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17 Posts
Come on all you Palm guys!

I started a a couple of blank SN Guides for you and hoped someone would pick up the challenge. This was one of them - the other is for company history.


301 Posts
I have a copy of the history of Palm Line by Laurence Dunn & P.M. Heaton (ISBN 18720006019) I can list the full fleet of ships names if you wish?

83 Posts
That would be great, Billy.
If you have any problems with the SN Directory I'm sure Brian, our resident expert, will be able to help out.

17 Posts
Hi Billy,

If your are able to scan the pages with this fleet list on I have software to convert it into text easity (OCR) as long as the scan if of reasonable quality.

Let me know if you can do this and I will send you my email address and I will reprocess it.



301 Posts
I'll leave this list for now as I have just typed the info. out ready to post. I'm having a lot of work done on my house (new boiler, full rewire and kitchen fitted) Will scan pages when possible and resize into a decent jpeg and forward by email.

Ships of the Palm Line formed from the United Africa Co. in 1949.

BENIN PALM, 5,424grt, built 1936 as ETHIOPIAN (2)
MENDI PALM, 5,424grt, built 1936 as LEONIAN
KANO PALM, 5,202grt, built 1936 as GUINEAN
VOLTA PALM, 5,205grt, built 1936 as LIBERIAN
GAMBIAN PALM, 5,452grt, built 1937 as GAMBIAN (2)
TAKORADI PALM, 5,452grt, built 1937 as TAKORADIAN
DAHOMEY PALM, 4,876grt, built 1937 as CONAKRIAN
OPOBO PALM, 6,082grt, built 1942 as CONGONIAN (3)
KUMASI PALM, 7,221grt, built 1943 as KUMASIAN (3)
OGUTA PALM (1) 7,221grt, built 1943 as LAFIAN (3)
ASHANTI PALM, 5,123grt, built 1947 as ASHANTIAN (3)
LAGOS PALM, 5,120grt, built 1947 as LAGOSIAN(2)
LOKOJA PALM (1) 5,135grt, built, 1947 as ZARIAN (3)
MATADI PALM, 6,246grt, built 1948 as MATADIAN (2)
NIGER PALM, 5,202grt, built 1948 as NIGERIAN (3)

Palm Line.

BURUTU PALM, 5,410grt, built 1952
AFRICA PALM (1) 5,415grt, built 1953
SAPLE PALM, 4,981grt, built 1953
TEMA PALM, 6,178grt, built 1953. 1960 renamed MAKURDI PALM
BAMENDA PALM (1) 5,042grt, built 1956
BADAGRY PALM (1) 5,042grt, built 1956
ELMINA PALM, 5,356grt, built 1957
KATSINA PALM, 8,734grt, built 1957
ANDONI PALM, 5,802grt, built 1958
AKASSA PALM, 5,797grt, built 1958
ENUGU PALM, 5,328grt, built 1958
KANO PALM (2) 8,723grt, built 1958
IBADAN PALM, 5,658grt, built 1959
ILORIAN PALM, 5,658grt, built 1959
LOBITO PALM, 6,157grt, built 1960
LAGOA PALM (2) 6,256grt, built 1961
MAKENI PALM, 6,137grt, built 1961
IKEJA PALM, 5,682grt, built 1961
ILESHA PALM, 5,682grt, built 1961
MATADI PALM (2) 8,870grt, built 1970
AFRICA PALM (2) 10,008grt, built 1974
APAPA PALM (1) 9,067grt, built 1976
APAPA PALM (2) 9,417grt, built 1977
BAMENDA PALM (2) 11,223grt, built 1979
BADAGRY PALM (2) 12,279grt, built 1979
LAGOS PALM (3) 15,575grt, built 1982
LOKOJA PALM (2) 15,576grt, built 1982
APAPA PALM (3) 16,031grt, built 1986

17 Posts
Thank for the list Billy.

I have added that information to the Guide. Let me know when you have more information to add.



18 Posts
I've not found where this thread has ended up (sat.nav between my ears is faulty) but I do know that the last of the Palm Line was converted to scrap on some beach in India last summer. A friend spotted the news in 'Lloyd's List' or similar and I've got the details somewhere. If there's a suitable place to attach them, then I'll do so.

3,159 Posts
Palm Line
The first Europeans to set foot in West Africa were Portuguese when attempting to find new routes to India and beyond. They were followed by the Dutch, Spanish, French and English whose initial quest was trade in ivory and gold, unfortunately this was soon outstripped by the Slave Trade where the English surpassed the combined efforts of all the rest. The Triangular Trade as it became known carried European goods to the Guinea Coast where they were exchanged for human cargo. The ships then sailed for either Peru where the slaves worked in the mines, West Indies for work in the sugar fields or the American Colonies for work in the tobacco plantations and later the cotton fields. During the crossing up to twenty percent of the slaves perished but with profits of up to one thousand percent possible there was no shortage of ships, Captains and crews willing to make the voyages. The last leg of the triangle was the shipment of sugar and tobacco back to Europe where more cloths and trinkets were purchased for the commencement of another triangular voyage, a very profitable enterprise. In the one hundred years to 1789 over two million slaves had been shipped to the British Colonies alone, and in 1790 British ships carried 38, 000 while the combined fleets of the French, Dutch, Danes and Portuguese carried a further 36, 000. The two ports of Liverpool and Bristol profited greatly from the Slave Trade but in 1807 the carriage of slaves in British ships was banned by the British Government, also British Colonies were forbidden to receive them. To their credit the British Government then sought agreements from Nations whose ships still continued in the trade for the Royal Navy to be able to board suspect vessels and commander them, by the 1850's the trade was effectively at an end.

