Clan Line suffered the loss of thirty ships to enemy action and marine causes during World War II. The granting of independence to India in 1947 badly affected the fortunes of Clan Line and many other British liner companies that traded extensively to the sub-continent, and other trades were expanded with greater numbers of voyages to South Africa and East Africa to partly replace the Indian trades. The Australian trade was gradually decreasing, and Clan Line and the Scottish Shire Line provided in 1950 fifteen homeward sailings from Australia, but this dropped to eleven sailings homeward in 1953 and only eight in 1957, six sailings in 1960, five sailings in 1961, six sailings in 1965, and only three in 1969 when new container ships displaced all B & C Group cargo-liners trading to Australia.
Phase 1 of the rebuilding of the fleet was completed by the purchase of nine ‘Empire’, nine ‘Ocean’, and two ‘Liberty’ war standard ships. Sadly, Clan Keith built as Ocean Verity in California in 1942, broke in two on 5th November 1961 when eleven miles south of Galita Island off the coast of Tunisia after striking the Ecueils des Sorelles Rocks near Cape Bon while on a voyage from the U.K. to Colombo via Malta with general cargo in heavy seas. The after part sank later the same day and the forward section sank the following morning. There were only six survivors from a crew of 68, five of whom were picked up by the British tramp Durham Trader of 6,214 grt and built in 1959 for Trader Navigation Co. Ltd.
A large building programme of steam and diesel powered cargo-liners was then embarked upon in 1946, starting with the six ships of the ‘Clan Macl’ class of 8,800 dwt with dimensions of overall length of 445.0 feet, moulded beam of 61.0 feet and a loaded draft of 26.0 feet. Two of the class, Clan Maclennan and Clan Maclachlan, had steam turbines while the remainder were equipped with diesel engines. They were distinguished by three sets of kingposts, each with one heavy and smaller capacity derricks. Two single posts stood immediately in front of the bridge and behind the superstructure. Topmasts were carried on the first pair of kingposts and on the pair aft of the superstructure. Clan Maclaren, Clan Maclean, Clan Macleod and Clan Maclay with six cylinder diesel engines were to give considerably longer service to Clan Line than the two steamers of the class, which were all completed by the Greenock Dockyard.
In 1948, Clan Line re-entered the passenger trade, with fourteen of their ships offering accommodation for a dozen First Class passengers and the accommodation was always well patronised. Two turbine powered sisters of 8,035 grt, Clan Mactavish and Clan Mactaggart, were then completed in 1949 by the Greenock Dockyard. A heavy lift derrick of 125 tons capacity, the heaviest ever fitted to a Clan Line vessel at this time, was carried on the foremast of three masts with a topmast on the second and the one aft. A lattice navigation mast of pyramid shape stood on the monkey island above the bridge. They had pole main and mizzen masts rather than kingposts. At this time, the white upper parts of the hull including the bulwarks extended three feet down the hull, with this pair being the first to have this feature to give an enhanced appearance. Clan Mactavish sailed from the Tees in April 1962 to Australia with two complete Linz & Donowitz furnaces weighing in at 1,300 tons and reduced to manageable lifts when broken down into sections. The destination was Newcastle (NSW) and the Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP) Co. Ltd. The movement of some of the 2,993 tons of water ballast in the double bottom, port and starboard tunnel and deep tanks allowed the stability of this pair to be maintained during heavy lifts.
CLAN LINE ‘S’ CLASS of the 1950s
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