Bell Line

BillH
9th October 2011, 11:48
This company seemed to go from strength to strength operating with dedicated chartered then also with some owned vessels with BELL prefix to the names. Aside these they also had numerous conventional coasters on charter also adorned with their purple funnel with logo.

Suddenly they rapidly vanished; financial trouble (I think).

Obviously the ships went off charter or were sold.

Were any of their routes taken over by other operators or did the whole operation close up?

BillH

mrs.b
14th October 2011, 20:27
A picture of the Bell Cavalier has now been posted in the coasters section. Now called Red Duchess

walkonthewildside
9th November 2011, 22:53
Hi all, Bell Lines were registared in my home town of Waterford Ireland. All the the earlier ships carried names begining with the letter R such as Bell Racer, Rebel, Renown, Rover, Ranger, Reliant ?. They seemed to sell off but had a bigger vessel called the Bell Pioneer towards the end. The Container Terminal in Waterford/ South Kilkenny is Called Bellview.
Sad to see them go. The containers were a regular site all over Europe for an era.

BillH
10th November 2011, 09:12
Hi all, Bell Lines were registared in my home town of Waterford Ireland. All the the earlier ships carried names begining with the letter R such as Bell Racer, Rebel, Renown, Rover, Ranger, Reliant ?. They seemed to sell off but had a bigger vessel called the Bell Pioneer towards the end. The Container Terminal in Waterford/ South Kilkenny is Called Bellview.
Sad to see them go. The containers were a regular site all over Europe for an era.

I have been compiling a fleet listing for the company since my original post. The R class all came from Japan and some were later lengthened but there were many assorted vessels before the R class with C and V names.

Once complete I will post the fleet.

Bill

trotterdotpom
10th November 2011, 10:16
I may have mentioned this before, but one Christmas in the early '70s I got a lift from Europoort to Middlesbrough for about 5 quid on a German flag Bell Line ship. The trip was arranged by the manager of De Beers seamen's club - what a great place. I can't remember what her name was but I was glad to get to sea because every time they loaded one of the (approx) 20 containers it felt like she was going to capsize. Verey hsopitable little ship. Unfortunately, she'd already returned to Rotterdam before I wanted to go, so I had to pay the regular ferry fare from Hull.

John T

John T.

walkonthewildside
10th November 2011, 20:06
Some other ships were the Angela Jurgens 1988, Bell Atlas 1996 and the Jan Kahrs 1988

walkonthewildside
10th November 2011, 21:27
Sorry about double post , tried to edit the above one to add more info. Ruler and Resolve were two more. Also I have been told the first of the ships to sail under the company's name was the Bell Combat.

BillH
11th November 2011, 08:21
Sorry about double post , tried to edit the above one to add more info. Ruler and Resolve were two more. Also I have been told the first of the ships to sail under the company's name was the Bell Combat.

There were numerous other non-container coasters that were chartered but not renamed. All had the Bell funnel markings but only a few were seen with a blue hull but they may have already had that prior to charter.

The pioneer of those was the CLONLEE, chartered from Shamrock Shipping of Larne.

From memory BELL COMBAT was also a conventional coaster purchased from a Larne owner. She was at the time KATHAR and was under arrest at Londonderry.

loco
20th November 2011, 17:07
The BELL R ships , or at least some of them, ran from Harwich Parkeston Quay to, I think, Belgium (or Rotterdam) in the late 80s. Many Masters/COs had PECs to and from Parkeston, but when the run added Felixstowe to the calls, they had to take a pilot between Parkeston and Felixstowe until they updated their certificates! As soon as the ship let go from Felixstowe outward, the pilot got off-the ship barely travelled her own length before he was away! (The PEC was valid after letting go-strange but true).
Later, the whole outfit moved to Ipswich, and many still call the Ipswich west bank berth the 'Bell' berth, even though they haven't been there for around twenty years.

BELL PIONEER and BELL PROGRESS (?) were bridge forward and conventional hatchcovers on No.1, but hatchless abaft the accommodation; were they the first hatchless container ships? I remember them well coming into Harwich Haven, as being in the pilot launch service at the time, I put pilots on or off all of them a number of times.