Whilst the Slave Trade prospered other British Companies operated on the coast in the less onerous trade of gold and ivory. Richard and William King Ltd and F & A Swanzy had been operating since the late seventeenth century and by the mid nineteenth had been joined by Thomas Harrisons & Co, W.B. MacIver of Glasgow and Hatton & Cookson of Liverpool and Elder Dempsters. Operating on the Ivory Coast was by no means without risk, as well as cannibals seafarers and soldiers alike had to contend with the most fever ridden shoreline in the world after all it didn't earn its nickname of the "White Man's Grave" without merit. By the end of the nineteenth century cargo's outward bound from the UK would contain guns and gunpowder, hardware, bales of Lancashire cloth, clothing of all types, boots and salt. Homeward bound the cargos were of course ivory and gold but were supplemented with palm oil, ebony, dye and rubber, most of the exchange of goods was done by barter with very little cash changing hands.

By 1910 the price of palm oil made from the pericarp of the fruit and palm kernel oil made by crushing the nuts had risen by thirty percent, both oils were used in the manufacture of soap, margarine and candles. It was in this year that the most powerful man in the soap industry a Bolton grocer by the name of William Lever first became interested in West Africa. In an attempt to gain some independence from his suppliers he first acquired W.B. MacIver of Liverpool and then two years later Peter Ratcliffe and Company and The Cavalla River Company all traders in oil in the region. In 1911 he also formed the Societé Anonyme des Huileries du Congo Belge and bought great tracts of land in the Belgian Congo and developed them as plantations also building a milling company for the extraction of oil. His consolidation was complete when he purchased H. Watson & Company a Manchester firm of shipowners who operated a Fleet of seven modern ships suitable for the transport of palm oil in 1916, a year later an eighth ship was completed. The Company was renamed the Bromport Steamship Company Limited derived from Bromborough Port situated on the Wirral, Cheshire and his factory was situated at Port Sunlight. Colemere, Delamere, Eskmere, Redesmere, Flaxmere, Rabymere, Oakmere and Linmere comprised the Fleet.

Lever's losses during the First World War accounted for half of the Fleet. Delamere was lost by a torpedo attack when 110 miles west of the Fastnet with a loss of ten lives on the 30th of April 1917. Eskmere was sunk by torpedo on the 13th of October 1917 when off Holyhead, twenty of her crew died including the Captain. When off St. Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight Redesmere was torpedoed and sunk on the 28th of October 1917 with a loss of nineteen lives. The final Company loss was on the 22nd of December 1917 when Colemere was torpedoed 25 miles west of the Smalls, she sank taking four crew members with her, this sinking brought the total to fifty three crewmembers lost. The remaining four ships were joined by the twin screw vessel Kulambanga from the companies Pacific plantations.

In February of 1920 Lever Brothers purchased the Niger Company to further consolidate its position on the West African Coast. This Company not only traded in Nigeria it apparently ran the country much along the same lines as the East India Company did in India. Sadly for Lever Brothers besides having lost all its political standing the Niger Company also misrepresented its financial base, this coincided with a drop in the price of palm oil from £115 a ton to £55. Just after the war Elder Dempster, Holland West Africa and Woermann's had formed the West African Line Conference and offered regular customer preferential rates, in order to cut its losses Lever Brothers sold its Bromport Fleet to Royal Mail and became patrons of the Conference.

William Lever died in 1925 leaving the Company in an extremely vulnerable situation but within a few years the fortunes of the loss making Niger Company had reversed even after a protracted struggle with its rival the African & Eastern Trade Corporation. In 1929 the two Companies merged renaming itself the United African Company, a few months later Lever Brothers merged with the Dutch Margarine Union becoming the Unilever Group. At the time of the merger African & Eastern possessed four ships, Ashantian, Ethiopian, Nigerian and Lafian, Lafian had replaced Woodville a year earlier, Woodville was originally purchased from the Southern Whaling Company and had carried the body of Sir Ernest Shackleton to South Georgia for burial.

With improvement in its fortune and an eye on its main competitor, the Niger Company had purchased a rather old steamship from Cunard called Tyria and renamed her Ars in 1928, and so as previously stated the Fleet now stood at five.

UAC purchased seven further ships between 1930 and 1934, of varying ages the oldest being Mendian built by Bartram and Sons of Sunderland in 1903, the others were Zarian, Kumasian, Lagosian, Congonian, Gambian and Dohomian, the ships were all named after ports or countries which were served by the Company and the practice was to continue for the rest of the Company's future.

