May’s unknown ship brought many replies most of whom identified her as the Caxton.

The winner of the May competition was Alan Blackwood of Ayrshire

A Frost writes:

May’s ‘Unknown Ship’ is the newsprint carrier of Transatlantic Carriers (mgrs. W. Runciman) mv Caxton, built in 1958 by Blyth D.D. Renamed in 1968 Elenea M.,1978 Vassilakis, 1981 Silver Shark, 1982 Mighty Sea, 1984 Jupiter Star and finally broken up at Gadani Beach in 1984.

Mike Goadby writes:

This month’s unknown ship is the 5,729 grt M/V Caxton, built in 1958 by the Blyth Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. for Barberrys Steamship Co. Ltd. (Runciman London Ltd., managers). In 1958 her owners became Transatlantic Carriers Ltd. (Walter Runciman and Co. Ltd., London, managers). In 1962 her managers became Canatlantic Ltd., London. M/V Caxton was built for the newsprint and paper trade between Canada and the UK. She was powered by a 4cyl Doxford oil engine, 4800bhp giving her a speed of 14kts. In 1968 she was sold to Chryselena Compania Naviera SA, Panama, d anrenamed Elena M under the Greek flag. In 1978 she was sold to Circolo Shipping Inc., Monrovia and renamed Vassilakis. Further names were Silver Shark, Mighty Sea, and Jupiter Star. In 1984 she arrived at Gadani Beach to be broken up by MEK Shipbreakers Ltd.

John Livingstone writes:

May’s unknown ship is the Caxton of Transatlantic Carriers mainly engaged in the carriage of paper produce from North America to the UK. Built in 1958 and sold in 1968. Various names followed and was eventually scrapped at Gadani Beach on 16the September 1984.

Peter Sommeville writes:

This month’s ship is the Caxton (5,729grt), built in 1959 by Blyth Dry Dock Company/NE Marine and is seen in the colours of Transatlantic Carriers Ltd. (Walter Runciman & Co. Ltd.). As far as I can recall this company specialized in carrying paper and other forest products on the North Atlantic in the 1960s. She was sold in 1968 and carried the following names – Elana M, Greek flag/1978 Vassilakis, Greek Flag/1981 Silver Shark, Greek Flag/1982 Mighty Sea, Panamanian flag and finally 1984 she became the Jupiter Star, Maltese flag, and sold to Pakistan breakers arriving at Gadani Beach in September 1984.

Ray Purdy writes:

I think this month’s unknown vessel is the Caxton.

She was built in 1958 by Blyth Dry Docks and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Northhumberland, Yard No. 367. Propulsion was four-cylinder, two-stroke, opposedpiston NE Marine Engineering Co.-Doxford 70LBD4 of 4,800 bhp @ 115 rpm. Speed 14 knots. GRT 5,729, DWT 8,950. Length 460‘ & Breadth 60’.

She was built for Transatlantic Carriers Ltd. & managed by Canatlantic Ltd., London. (Runciman/Anchor Line). She became: Elen M in 68, Vassilakis in 78, Silver Shark in 81, Mighty Sea in 82, Jutiper Star in 84. She was broken up at Gandani Beach in 1984.

Doug Burn writes:

I think the May mystery ship is the Caxton (2) owned by Runciman (London) Canatlantic Ltd. Dimensions 5,729grt, 2,793 nrt, length 460.0 x60.3 x25.5 feet. Launched by Blyth Drydock Shipbuilding Co. Ltd Blyth for the Barberry’s Steamship Co. Ltd., Runciman (London) Ltd. as Caxton Completed June 1958.

Owners became Transatlantic Carriers Ltd. (Walter Runciman & Co. Ltd., London). 1962 Managers became Canatlantic Ltd., London. 1968 sold to Chryselens Compania Panama renamed Elena M under the Greek flag.

  • 1969 managers became Andros Shipping.
  • 1978 sold to Circolo Shipping Monrovia, renamed Vassilakis under the Greek flag.
  • 1981 Sold to Greek Spirit S A Panama, renamed Silver Shark.
  • 1982 Sold to Silver Ocean Shipping Monrovia, renamed Mighty Sea.
  • 1984 Sold to Zodiac Shipping, Malta renamed Jupiter Star.
  • September 1984 scrapped at Gadani Beach.


Alan Blackwood writes:

This month’s ‘unknown’ is the single screw motorship Caxton, completed during June 1958 by the Blyth Drydock and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. at their Cowpen Quay yard, Blyth to the order of Walter Runciman’s Barberry’s Steamship Company of London. She was constructed for the carriage of newsprint and other paper products from Canada’s eastern provinces to UK and Baltic ports, usually undertaking her westbound transatlantic voyages in ballast. Of 5,729 grt and 8950 dwt., her dimensions were 459’9″ (loa) x 60’2″ (beam) x 38’6″ (moulded depth) and a summer draft of 25’6.5″. Propulsion machinery consisted of a 4 cylinder two stroke single acting Doxford type oil engine of 4,800 bhp constructed by the N.E. Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. of Wallsend and returning a speed of 14 knots.

