Friday, June 23, 2017
Edinburgh

I was most interested to read Captain Peter King’s letter about the Icelandic ship Hekla in the April 2017 edition of Sea Breezes, and the ship’s subsequent career as the Edinburgh owned by Premier Fishing of Cape Town and flying the flag of Belize.

In his letter, Capt King describes her as one of two mother ships for the lobster fishing fleet operating around Tristan da Cunha. This is indeed correct. However, I had a smile at his sentence in which he states “….. with tiers of lobster pots stacked high abaft the funnel where I had envisaged deck passengers 33 years earlier.” Capt King will be pleased to know that when the lobster fishing season is closed, the Edinburgh changes her role to become the “Tristan mail boat” and carries general cargo, mail and 12 passengers from Cape Town down to the island and back.

I had the good fortune to be Supernumerary Master of the Edinburgh in 2000 for such a run. The regular Master, Captain Peter Warren, was doing his last voyage before retiring and I went along to understudy him, with the intention that I should relieve him on conclusion of the voyage. Although I had never met him before, he and I had both served our time in Southern Steamships and thus immediately had something in common. This made for a good working relationship and I learnt a lot from him about the tricky conditions involved in working off the island.

She was a well appointed and handy little ship and took any heavy weather in her stride, so the voyage was a very pleasant one. The open deck behind the funnel was supplied with canvas deck chairs and here the passengers would gather in the lee of the funnel and deck house to catch the sun. Amongst the passengers for the outward voyage, was the headman of the island and his wife and, after anchoring off Edinburgh, he organised a quick run ashore for me. Although the island only has 12 kilometres of road, cars are very much a status symbol, and we were discharging two of them into a lighter. I was thus given a ride ashore on one of its trips.

It was a cold day, with occasional sleet, and after jumping ashore I found a deserted village of a mixture of modern bungalows and traditional stone houses. A walk along the High Street brought me to the administrative offices, which were standing wide open, but also deserted. A short walk further on and up above the jetty brought me to the edge of town where I encountered an elderly lady out on a walk. A friendly discussion revealed that all the inhabitants were gathered at the community centre to welcome the headman and his wife back home and I was very welcome to attend the party if I so wished. I declined with thanks and set off back down the road, where I then encountered a group of teenagers doing what all teenagers tend to do – chatting to the girls and having a surreptitious smoke. Apparently, not everyone was all that interested in welcoming the headman! By then, I was cold and miserable and returned to the ship after an extremely short, but interesting run ashore.

On discharging the general cargo, we then shifted ship to close in off the beach and started pumping fuel oil ashore and the above photo shows the ship engaged in this activity. On completion, we moved back to the vicinity of the jetty and commenced loading boxed lobster and scrap to be returned to the mainland. This was a touching time as we then embarked 12 new passengers for Cape Town and the ship was over-run by visitors coming aboard to see them off, and also to say farewell to Captain Warren who had served the island so favourably for a number of years. He was presented with a large number of personal gifts from some of his former passengers and island friends, as well as an official parchment of appreciation.

Amongst the new passengers was the local Anglican priest, Fr Bernie Wrankmore and his wife, who had completed their stint on the island and who were accompanied aboard by a large number of his parishioners. I knew him well as he was previously a well-liked padre at the Cape Town Missions to Seamen, before getting involved as an anti-apartheid activist. I have a strong suspicion that his subsequent posting to the island was probably to keep him out of further trouble. With the cargo loaded, we finally cleared all the visitors ashore and to the sound of much shouting, and not a few tears, weighed anchor and set off out to sea. I still have vivid memories of the people streaming back up off the jetty towards the town as their last contact with the mainland steamed away for at least another month.

The passage back was completed in record time as we had a strong following gale, which the little Edinburgh rode like a duck. This time there were no passengers on the after deck and the dining saloon became the place to be for cards, jigsaw puzzles and just good fellowship. Just before we got back to Cape Town, I received a message to join the diamond dredger Moonstar in Saldanha Bay as Master, and so my time in this little ship had been nothing more than a most interesting break. However, I was very touched to receive a beautifully woven and knotted ship’s bell rope as a present from the Master, plus a pocket of Tristan potatoes and a box of frozen fish from the ship’s company.