HTH

Martyn

walkonthewildside
24th November 2011, 22:01
I have been compiling a fleet listing for the company since my original post. The R class all came from Japan and some were later lengthened but there were many assorted vessels before the R class with C and V names.

Once complete I will post the fleet.

Bill

Here is some info I got from a friend of mine, Hope it may help with your list Bill.

1967 Bell Vanguard; 1969 Bell Combat, Bell Victor; 1971 Bell Volunteer; 1972 Bell Virtue and Bell Vigilant; 1973 Bell Venture, Bell Valiant, Bell Vigour, Bell Voyager, Nordbalt. Bell Virtue lost in collision off Cornwall; 1974 Bell Vantage and Bell Champion; 1975 Bell Cavalier; 1976 Bomberg, Margret, Isar; 1977 The arrival of the "R" class boats, Ranger, Rover, Racer, Ruler (Ruler and Racer later lengthened in Cork) Bell Varient arrived on charter; 1978 Bell Raider, Bell Rebel, Bell Rival, Bell Renown, Bell Resolve, Bell Reliant, Bernd Becker. 1991 Bell Pioneer. Following collapse of Bell in 1977 she was sold and renamed Express Ashod and in 2001 (she became the Nile Express); 1991 Bell Reliant and Bell Renown sold to Cuban owners. German owned Jan sold to British interests and chartered to
Bell as Bell Swift. She had a capacity of 205 TEU compared to 122 TEU of the vessels leaving. 1995 first of 3 purpose built ships due to join Bell Lines that year sailed from Belview on her maiden voyage. Bell Ady and her 2 sister ships Bell Astron and Bell Atlas were intended to replace some of the older ships in the fleet. German-built the were chartered to Bell Lines. Bell Ady later traded out of Waterford as the Ady with containers for ECS.

The following arrived at different stages during Bell's peak years:
Saturnus, Neptunus, uranus, Achat, Este, Atlantik, Klaus Jurgens, Amazone, Jan Becker, Jan Kahrs, Angela Jurgens, Otto Becker, Anna Becker, Euro Power, Jonny R, Jana, Holger, Jacob Becker, Gerd Wehr, Antja Jurgens, Arklow Castle, Rosita Maria, Inishowen, Gerdia, Rendsburg, Marburg, Limburg.

I also have recieved some pics which I will post in the Gallery

BillH
25th November 2011, 09:05
Here is some info I got from a friend of mine, Hope it may help with your list Bill.

1967 Bell Vanguard; 1969 Bell Combat, Bell Victor; 1971 Bell Volunteer; 1972 Bell Virtue and Bell Vigilant; 1973 Bell Venture, Bell Valiant, Bell Vigour, Bell Voyager, Nordbalt. Bell Virtue lost in collision off Cornwall; 1974 Bell Vantage and Bell Champion; 1975 Bell Cavalier; 1976 Bomberg, Margret, Isar; 1977 The arrival of the "R" class boats, Ranger, Rover, Racer, Ruler (Ruler and Racer later lengthened in Cork) Bell Varient arrived on charter; 1978 Bell Raider, Bell Rebel, Bell Rival, Bell Renown, Bell Resolve, Bell Reliant, Bernd Becker. 1991 Bell Pioneer. Following collapse of Bell in 1977 she was sold and renamed Express Ashod and in 2001 (she became the Nile Express); 1991 Bell Reliant and Bell Renown sold to Cuban owners. German owned Jan sold to British interests and chartered to
Bell as Bell Swift. She had a capacity of 205 TEU compared to 122 TEU of the vessels leaving. 1995 first of 3 purpose built ships due to join Bell Lines that year sailed from Belview on her maiden voyage. Bell Ady and her 2 sister ships Bell Astron and Bell Atlas were intended to replace some of the older ships in the fleet. German-built the were chartered to Bell Lines. Bell Ady later traded out of Waterford as the Ady with containers for ECS.

