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EMPIRE COAST

EMPIRE COAST

EMPIRE COAST

A 299 ton diesel coastal tanker built by I Pimblott and Sons Ltd., Northwich and launched as Empire Coast on 9 January 1943 for the MOWT. Her management was allocated to the Anglo-American Oil Co., London.
Isaac Pimblott opened his shipbuilding yard on the River Weaver in Cheshire in 1867. The yard was originally located near the centre of Northwich but was moved upstream near to Hunts Lock in 1906. This site is now covered by a pleasure craft marina.
After the owners death in 1909 his sons took over the management and concentrated in building small harbour craft including tugs, launches and barges, many of them timber construction.
During the war the yard built thirteen vessels for the MOWT, Empire Coast being one of them. During the 1960s the yard built several small craft for the Royal Navy before closing in 1971.
In 1946 she was purchased by Anglo-American who renamed her Esso Ottawa, and is shown as such in this nice study of her. (Does anyone recognise the location?).
Esso Ottawa was broken up at Bruges beginning 25 April 1967.

Photograph belongs to Stuart Smith.
Photographer unknown.

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Googling Corlett Sons produces an old photo of someone standing in front of a row of tractors with Esso tanks in the background at Douglas. The houses behind also seem to be on the same road as those in this photo. (Ive just discovered that the interesting-looking tower is still there, and now wonder what it purpose was !)
 

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I thought the ship looked familiar. My Dad was Mate on her near sister Empire Cricketer, from the same builders. I'd have to dig out his discharge books to find out the dates.
 

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Empire Cricketer is possibly one of the last Empires still in service, as she was renamed Aqua Rapha in 2018, and is still in service under the Nigerian flag according to Equasis. I saw her quite often in the eighties as High Heat and was surprised she was still going then, though her upperworks were much altered. By now I imagine shes a bit like Triggers broom !
 

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I remember that the Esso Ottawa had a near sister ship, The Esso Suwanee ex Empire Garnet built 1941. I sailed in the Esso Genesee, ex Empire Harbour in the 1950s, she was slightly larger and was a steamship. The master was Capt. Stoker.
 

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Graham, Dad and I followed her career up to her becoming High Heat - not sure how we did that in pre-internet days! But amazing to think that the ex Empire Cricketer is still around.

What got us started was seeing 'Soren Rask' in Shoreham. Dad initially thought that she might have been Empire Cricketer, but turned out to be Empire Tapley. I think she was a sister to Empire Coast, but had been lengthened by the time we saw her.
 

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Tankers
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Stuart Smith
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