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Monday, 19 April 2010

A.A. COWAN

Ship No 242

Was an order from United Africa Co (which became part of the giant Unilever Co) for a twin screw motor cargo vessel of 295 tons. She had a length overall of 125 feet with a beam of 24 feet, designed for trade along the African coast carrying Palm Oil. She was launched from the yard on 1st of December 1937.

United Africa Company.A brief history -
Palm Line London had its beginings with the United Africa Co,a shipping subsidiary of Lever Brothers - Unilever Ltd..

By 1910 William Lever was well known in the soap industry..Having to buy supplies of palm oil from third parties he bought two established palm tree plantations in Nigeria and in 1911 he expanded the business into the Belgian Congo..Deciding to carry his own cargoes he bought a small shipping company,H.Watson & Co of Manchester..In 1916 he formed the Bromport Steamship Co with eight ships.

Before the war ended,four ships were sunk by enemy action.

In 1920 the Niger Company was purchased and in 1923 the remaining four ships were sold to Royal Mail Lines..

In 1925 William Lever died.

In 1929 the Niger Company merged with the African & Eastern Trade Corporation who owned ships and United Africa Company was founded..

A few months later the company merged with the Dutch Margarine Union.

The eventual formation of Palm Line was the result of these mergers.

Early 1930s,seven second hand ships were purchased to expand the fleet.

Unilever had large amounts of money in Germany and could not transfer it to Britain. The money could however,be used to build ships in Germany so Unilever ordered seven cargo ships and a tanker in 1934 and all were delivered by 1937.

GUINEAN - LIBERIAN -NIGERIAN - LEONIAN - ETHIOPIAN - GAMBIAN - TAKORADIAN cargo,and CONGONIAN tanker...

GAMBIAN and TAKORADIAN entered Dakar for bunkers on 5th July 1940, a few days after the collapse of France and they were seized by the Vichy regime and handed over to Germany.

They were returned to UAC at end of the war..

At start of hostilities in 1939, United Africa Company owned 16 ships and during the war 9 were sunk..3 ships were built for UAC during the war.

On 16th February 1949 a meeting of shareholders voted to rename the company Palm Line..

At that time they owned 15 deep sea ships.

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