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  #1  
Old 26th April 2020, 12:25
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Old Se Dog Old Se Dog is offline
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unicorn shipping line

I am trying to get feedback from members - who might have some stories to share on the Unicorn Shipping Line in South African waters - I have quite a few images of their various ships
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  #2  
Old 27th April 2020, 02:49
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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I got a job with Unicorn when I was planning to go and live in South Africa. They were a pretty big company and had some good runs. Sadly, the reason for going gave me the ar$e so I didn't bother going.

In retrospect, I think Australia was a better choice.

John T
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  #3  
Old 27th April 2020, 09:17
R.kearsley R.kearsley is offline  
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Sailed with them when called African Coasters way back in 1965, first ship was the Voorspeler then the Horizon on the magic run Durban-Port Louie. one time I was sent out to see what spares could be removed from one of the ship's laid up in Durban harbour but the African AB/Motor man weren't keen to go on board as they believed the ship was haunted by someone killed in the E/R, can't remember the name of the ship but know she was a steamer, interesting times.
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  #4  
Old 27th April 2020, 13:39
callpor callpor is offline   SN Supporter
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I visited their Durban offices for a week in 2012 to carry out an assessment of their shipmanagement system and practices on behalf of an Owner. This client was considering placing some of their new vessels under Unicorn management.
At that time Unicorn was operating and crewing a fleet of 9 oil/product tankers varying in size from 16K to 47KDWT. My client was considering placing four 52KDWT product tankers under construction in Korea with them in 2013/14.
Unicorn Shipping had been established about 85 years ago and is now the shipmanagement division of Grindrod Shipping, a South African and global ports, terminals, commodities trading and shipping conglomerate.
Hope this helps in your search of information on Unicorn? They did get the addional four vessels following my visit!
Current Equasis data on the Unicorn fleet shows they have shrunk somewhat since my vist and now operate/manage only 3 vessels with other outchartered to other chemical tanker operators.
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  #5  
Old 28th April 2020, 11:44
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Voorspeler and Horizon

Quote:
Originally Posted by R.kearsley View Post
Sailed with them when called African Coasters way back in 1965, first ship was the Voorspeler then the Horizon on the magic run Durban-Port Louie. one time I was sent out to see what spares could be removed from one of the ship's laid up in Durban harbour but the African AB/Motor man weren't keen to go on board as they believed the ship was haunted by someone killed in the E/R, can't remember the name of the ship but know she was a steamer, interesting times.
I hope this brings back some good memories
Attached Images
File Type: jpg horizon.jpg (49.9 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg voorspeler .jpg (136.3 KB, 14 views)
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  #6  
Old 28th April 2020, 11:49
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Unicorn Shipping Lines

I am fortunate to have this book on Unicorn Lines - written by Brian Ingpen - he also wrote one or two books on Safmarine - he still has a shipping colom in one of our local shipping newspaper colom's - and a list of Unicorn Shipping fleet in 1982 - hope it brings back good memories

Thank you to all who responded with their replies and stories
Attached Images
File Type: jpg unicorn - navigating new fronters.jpg (71.3 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg unicorn lines - fleet list 1.jpg (203.2 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg unicorn lines - fleet list 2.jpg (172.6 KB, 15 views)
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  #7  
Old 28th April 2020, 19:02
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I was 2/O mid eighties for a year. When border hit the Caisson and Mkuze ended up being the Ceylon Hilton. Oh yes, trip across to Brazil on a tiny ship (range?) and the Tugela sold. I could never understand why I was on the Cargo ships and not Tankers. Turned out my year sorting out wether to live out there was a nono, mainly because the kids education would have been disrupted. Now, of course, it looks like the right choice. My wifes family are having hell with the electricity and drought.
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  #8  
Old 28th April 2020, 21:44
littlun littlun is offline  
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I joined Unicorn in 86 straight from college as jr/o. They took 4 of us on from the UK. Sailed on the Nahoon and Tugela. Not long after that they got the two big ro/ro's Border and Barrier. They replaced the Nahoon and Kowie on the coast. Had a great time.
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  #9  
Old 1st May 2020, 01:22
genejay2 genejay2 is offline  
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Hi:
I was a deck cadet on 3 of the Unicorn tankers (Mobil Durban, Africa Shell and Buffalo), then sailed as cadet on: Horizon, Zwartkops, Mkuze, Berg, Oranjemund. After 1980 sailed as 3rd mate on some of them up to 1981, when I came ashore.

