamese refugees on the stern of the Sibonga in 1979. Arriving HK with 1002 persons onboard
Court Line Ltd
The Errington Court was the Empire Favour
( The Bank Line Empire Franklin was renamed Hazelbank)
Click on the link to see the whole article
This original article written and edited by Geoff Walker whose site https://oceanjoss.com has more…
Bank Line ebooks are at https://payhip.com/fairwinds
Click on the download button above to read the full article
An original, unpublished article about the history and vessels of the Austasia Line, centered on Singapore.
Please see Geoff Walker’s own maritime site at https://oceanjoss.com. Many interesting postings of stories, paintings, and sea related memorabilia
Life in the Bank Line throughout the 1950’s is the subject of a book called, ” Merchant Navy Apprentice 1951-1955″ available on Amazon or directly from – payhip.com
IMO7422740.Built 1977 for Bank Line Ltd, (A. Weir & Co. Ltd ), London, by Sunderland Ship Builders Ltd, Pallion yard, Sunderland. grt 11,173, dwt 16,875, spd 17 knts, General Cargo. 1981 Sold to Buckingham Maritime Corporation, Piraeus renamed ALKAIOS. 1994 Renamed GEORGE. 24-3-2000 Broken up at Alang.
The Nessbank held the record for the shortest time in the fleet for a new building, just 4 years.
The last of a 21 ship order! – The ex SPRUCEBANK, seen as the BRISTOL around 1980.
Places we visited…
now Banjul, Gambia
Bathurst was a fairly regular stop for Bank Line vessels discharging around Africa.
The ‘old’ Irisbank was there in 1956 when there was a change of officers, the new arrivals came out on a Viking aircraft, and those leaving spent 2 days returning on the same aircraft, stopping overnight in Gibraltar.
Banjul, formerly (until 1973) Bathurst, city, capital, and Atlantic port of The Gambia, on St. Mary’sIsland, near the mouth of the Gambia River. It is the country’s largest city. It was founded in 1816, when the British Colonial Office ordered Captain Alexander Grant to establish a military post on the river to suppress the slave trade and to serve as a trade outlet for merchants ejected from Senegal, which had been restored to France. Grant chose Banjul Island (ceded by the chief of Kombo) as the site, which he renamed St. Mary’s. He named the new settlement for Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst, then colonial secretary. It became the capital of the British colony and protectorate of Gambia and after 1947 was governed by a town council. With The Gambia’s independence in 1965, the town was granted city status and became the national capital. The name was changed to Banjul in 1973.
The present airport. In 1956 it was a shed affair with a metal mesh runway.
See the book, ” Merchant Navy Apprentice 1951-1955″ for accounts of voyages back then
Joining in the 1950’s
By Alan Rawlinson
It doesn’t seem so long ago,
the winches hissing and clanking in the snow.
There’s a lovely smell of warmed up oil and steam,
and Copra’s spread there, on the beams.
Hoses, cables, boards, and battens,
are strewn around in random patterns.
There was nothing like a Bank Line ship,
home at last, from a 2 year trip.
See the cabins, glossy white,
narrow bunks with quilts tucked tight,
Then comes the tea, thick and treackly,
brought by stewards, ever so meekly.
So, an alien world, but let it be known,
some of us, – we called it home!
The analysis shows the popularity of the articles received from Geoff Walker and downloaded from this site… His own site is https://oceanjoss.com
Places we visited…
Adelaide was a popular call for Bank Line ships going back to the 1800’s and the sailing era. Approaching Port Adelaide by rounding Kangaroo Island was a notable event.
The FORTHBANK visited Adelaide many times
A view of the port between the wars
Places we visited..
Trinidad, Point Fortin, was a regular call for outbound Bank Line ships loading bitumen drums for Australa or NZ ports. It was the first foreign port for the author asa first trip apprentice on the FORTHBANK in 1951
Loading took place at anchor offshore, and trips ashore to the Shell club usually were enabled. First foreign port for a first tripper left everlasting memories. The Cicadas at night making their loud racket, and the calm of the morning at anchor without a sound and the sea like glass. It was magical.
More accounts of Bank Line voyages can be read in the book, ” Voyaging with Icons”
Many Bank Line folk will remember seeing the Palm Line vessels on the West African Coast with their distinctive funnel sporting a palm. Here is an article summarising the fleet, and kindly submitted by Captain Geoffrey Walker in Melbourne. He has a fascinating Maritime site at https://oceanjoss.com
To read the full article, please click on the download button above.
