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Banana Boats index

The Fleets

British Molasses Company 1915-1926 / United Molasses Company Ltd. 1926-1940 / Athel Line Ltd. 1940-1980

Molasses is the by-product of sugar product-ion and runs off when sugar cane is passed through rollers and crushers, being a viscous,heavy liquid having twice the weight of petrol. In the early days at sugar plantations it was run off into the ground ; however uses were soon found for molasses in alcohol fermentation processes, animal feed industries and farming and it was originally imported in barrels. Molasses in bulk needs heating coils in the transporting tanks as it can solidify at any temperature below 96 degrees F, and its transportation is thus very similar to the carriage of bitumen.

The first recorded bulk shipment of molasses into Britain arrived at Hull in 1912, and shipments continued to arrive during WWI for the British Molasses Company; founded on 16th July,1915 by Michael Kielberg, a Danish immigrant to Britain in 1907 and The Molasses Trading Company.
One or two tankers managed by John I. Jacobs were involved in the trade together with MANX ISLES of 4187 dwt and converted to carry molasses in 1915. She was chartered by the British Molasses Company in 1917 for what was still a very small trade only 32,000 tons of molasses arrived in Britain in 1920 and she was purchased by the company on 28th July,1921 to become the first owned ship and managed by Lowden, Connell & Co. She was not renamed and acquitted herself well until broken up in 1929.

A Great Lakes trader became the second owned tanker when purchased at Hull for a paltry $7500 in 1922. She was renamed ATHELSTANE and became the fore-runner of the 'ATHEL' prefix.
She was actually named after the house that Michael Kielberg had purchased in 1919. ATHELSTANE was mortgaged in August,1922 to help buy the third ship, the Norwegian BRIEFOND, which had been fitted with cylindrical tanks during WWI, in November of that year. Renamed ATHELMERE she had no fore and aft bulkheads and listed very heavily during her first years with the company, almost sailing on her beam ends. Even after the introduction of bulkheads in two of her tanks her stability remained a problem and she would heel over without the slightest warning.

ATHELCREST was purchased from the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. Ltd in 1924, having been originally built for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary as ELMLEAF. She was capable of speeds far in excess of what was required and together with ATHELTARN and ATHELRILL proved to have an impossible coal consumption. At full speed they would burn 75 tons of coal per day and even at economical speeds would burn 60 tons per day. Twenty one firemen out of a total crew of 75 took turns in shovelling coal into the flaming jaws of the furnaces. ATHELTARN and ATHELRILL were converted to oil-burning, but their stay with the company was brief; both being sold to the Japanese within a year.
Two further tankers from the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. Ltd completed the early fleet: CONIA and CAPRELLA were purchased in 1924 having originally been built as WAR 'Z' standard tankers WAR RAJPUT and WAR GURKHA respectively.
A useful deal with a rival New York molasses company in 1924 resulted in the taking over of an already established base in Georgetown, British Guiana. Here ships could load according to the depths over the Bar as no dredging took place. After sailing they would complete loading at beautiful,sun-drenched Caribbean islands: Trinidad, Barbados, St. Kitts, Antigua and Guadeloupe. These early ships would lie off the ports and be loaded by lighters and barges until these were later replaced by small coastal tankers. Meanwhile in Britain new installations to receive the molasses were opened at Birkenhead and Greenock in November, 1925. The first ship at Birkenhead was the chartered LA CRESCENTA, and ATHELTARN and ATHELSTANE were the first ships to unload at Greenock.

On 1st January, 1926 the United Molasses Co. Ltd was formed with a capital of £1M as a holding company for the British Molasses Co. Ltd and the associated Pure Cane Molasses Co. Ltd, and took over a fleet of 8 tankers including the new motor tankers ATHELCHIEF of 1925 and ATHELPRINCE, already launched and fitting out at Haverton Hill. ATHELPRINCE ran her trials in February,1926 and left the Tees to carry oil for her first three voyages from the West Indies to the U.K./Continent before settling into the molasses trade from the Caribbean islands and Cuba. ATHELKING was launched at the Barclay, Curle yard on the Clyde towards the end of 1926 and was the largest tanker yet at 14,780 dwt. However her original engines were a continual source of trouble until they were replaced.
A large fleet of 15 deep-sea tankers and one coastal tanker were then delivered between 1928 and 1931:-
Furness S.B. (3) ATHELQUEEN, ATHELCROWN, ATHELREGENT.
Cammel.Laird (3) ATHELLAIRD, ATHELBEACH, ATHELFOAM.
Wm. Hamilton (5) ATHELMONARCH, ATHELPRINCESS, ATHELSULTAN, ATHELDUCHESS,
ATHELEMPRESS.
R. Duncan (3) ATHELVISCOUNT, ATHELDUKE, ATHELKNIGHT.
Lithgows (1) ATHELTEMPLAR.

