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Discussion Starter #1
Can anyone tell me what trade Benlawers (built 1970) was designed for as apart from modern deck gear of the time she seems very different from the rest of the Benledi Class; for instance the single weatherdeck hatches and the multiple tween decks and pallet hatches at Nos 3 and 4. I'd left Ben Line in 1969 so never knew the vessel.
 

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Can anyone tell me what trade Benlawers (built 1970) was designed for as apart from modern deck gear of the time she seems very different from the rest of the Benledi Class; for instance the single weatherdeck hatches and the multiple tween decks and pallet hatches at Nos 3 and 4. I'd left Ben Line in 1969 so never knew the vessel.
I was in Benlawers/GNOU as a sparks, with Marconi Marine during 73/74 .
In this period the vessel in the general cargo trade, while I was in her she was Asia, South East Asia & Far East trade, while I was in her the ship called at i.e. Hull, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Dakarta, Singapore, Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Yokohama, Pusan, Rejang, Singapore, Port Sweetnam, Penang & Tilbury (it was also not unusual to call in at Indian ports.
 

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I'm not a Ben Line man but maybe the 'multiple tweendecks and pallet hatches' were intended for Japanese cars ?

regards
Dave
 

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You could of put cars in if you wanted (it would have been safer in a container) the holds could contain General Cargo going to the Far East and from the same. Palm Oil, Rubber/Latex, the occasional container on deck, 2nd hand busses being shipped to Hong Kong, Timber from Sarawak, Palets Instant Vesta Curry for Singapore, Ingots of pewter, even a deck cargo odf a small Junk (for display in the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank in Bishopsgate London.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for reponses folks, I get the impression that she did the usual Ben Line routes but not always the 'Ocean Greyhound' ones - Singapore, HK, Japan - as that was heading for the container trade. Valid point about the carriage of cars, I hadn't thought of that - age takes its toll! I was amused to think of Benlawers in Rejang, way up the river loading timber. I went there on Benvannoch (twice) and Bennevis and a sophisticated port it was not, nonetheless the cargo working was a slick operation. The other day I found a photo of Benlawers in Safmarine colours, so obviously chartered out on occasion.
 

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Interesting to read everyone's recollections of the Benlawers. I was on the old Benlawers (Built 1944) from January 1966 to around June 1966 and I too went up the Rejang River in Sarawak loading huge teak logs for furniture makers in London. I remember seeing the biggest snake in the river I have ever seen, a Boa Constrictor I believe. I also saw a Chinese stoker off another Ben Line ship (can't remember which one) anchored nearby get taken by a croc. He and two cadets went swimming, would you believe. We did Columbo, Port Swettenham, Singapore, Manila, Cebu and Bugo.
 

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Hi, The 1970 built BenLawers was the idea of the chief cargo sup in Ben line to carry palletised cargo, all deck height was 2.4 metres (8ft) . The ship was modern with flush decks and largo doors in bulkheads between holds giving a clear run through, large cargo lifts were fitted to serve different tween deck levels. The also had large shell doors in the ships sides to load and discharge cargo ( these leaked when in a rough seaway at full speed so larger bilge suction pipes were fitted and checked daily). I did two trips and enjoyed a different approach to cargo working, we did a charter to saf marine from Southampton, Capetown was the only port that used the side doors and they could supply enough fork lifts for both the quay and inside the ship.The ship could also carry containers 2 high on the hatches and deck with correct fittings.
Regards Dave.
 

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Hello abncsc, thanks for your contribution and what you wrote filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of the later Ben Line ships. I'm guessing that she became obsolete very quickly as containerisation took hold.
 

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Yes she was obsolete but like a similar style ship BenStac they were used in the charter market as good volume general cargo carriers and fast. In fact the last Ben Liner I was aboard was the BenStac in Hull in about 1980 and the captain informed
me they’d come direct from New Zealand via Cape Horn and averaged 20 knots.Both these ships ended up at the bottom of the ocean after engine room incidents.
Regards Dave
 
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