I would love to have pictures of any of the Unicorn ships, and could tell a tale or two about the above. The Islands run on Horizon was fantasttic-remenber the bar was made of beer bottles, ceiling had handprints, footprints and b.prints (made with engineer's blue ) of treasured guests.

1977 Mobil Durban was laid up in Port Elizabeth for a week-everytime we had to get underway, something in the engine room would go awry-was never quite sure if it was because we had such a good time partying

Anyone who sailed on any of the above are welcome to contact me for a chat:
[email protected]

Incidentally, whilst we have problems here-it is not as bad as some would have you believe. I have lived in 5 different countries, and still prefer SA to the rest.
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  #10  
Old 1st May 2020, 01:53
justinian justinian is offline  
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I have a couple of photos which I took in 1975 when I was on a vessel chartered by Safmarine. It is AFRICA SHELL, INDODA and NAHOON
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  #11  
Old 1st May 2020, 02:56
Baulkham Hills Baulkham Hills is offline  
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I was offered a job with Unicorn in the 70's and they seemed a good ahead company with many ships, but the problem was very poor wages and exchange rate at the time was rubbish, so I never took up the offer.
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  #12  
Old 1st May 2020, 04:52
verneukpan verneukpan is offline
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My late father in law Captain Neil MacAlister was in command of the Mkuze around 1981- it was the last ship he was on before he died in 1984.

Neil MacAlister survived the sinking of the Dalesman and was captured while still a Merchant Navy Cadet Officer. He was interned Marlag und Milag Nord (Milag Section), Westertimke (Tarnstedt), Germany.


Milag was the Prison Camp for Merchant Navy Personnel and Marlag was the Prison Camp for Royal Navy & Commonwealth Navy Personnel.


The S.S. Dalesman was a 6 343 Ton Merchant Ship built in 1940. She was bombed and sunk by the German Luftwaffe in Suda Bay Harbour during the Battle of Crete on 14 May 1941. (This date was most probably when Neil became a Prisoner of War). The S.S. Dalesman was later salvaged and used by the German’s but recovered by Allied Forces after the War. She was Scrapped in 1956.

Neil MacAlister signed on the “Queen Mary “ in Southampton 9th December 1952 as Inter/3/Officer he was 31 years of age with 14 ˝ years service his height was 5’ - 9” the ship arrived New York 21st December 1952, having sailed from Southampton 16th December 1952, he was still signed on when the ship arrived again in New York 5th January 1953, having sailed from Southampton 31st December 1952

Neil MacAlister signed on the “Queen Elizabeth “ in Southampton 2nd March 1955 as Jnr 2nd Officer he was 31 years of age with 17 years service, The ship arrived New York 4th April 1955 having sailed from Southampton, he was still signed on when the ship arrived again New York 19th April 1955

He did several trips on “Caroina” in 1951/52 . Chief officer on the “Assyria” in 1955 October, 3 trips on the “Fort Cadotte” in 1948/49, to mention but a few.

He spent several years with De Beers captaining diamond dredger off South West Africa as well as running a rock-lobster factory ship on the Island of Tristan Da Cunha.
He last years at sea was with Unicorn where he sailed the Mkuze and car carrier that he bought from her maiden voyage in St Nazaire in the later 197O's
Does anyone remember him or have photos of him? sadly his wife destroyed all his naval records and photos when she started losing it.
thanks in advance
Heatherr
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  #13  
Old 1st May 2020, 11:26
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Unicorn shipping

Quote:
Originally Posted by verneukpan View Post
My late father in law Captain Neil MacAlister was in command of the Mkuze around 1981- it was the last ship he was on before he died in 1984.

Neil MacAlister survived the sinking of the Dalesman and was captured while still a Merchant Navy Cadet Officer. He was interned Marlag und Milag Nord (Milag Section), Westertimke (Tarnstedt), Germany.


Milag was the Prison Camp for Merchant Navy Personnel and Marlag was the Prison Camp for Royal Navy & Commonwealth Navy Personnel.


The S.S. Dalesman was a 6 343 Ton Merchant Ship built in 1940. She was bombed and sunk by the German Luftwaffe in Suda Bay Harbour during the Battle of Crete on 14 May 1941. (This date was most probably when Neil became a Prisoner of War). The S.S. Dalesman was later salvaged and used by the German’s but recovered by Allied Forces after the War. She was Scrapped in 1956.