During 1959 her registered ownership was transferred to Transatlantic Carriers Ltd. without change of name and Walter Runciman & Co. Ltd. appointed managers. Three years later, management was passed to Canatlantic Ltd. 1968 saw her withdrawal from the fleet when sold to Chryselena Cia. Naviera S.A. of Piraeus and renamed Elena M for Greek flag operation and Pergamos Shipping Co. of London management. During 1970 her management was transferred to the Andros Shipping Agency, London. Her registered ownership was transferred to that of Circolo Shipping Inc., Monrovia during 1978 when renamed Vassilakis and management vested in the Mycali Maritime Corp. S.A. of Piraeus whilst retaining her Greek flag operation. She was further renamed Silver Shark during 1981 when sold to Greek Spirit Inc., of Panama with the Panfreight Maritime Company appointed managers again continuing Greek flag operation. The following year, she was renamed Mighty Sea when her registered ownership was transferred to the Silver Ocean Shipping Inc. of Monrovia for operations under the Panamanian flag and management by the Piraeus based Mighty Management S.A. During 1984 she was sold to the Zodiac Shipping Company Ltd. of Valetta, renamed Jupiter Star and placed under the Maltese flag for management by Taha Commerce Ltd., of Karachi. She arrived off Karachi during 16th September of that year and was later positioned to Gadani Beach for demolition by MEL Shipbreakers.

John Jordan writes:

This ship is the SS Caxton, built by Thompson’s of Sunderland in 1943 with designated freeboard for world wide trade, and managed by Runcimans of London. She was taken over in 1957 by Buries Markes and renamed La Costa. She was sold on in 1958 to Manners and Co., Hong Kong and renamed Hongkong Breeze. In 1965 she was sold to San Roberto SS Co., Panama and renamed Panam Trader. Finally in 1967 she was scrapped. The funnel colours are black, white band, and a greenish colour.

Nick O’Nion writes:

I think it’s the Caxton of Transatlantic Carriers Ltd., 1958/5729 grt. If my memory is correct the funnel was green with white band and black top, and she was the only motor ship they had.

Peter Rees writes:

My answer is the Raeburn of Lamport & Holt, 7,000 tons, built in 1953 by Bartram, 1 screw, 17knots.

Jim Simpson writes:

The unknown ship in the May edition is the motorship Caxton. This ship was built in 1958 by the Blyth Shipbuilding and Drydocks Co for the Barberry Steamship Co., which placed her under the management of Walter Runciman & Co. Within a year, the ship was sold to British International Paper Ltd. for employment in the transatlantic newsprint trade, a trade she remained in when moved to Transatlantic Carriers in 1964. Four years later, Chryselena Cia Naviera of Piraeus bought the vessel and remamed her Elena M. In 1978 the vessel changed hands again, becoming Sircolo Shipping’s Vassilakis until 1981, when she was renamed Silver Shark, and then a year later Might Sea, until sold to Zodiac Shipping of Malta in 1984 as Jupiter Star, the name under which she was broken up by MEC Shipbreakers at Gadani Beach that same year.

During the period when the ship carried the name Elena M, she spent time under charter to various companies including Nigerian National Line. I have seen a photograph of the ship sailing from Durban with what looks like the funnel colours of the Harrison Line. She had also been fitted at some time with ‘jumbo’ derricks at both ends of No 2 Hatch. Presumably this was done for her time charter to Nigerian National Line when heavy lift equipment would be required for the handling of logs in the West African trade.

The Caxton was a single screw motorship with a speed of 14 knots. Her dimensions were: LOA 140m, Beam 18m. Tonnages are quoted differently so perhaps the ship was remeasured at some time. The tonnages I have seen are: 7,686grt (5,729) and 9,239dwt (8,950).

Gerald Dodd writes:

I believe the the unknown ship for the month of May is the Caxton, owned by Transatlantic Carriers, managed by the Moor Line of London, (Runciman SS Co of Newcastle) until this ceased in 1962. I believe the managers then became Canatlantic. She was a single screw motor ship built in 1958 by Blythe DD and SB Co/ North Eastern Marine. The Caxton was 5,729 grt, with a length of 460 feet a breadth of 60 feet and a speed of 14 knots. She and the other ships in the fleet were used to carry news print from Canada to the UK. The photograph was taken, I believe, at Gravesend. The Caxton was sold in 1968 and became the Elena M, in 1978 she became the Vassilakis, in 1981 the Silver Shark, Mighty Sea in 1982 and in 1984 the Jupiter Star before finally going to the breakers at Gadani Beach in September 1984.

Fraser Wright writes:

The ship is the Caxton. She was built in 1958 by Blyth Drydock & Shipbuilding Co. and managed by Runciman (London) Ltd. Owners from 1958 until her sale to a foreign flag company were Burberry Steamship Co. Ltd., Transatlantic Carriers Ltd., and in 1962 her ownership and management were taken over by Canatlantic Ltd., London until her sale in 1968. She was built for the bulk newsprint gtrade.

Christy MacHale writes:

May’s ‘mystery ship’ is the Caxton. The Caxton (II) was a 5729-ton motorship, completed in June 1958 by the Blyth Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. for the Barberry’s S.S. Co. Ltd., of London; she was in fact the last ship to be built for the company, which was engaged in the transatlantic newsprint trade, and which later that year sold out to Transatlantic Carriers Ltd., a consortium of Canadian newsprint companies. Man agement of Barberry’s had been by Runciman (London) Ltd.; with the takeover the style of the management company was changed to Walter Runciman & Co. Ltd., and in 1962 they were replaced as managers by Canatlantic Ltd. Sold in 1968, the Caxton spent 14 years under the Greek flag, the first 10 as the Elena M. of the Chryselena Cía. Nav. S.A., from 1978 as the Vassilakis of Cir colo Sg. Inc., and from 1981 as the Silver Shark of Greek Spirit S.A. In 1982 she moved to Panamanian registry as the Mighty Sea of Silver Ocean Sg. Inc., and in 1984 hoisted the flag of Malta as the Jupiter Star of the Zodiac Sg. Co. Ld., Valletta. This last was a brief phase; she arrived at Karachi to be broken up at Gadani Beach on 16 Sep tember of that same year.



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