As the depression came to an end exports from West Africa increased with the levels of groundnut, palm and kernel oils increasing at a steady rate also exports of cocoa and diamonds had increased from the Gold Coast. Bearing all this in mind the United Africa Company decided to increase the size of its Fleet but this time with new tonnage. One of the major problems faced by the Company at the time was that Lever Brothers had considerable sums of money locked away in Germany which it was unable to transfer due to legislation. A compromise was reached whereby the UAC could have ships built in German yards, all the more amazing considering the amount of shipping being built for Germany's war effort a few years hence. As new ships came into service UAC disposed of its veterans so that by 1939 the Company had the most modern Fleet on the West African Coast if not the world in comparable size. Sixteen ships in all of which only two were built pre 1930, the rest having been completed between 1935 to 1938. When war was declared and the Government requisitioned British Merchant ships the entire Fleet of UAC came under Government control, irony being that half of them had been built in German yards.
Guinean was the first Company ship to see action when she was part of the Evacuation Force off France in 1940. Guinean carried remnants of the B.E.F. and also civilians amongst whose numbers were children.

On the 1st of July Zarian survived a torpedo attack when in convoy 250 miles off the Scilly Isles, U-26 was sunk by an escort vessel and Zarian was towed to Falmouth for repairs. Lagosian survived a bombing attack when off Peterhead on the 2nd of September but five of her crew were killed. The German built Congonian was the first Company ship to be sunk when she was torpedoed by U-65 off the West Coast of Africa on the 18th of November. Two other Company's losses in 1940 occurred on the 5th of July when Gambian and Takoradian called at Dakar to replenish their bunkers. Both ships were boarded by Officials loyal to the New Vichy regime and detained, however both were released in 1943 and saw service as Empire Tweed and Empire Swale for the Ministry of War Transport, both survived and were handed back to UAC in 1946. In 1941 Kumasian was sunk by torpedo on the 5th of August fired from U-74 when in convoy off the Irish Coast. Lafian followed her on the 24th of September when she was torpedoed by U-107 when in convoy northbound 500 miles off the Azores.

Nigerian sank when off the coast of Trinidad when struck by a torpedo fired from U-508 on the 8th of December 1942. Four crew were killed and an RAF Officer and three Army Officers who were travelling as passengers were taken prisoners aboard the U-boat. On the 28th of the same month Zarian which had survived a previous torpedo attack in 1940 was torpedoed and sunk by U-591 North of the Azores bound for West Africa, four crewmen died. Lagosian was torpedoed and sunk by U-159 on the 28th of April when off the West African coast, seven crewmen lost their lives. The Company suffered its biggest crew loss when Ashantian was sunk by torpedo from U-415 when in the Western Approaches when in convoy outward bound to New York on the 21st of April. Fourteen crewmembers lost their lives including the ship's Master, Captain C. Cartmer-Taylor. The last two ships the Company lost were both sunk in 1944, Matadian by torpedo from U-66 on the 20th of March and finally Dahomian sank on the 1st of April by an unexplained underwater explosion off the coast of South Africa with the loss of two lives.

By War's end UAC had lost nine ships, of the remaining seven, five had suffered damage of one kind or another and forty six lives had been lost. UAC had supplemented its diminishing Fleet during the War with Kumasian and Lafian both built by Furness S.B. CO Ltd, Haverton Hill in 1943 and the Swan, Hunter built Congonian.

1945 Onwards

The various British Fleets which served West Africa fared just as badly as the rest when it came to War losses and so out of necessity were forced to continue the co-operation which War time had placed on them when it came to renewing their commercial services. The United Africa Company, Elder Dempsters and the John S. Holt Co of Liverpool set up a joint service and in 1947 extended it for a further ten years. At War's end UAC was only operating six ships, these were soon joined by two handed back from the Royal Navy and a further two returned from the Ministry of War Transport in 1946. The Government of the day (Atlee's Labour) decided that it was to change the way that the Empire was run and amongst other things instigated the founding of Marketing Boards in the Colonies which purchased produce from the farmers in an attempt to stabilise prices. In Nigeria the first to be established was the Nigerian Cocoa Marketing Board in 1947, two years later it was joined by groundnuts, palm produce and cotton, this action did nothing to calm the nerves of shipowners who required massive investment to rebuild their depleted Fleets. Trade, which had been restricted during the War now boomed. West Africa dominated some of the world's commodities most notably groundnuts, cocoa and palm kernels, fortunately for the Shipping Companies trade outward bound also prospered with West Africa importing vast amounts of war surplus, provisions, railway equipment, building materials, lorries, cars and textiles.

With this in mind and increased trade envisaged UAC first chartered in three Canadian built 'Fort' cargo ships in 1946 and the following year purchased three new ships under the Government's ship disposal scheme, they were Ashantian, Lagosian and Zarian.
In an attempt to broaden its horizons as to where it sought cargoes U.A.C. revived the articles of the old Southern Whaling and Sealing Company which Lever had purchased years before and changed its name to Palm Line. They had been pre-empted by John S. Holt's which had become the Guinea Gulf Line in its attempt to seek alternative freight in other ports outside of West Africa. At an extraordinary general meeting on the 16th of February 1949 the new Company of Palm Line was formed.