Neil MacAlister signed on the “Queen Mary “ in Southampton 9th December 1952 as Inter/3/Officer he was 31 years of age with 14 ˝ years service his height was 5’ - 9” the ship arrived New York 21st December 1952, having sailed from Southampton 16th December 1952, he was still signed on when the ship arrived again in New York 5th January 1953, having sailed from Southampton 31st December 1952

Neil MacAlister signed on the “Queen Elizabeth “ in Southampton 2nd March 1955 as Jnr 2nd Officer he was 31 years of age with 17 years service, The ship arrived New York 4th April 1955 having sailed from Southampton, he was still signed on when the ship arrived again New York 19th April 1955

He did several trips on “Caroina” in 1951/52 . Chief officer on the “Assyria” in 1955 October, 3 trips on the “Fort Cadotte” in 1948/49, to mention but a few.

He spent several years with De Beers captaining diamond dredger off South West Africa as well as running a rock-lobster factory ship on the Island of Tristan Da Cunha.
He last years at sea was with Unicorn where he sailed the Mkuze and car carrier that he bought from her maiden voyage in St Nazaire in the later 197O's
Does anyone remember him or have photos of him? sadly his wife destroyed all his naval records and photos when she started losing it.
thanks in advance
Heatherr
There is a Safmarine Unicorn group on facebook - which is very active - perhaps you can send your request to them attaching 4 images of your Mkuzi as mentioned
Attached Images
File Type: jpg mkuzi (1).jpg (31.3 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg mkuzi (2).jpg (149.3 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg mkuzi (3).jpg (69.8 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg mkuzi (4).jpg (47.3 KB, 7 views)
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  #14  
Old 1st May 2020, 11:56
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vasco vasco is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlun View Post
I joined Unicorn in 86 straight from college as jr/o. They took 4 of us on from the UK. Sailed on the Nahoon and Tugela. Not long after that they got the two big ro/ro's Border and Barrier. They replaced the Nahoon and Kowie on the coast. Had a great time.
Were you on Tugela when they sold all the bar goods in preparation for the ship being sold?
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  #15  
Old 1st May 2020, 12:54
Sean Woodgate Sean Woodgate is offline
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There is a Facebook page with many posts by previous Unicorn Shipping Lines personnel. I have just posted a few pics of the Umfolozi and the Kowie of the 1983 - 1988 era.
Look for "Safmarine & Unicorn Officers' Old Boys"
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  #16  
Old 1st May 2020, 13:25
callpor callpor is offline   SN Supporter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Se Dog View Post
I am fortunate to have this book on Unicorn Lines - written by Brian Ingpen - he also wrote one or two books on Safmarine - he still has a shipping colom in one of our local shipping newspaper colom's - and a list of Unicorn Shipping fleet in 1982 - hope it brings back good memories

Thank you to all who responded with their replies and stories
@Old Se Dog: Interesting! Unicorn gave me a copy of the 2003 Edition of the Brian Ingpen book "Navigating New Frontiers" for my visit to the Durban office in 2012. Apparently this is the third edition? Includes a complete fleet list in the Appendix.
Cheers. chris
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  #17  
Old 1st May 2020, 13:33
verneukpan verneukpan is offline
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thanks very much indeed - much apreciated
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  #18  
Old 1st May 2020, 13:46
BillH BillH is online now
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The top left broadside view in #13 is of a Sea Containers Group - Tarros Class roro container vessel
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  #19  
Old 1st May 2020, 15:18
Sean Woodgate Sean Woodgate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vasco View Post
Were you on Tugela when they sold all the bar goods in preparation for the ship being sold?
I did sail on the Tugela, but that was before she was being prepared to be sold. My last ship was the Barrier in January 1988.
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  #20  
Old 1st May 2020, 15:37
Tony Drury Tony Drury is offline
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Can remember a small Unicorn coaster (about the size and likes of the Indoda in a previous post) came alongside the City boat I was on (City of Wellington or CapeTown maybe) when alongside in Beira (early to mid 70s).

