Monthly Archives: June 2021


The ‘old’ RUDDBANK which had an interesting array of owners after the Bank Line. (1979-83). Lamport and Holt from 83 to 86, then LAIRG (Vestey Group) from 86 to 89. Napier Star for only 2 years 89/91. Then 4 years with a HK company as TAMAPATCHAREE. Another 3 years sailing as LADY REBECCA. In 1998 she became the GLOBAL MARINER sailing as a seafarers training ship when she was fatally holed on the river Orinoco in 2000. A colourful career!


A wartime casualty

On Charlton Buoys – River Thames – 21.8.39

Image from the Malcolm Cranfield collection

Note: The TEESBANK was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic on 5.12.1942. One person was killed . She was voyaging from Port Elizabeth to Demarara in ballast. The submarine – U 128, was herself sunk 5 months later. 48 persons survived from that sinking.

Bank Line’s 1962 Doxford built INVERBANK is here seen as IRINI G.F. at anchor near Mersey Bar on 24th August 1980, the photographs taken from one of the pilot cutters. She had been purchased in 1978 by Loutra Shipping & General Enterprises Ltd (G.M. & M.G.Frangos) of Piraeus. 

IRINI G.F. had recently arrived at the anchorage from Churchill with a cargo of grain for discharge into one of Birkenhead’s silos, at the time occupied with another ship. 

IRINI G.F. finally arrived at Chittagong on 14.7.84 for breaking

Picture and caption courtesy of Malcolm Cranfield

BANKLINE voyages and conditions 1950’s

Reflecting on life in the early 1950’s, the differences from the 1970’s and 80’s vessels were vast.

Here are some facts.

It was normal to go round and round the world before returning home.

There were some exceptions but generally this was a time that was notable for wha22t we did not have, i.e….

No Bar

No Pool

No handy boat

No wives on board

No airconditioning

No short trips

No Sat Nav.

No Radar

No bridge controls

No auto steering


No chance to get off (legally)

What we did have:

2 years onboard

Menus stuck in a fork!

Limited air starting of the engines

An Aldis lamp for signalling

A trailing log line

A deep sea lead

Wooden boats

Radial Davits

A ‘Bond’ depending on the Master

A ‘Sparky’ in his hut

A fan in the cabin (sometimes oscillating!)

Steam Winches on deck.

Wooden hatch covers, tarpaulins, and locking bars.

Here comes the good bit….

We had wood decks that glistened in the wet

Open rails on many ships

Long stays in port that could be weeks or even months

The sweet smell of spices and tea in cases

A variety of cargoes, bagged or bulk

Slow trawls around remote Pacific Islands

A slow, often captivating style of life

We were happy

These long voyages could be heaven or hell (as in Hotel California) but either way they left a lasting memory. For many, it was a life changing experience. On the bridge it was a good day when 300 miles was achieved. The many twin screw vessels still in the fleet often ran on one engine while the other was under repair by the hard pressed engineers.

The author, (above) steering a Liberty ship.


Bangkok in the 1960’s

An interesting article from Captain Geoffrey Walker who served extensively as Master in the Far East.

An extract……

Please click on the link below to read the article. Many thanks to Geoff for the permission to post. Readers can see his interesting site at

Click here………..