The first Board of Palm Line comprised Mr. Samuel (later Chairman of U.A.C.) who was appointed Chairman, Mr. George Cole (Later Lord Cole, Chairman of Unilever Ltd.), Mr. Arthur Smith (Later Sir Arthur Smith another future Chairman of U.A.C.), Mr. Thomas Bragg and Mr. A.E. Hoffman. All the Company's vessels underwent name changes and adopted the suffix 'Palm' for example Ashantian became Ashanti Palm and Gambian became Gambia Palm. On the 1st of January 1950 Palm Line joined Elder Dempsters, Guinea Gulf Line and Holland West Africa Line in the West African Line Conference (Walcon).

Sensing an upturn in world trade Palm Line decided to enlarge its Fleet by ordering four new ships, the first two Buruta Palm and Africa Palm were both motor ships built in Sunderland.

Two further ships, both steam, were ordered from the German yard of A.G. Weser, Werke Seebeck of Bremerhaven and were delivered in 1953. They were Sapele Palm and Tema Palm, both were German registered and sailed for a subsidiary company called Ölhandel und Transportgesellschaft GmbH of Hamburg. 1954 saw the disposal of Kano Palm and Volta Palm for further trading, the former sailed under the Greek flag and was scrapped in 1970, the latter was finally scrapped in 1976 whilst under the Peruvian flag as Santamar. During the early 50's British shipping lines still enjoyed a monopoly with its Commonwealth Territories and with trade increasing Mr George Cole the in***bent Chairman decided to enlarge Palm Line potential by embarking on an ambitious building program. Therefore in 1954 Palm Line ordered twelve ships from Wigham Richardson of Newcastle and a further two from the German yard of Bremer Vulkan, Vegesack. The first British pair were delivered in 1956, they were Bamenda Palm and Badagry Palm.

Six ships were delivered between 1957 to 1958, four from Swan Hunters, Elmina Palm, Enugu Palm, Katsina Palm and Kano Palm and the two from Germany, Andoni Palm and Akassa Palm.
In 1959 Palm Line sold five of its older tonnage on for further trading, Benin Palm, Gambian Palm and Takoradi Palm all went to the Lebanese flag whilst Mendi Palm and Dahomey Palm flew the flag of Panama. In this year also the Company announced its intention to move the bulk of it's ashore operations to London except for a reduced staff to look after its ships which used the river Mersey. The Chairman of the Company was also invited to become a member of the Council of the Chamber of Shipping, the owners' collective voice piece. Palm Line also took over U.A.C.'s Coast Transport Department in Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. This Department looked after stevedoring, warehousing, lighterage and clearing and forwarding of cargoes. At the end of the fifties the decolonisation of Africa was well under way, the Gold Coast was the first becoming Ghana in 1957, she was closely followed by Nigeria and French and Belgian possessions in 1960. It naturally followed that the emergent new countries would want to form their own shipping lines and again Ghana was in the forefront establishing the Black Star Line with the aid of an Israeli Company in 1957. The Nigerian National Shipping Line came into being the following year with the Government holding a 51% stake, Elders had 30% and Palm Line the remaining 19%.
During 1960 the two German flagged ships transferred to the British Registry, Sapele Palm without a name change but Tema Palm became Mukurdi Palm.

In 1960 Palm Line's trade with West Africa continued to improve though its percentage cargo carried had fallen due to increased competition, however the tonnage carried was twice that of 1950. During this year the boardroom minutes declared that if trade continued to expand at the same pace then efforts would have to be made to increase the size of the fleet. This decision was made even in the knowledge that the company was running in direct competition against two heavily subsidised state concerns, Ghana's Black Star Line and the Nigerian National Line.
Four ships entered service in 1961, they were Lagos Palm, Makeni Palm, Ikeja Palm and Ilesha Palm.
Due to political unrest in West Africa Palm Line ceased to build ships for a further ten years. Opobo Palm was sold in 1961 for further trading to the Windward Shipping Company of Hong Kong and renamed Winwar. The early Sixties saw a marked decline in the cargoes carried South due to a market decline in the prices paid for Ghana's and Nigeria's exports.

By 1962 Palm Line was operating the most modern fleet on the West African coast and served about forty ports running from Morocco to Angola, some five thousand miles. But it was in this year that the problems faced by not only Palm Line but the other British Conference members also began to escalate. With Nigeria and Ghana's economic problems mounting and a certain amount of self reliance coupled with its dependence on their own State fleets Palm Line found itself having to reduce the size of its fleet. The vegetable oil tanker Matadi Palm was the first to go and she sailed from Liverpool on the 11th of April 1963 bound for the breakers at Burriana, Spain. The following year Oguta Palm was sold on for further trading to Skaramanga Shipping of Greece and renamed Heraclitos, she was finally broken at Split in 1973.
John Holt's reaction to the crisis was by far the most severe; it sold its entire Guinea Gulf Line to Elder Dempster Lines who retained the fleet's identity.

