Nigerian National

13th October 2005, 23:15
Does anyone have any pictures of the early Nigerian National vessels

Herbert Macauley, Dan Fodio, Oduduwa, Cross River,

Dave Edge
14th October 2005, 05:33
Have posted photos of the "El Kanemi" and "Nnamdi Azikiwe" under 'Cargo Ships'. Also the "Sussex Trader" which became the "Herbert Macauley".

Allan James
18th October 2005, 08:44
My father joined Nigerian National as a coasting Master, following his retirement from Elder Dempster in 1967. He served on all of the early ships (up to the River Niger class) The Dan Fodio seemed to be jinxed, as whenever she was in port she gained fines for polluting-she ALWAYS had a plume of thick, black oily smoke from her funnel when the port authorities were around. The Cross River was another exciting ship,always having engine problems! I remember she had an engine malfunction just at the wrong time (aren't they always!) putting the ship, with my mother and father on board, onto the rocks on the way up to Grangemouth. Took an Admiralty tug to pull her off, doing minor damage to the ship, but a huge amount of damage to my fathers pride! I think my sister may have some photos of N.N. ships and I'll ask her to dig them out for you.

22nd December 2005, 16:06
In reply to bobjones request for photos of early Nigerian National ships I have attached a few here.

As for life on NNL ships I can do no better than to post an extract from a letter I wrote in reply to another query.

Oduduwa was built in 1954 as North Cornwall for the North Shipping Co. of Newcastle and was acqired in 1959 by the newly formed Nigerian National Shipping Line as their first ship.
Under arrangements made with Elder Dempster and Palm Line the vessels obtained by NNSL would be managed and operated by these companies until such time that Nigeria had recruited and/or trained personnel to operate the ships.
Consequently, the Oduduwa was staffed with Elder Dempster personnel and I had the dubious hnour to be appointed 4th Engineer (later promoted to 3rd).
We joined the ship on 11th May 1959 in Redhead's yard in South Shields where she was undergoing repairs. This was quite a culture shock for the refined young gentlemen of Elder Dempster. Although she was not very old, the ship was showing signs of neglect. The main engine was a 4 cylinder North Eastern Marine Doxford along with steam and engine driven auxiliaries. there was a three fire Scotch boiler for cargo work and a Cochrane type auxiliary boiler, the entire plant needing a lot of work.
We set off on our maiden voyage to West Africa via Rotterdam under the command of Captain F. (Sam) Weller, one of the gents of this world. This turned out to be one of the most unusual and entertaining voyages I have ever been on. Being the first ship belonging to a West African nation to visit the region, we were feted and entertained in every port. This began at our first West African port, Freetown where the master was invited ashore by the local dignitaries and eventually returned to the ship a little the worst for wear and dressed in the regalia of an African Chief! It should be understood that we had no prior knowledge of these celebrations which became more and more elaborate as the hitherto unremarkable ex tramp steamer (now a LINER) continued her triumphal progress down the coast, interrupted only by the occasional breakdown. Entry into each port required the ship to be dressed overall; more work for the mate and his men but well worth the effort considering the parties laid on for us. Drinks were provided by the company through their Agent and the Chief Steward was provided with the wherewithal to put on elaborate buffets, known as 'small chop' in African parlance. As these celebrations were usually conducted on the boat deck, the dock workers, crane drivers and anyone who happened to be passing took up their imaginary invitations with alacrity, so the tables were soon cleared. "Like a swarm of locusts." as the Chief Steward gloomily observed.
I think the climax of all this came in Lagos. Oduduwa, we were told was the founding father of the Yoruba people and representatives of their Oduduwa Society came down to the ship and whisked off the officers, all rigged up in caps and No.!0's, in a fleet of limousines to we knew not where. All sat round in a circle on the grass under the stars and each man was provided with a roast chicken and a bottle of scotch. I can't remember what the speeches were about!
Altogether I did six voyages on the Oduduwa which, when the snags were ironed out was not a bad ship. By that time the Nigerian owners were beginning to operate the ships with their own men and I lost track of her after returning to more routine Elder Dempster duties.
Happily, I still meet up with some of the veterans of these voyages at the meetings of the Elder Dempster Pensioners Association


22nd December 2005, 16:32
For some downloads of Herbert Macauley, look under the thread 'Black Star Line'. The ship was a welcome escape for a member who served with BSL

23rd December 2005, 15:29
Eldersuk - great story and memories, Oyibo.