Most were of around 13000 dwt although ATHELCROWN was an early supertanker of 18,045 dwt, being only eclipsed by the six-ship class of Eagle Oil of 1920-1923: SAN FABIAN, SAN FLORENTINO, SAN FERNANDO,SAN FELIX,SAN GASPAR and SAN GERARDO.
ATHELFOAM had an infamous start to her career having a bad case of a singing propeller! This was finally solved by the practical experience of Chief Engineer Livingstone after many abortive attempts from academics of University Naval Architecture Departments applying stethoscopes to the stern frame had proved fruitless!

The coaster ATHELTARN completed the new-building programme and she sailed for South Africa and the molasses trade centred around Durban. She carried, as did all the fleet, the letters U.M.CO. on the white diamond on her funnel for United Molasses Co. Ltd, the British Molassses Co. Ltd having been liquidated in 1930. However nobody wanted sugar and molasses in 1930, and very soon the company laid-off all workers in the Caribbean and Java sugar plantations and laid up 75 of the new tanker fleet. Ships were sent to the Caribbean at slow speed or to Java around South Africa instead of through Suez. There they would load one perhaps two cargoes which they would proceed to discharge into the sea some miles off the coast. A further cargo would be loaded for the homeward voyage but was not discharged, with the tanker joining the other victims in the long rows of laid up ships. Even tiny ATHELTARN was forced to return to the U.K. after the complete collapse of the market in South Africa, her return expenses paid by a cargo of tallow in 1931.

Occasionally during the next two years ATHELTARN was reactivated for a single cargo of beet molasses from Dagenham to Landskrona in Sweden, after which she crossed The Sound to Copenhagen to load another cargo of beet molasses for a small port on the Elbe, Elmshorn. Here the beet molasses was turned into packets of yeast for shipment back to the Tyne, making an already bad balance of payments situation even worse. One further tanker was purchased in the depths of the Depression in 1933; the JAVA which had originally been a sister of ATHELPRINCE on the stocks at Haverton Hill in 1926 with the proposed name of ATHELQUEEN. However a cash flow problem had caused her sale to Mowinckel of Norway but she was time-chartered back by United Molasses Co. Ltd.
Together with REALF and HIRD. the former ATHELBEACH and ATHELFOAM also on time-charter from Mowinckel, they were bought back and renamed ATHELVIKING, ATHELMERE and ATHELSTANE respectively. This was because if there were any cargoes to be lifted they would be first choice, since they would be swinging around an anchor with a full Norwegian crew on board with the company paying the bills.
Slowly the market improved, helped by six cargoes of Java molasses purchased by New York interests.

ATHELKNIGHT sailed from Birkenhead in January,1932 at slow speed via South Africa to load the first of these, and then crossed the Pacific and through the expensive Panama Canal to Albany, which lies 130 miles up the Hudson river from New York. After a voyage lasting eight months ATHELKNIGHT returned to her lay up berth and the crew to the dole queues. Unwanted molasses was lying everywhere, and it was not until the end of 1933 that the company could go forward by writing off a massive £3.23M debt and reducing the value of its £1 shares bo one third of their former value. At this point in time three deepsea tankers were still laid up: ATHELMERE at Barrow, ATHELCREST at Lamlash Bay and ATHELKING at Milford Haven.

