This is the old WESTBANK, outbound from Rotterdam, and seen as the SANTA HELENA in 1970. Just finished discharging a full cargo of grain from Buenos Aires. Built in 1948 and sold in 1967 when she became the SIMBA followed by a new name – SANTA HELENA in 1969. Broken up in 1974.

The author was an apprentice on this ship, joining her in Durban in 1952. The WESTBANK, then one of the latest ships in the fleet had just had a very narrow escape after grounding at full speed in the dark on the unit island of Juan De Nova in the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and the African Coast. A B.I. tug called ARUSHA managed to free her on the next spring tide, and she was repaired in Durban before heading home to Immingham with a cargo of manganese ore. A huge steel beam was welded along the hull at bilge keel level for extra strength.

More pictures and an account can be found on this site.

Photo above courtesy of Malcolm Cranfield

1 thought on “WESTBANK

  1. This was the second ship into my apprenticeship, Capt Peter Smith ans 1st Mate Bruce Carney.
    If correct it was on Bruce Carney’s watch that the Westbank went up on Juan de Nova reef.
    He lived to survive this altercation.


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