This sticks in my mind since it was unusual for the City boats to do ship to ship cargo work on this coast (in fact the only time for me) and was something of a curiosity. I think the Rhodesian blockade may still have been in place and the Beira patrol was still banging up and down the coast enjoying the sunshine. Not absolutely sure but I think that we were transhipping cargo to the coaster. Thinkng back now I wonder if there were some 'special embargo' cargo involved.
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  #21  
Old 1st May 2020, 17:04
Chevvyp Chevvyp is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vasco View Post
I was 2/O mid eighties for a year. When border hit the Caisson and Mkuze ended up being the Ceylon Hilton. Oh yes, trip across to Brazil on a tiny ship (range?) and the Tugela sold. I could never understand why I was on the Cargo ships and not Tankers. Turned out my year sorting out wether to live out there was a nono, mainly because the kids education would have been disrupted. Now, of course, it looks like the right choice. My wifes family are having hell with the electricity and drought.
The tiny ship that went across on a couple of voyages to South America was the Voorloper (ii) IMO7116937 - a RO-RO-which is one of those illustrated above.. They needed a relief Chief Engineer with a Diesel 'ticket' and he had fairly recently retired from Safmarine and was available. Still have some old slides he took in Buenos Aires where they were docked.
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  #22  
Old 1st May 2020, 18:49
genejay2 genejay2 is offline  
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Hi:
Unfortunately I do not have any photos of any of the ships I sailed on, nor of my shipmates-"lost" during my divorce . I am also hoping that someone on this thread will be able to help.

Captain was an excellent seaman-highly respected by everyone that I came into contact with at the time. Strict but fair.

I was on Mkuze early 1981-we went through a rough time on voyage from Durban to cape Town when several vehicles came adrift around 01h00-just as I was about to fall asleep having done 8-12 watch.
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  #23  
Old 1st May 2020, 18:54
genejay2 genejay2 is offline  
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Thanks.
Much obliged
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  #24  
Old 2nd May 2020, 09:05
BillH BillH is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chevvyp View Post
The tiny ship that went across on a couple of voyages to South America was the Voorloper (ii) IMO7116937 - a RO-RO-which is one of those illustrated above.. They needed a relief Chief Engineer with a Diesel 'ticket' and he had fairly recently retired from Safmarine and was available. Still have some old slides he took in Buenos Aires where they were docked.
7116937
VENTO DI LIBECCIO / VOORLOPER (1971 - 1978) Tarros class.
O.N. 342888. 1,591g. 874n. 1,870d. 86.72 x 13.75 x 4.706 metres.
6-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. (410 x 470mm) Werkspoor 6TM410 type by Stork-Werkspoor B. V., Amsterdam, geared to a controllable pitch propeller. 3,200 BHP, 15˝ kts. Thwartship thrust controllable pitch propeller forward.
5.1977: 6-cyl. 4 S.C.S.A. (381 x 457mm) Mirrlees KMR-6 type by Mirrlees Blackstone (Stockport) Ltd, Stockport. 3,200bhp. 15kts.
24.4.1971: Keel laid by Zaanlandsche Scheepsbouw Maatschappij N. V., Zaandam (Yard No.523), as VENTO DI LIBECCIO, for Sea Containers Chartering Ltd., (J. B. Sherwood, manager), London. (Intended as TARROS ELM).
24.7.1971: Launched.
10.1971: Completed as VOORLOPER, for Sea Containers Ltd., (same manager), London.
1974: Transferred to Sea Containers Chartering Ltd., and removed from management.
1977: Re-engined.
1978: Renamed TARROS ELM.
1979: Renamed ZIM MANILA, and transferred to Bermuda registry.
1979: Renamed TARROS ELM.
1979: Sold to Compania Maritima, Philippines, and renamed PANAY.
27.12.1986: Arrived at Gadani Beach for demolition by Al-Murtaza Metals (Pvt) Ltd.
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  #25  
Old 4th May 2020, 07:23
Tony Foot Tony Foot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Drury View Post
Can remember a small Unicorn coaster (about the size and likes of the Indoda in a previous post) came alongside the City boat I was on (City of Wellington or CapeTown maybe) when alongside in Beira (early to mid 70s).

This sticks in my mind since it was unusual for the City boats to do ship to ship cargo work on this coast (in fact the only time for me) and was something of a curiosity. I think the Rhodesian blockade may still have been in place and the Beira patrol was still banging up and down the coast enjoying the sunshine. Not absolutely sure but I think that we were transhipping cargo to the coaster. Thinkng back now I wonder if there were some 'special embargo' cargo involved.
Think it unlikely that it was a Unicorn vessel in those days.
Unicorn hadn't been invented then. They were still African Chaos (Coasters)
Most likely Durban Lines with Congella, Greyville or Madeleine.
Madeleine was actually Stena Lines owned, on charter to Durban Lines. I was on both Greyville and Madeleine during that era.
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