Guardian Carrier

18th June 2005, 13:04
1,539grt. 240' 11" x 38' 2" x 15' 8". Built 1957 by Grangemouth Dockyard Co. Ltd., Grangemouth.
Built as the Ethel Everard for F.T. Everard and Sons Ltd., of London, the Guardian Carrier was converted to a bulk cement carrier in 1963, renamed and transferred to the West River Shipping Co. Ltd., London, for charter to New Zealand Cement Holdings Ltd. She arrived at Westport in April 1964 and entered service for a subsidiary, the Guardian Cement Co. Ltd., of Westport. She served on the coastal trade under London registry until March 1967, when New Zealand Cement Holdings bought her and re-registered her at Dunedin. She was kept in service until the arrival of the new Milburn Carrier in May 1972 relegated her to a relieving role and by January 1975 she was totally redundant to the company's requirements. Laid up in Nelson, the Guardian Carrier was sold in February 1977 to St. Lawrence Cement Co. of Toronto, Canada, for service on the Great Lakes. She sailed on 7 April 1977, but put back the following day with engine trouble. Continued problems with her engines thwarted several further attempts to leave Nelson, but on 16 April 1977 she finally cleared for Tahiti on her way to Canada. On arrival in Canadian waters, she was renamed Robert Koch and placed on the Canadian register. In 1978 she was trading between Montreal and Hamilton, Ontario.
I believe that in the 1980s, she was converted to a barge and later still was driven ashore during a storm and then scrapped.
Photo by D. Brigham

fred henderson
18th June 2005, 16:15
Great photo David and excellent ship history.
I remember visiting Grangemouth Dockyard in the late 1960s. Swan Hunter acquired the yard when they took over Smith's Dock. Very atmospheric yard. Virtually no money had been spent on plant and equipment to the extent that it was almost impossible to present a realistic case for the much needed investment. Ships were built through sheer craftsmanship. Unfortunately the yard was next to the huge Grangemouth Refinery and moonlighting was rife. The poor ship managers only knew each morning how many pipeworkers and fitters were available that day.
Another problem was that the ships were built on the banks of the River Carron. After launch they were taken into Grangemouth Docks for fitting out. The great challenge was that the time and hight of the tide in the Carron are highly unpredictable. These depend on the volume of fresh water coming down the Forth. Very challenging work, especially as Grangemouth was still using ancient and slow acting sand box launch triggers. As a result ships were launched at the lightest possible weight, which is a very uneconomic way of building ships.
Grangemouth was a problem child for Swan Hunter but although it was living on borrowed time, I think they kept it going into the British Shipbuilders nationalisation. Sadly in a world where there was a surplus of shipyards, neglected yards, located in the wrong place, were usually the first to close.
Fred Henderson