A few years later, in 2010, I was wandering around Cape Town Waterfront and, much to my surprise, came upon the Edinburgh in the Robinson dry dock. Like Capt King, I did not have the right gear to go aboard, but I was pleased to see her still in commission and, like Captain King, even more pleased to hear that even now she is still quietly going about her lawful occasions. There are some ships which are a joy to sail in and the Edinburgh, ex Hekla, was one of them.

CAPTAIN IVOR C LITTLE
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more letters, see the latest edition of Sea Breezes Magazine
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!

Safmarine Meru

Most Popular

  • 22 Die as Ore Carrier Sinks in South Atlantic +

  • HMS Westminster Returns to Service +

  • Denbighshire, My First Voyage (Part 2) +

  • Forces Respond to Bulk Carrier Pirate Attack +

  • Honoured for Rescue +

  • 1
  • 2

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • Pirate and Robbery Attacks on the Rise +

    Piracy Pirates and armed robbers attacked 43 ships and captured 58 seafarers in the first quarter of this year, slightly more Read More
  • FPSO Bound For The North Sea +

    Xin Guang Hua The semi-submersible heavy lift ship Xin Guang Hua, 84,239gt, of Cosco Shipping, China, arrived at Rotterdam on Apr 13 carrying Read More
  • Tyne-Built Icebreaker Marks 100 Years +

    Krasin One of the world’s most famous icebreakers celebrates 100 years since she was built on the Tyne. Read More
  • 22 Die as Ore Carrier Sinks in South Atlantic +

    Stellar Daisy Two crew members were rescued and 22 died after the South Korean ore carrier Stellar Daisy, 226,141dwt, sank in the Read More
  • Forces Respond to Bulk Carrier Pirate Attack +

    OS-35 The Tuvalu-registered bulk carrier OS 35, 35,362dwt, that was boarded by armed pirates in the Gulf of Aden was freed Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • New Staten Island Double-Enders +

    Staten Island Ferry New York City’s Department of Transportation has awarded the contract to construct three new 4,500-passenger ferries to Eastern Shipbuilding of Read More
  • First LNG Conro for Crowley +

    El Coqui VT Halter Marine launched the first of Crowley’s Commitment-class con-ros with delivery of the lead vessel, El Coqui, expected later Read More
  • Who Needs Tugs +

    SS Keewatin With a bollard pull of 851 people, SS Keewatin was towed to her new berth in in Port McNicoll, Canada Read More
  • Goodbye to “Big E” (For Now) +

    USS Enterprise The world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and only ship of her class, USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was decommissioned on 3 February Read More
  • Business is Good on the Panama Canal +

    Panama Canal Seven months after the beginning of operations, 2017 is off to a strong start as January 2017 saw the Panama Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Asia-Pacific

  • Navy Leads Response To Fire On Container Ship +

    MSC Daniela The Sri Lanka Navy led the response after a fire broke out on the container ship MSC Daniela, 151,559gt, of Read More
  • Honoured for Rescue +

    Coment Ace The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) recognised the master and crew of the Japan-managed car carrier Comet Ace, 36,615gt, for Read More
  • Last Hanjin Ship Sold For Breaking Up +

    Hanjin Rome The last ship of the former South Korean shipping line Hanjin Shipping was sold for breaking up on Mar 1. Read More
  • Ship Banned Over Hull Fouling +

    DL Marigold The Panamanian flag bulk carrier DL Marigold, 33,752 dwt, was ordered by the New Zealand authorities from both New Zealand Read More
  • Lines Fined In China Freight Tariffs Disputes +

    China Ministry of Transport Logo China's Ministry of Transport has fined 14 international container shipping lines because they either failed to report freight tariffs to Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • HMS Westminster Returns to Service +

    HMS Westminster British News After two years out of service undergoing a major reconstruction and refit, the Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster Read More
  • New Voyages for USS Enterprise +

    USS Enterprise American News Huntington Ingalls Industries was awarded a $25.5 million contract to essentially start the advanced fabrication of the third Read More
  • Naval Update - April 2017 +

    USS Antietam American News On Tuesday 31 January, the Ticonderoga class cruiser USS Antietam ran aground off the coast of Yokosuka in Read More
  • New Astute Class Submarine +

    HMS Audacious Royal Navy News On 16 December, in a rather chilly Devonshire Dock Hall at BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow in Read More
  • Trump Starts Biggest Build-up in Decades +