After the recovery there were shake ups in the sugar producing areas of the world, with Java declining to the benefit of the Caribbean. There were now 30 loading ports in Cuba, four in Dominica and six in Puerto Rico, as well as those in the Leeward and Windward Islands.
The voyage position of the company fleet as at 1st November,1937 shows 12 of the 21 tankers trading to the U.S. Gulf/Caribbean area with only two loading in Java:-
ATHELBEACH Sailed Rotterdam for Cuba 29th October.
ATHELCHIEF Laid-up at Birkenhead.
ATHELCROWN Sailed from Curacao for Continent 29th October.
ATHELDUCHESS Due Aden 12th November on passage to Port Said & London from TegaL
ATHELDUKE Sailed Semarang(Java) 17th October for Baltimore via Cape Town.
ATHELEMPRESS Sailed Dairen for California 15th October.
ATHELFOAM Sailed Hamburg for Cuba 27th October.
ATHELKING Sailed Birkenhead for Beaumont 23rd October.
ATHELKNIGHT Sailed Matanzas(Cuba) for Hull 22nd October.
ATHELLAIRD Sailed San Pedro 21st October for Onogawa, Yokohama, Nagoya and Osaka.
ATHELMERE Sailed St. Thomas 21st October for Zeebrugge.
ATHEL MONARCH Sailed Curacao for Buenos Aires 20th October.
ATHELPRINCE Passed through Panama 26th October on voyage Aruba for San Pedro and China.
ATHELPRINCESS Due Shanghai November 1st from San Pedro.
ATHELQUEEN Sailed Semarang (Java) for New York via Cape Town on 14th October. Due Cape Town 6th November.
ATHELREGENT At Tarafa.
ATHELSTANE Sailed Falmouth for Georgetown 27th October.
ATHELSULTAN Sailed Albany for Curacao 31st October.
ATHELTEMPLAR Sailed San Luis for Yokohama 29th October.
ATHELVIKING Sailed Shimonoseki for California 30th October.
ATHELVISCOUNT Sailed Birkenhead for Curacao 27th October.
Plus three coastal tankers trading in the Caribbean.

Some of the above voyages were with oil in the tramp tanker trades from Curacao or Aruba to Japan via the West coast of America, rather than molasses. The ship would then most probably pick up a cargo of Java or Philippines molasses for New York via Cape Town.
ATHELKING sailed with oil from Beaumont in mid November for Durban after which she was laid up for two months. Short lay ups were still occurring at this date, but cargoes of molasses from the Hawaiian islands ports of Honolulu, Nawiliwilli and Port Allan were occasionally lifted.

The first of the tailor made fleet, ATHELCHIEF of 1938, was sold for a good price in 1938, and the fleet at the outbreak of WWII consisted of 20 tankers. It was realised that if Britain was bo be reliably supplied with molasses during a war, then the shortest possible sea route would have to be used from the Caribbean islands and Cuba. The snag was that many of the deepsea tankers were too big for the small Cuban ports. The solution was to build tank storage on the American mainland at Fort Lauderdale in Florida, keeping it supplied from Cuba with the smaller tankers. More tanks were hired at Thameshaven and Canvey Island, and Britain was stocked up with molasses before war started.

ATHELKING delivered four cargoes between February and August,1939; three to the Thames and one to the Mersey.
ATHELCHIEF of 15000 dwt was completed on the Clyde in October,1939 as KONGSTEN but the company contracted an exchange with a Continental owner for a company tanker then building in Sweden. She came through the war unscathed carrying oil and petrol, unlike the following lost to enemy action:-