I met a Marconi Radio Officer who sailed on the first all Nigerian manned ship in Nigerian National (in these enlightened times I'd better not mention the coloquial name for the firm, even though no malice was intended by it). Sorry can't recall the name of the ship.

There was a rule then that any RO who sailed on a ship with more than a certain percentage of foreign officers was paid an extra allowance. I don't recall the actual percentage but the allowance was about ten bob a week (that's 50 New Pence to post-decimalisation members). With the manning of the ship being 99% Nigerian - him being the 1% non-Nigerian, he put in a claim for the allowance. Marconi's reply was that Nigeria was a Commonwealth country and it's nationals were not "foreign", therefore no allowance! His time aboard the ship was filled with 'cultural clashes' and he only stayed for one voyage. Maybe they got a Nigerian RO after that.

What a bunch of cheapskates - the best thing that happened to me was becoming persona non grata with the Marconi Company.

John T.

30th March 2007, 03:11
I have posted a photo of the MV "Oba Overami" (ex Dutch "Maas Haven") in the cargo ships section.
I did a voyage on her back in 1967. The captain was Philip Latham (age 28)
He went on to be harbour master at Lagos.

30th March 2007, 11:43
Ahoy Bob,
Just read this thread[october 2005] for the first time as it showed up by a new posting,shame on me, but here some Nigerian's.
Will have a look for others in my files.

30th March 2007, 12:09
Hi i used to repair all NNships when they came to Hull what a job got no help from the crew but when the super came on board things started to move his name was Mr WADDLE POTTS heard man to deal with but fair when settling the account. sam

Terry W
24th January 2008, 12:18
Two major accidents occured aboard the 'KING JAJA' in 1966/7.
1) a Nigerian Deck apprentice lost an arm.
2) the British Chief Engineer was fatally injured when a main engine driven pump shattered (he was taken ashore and died in hospital)
Does anyone know the details of these accidents and the names of the people involved?

Peter Eccleson
30th January 2008, 12:27
I remember one of the NNL 'River' class ships coming in to Holyhead when I was a teenager. She was on voyage from Liverpool to Lagos and her cargo shifted resulting in a 15 degree list. Think it was the River Ogun (?)

31st January 2008, 18:15
Does any one remember a master in NNL named Bill Boyle. He left a coaster that we were sailing on together in Liverpool and joined the King Jaja as master. This would be in 1961. I often wonder what became of him.


1st February 2008, 16:46
Does anyone have any pictures of the early Nigerian National vessels

Herbert Macauley, Dan Fodio, Oduduwa, Cross River,

Hi Bob ....

I've only just come across this thread for some reason; I've a slide of HM taken at Tilbury in June 1976 - somewhere - which I will try to find, scan and post for you.



5th February 2008, 12:19
Just posted a pic of Herbert Macauley taken in Tilbury, June 1976 in Cargo Ships section in the Gallery.

See :

11th December 2008, 12:54
Hi, all ex NNL personnel, I have only just come across this thread.
For your interest, as jr Eng, (and first tripper)I joined the ORANYAN in Amsterdam 20/08/62. The chief was Big John Scott, and I think the 2nd was a guy called Ron Wood, the capt was Ivor Williams. Also sailing as mate was a chap named David Garside. Although, not knowing him at the time, we were to become firm friends quite a number of years later and found we had a mutual friend of one Brian Horrod. Any recolections of these folk!
I think prior to my joining the ORANYAN she had not long had a refit having suffered from fire damage.
My first encounter with this ship was a few months earlier whilst still a Cammell Laird apprentice,(repair yard) a group of us were sent over to Liverpool to extract one of the main engine pistons, of which the ships engineers at the time, managed to get jammed in the liner. During my time on the ORANYAN, changing pistons and liners was almost a daily experience. Oh what memories.