    USS Wichita American News Incoming President, Donald Trump has stated publicly that he wants to expand the current fleet of the US Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • New Fast Ferry Deliveries +

    Express 3 News of Fast ferry investment; Express 3 has sailed from Tasmania on her delivery voyage to Denmark via the Panama Read More
  • Ferry Implications of Brexit +

    Cote des Dunes It must be a uniquely worrying time for operators of UK Ro-Ro Ferry ports with an uncertain future entirely out Read More
  • CalMac Finlaggan's Safety Drive +

    Finlaggan It is just over two years since CalMac’s Finlaggan and her crew won a prestigious safety award ‘with merit’ from Read More
  • Maritime Wonder of the World +

    Stad tunnel entrance Ever since I visited Norway I have heard the locals speak in awe and fear of the rounding of Stad, Read More
  • Cruiser News +

    Maid of the Loch There seems to be positive news about the long laid up as a static attraction, restaurant and events venue, Maid Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • Pioneering Spirit For Teeside +

    Pioneering Spirit Teesside has lost most of its steel manufacturing and much of the shipping traffic it brought, but at the other Read More
  • Troubles for Ahlmarks' Skagern +

    Skagern Ahlmark is Sweden’s oldest shipping company, founded by 1847, and still going strong, if not as strong as they used Read More
  • The Dawn +

    Dawn The 81ft Dawn, a ‘heritage’ sailing barge with an open hold and tiller-steered, took out trips last summer for people Read More
  • Grand Bank Schooners +

    Creoula In the 1930s when the last of the square-riggers were making voyages from Australia to Britain with grain, Portugal was Read More
  • Tilbury Port +

    Pompey Power Forth Ports PLC own ‘The Port of Tilbury’ which they term in a recent press release to be ‘London’s major Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • MV Balmoral Needs Your Help +

    MV Balmoral I have a great fondness for the marvellous pleasure cruiser MV Balmoral and a great respect for the team which Read More
  • New BMT Simulator for MAIB +

    BMT Simulation The phrase "The MAIB has been in touch regarding...." was not one I was keen on hearing when I was Read More
  • Damen Celebrates 90 Years +

    Damen Family Our congratulations go to Damen who are, this year, celebrating nine decades of operations in the shipbuilding industry. Read More
  • Isle of Wight Fast Ferries Rebirth +

    Thames Clippers It was a delight to travel down to Southampton in late April and then across to East Cowes (Isle of Read More
  • 2017 Spring Quilliam Lecture +

    Qilliam Lecture Poster "Wives and Sweethearts in Quilliam's Navy" is another eye-catching title for the Spring Quilliam Lecture on Thursday 27th April in Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • The “Celebrity Edge” +

    Celebrity Edge You have to admire the innovative mindset that is evident within the creative corridors of a modern cruise line. Read More
  • The Mailship vs The Corsair +

    Windsor Castle and Corsair Before the Internet, Websites, Blogs and eNewsletters presented themselves to an unsuspecting world, the arrival of the monthly passenger shipping Read More
  • Cloud 9 Launched in Italy +

    Cloud 9 Nine different colours of cloudlike smoke were used as a backdrop when Cloud 9, the brand new 74 metre superyacht Read More
  • Superyacht Mothership Breeds Modular Apartments +

    X R-Evolution Designer Stefano Pastrovich, the head of Monaco-based Pastrovich Studios, has been telling Haute Living magazine of his conceptual superyacht whose Read More
  • New Builds: Seven Seas Explorer and Seabourn Encore +

    Seabourn Encore and Seven Seas Explorer. In recent months, two brand new cruise vessels have been constructed and delivered which the respective owners have claimed have Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

U-864

U-864 Finally Laid to Rest

A small memorial service was held in February 2017 over the wreck site that had, over the course of nearly Read More
Pudong, Shanghai

Denbighshire, My First Voyage (Part 2)

On Friday, I was called at 0130 and went on the poop as we were entering the Huangpu river, a Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

Painting of Venus

A Quartet for the North Sea

The chain of events that led to the Bergen Line building the Venus started in the head office of Swedish Read More
MS Pacheco

Happy Seagoing Days - MacAndrew Line

After gaining my Masters Certificate in July 1962, I started to look for another job on General cargo ships, but Read More
  • 1
  • 2