During 1966 Palm Line disposed of another three ships, Lokoja Palm, Niger Palm and Sapele Palm, 1967 saw the disposal of a further two, Burutu Palm and the tanker Makeni Palm, this left the company with just one tanker. This tankers days were numbered however and Mukurdi Palm was sold on for further trading to Peruvian interests in 1969. She was replaced by Matadi Palm the following year.

As the percentage of trade carried by Palm Line decreased so accordingly it reduced the size of its fleet and in 1972 a further four ships were sold on for further trading, they were, Africa Palm, Akassa Palm, Badgary Palm and Bamenda Palm, this action reduced its fleet down to twelve ships, fifty percent of its 1962 strength.
With the advent of containerisation the company decided to charter in a Norwegian ship, Joruna in 1974 and renamed her Africa Palm, as this action met with some success the company decided to rid itself of more of its outdated fleet, consequently Andoni Palm was sold on for further trading to Greek owners and was replaced by a German chartered ship, Hasselburg. For the duration of its charter she was called Apapa Palm but to the company's discredit she not only flew the German flag but was manned by Germans. The ship was replaced by another from the same company in 1977, this was the 1973 built Schauenburg whose name was changed to Apapa Palm.

In 1977 also the company disposed of Elmina Palm to Panamanian owners and the following year sold a further three, Enugu Palm, Katsina Palm and Ibadan Palm, all for further trading. The company took delivery of two new Multi-purpose ships in 1979, the first was the North Korean built Bamenda Palm, the second was the British built Badagry Palm.

With the introduction of the two new ships Palm Line reduced the size of its fleet yet again when four of its older and outdated ships were sold on for further trading, they were Kano Palm, Lobito Palm, Ilorin Palm and Ilesha Palm. The company's share of trade continued to fall and at this juncture its fleet stood at just seven ships. In 1981/82 the company took delivery of two new Multi-purpose vessels, Lagos Palm and Lokoja Palm and at the same time disposed of two more of its older ships, Lagos Palm (2) and Ikeja Palm.

Trade continued to decline and by 1984 the fleet was reduced yet again and four more ships left the West African trade, Africa Palm was sold and Bamenda Palm, Lagos Palm and Lokoja Palm were chartered to Lloyd Brasileiro of Rio de Janeiro. The following year the United Africa Co. Ltd and Unilever decided that running a shipping line served no useful purpose especially as it continued to lose money compounded by the fact that it would be cost effective to use other carriers at greatly reduced expense. Consequently in 1985 Palm Line Ltd and its Conference rights were sold to Ocean Transport and Trading PLC of Liverpool which also operated Elder Dempster and Guinea Gulf Line, UAC retained the remaining ships, also in this year the company sold Apapa Palm to Venezuelan owners. The final year of operations for UAC came in 1986 when the remaining five ships were all sold on, however it wasn't until 1989 that the name of Palm Line finally disappeared from the British Registry when along with Elder Dempster and Guinea Gulf Line their nomenclature and trading rights were sold to Delmas Vieljeux of France.



Vessel Built Years of Servive Tons
Colemere 1915 1917 torpedoed and sunk west of the Smalls 2,120
Delamere 1915 1917 torpedoed and sunk west off Fastnet 1,525
Eskmere 1916 1917 torpedoed and sunk near Holyhead 2,293
Redesmere 1911 1917 torpedoed and sunk near Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight 2,123
Flaxmere 1915 1923 sold to MacAndrews, renamed Boscan, 1928 sold to Argentina renamed Angra, 1934 deleted from register. 1,525
Rabymere 1917 1923 sold to Moss Line renamed Edfou 1,776
Oakmere 1910 1923 sold to MacAndrews, renamed Bazan, 1936 sold to Westcliff Shipping Co. renamed Thorpehall, 1938 bombed and sunk off Valencia 1,251
Linmere 1913 1923 sold to MacAndrews renamed Balboa, 1928 Concalo Velo, 1949 Generoso,1952 idem, 1961 scrapped. 1,552


Ars 1897 Ex Tyria, 1928 purchased from Cunard renamed Ars, 1929 over to United African Company not renamed, 1930 scrapped 2,936