The following arrived at different stages during Bell's peak years:
Saturnus, Neptunus, uranus, Achat, Este, Atlantik, Klaus Jurgens, Amazone, Jan Becker, Jan Kahrs, Angela Jurgens, Otto Becker, Anna Becker, Euro Power, Jonny R, Jana, Holger, Jacob Becker, Gerd Wehr, Antja Jurgens, Arklow Castle, Rosita Maria, Inishowen, Gerdia, Rendsburg, Marburg, Limburg.

I also have recieved some pics which I will post in the Gallery

Many thanks, much appreciated. Confirmation of about 95% of what I have of BELL prefixed vessels but moreso has added 100% of all the non-BELL prefixed.

Below is what I have name wise without the full ship details. IMO No. above the name and period of operation in brackets

Bill

6611772
BELL VANGUARD (1966 - ? )

5017632
BELL CONCORD (1967 – 1969)

6708678
BELL VENTURE (1967 - 1977)

6711778
BELL VALIANT (1967 - 1977)

6805165
BELL VICTOR (1967 - 1977)

7002473
BELL VISION (1969 - 1971)

5313048
BELL COMBAT (1969)

7017442
BELL VIGILANT (1970 - 1978)

7027758
BELL VIGOUR (1970 - 1978)

5114600
BELL CRUSADER (1971 - 1976)

6918951
BELL CAVALIER (1973 – 1974) & (1975 – 1978)

7324871
BELL YOYAGER (1973 - 1979)

7028453
BELL CHAMPION (1974 - 1975)

7028441
BELL CONSORT (1974 proposed) charter cancelled

7035432
BELL CHIEFTAIN (1974 - 1975)

7361661
BELL VANTAGE (1974 - 1978)

7613430
BELL ROVER (1976 - 1993)

7613442
BELL RANGER (1976 - 1996)

7613428
BELL RACER (1977 - 1997)

7709356
BELL RAIDER (1977 - 1988)

7709368
BELL REBEL (1977 - 1988)

7613454
BELL RULER (1977 - 1997)

7615036
BELL VARIANT (1977 - 1978)

7709409
BELL RELIANT (1978 - 1991)

7709382
BELL RENOWN (1978 - 1991)

7709394
BELL RESOLVE (1978 - 1993)

7709370
BELL RIVAL (1978 - 1982)

6729945
BELL COMET (1981 - 1985) unsure about this one.

7610775
BELL CLIPPER (1981 - 1984) unsure about this one.

8907668
BELL PIONEER (1990 - )

7508271
BELL SWIFT (1991 - )

9107382
BELL ADY (1995 - )

9107394
BELL ASTRON (1996 - )

9110559
BELL ATLAS (1996 - )

Ancient Seafarer
29th October 2012, 03:32
This company seemed to go from strength to strength operating with dedicated chartered then also with some owned vessels with BELL prefix to the names. Aside these they also had numerous conventional coasters on charter also adorned with their purple funnel with logo.

Suddenly they rapidly vanished; financial trouble (I think).

Obviously the ships went off charter or were sold.

Were any of their routes taken over by other operators or did the whole operation close up?

BillH

Norfolk line took over a lot of the work

Ancient Seafarer
29th October 2012, 03:36
Here is some info I got from a friend of mine, Hope it may help with your list Bill.

1967 Bell Vanguard; 1969 Bell Combat, Bell Victor; 1971 Bell Volunteer; 1972 Bell Virtue and Bell Vigilant; 1973 Bell Venture, Bell Valiant, Bell Vigour, Bell Voyager, Nordbalt. Bell Virtue lost in collision off Cornwall; 1974 Bell Vantage and Bell Champion; 1975 Bell Cavalier; 1976 Bomberg, Margret, Isar; 1977 The arrival of the "R" class boats, Ranger, Rover, Racer, Ruler (Ruler and Racer later lengthened in Cork) Bell Varient arrived on charter; 1978 Bell Raider, Bell Rebel, Bell Rival, Bell Renown, Bell Resolve, Bell Reliant, Bernd Becker. 1991 Bell Pioneer. Following collapse of Bell in 1977 she was sold and renamed Express Ashod and in 2001 (she became the Nile Express); 1991 Bell Reliant and Bell Renown sold to Cuban owners. German owned Jan sold to British interests and chartered to
Bell as Bell Swift. She had a capacity of 205 TEU compared to 122 TEU of the vessels leaving. 1995 first of 3 purpose built ships due to join Bell Lines that year sailed from Belview on her maiden voyage. Bell Ady and her 2 sister ships Bell Astron and Bell Atlas were intended to replace some of the older ships in the fleet. German-built the were chartered to Bell Lines. Bell Ady later traded out of Waterford as the Ady with containers for ECS.