A book about the Bank Line experience is called, ” Merchant Navy Apprentice 1951-1955″. It is available in print or as an ebook via Amazon.
A great view of the foredeck on the old timer – FLEETBANK. Not a container in sight! These decks, usually Oregon pine, were a sheathing over steel. When holystoned, and wet with spray, they glistened in the sun. In port they often took a beating – gouged and chewed up by beams being crashed down, and sometimes stained with cargoes like bitumen or oil, but somehow the appearance always recovered.
Photo kindly supplid by Peter Ferrer who was onboard the Fleetbank
The 1964 HAZELBANK
A nice view of the Belfast built HAZELBANK with her workboat in the foreground.
Photo courtesy of Peter Ferrer who was 2/0 onboard at the time
King Line Ltd
(click on the link to download)
An article re the ‘King Line’, penned by the author Captain Geoffrey Walker . His website, https://oceanjoss.com has an interesting variety of Maritime postings.
Books on the Bank Line include:
” Voyaging with Icons”
” Any Budding Sailors”, and,
” Merchant Navy Apprentice 1951-1955″
This is a photo of the FIRBANK, on charter to East Asiatic Co who gave her their SIBONGA name for the term of the charter. Vietnamese refugees cram the stern, after being picked up in the China sea from boats in distress. She is approaching Hong Kong harbour, and the year is 1979.
See the viewings for last week… ( scroll down)
The Bank Line ‘ White Ship’ INCHANGA in the river Hooghly
Fleets we knew..
Stag Line was one of the many British shipping companies on the world maritime stage during the pre-container era.
The following article has been penned by the maritime author, Geoff Walker whose own website ( https://oceanjoss.com) is an interesting collection of all things maritime.
Click on the link to download and read
Some books with Bank Line content are called:
” Any Budding Sailors?”
” Merchant Navy Apprentice 1951-1955″
” Voyaging with Icons”
All available from Amazon online.
Places we visited …
Luanda, the capital of Angola was a discharge port for Indian gunnies among other cargoes. The large Portugese style city was a treat after other more remote ports.
See ” Voyaging with Icons” for a description of life travelling the world in the Bank Line
Places we visited..
The Inchanga (above) was in Beira , Mozambique, every few weeks on the India/Africa passenger service. Both loading and discharging was normal. In her day, it meant anchoring for longish periods in the river and suffering the heat and the Tstse flies while working as an apprentice. Today, a modern port offers berths alongside.,
A book titled, ” Voyaging with Icons” describes life on the Bank Line ships
The ‘ old’ Laganbank seen in the islands on the Copra run around 1960
Photo courtesy of MeWe and Charlie Stitt
Places we visited…
Hong Kong harbour saw many Bank Line ships come and go, occasionally just for a crew change. The stunning location was hard to beat, and ashore in the early days everything that jack tar could ever need was available with many bars and haunts offering a variety of food and drink. A couple of pics below capture the 1950’s scene – star ferry terminal and a busy street.
The book, ” Merchant Navy Apprentice 1951 – 1955″ is about life circling the world in the 1950’s.
Launched in May 1977, the RIVERBANK was the 8th vessel from a 12 ship order to Doxfords
She was sold after 6 years trading, and had a series of owners becoming the INDIANA, then the MANHATTAN, then,MARITSA PATARAS, then, SAINT JOHN, then,FRATZIS M, before being scrapped in 1999.
Places we visited.
Ports of New Guinea
Many Bank Line folk will have memories of the New Guinea ports, good or otherwise! The following comprehensive article was penned by the Maritime author, Captain Geoffrey Walker. Grateful thanks to him.
Press the Download button to read the article
Geoffrey’s book which is a memoir is called ” A Tramp for all the Oceans” See his site – https://oceanjoss.com to purchase
Places we visited..
Cotonou in Benin was a regular call for Bank Line ships discharging gunny bales from India. Back in the 1950/60’s dischaging was carried out to lighters out at anchor, but today there is a thriving port.
The Irisbank visited Cotonou several times
Cotonou is the economic center of Benin. Its official population count was 761,137 inhabitants in 2006; however, some estimates indicate its population to be as high as 2.4 million.
In addition to being Benin’s largest city, it is the seat of government, although Porto-Novo is the official capital.
The urban area continues to expand, notably toward the west. The city lies in the southeast of the country.