Ashantian (1) 1916 Ex Kaggefof 1916, ex Fordefjord 1921, ex Ashantian 1925, 1929 transferred from African & Eastern Trade Corp. not renamed, 1932 sold to Sweden renamed Adele, 1934 sold to Hellenic Lines renamed Hellas, 1955 sold renamed Megalochari, 1965 sold same name, 1966 ran aground and wreck scrapped. 2,116
Ethiopian (1) 1902 Ex Crown of Navarre built for Crown Steamship Co., ex Commodore 1920, ex Ethiopian 1925, 1929 transferred from African & Eastern Trade Corp. not renamed, 1933 scrapped. 2,739
Nigerian (1) 1925 Ex Nigerian 1925, 1929 transferred from African & Eastern Trade Corp. not renamed, 1935 sold to Moss Hutchison Line renamed Kyrenia, 1937 sold to Bristol City Line renamed Toronto City, 1941 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U108, whole crew lost. 3,543
Lafian (1) 1929 Ex Lafian, 1929 transferred from African & Eastern Trade Corp. not renamed, 1936 sold to Moss Hutchison Line renamed Meroë, 1950 sold to Germany renamed Adele, 1957 sold renamed Tucana, 1958 sold renamed Ursula, 1960 sold to Panama renamed Mien An, 1961 sold renamed Ruhamah, 1965 sold renamed Liby, 1968 scrapped. 3,832
Ars See Ars 1928
Mendian 1903 Ex Beethoven built for Orpheus Shipping Co., ex Berwyn 1917, ex Laurel Branch 1919, 1930 purchased from Nautilus SS Co. and renamed Mendian, 1933 scrapped. 3,752
Zarian (1) 1907 Ex Spheroid 1907 built for Scrutton Sons & Co., ex Songster 1921, ex Cambrian Princess 1926, 1931 purchased from William Thomas Shipping and renamed Zarian, 1933 scrapped. 3,832
Kumasian (1) 1905 Ex Baltic, 1931 purchased from Rederiaktieb Transatlantic, Gothenburg and renamed Kumasian, 1935 scrapped. 3,400
Lagosian (1) 1930 Ex Melmay, 1932 purchased from Melmay Shipping Co. and renamed Lagosian, 1943 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U159 in convoy RS3. 5,414
Congonian (1) 1927 Ex Quercus, 1933 purchased from Arbor Shipping and renamed Congonian 1936 sold to Italy renamed XXIII Marzo, 1941 scuttled at Massauna and broken up. 5,010
Gambian (1) 1929 Ex Knight of the Rose, 1933 purchased from Newport America Line and renamed Gambian, 1936 sold to Scindia Steam Nav. Co. renamed Jalamani, 1955 sold to Costa Rica renamed Athos, 1958 sold to Greece same name, 1960 sold Lebanon renamed Filia, 1964 scrapped. 3,856
Dahomian 1929 Ex Themoni, 1933 purchased from Kassos Steam Nav. Co. and renamed Dahomian, 1944 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U852. 5,277
Ashantian (2) 1935 1943 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U415 in convoy ONS3 with the loss of 14 lives. 4,917
Kumasian (2) 1935 1941 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U74 in convoy SL81. 4,922
Eketian 1935 Local service, 1969 converted into a barge. 1,005
Ethiopian (2) 1936 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Benin Palm, 1959 sold to Lebanon renamed Faneromeni, 1961 scrapped. 5,424
Guinean 1936 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Kano Palm, 1954 sold to Panama renamed St. George, 1964 sold renamed Susanne Eureka, 1966 sold renamed Mok Tat, 1967 scrapped. 5,205
Leonian 1936 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Mendi Palm, 1959 sold to Panama renamed Rio Yape, 1960 sold renamed Lobito, 1963 sold same name, 1967 scrapped. 5,424
Liberian 1936 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Volta Palm, 1954 sold to Finland renamed Hermes, 1958 sold to Panama renamed Noemi, 1960 scrapped. 5,025
Nigerian (2) 1936 1942 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U508 with the loss of 4 lives. 5,423
Congonian (2) 1936 1940 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U65. 4,928
Matadian (1) 1936 1944 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U66. 4,275
Conakrian 1937 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Dahomey Palm, 1959 sold to Wallem & Co., Hong Kong renamed Southern Mariner, 1968 scrapped. 4,876
Lafian (2) 1937 1941 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U107 in convoy SL87. 4,876
Takoradian 1937 1941 seized by Vichy French in Dakar renamed St Paul, 1943 returned and later renamed Empire Swale, 1946 returned to owners reverted to Takoradian, 1949 over to Palm Line renamed Takoradi Palm, 1959 sold to Panama renamed Irini’s Luck, 1963 scrapped. 5,452
Gambian (2) 1937 1941 seized by Vichy French in Dakar renamed St Gabriel, 1943 returned and later renamed Empire Tweed, 1946 returned to owners and reverted to Gambian, 1949 over to Palm Line renamed Gambia Palm, 1959 sold to Panama renamed Irini’s Blessing, 1963 scrapped. 5,452
Akassian 1922 Ex Cito, 1937 purchased from Wilson, Ellerman Line renamed Akassian, 1938 wrecked at Palm Point. 692
Warrian 1929 Ex Frank, 1937 purchased from Chr. J. Reim, Norway and renamed Warrian, 1941 sunk in collision with the loss of 3 lives. 1,057
Zarian (2) 1938 1942 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U406 in convoy ONS154 with the loss of 4 lives. 4,871
Kumasian (3) 1943 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Kumasi Palm, 1960 sold to Panama renamed Flower, 1967 sold same name, 1968 scrapped 7,221
Lafian (3) 1943 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Oguta Palm, 1960 sold renamed Aristoteles, 1962 sank after springing a leak. 7,221
Congonian (2) 1943 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Opobo Palm, 1961 sold to Windward Shipping, Hong Kong renamed Winwar, 1963 scrapped. 6,082
Lagosian (2) 1947 Ex Empire Ronaldsay launched for Ministry of War Transport but completed as Lagosian for UAC, 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Lagos Palm, 1960 renamed Oguta Palm, 1964 sold to Greece renamed Heraclitos, 1969 sold renamed Herodemos, 1973 scrapped. 7,331
Zarian (3) 1947 Ex Empire Stroma launched for Ministry of War Transport but completed as Zarian for UAC 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Lokoja Palm, 1966 sold renamed Despina L, 1969 sold renamed Nova, 1971 scrapped. 5,135
Ashantian (3) 1947 Ex Empire Bardsey launched for Ministry of War Transport but completed as Ashantian for UAC, 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Ashanti Palm, 1962 aground at Naples CTL. 5,123
Matadian (2) 1948 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Matadi Palm, 1963 scrapped. 6,246
Nigerian (3) 1948 1949 transferred to Palm Line renamed Niger Palm, 1966 sold to Panama renamed Triana, 1968 scrapped. 5,202