03.07.1940   ATHELLAIRD   Torpedoed and sunk in North Atlantic on voyage Liverpool to Cuba.
25.08.1940   ATHELCREST   Torpedoed and sunk in North Atlantic on voyage Aruba to London with diesel oil, 30 lost.
09.09.1940   ATHELKING   Shelled and sunk by raider ATLANTIS in Indian Ocean on voyage Table Bayfor Sourabaya in ballast, 4 lost.
07.03.1941   ATHELBEACH   Torpedoed and sunk in North Atlantic on voyage Greenock to New York in ballast, 7 lost.
15.03.1941   ATHELFOAM   Shelled and sunk by battlecruiser SCHARNHORST in North Atlantic on voyage Liverpool to Pastelillo in ballast.
22.01.1942   ATHELCROWN   Torpedoed and sunk in North Atlantic on voyage Cardiff to Aruba in ballast, 4 lost.
15.03.1942   ATHELQUEEN   Torpedoed and sunk in North Atlantic on voyage Hull to Fort Lauderdale in ballast, 3 lost.
21.03.1942   ATHELVISCOUNT   Torpedoed in North Atlantic, reached Halifax but abandoned as C.T.L. Repaired as EMPIRE VISCOUNT.
09.04.1942   ATHELSTANE   Sunk by Japanese bombing off Ceylon on voyage Trincomalee to Colombo with fuel oil.
29.04.1942   ATHELEMPRESS   Torpedoed and sunk in North Atlantic on voyage Southampton and Milford Haven to Trinidad, 3 lost.
26.05.1942   ATHELKNIGHT   Torpedoed and sunk North Atlantic on voyage Barry and Milford Haven to Curacao, 5 lost.
14.09.1942   ATHELTEMPLAR   Torpedoed and sunk off North Cape on voyage Tyne and Reykjavik to Russia with fuel oil, 3 lost.
22.09.1942   ATHELSULTAN   Torpedoed and sunk in North Atlantic on voyage Fort Lauderdale and Halifax to Liverpool with molasses, 50 lost.
04.10.1942   ATHELBRAE   Coastal tanker sunk by mine off Trinidad.
23.02.1943   ATHELPRINCESS   Torpedoed and sunk in North Atlantic on voyage Liverpool to Curacao in ballast, 1 lost.
15.06.1943   ATHELMONARCH   Torpedoed and sunk in Eastern Mediterranean on voyage Beirut to Alexandria with fuel oil, crew saved.
20.08.1943   ATHELDUCHESS   Stranded on Smalls in convoy, C.T.L. stern later salvaged.
14.01.1945   ATHEL VIKING   Torpedoed and sunk off Halifax on voyage Fort Lauderdale and Halifax to U.K. with molasses, 4 lost.
16.04.1945   ATHELDUKE   Torpedoed and sunk in North Sea on voyage Fort Lauderdale to Hull with molasses, 1 lost.

Athel Line Ltd came into being in January,1940 as a wholly owned subsidiary of United Molasses Co. Ltd, to own and operate the Group's tanker fleet. As all tankers had by this time been painted grey, the word ATHEL in blue did not appear on the white diamond on the funnel until 1945. A controlling interest in Tankers Ltd, which had been founded in 1920 and operated a fleet of seven tankers at the start of WWII, although some were laid up, with names beginning SCOTTISH was acquired in December, 1941. Three of this fleet had already been sunk by U-boats before the takeover:
     SCOTTISH MINSTREL
     SCOTTISH MAIDEN
     SCOTTISH STANDARD
One more was to be sunk, SCOTTISH CHIEF, to German submarine U-177 on 20th November, 1942 when some 240 miles E of Durban. She was hit by a single torpedo at 0020 hours and sank in one minute leaving only 12 survivors from a crew of 48 while on a voyage from Bandar Abbas to Table Bay with Admiralty fuel oil.
SCOTTISH AMERICAN was owned by the Ministry of Shipping but came under company management.
The survivors of WWII were nine deepsea tankers plus the coastal tankers ATHELTARN and ATHELRILL.
Two standard EMPIRE tankers were purchased in 1945 and renamed ATHELQUEEN and ATHELSTANE and a small tanker was purchased for the Caribbean offshore loading; the ATHELRUBY. Tiny ATHELBROOK of 743 dwt was built for this trade, and provided a link with the past when launched at the Cammell, Laird yard in 1950 by the granddaughter of Sir Michael Kielberg, the founder and now Chairman, having been knighted in 1947 for his services to the Allied cause during the war.
The company installations in Java took nearly 10 years to repair after the ravages of war with molasses then being shipped from there to Australia. The Australians however put increasing acreage to sugar cane and by 1963 had become self sufficient with molasses for export. In the immediate post WWII years, the Caribbean and Cuba was the chief supply.

SCOTTISH HEATHER was the only one of the Tankers Ltd fleet to receive an ATHEL name, ATHELCREST in 1951.
It can be seen that cargoes of fuel oil were carried as well as molasses, and this was to be a feature of the post WWII replacement fleet with long periods spent in the tramp tanker oil trades, entailing tank cleaning by the crews.

At the end of 1949 the remaining shares in Anchor Line were purchased, the rest having been bought in 1946 purely as an investment. A fleet of four passenger liners and five cargo liners were taken over but remained under Runciman management. In July, 1965 Moor Line Ltd, the Runciman tramp company acquired Anchor Line back from the company portfolio.

