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Friday, 24 September 2010


(photo by Vic Young, passing Wellington Heads)
Ship No 488

LIGAR BAY was the third of such vessels built by Henry Robb, she was another bulk cement carrier ordered by Tarakohe shipping Co Ltd, of New Zealand.

She was a twin screw diesel electric bulk carrier, a little bit smaller then the John Wilson built previously at 1330 tons, she had a length between perpendiculars of 210 feet with a beam of 38 feet and a design draught of 16 feet.

She was launched from Leith Shipyards on 10th of October 1964.

Although a fine looking ship, she was as you will see from the following short extract from a story by her ex-2nd engineer Tony Skilton a bit of a handful in heavy sea conditions and she did have a few design faults.

The Vessel was driven by twin totally-enclosed propulsion motors, but had only a single rudder, so steered like an absolute pig (from personal experience!). The distance from Wellington to Tarakohe is 120 n miles, but the log always showed 130+ miles because of the wandering about.

Due to it’s short funnel, main engine exhaust fumes were frequently in the accommodation when the winds were from the wrong direction. I can recall being sick a lot on the ship because of the fumes.

When in ballast, this ship usually developed a vicious roll in beam seas. So bad that one night off Karori Light, the snap roll back the other way broke off the top 8 feet of the mast. The missing part was replaced at the next dry docking, but when again snapped off, we didn’t bother replacing it.
The engine room and control flat layout was very well done – everything always seemed to be found in a ‘logical’ location. Except for those bloody V4 Paxman generators! Somebody should have ripped them out very early in the piece.

You can read a lot more of Tony’s adventures on the New Zealand Bulk Cement Carriers on the new website to be released soon.

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