Ashanti Palm See Ashantian (3).
Lokoja Palm (1) See Zarian (3).
Matadi Palm See Matadian (2).
Niger Palm ex Nigerian (3).
Benin Palm See Ethiopian (2).
Mendi Palm See Leonian.
Dahomey Palm See Conakrian.
Takoradi Palm SeeTakoradian.
Gambia Palm See Gambian.
Kano Palm (1) See Guinean.
Opobo Palm See Congonian (2).
Kumasi Palm See Kumasian (3).
Oguta Palm See Lafian (3).
Lagos Palm (1) See Lagosian (2).
Volta Palm See Liberian.
Burutu Palm 1952 1967 sold to Panama renamed Tyhi, 1973 sold renamed Globe Star, 1973 grounded and lost. 5,410
Africa Palm (1) 1953 1972 sold to Panama renamed Savoydean, 1975 caught fire and later scrapped. 5,415
Badagry Palm (1) 1956 1972 sold to Greece renamed Irene’s Grace, 1983 scrapped. 5,042
Bamenda Palm (1) 1956 1972 sold to Greece renamed Lenio, 1978 sold renamed Elsa SK, 1980 sold renamed Eternal Sea, 1983 scrapped. 5,042
Elmina Palm 1957 1977 sold to Panama renamed Cyprus Sky, 1978 sold renamed Eastern Sky, 1978 sold renamed European Liberty, 1981 scrapped 5,356
Katsina Palm 1957 1978 sold to Singapore renamed New Dragon, 1984 broken up. 8,734
Enugu Palm 1958 1978 sold to Kuwait renamed Athari, 1979 renamed Seepayal, 1982 scrapped. 5,328
Akassa Palm 1958 1972 sold to Greece renamed Elemma, 1977 sold renamed Ionian Sky, 1981 sold to Liberia renamed Magdalini K, 1982 laid up, 1984 scrapped. 5,797
Andoni Palm 1958 1976 sold to Panama renamed Mastro Manolis, 1977 renamed Mastromanolis, 1982 scrapped. 5,802
Kano Palm (2) 1958 1979 sold to India renamed Purna Shanti, 1979 sold to Panama renamed Island Trader, 1982 scrapped. 8,723
Ibadan Palm 1959 1978 sold to Kuwait renamed Hind, 1979 renamed Arunkamal, 1983 scrapped. 5,658
Ilorin Palm 1960 1979 sold to Liberia renamed Diamant Captain, 1982 renamed Cape Blanco, 1982 sold to Panama renamed Sea Venture, 1983 broken up. 5,658
Lobito Palm 1960 1979 sold to Cyprus renamed Lobito Pal, 1980 renamed Minoa, 1980 renamed Peruvian Trader, 1982 renamed Richmond 1983 renamed Eurco C, 1984 scrapped. 6,157
Sapele Palm See Sapele Palm.
Mukurdi Palm See Tema Palm.
Oguta Palm See Lagosian (2).
Ikeja Palm 1961 1981 sold to Panama renamed GME Palma, 1982 renamed Palma, 1982 scrapped. 5,660
Lagos Palm (2) 1961 1981 renamed Lagos Palm I, 1981 sold to Cyprus renamed City of Lobito, 1983 grounded intyphoon and lost. 6,256
Makeni Palm 1951 Ex British Rover, 1961 purchased renamed Makeni Palm, 1967 sold to Panama renamed Kerkennah, 1972 sold to Italy renamed Palau, 1978 scrapped. 6,137
Ilesha Palm 1962 1979 sold to Liberia renamed Daphnemar, 1982 laid up, 1984 scrapped. 5,682
Matadi Palm (2) 1970 1985 transferred to UAC International renamed Matadi, 1986 sold renamed Modesty. 8,870
Africa Palm* 1971 Ex Joruna, 1974 chartered by Palm Line renamed Africa Palm, 1983 renamed Santa Barbara Pacific on charter, 1983 renamed Africa Palm, 1984 sold renamed Messaria, 1991 sold renamed Tong Zhou. 9,813
Apapa Palm (1)* 1974 Ex Hasselburg, 1976 chartered by Palm Line renamed Apapa Palm, 1977 returned to owners renamed Hoegh Apapa, 1979 renamed Hasselburg, 1980 sold renamed Mexico, 1982 renamed Mexico I, 1987 sold renamed Trade Vigour, 1996 renamed Madras Express, 1998 scrapped India. 9,067
Apapa Palm (2) * 1973 Ex Schauenburg, 1977 chartered by Palm Line renamed Apapa Palm, 1985 transferred to UAC International not renamed, 1985 sold to Venezuela renamed General Salom, 1993 Orient Challenge, 1999 scrapped Alang. 9,417
Badagry Palm (2) 1979 1985 transferred to UAC International renamed Badagry, 1986 sold to Panama renamed Cordigliera. 12,279
Bamenda Palm (2) 1979 1984 renamed Lloyd Texas, 1985 renamed Bamenda Palm, 1985 transferred to UAC International not renamed, 1986 sold to Cyprus renamed Arko Glory, 1990 sold renamed MC Ruby, 1990 renamed Medipas Tide, 1990 MC Ruby, 1993 Ville de Damas, 1994 MC Ruby, 1994 Runner, 1994 CMBT Eagle, 1999 Runner, 2000 Renata, 2005 African Star, 2005 Renata, 2009 scrapped. 11,223
Lagos Palm I See Lagos Palm (2).
Lagos Palm (3) 1981 1984 renamed Lloyd Rio, 1985 transferred to UAC International not renamed, 1986 renamed Lagos, 1986 sold to USSR renamed Boris Andreyev, 1996 sold renamed Pearce, 1998 sold renamed Nieves B. 15,575
Lokoja Palm (2) 1982 1983 renamed Wameru, 1984 renamed Lloyd Australia, 1985 transferred to UAC International renamed Lokoja, 1986 sold to USSR renamed Mekhanik Bardetskiy, 1996 sold renamed MSC Jamie, 1997 sold renamed Jamie, 1997 renamed MSC Buenos Aires, 1998 renamed Jamie, 1999 sold renamed Rocio B, 2009 renamed Rocio and scrapped. 15,575