ATHELKNIGHT was delivered at Sunderland in October,1948 and altogether 14 new tankers were to come from U.K. yards during the next nine years:
Hawthorn,Leslie   (6)   ATHELKING, ATHELMONARCH, ATHELBEACH, ATHELDUCHESS, ATHELMERE, ATHELSTANE.
J. Laing   (2)   ATHELKNIGHT , ATHELDUKE.
Cammell,Laird   (2)   ATHELCROWN, ATHELLAIRD.
Smiths Dock   (2)   ATHELSULTAN, ATHELFOAM.
J.L. Thompson   (1)   ATHELTEMPLAR.
Lithgows   (1)   ATHELCREST.

They were of summer tank design with a single longitudinal bulkhead with molasses being carried in alternate tanks, each having a length of 30 feet. They came in three sizes: 10,000 dwt, 12,800 dwt and 15,600 dwt to make the total carrying capacity 176,500 dwt. As the largest size were unable to enter Cuban ports they loaded from Fort Lauderdale. New supplies of molasses were constantly being sought and ATHELDUCHESS loaded the first supply from Port Louis in Mauritius in 1952, with India coming onstream in 1955. New cargoes were also being sought for the long ballast voyages back to the Caribbean, and occasional cargoes of beet molasses were lifted from Europe to New York and Groton.

A five year contract was obtained from I.C.I, to carry caustic soda liquor from Birkenhead to Port Esquivel in Jamaica and used in the preparation of bauxite before export. The first shipment was made in January,1956 and 37 shipments of around 9500 tons each were made. The contract was not renewed as a cheaper supply was found on the U.S. Gulf coast.
ATHELSTANE of 1955 and ATHELCREST of 1957 were modified during building to carry not only caustic soda, but also spirits and chemicals in addition to molasses or oil. The oil tramp trades were of course centred on Curacao, Aruba or Punta Cardon in Venezuela.

In 1958 a contract was signed with Socony Vacuum to carry lubricating oils, additives and solvents in the 10,000 dwt class. A great deal of tank cleanliness was required, with as many as 14 parcels of cargo being carried, and this marked the start of the parcel trade, which became so much a feature of the 1960s and 1970s.

A decision was made in early 1963 to reduce the number of smaller molasses tankers and ATHELKING and ATHELDUCHESS were sent for scrap when only 11 or 12 years old.
The fleet thus contracted slightly from 18 tankers of 240,798 dwt in June, 1951 to 15 tankers of 209,998 dwt in May 1963 together with two bulk sugar carriers of 23,520 dwt.

Sugar Line Ltd was created in 1950 by the two giants of the sugar business: Tate & Lyle Ltd, which dated back to 1920 when Henry Tate & Sons of Liverpool merged with Abram Lyle, and United Molasses. Tate & Lyle Ltd held 50% of the shares, with United Molasses and the West Indies Sugar Company of Jamaica 25% each; and the objective was to build a fleet of bulk sugar carriers.
Six ships of 9500 dwt were specially designed and completed between 1955 and 1957 with CRYSTAL names and managed by Athel Line Ltd.
Tate & Lyle Ltd had experimented with bulk sugar shipments in 1950 and had a fleet of smaller sugar carriers with SUGAR names in the 1950s.
Three bulk sugar carriers of 11,760 dwt each were ordered for completion in 1959-1960, and one entered the Sugar Line Ltd fleet as CRYSTAL SAPPHIRE and the other two as ATHELPRINCE and ATHELPRINCESS in the Athel Line fleet. This latter pair were transferred to the Sugar Line fleet in 1966 and renamed SUGAR IMPORTER and SUGAR EXPORTER. Sugar Line Ltd went on to commission larger bulk sugar carriers in the late 1960s and early 1970s with SUGAR names.

Three tankers of around 19,000 dwt had entered the fleet of molasses tankers between 1958 and 1960. ATHELCHIEF had been purchased while fitting out at the Cockerill shipyard at Hoboken as ASTROPALITIS. ATHELQUEEN was completed at the Barclay, Curle yard on the Clyde in 1960 and fitted with a 6-cyl. Doxford oil engine by the shipbuilders of 8,000 bhp giving a loaded service speed of 14.5 knots.
ATHELVISCOUNT from Smiths Dock Co. Ltd on the Tees in 1961 was turbine propelled, her engines being manufactured at the Newcastle factory of Hawthorn, Leslie & Co. Ltd to give the same speed. ATHELQUEEN was taken on charter by Mobil, and ATHELVISCOUNT spent her first year trading around the U.K. coasts with clean oils before being bare-boat chartered for a New Zealand contract for the next 15 years.
ATHELKING and ATHELREGENT completed at the Uddevallavarvet shipyard in Sweden in 1964-1965, were giants at 62,150 dwt with oil engines by Eriksberg and cost £2.25M each. After the closure of the Suez Canal in 1967 each ship was earning £1M per year at the inflated freight rates for oil.

