Oil Burning/Coal Burning Steamers

Alistair Macnab
3rd June 2009, 16:39
Over the past several weeks in conjunction with Brent's Bank Line ship photographs, I have attempted to give some background information that may be of interest. I have identified quite a few steamships that were in the fleet in the post-WWII years, and would like to know which steamers were oil-burning and which were coal-burning. This information is not usually given in any of the books or fleetlists I have consulted.
Needless to say, I am aware that the "Libertys" or "Sam Boats" were oil-burning but what about the ex-Empire boats?
The "Deebank" and "Forthbank" were certainly around in the 50s as survivors of the steamships built by Workman Clark in 1929.
Some of the pre-war "Tynebank" Class from Readheads survived post war. What fuel did they use?
Thanks in anticipation of some first hand information!

gil mayes
3rd June 2009, 16:57
Lloyd's Register of Shipping will give you the answer.
DEEBANK (148166) was an oil burner from build - 6.1929
FORTHBANK (148169) was the same -12.1929
TYNEBANK (164039) is recorded in 1952 as a coal burner.

3rd June 2009, 20:49
the Etivebank where i was senior app in 1954 was a coal burner,I joined in Avonmouth and shifted to cardiff to bunker and from there our next bunkering port was newport news,both very modern loading systems for the period,Themost unuaual port was calcutta where the coal barges came a/s and stages were rigged up the ships side and then baskets of coal were lifted on board,wery slow and very dusty,I do remember all the clinker that was brought up on deck and had to be dumped overboard.

David E
4th June 2009, 00:20
Lochybank was a coal burner


Dave Edge
4th June 2009, 01:40
The series of steamers built 1929-30 were oil-fired from the start but the 'T' class built mid to late 1930's reverted to coal firing, perhaps intended for a trade where oil bunkers were not readily available - India-Africa, perhaps? Teviotbank remained a coal burner until after she was sold in 1955 when her new owners converted her. Likewise the Empire class steamers, which all remained coal fired until after their sale by Bank Line.

Alistair Macnab
4th June 2009, 16:29

Many thanks. I knew there were Bank Line friends within the SN system who would know the answers!
Kind regards.

Arthur Miller
30th June 2009, 22:41
My first ship as an apprentice was the Lochybank, ex Empire Honduras. Captain Frosdick, She was a coal burner having a White crew on deck and I think Arabs down below.
We sailed, light ship from Manchester in January 1953 and took a terrible beating having to put in to Newport News for repairs. After loading sulphur in the Gulf, for Australia, we had to go to Kingston, Jamaica to load bunkers, one of the few remaining bunkering ports in that part of the world then. We had to fill No3 tween decks with coal to see us across the Pacific. First trips are never forgotten!. At the end of that trip, December 1953, the Lochybank was sold to the Dutch and re named Staad Harlem, I think

1st July 2009, 00:13
Well remember my first ship S.S. "Firby" a WWII built Ocean boat was a coal burner a we too had coal bunkers in #3 tween deck for ocean passages (circa 1953)
After a spell in port it we all hand to shovel ashes O/B

Mike Lindsell
1st July 2009, 14:14
I spent the last two years of my apprenticeship with Bank Line on the S.S. "Hazelbank " (Built as the "Empire Franklin" ), a coal burning steamer (1955 - 1957 ). At the completion of this 2 year + voyage we arrived in Amsterdam where the vessel was sold.
I can attest to the fact that this vessel was a coal burner because the vessel during this period was chartered to carry a full cargo of bagged flour from Melbourne to Colombo and Galle (Ceylon in those days ), and to attain maximum cargo the bunker hatch located aft of No 3 Hatch had to be emptied of coal (the coal was stowed on deck ) and then utilised during the voyage whilst the hatch was prepared for the carriage of flour (Guess by who ? - the apprentices ).


Mike Lindsell