Tema Palm 1953 1960 over to Palm Line renamed Mukurdi Palm, 1969 sold to Peru renamed Santamar, 1976 scrapped. 6,255
Sapele Palm 1953 1960 over to Palm Line not renamed, 1966 sold to Panama renamed Capetan Georgis, 1973 scrapped. 3,981

* chartered ships

Palm Line, L. Dunn & P. Heaton.
Palm Line: The Coming of Age 1949-1970, R. Kohn, Privately Published, 1970.
Henk Jungerius

Premium Member
14,864 Posts
Henk (Maritiem) you must be congratulated on typing such a comprehensive list and history of Palm Line. Thank you.

211 Posts
Searching for an old mate.

Iam trying to locate a Senior Electrician, Bob Rankin, who was with Palm Line in the early 1960's. He served his apprenticeship at the same time as myself at English Electric Co Liverpool and we were very good mates. I lost touch with him when I joined The Bank Line.
If anyone has any information about Bob, he will be about seventyone years old now, I would be very much obliged.

Best regards Alex F B McMorine.

Premium Member
441 Posts
I'm still around, but I have never seen a post from any Palm Line men from my era,which was 1955/1958, that is apart from one.
What has happened to all the others?
Pat Baker.

2,738 Posts
Hi Pat I am still here
Sailed with Palm line about the same time
First ship Opobo Palm October 1957
Last one Kano Palm January 1962. By that time I had enough of West Coast.
Sailed with many interesting characters and a few right a**e holes.
Have regaled many dinner guests with tales of that era and they found them humorous and maybe thought I was telling tall tales.
The steamers were hard work and going to Accra meant you had only to work a half day. i.e. 12 hours on deck watching the antics of the crew loading the surfboats and initialing the B/L for L.O.B.
The mates put in long hours and think the rest of the crew had a fairly good life. Never seemed to get into the bar in port as there were some wild evenings.
The newer ships had the luxury of A/C but a trip down there on the old ships meant you had mold growing on your clothes in your wardrobe even with the bulb on.
Yes I remember it well and did not look forward to the time I had to get shots. Still caught a few of these weird ailments as well as malaria.

9,354 Posts
Alexander -
Following your PM to me I have been making inquiries but without success.
I know there are still a few Palm People around and hopefully you will get some answers soon.

4,035 Posts
Last trip on Bamenda Palm. A good ship. Old Man amd Mate had asked us all back for the next voyage. As we sailed up the Clyde and on stations the Mate answered the fo'c'sle head stations 'phone (a huge plug in box). The message was " You're all sacked boys! .

He told us later that in fact she was to be sold.

A good outfit to sail with - also sailed on Ilesha Palm. Workmanlike trips.


J (Gleam)(Gleam)
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