11th December 2008, 13:29
The father of two old friends, who I've lost touch with, was a director of NNL - MR Whittingham. Anybody know him? I should imagine he is rather old now, if still with us.

12th December 2008, 20:34
Ships in Focus latest Record 41 starting history of Nig. National. Allways great articles and photos.

24th December 2008, 10:07
I was an engineer with Nigerline from 1966-68. I was in the Nnamdi Azikiwi, El Kanimi, and the Oranyan. The trip in the Oranyan was a nightmare trip and my last trip to sea. I flew out to join her in Dakar, Senegal replacing the 3rd engineer. The company told me he had missed the ship at Dunkirk, he actually refused to sail in her and tried to stop her sailing as he thought she was unsafe. He was right, all the oil pressure cut outs on the generaters were gagged, as they were running at 5-6psi. the air conditioning wasn`t working as well as many other problems. When we arrived in Lagos the Nigerian civil war was on and we were conscripted into the Nigerian army. We appealed to the British Consulate to try to get off the ship but as we were on Nigerian articles they did not want know. We took part in two invasions in Biafra. We eventually got home and I left the ship at Immingham never to go to sea again. I am sure but for that trip I would have stayed at sea for much longer. Regards Roy,

Peter Henderson
16th April 2009, 14:01
Hi Roy,
I was also on the oranyan then, electrician. What rank were you.
Its so long ago, I paid off in UK after an argument with the 4th eng. Also involved was the 3rd engineer. All went to hospital.

16th April 2009, 15:21
".........and found we had a mutual friend of one Brian Horrod. Any recolections of these folk!"

Nothing to do with Nigerian National, but I worked with Brian Horrod for many years in connection with North Sea projects, rig moves etc. Over a year since I last saw him but he was in good fettle then; dividing the year between Cruden Bay and his boat on the French canals.

george mcmaster
1st June 2009, 11:16
I was an engineer with NNL from1962 to 1965.Ijoined the Ahmadu Bello as a j/e in hull,had a good trip,then went downhill,the King JaJa,Herbert macauley.I was on the Oranyan when the 2/e paid off in a straight jacket,in Abijan,that was some trip.Big bad john scott was the c/e,Tommy Futers the leckie,Ray goodman 3/e promoted to 2/e.I then done 5 trips on the dirty dan,under Eric Pearson c/e.All we seemed to do was change banjo pipes,to stop water leaks,and cage fuel valves,to try and stop sparks coming out the lum.When I look back I must have been off my own trolley to keep going back.

28th July 2012, 17:58
Hi guys.I am new on this forum. I have been interested in knowing more about NNSL ships as records are scarce here. I find this forum quite helpful.

adam philip
21st October 2012, 01:32
George Mcmaster
Interesting when did you sail on Ahmadu Bello, after trials I took ship out for 3 voyages, I was known as Haggis the electrician Arthur Crawford known as PC Mcglubrigan

adam philip
30th October 2012, 21:44
Two major accidents occured aboard the 'KING JAJA' in 1966/7.
1) a Nigerian Deck apprentice lost an arm.
2) the British Chief Engineer was fatally injured when a main engine driven pump shattered (he was taken ashore and died in hospital)
Does anyone know the details of these accidents and the names of the people involved?

King Jaja also had an engine room fire late1962 in Conakry, 4th engineer (Bilko from Northern Ireland) entered engine room via tunnel attacked fire and extinguished it,at the time he was a hero but we thought he was mad,I was on El Kanemi and we went to ships assistance

19th December 2013, 22:27
When I was a Shell apprentice in Plymouth in 1970, I shared a room in Standard House with three Cadets from NNL, Fortune Fubara, Solomon Odomo, and Eddie Ekoja. They were great guys, and always laughing. Anyone know what became of them? Alan Knight.

Julian Calvin
20th December 2013, 10:01
Still meet some of the last senior ex NNSL guys who are still around either in Nimasa, Lloyds or with the oil majors. Most about to retire.
Nigeria has a major problem looming as hardly any youngsters getting appropriate training. Lots of people calling themselves 'captain' but, when checked, find that Nimasa has issued restricted tickets for less than 3000t in Nigerian waters only.
Only proper deep sea company is LNG which seems to be running ok.