The following arrived at different stages during Bell's peak years:
Saturnus, Neptunus, uranus, Achat, Este, Atlantik, Klaus Jurgens, Amazone, Jan Becker, Jan Kahrs, Angela Jurgens, Otto Becker, Anna Becker, Euro Power, Jonny R, Jana, Holger, Jacob Becker, Gerd Wehr, Antja Jurgens, Arklow Castle, Rosita Maria, Inishowen, Gerdia, Rendsburg, Marburg, Limburg.

I also have recieved some pics which I will post in the Gallery
The Bell Racer was lengthened in Cobh Ireland and the Bell Ruler was done in South Shields UK

Ancient Seafarer
29th October 2012, 03:41
The Bell Racer was lengthened in Cobh Ireland and the Bell Ruler was done in South Shields UK
The Bell Cavalier, Bell Swift, Bell Pioneer, The Europower, and all the "R" class ships except for the Bell Ranger were under the irish flag. The Bell Ranger was under the German flag.

Ancient Seafarer
29th October 2012, 03:52
The BELL R ships , or at least some of them, ran from Harwich Parkeston Quay to, I think, Belgium (or Rotterdam) in the late 80s. Many Masters/COs had PECs to and from Parkeston, but when the run added Felixstowe to the calls, they had to take a pilot between Parkeston and Felixstowe until they updated their certificates! As soon as the ship let go from Felixstowe outward, the pilot got off-the ship barely travelled her own length before he was away! (The PEC was valid after letting go-strange but true).
Later, the whole outfit moved to Ipswich, and many still call the Ipswich west bank berth the 'Bell' berth, even though they haven't been there for around twenty years.

BELL PIONEER and BELL PROGRESS (?) were bridge forward and conventional hatchcovers on No.1, but hatchless abaft the accommodation; were they the first hatchless container ships? I remember them well coming into Harwich Haven, as being in the pilot launch service at the time, I put pilots on or off all of them a number of times.

HTH

Martyn
I never heard of the Bell Progress, I thought the Bell Pioneer and the Euro Power were the only 2 hatchless ships in the fleet, i am open to correction, I was working on the Bell Resolve on the Harwich to Rozenburg run.

Ancient Seafarer
29th October 2012, 03:57
The BELL R ships , or at least some of them, ran from Harwich Parkeston Quay to, I think, Belgium (or Rotterdam) in the late 80s. Many Masters/COs had PECs to and from Parkeston, but when the run added Felixstowe to the calls, they had to take a pilot between Parkeston and Felixstowe until they updated their certificates! As soon as the ship let go from Felixstowe outward, the pilot got off-the ship barely travelled her own length before he was away! (The PEC was valid after letting go-strange but true).
Later, the whole outfit moved to Ipswich, and many still call the Ipswich west bank berth the 'Bell' berth, even though they haven't been there for around twenty years.

BELL PIONEER and BELL PROGRESS (?) were bridge forward and conventional hatchcovers on No.1, but hatchless abaft the accommodation; were they the first hatchless container ships? I remember them well coming into Harwich Haven, as being in the pilot launch service at the time, I put pilots on or off all of them a number of times.

HTH

Martyn
Parkeston Quay to Rozenburg (Europort)

rothesian
29th October 2012, 23:13
seem to remember them sailing from Victoria Deepwater Terminal London to Poland often bring yachts back on deck. late 70's

Pat McCardle
30th October 2012, 05:50
Were some on the Le Havre, Kiel, St. Petersberg, Copenhagen, Le Havre run?

