Gulf Car Run

Tony Crompton
23rd December 2005, 17:31
My last 2 trips in Brocklebanks were as 4th Mate on "Manaar" doing the car run. I joined her in Liverpool where she was being fitted out with permanent shifting boards and feeders to carry grain in 3 & 5 holds. We then went to London and loaded cars for New Orleans and Houston. Quite clever how we fitted about 600 cars into the ship with some in collapsible crates and some on false wooden decks on top of the crates. However even with No 4 Deeptank ballasted the ship had very little weight in her and was extremely "Lively" going across the Western Ocean. (If I remember correctly the cars were all Vauxhall Victors or Nash Metropolitans.

After discharge the car crates were all dismantled and stowed in 3 & 5 holds which were then filled with grain and the rest of the cargo was the usual Southern States loading,N.O.,Houston, Galveston, Mobile, Gulfport, Panama City, Brownsville, (probably not in that order though we did New Orleans twice,once discharging then back to load) then back to London and repeated the trip. What a novelty it was for us not to go to Calcutta.

There were 2 ships doing this, "Manaar" and "Matra".

I left Manaar to go for 2nd Mates and did not return to Brocklebanks. ( I had met my future wife and 5 month trips seemed no longer acceptable).

Do any of our Brocklebank members recall how long this trade continued before the ships went back on the usual run. It must have been a few years after this (1959-60) before the monstrosities we now call car carriers started to appear. Reading posts here it seems not long before Brocklebanks became Cunard Brocklebank and the fleets became more and more integrated and also with some Port Line ships. Had the investment in adapting the ships for this trade been worthwhile?
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Tony C