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This little-known ship is said to be significant, in that it was the world’s first Ro-Ro cargo ship, as opposed to ferry. Built to carry trucks across the Bass Strait, it was also unusual in being the only merchant ship propelled by Napier Deltic diesels, which were more often found in small warships, such as minesweepers and patrol boats. Such material as I am able to find today does not explain why these engines were chosen, but it could be because their low profile allowed the vehicle deck to be located at a reasonable height, not possible with other, conventional diesels.
The likely penalty of relatively low reliability and short life of these highly-rated engines was addressed by another innovation: provision for “repair by replacement”. This meant the arrangement of planned removal routes for the engines, a task which could apparently be done in a matter of hours, aided by their small size and light weight. Naturally, at least one spare engine had to be kept available at all times.
A new Bass Trader seems to have taken this ship’s place in 1976, so it seems reasonable to assume that the original remained in service until then. It would be interesting to know if the Deltics served for the life of the ship, or if re-engining was done at some stage. This would naturally depend upon running costs and dependability, among a host of other factors.
I’m hoping there will still be someone around who was connected with the ship, one way or another, who will be able to say.
 

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Nothing to do with the 'Bass Trader', but I think the one of the reasons that British railways built a class of locomotives with 'Deltic' engines was a claimed 24 hour engine swap time. They also had a high horsepower/weight ratio, which is important in rail technology.

Don't know if this was ever done, or needed to, but I think there were more engines available than the two required for each loco, but would need to check to be certain.

British Rail Class 55 - Wikipedia

This confirms more engines than the two required per loco, and also notes that one of the preserved locos has ex marine replacement Deltic engines.

Martyn
 

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Sorry Martyn, can't help re the first Bass Trader but I did a couple of swings on the 1976 model. Funnily enough we took a huge locomotive to Brisbane on her last trip to that port - I've got a photo of myself in it somewhere. Last saw her in Hobart in the early '90s. She finished up being converted to a passenger ferry called "Mercedes Del Mar" running from Barcelona to Mallorca (2010 I think).

John T
 

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That explains I think, how a farmer in Tasmania has a Napier Deltic engine for preservation. Possibly a spare or removed engine R.J.M.
 

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That explains I think, how a farmer in Tasmania has a Napier Deltic engine for preservation. Possibly a spare or removed engine R.J.M.
She commissioned in April 1961/first run Melbourne to Burnie I was there in the RIVER MURRUMBIDGEE
The ANL time to replace was eight hours so no lost time
Had a short but eventful carreer
When I was in Princess of Tasmania in 1964 she had a fire in the vehicle deck /put back into Melbourne
She also got trapped in a seveer storm /got back through heads anchored off Portsea while severe list reduced then back to Melbourne where all cargo landed and repairs undertaken.POT on voyage from Devonport to melbourne caught in same storm berthing 5 hours late
.
 

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After 10 years in the shooting Navy I joined the Bass Trader in early 1975. She was built at Newcastle (Aust.) State Dockyard test the concept of a versatile cargo carrier capable of taking virtually anything on wheels, (roll on, roll off,) as well as containerized and general cargo. The idea proved very successful and led to numerous vessels on coastal and international liner trades.
She carried her own forklift in the vehicle deck as well as a spare main engine on a trolley. Two Napier Deltics were connected to the main shafts via fluid couplings and at least one other engine was held ashore at the Commonwealth Marine Engine Works. The Deltics had phenomenal power/weight and power/volume ratios and would have been selected so as to shoehorn into a very squeezy engine room. (IMHO)
At 4128 grt she was small enough to clear the shallows in the west channel of Port Phillip Bay but the engines would overload if power wasn't reduced beforehand. This led to constant argument between the Master and the Chief Engineer as regular overloading was held to be the main cause of engine problems.
She was sold in late 1975 and renamed Halley then scrapped in 1984.
 

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Thanks Olaf_t_B.
I was just about to ask whether she was diesel-electric or 'whatever'?
You have answered my question without me needing to ask it.
Geoff (YM)
 

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If you want more information on Bass Trader, there is a Nautical Association book published in 2020 titled - ANL. A Fleet History of Australian National Line 1957-1999, which has the full story of all the ANL ships.
(Ollie, you should get a copy.)
 
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