Ancient Seafarer
12th November 2012, 20:09
No, the runs were Le Havre to Teesport
Le Havre to Newport
Le Havre to Waterford

Ancient Seafarer
12th November 2012, 20:15
They used to run up to Vic Deep before moving down to Parkeston Quay Harwich

Harwich
22nd May 2014, 10:41
Hi all, Bell Lines were registared in my home town of Waterford Ireland. All the the earlier ships carried names begining with the letter R such as Bell Racer, Rebel, Renown, Rover, Ranger, Reliant ?. They seemed to sell off but had a bigger vessel called the Bell Pioneer towards the end. The Container Terminal in Waterford/ South Kilkenny is Called Bellview.
Sad to see them go. The containers were a regular site all over Europe for an era.

Hi Am currently researching Ships that have visited Harwich, I have a few Bell Line photos and I am looking for any info on dates or other vessels, if anyone has this info please feel free to contact me..

trotterdotpom
23rd May 2014, 00:39
Small world department: After making my post #5 on this thread, I was contacted by a former junior seaman of Bell Venture. We compared discharge certificates and it turned out that we were on board at the same time - overnight shipmates! Since then we have had regular email contact. Albrecht stayed at sea for about 5 years then joined the army. He retired as a Warrant Officer a couple of years ago. Thanks for starting the thread, Bill.

John T

mcuttaway
29th August 2014, 18:14
My Dad was a Chief engineer with Bell lines from 1977 - 1984. He had been a chief with Irish shipping prior to that. He was first on the Bell Raider and then transferred to the Bell Renown. He was forced into early retirement due to ill health. His name was David Knott and he would've worked with guys like Mick Byrne and Neil 'Hurricane' Forde, who later became a skipper with Bells, I think Neil works with the Department of marine and fisheries now. I spent a lot of my younger years in Waterford at the container terminal there and travelled to many of the European ports Bells had terminals in,like Teesport, Rozenburg and Newport. I have very fond memories of the times I spent with my Dad and recently discovered that the poor Bell Renown ended up aground on the Cuban coast in 2006. She was written off and her wreckage is still there now. She ended life as the MV Ola. Any other info anyone might have regarding the Bell ships would be much appreciated. I was sad to see them liquidated in 1997, apparently, one of the main reasons they folded in the end was due to huge storm damage to their terminal in Waterford, where their main container Gantry/crane was blown over. This caused huge disruption in operations and a lack of finance to repair or replace the stricken crane was ultimately the last nail in Bells coffin. That was the end of an era.....

Harwich
1st October 2014, 11:40
Hi

I'm looking for any information on Bell Line ships that where in Harwich, I have a some but guess there where many more, would you have a list of vessels that arrived in Harwich ?

many thanks
Steve

The BELL R ships , or at least some of them, ran from Harwich Parkeston Quay to, I think, Belgium (or Rotterdam) in the late 80s. Many Masters/COs had PECs to and from Parkeston, but when the run added Felixstowe to the calls, they had to take a pilot between Parkeston and Felixstowe until they updated their certificates! As soon as the ship let go from Felixstowe outward, the pilot got off-the ship barely travelled her own length before he was away! (The PEC was valid after letting go-strange but true).
Later, the whole outfit moved to Ipswich, and many still call the Ipswich west bank berth the 'Bell' berth, even though they haven't been there for around twenty years.

BELL PIONEER and BELL PROGRESS (?) were bridge forward and conventional hatchcovers on No.1, but hatchless abaft the accommodation; were they the first hatchless container ships? I remember them well coming into Harwich Haven, as being in the pilot launch service at the time, I put pilots on or off all of them a number of times.

HTH

Martyn

loco
22nd October 2014, 01:36
Harwich;

Sorry, but I don't remember with certainty the ships that called at Parkeston or Ipswich. I do remember the BELL PIONEER due to her hatchless configuration; RULER and RACER also come to mind, but after the length of time that has passed, I'm not too sure of the others. They generally obtained PECs fairly quickly, and so, being in the Pilotage service, I din't have so much contact with the ships.

Martyn