On 11th March,1965 Tate & Lyle Ltd put in a takeover bid for United Molasses of £30M, which was formally accepted on 26th April. British Molasses, the forerunner of United, had been formed in 1915 and had thus lasted 50 years as an independent company. Tate & Lyle Ltd went on to takeover smaller companies in the sugar industry and became the dominant force by 1976.

In July, 1965 Athel Line Ltd entered into an agreement with the Anco Group consortium of Norwegian shipowners operating a tanker pool for the carriage of vegetable liquid, oil and chemicals and ATHELQUEEN was renamed ANCO QUEEN.
Anco had been created in 1948-1949 with three tankers owned by Ole Schroder, Iver Bugge and Halder Virik and managed by A.O. Andersen of Oslo. The chartering and operations was carried out in London by H.W. Collingwood Ltd. Originally called the Parcel Tankers Service, the name was changed when the competition in the shape of the similar Norwegian consortium of Stolt-Nielsen started using Parcel Tankers Inc.
The first two letters from Andersen were prefixed to the first two from Collingwood to create ANCO.
Athel Line also took over an Anco ship, the ANCO STORM, which quietened down to ANCO SOUND shortly after. Orders for three specially designed parcels tankers of 16,500 dwt were won by the Uddevallavarvet yard in Sweden with deliveries starting in 1968. These were given ATHEL names on delivery but were forced to change them to conform with the ANCO pool in 1970, becoming ANCO DUCHESS, ANCO DUKE and ANCO KNIGHT.

A further six parcels tankers of 23850 dwt were completed by the same yard in 1971-1972 for Athel Line Ltd as ANCO EMPRESS, ANCO PRINCESS, ANCO SCEPTRE, ANCO SOVEREIGN, ANCO STANE and ANCO TEMPLAR. The ANCO EMPRESS was launched first on 25th February,1971, and all had automatic engine room control from the bridge, and the class cost the company £17.4M with the shipbuilder losing money on the contract. At this point the Athel fleet consisted of:-
     10 Parcels Tankers operating in the ANCO pool.
       2 Medium sized oil tankers of 62150 dwt.
       6 Small Molasses/Oil tankers of 13,600 to 19,000 dwt.

ANCO KNIGHT was sold to the Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd of Bombay in January,1972, but was chartered back for three years from the Spring of 1974. The ore/bulk/oil JAG LAADKI of 101,500 dwt was chartered at the same time for the same period from the same owner for crude oil trading. The last of the early post war replacements had been sent for scrap during 1972, and an interesting replacement was the oil/bulk/ore carrier VASARA of 21,750 dwt owned by Grangesberg-Oxelosund and completed by Gotaverken in 1954. She and the rest of her V class were very familiar in U.K. ports throughout the 1950s and 1960s bringing in iron ore for BISCO. The old-timer was well liked by her Athel crews until sent for scrap in 1975.

In 1973 Tate & Lyle Ltd decided to establish a shipping division within the Group by the merger of Athel Line and Sugar Line. This became known as Tate & Lyle Shipping Ltd, the Athel Line fleet numbering 12 tankers at the time, with only four of these bearing the ATHEL prefix, the rest carrying ANCO. Then in December, 1975 the ANCO consortium joined forces with the PANOCEAN consortium, which had been recently formed jointly by P&O and Ocean Transport & Trading Co. Ltd (Blue Funnel). This provided multi national competition to the other major player in the parcel tanker trades, the Norwegian Stolt-Nielsen consortium.

The first of two 39.700 dwt products tankers, ATHELMONARCH, was launched on 23rd October,1976 at the Lauzon shipyard of Davie Shipbuilders in Canada, and her sister ATHELQUEEN followed in April, 1977, and were the last tankers built with the ATHEL prefix.
The large ATHELKING and ATHELREGENT of 1964-1965 were sold off in 1977, and ATHELVISCOUNT of 1961 arrived at Hong Kong for demolition on 5th November,1978.

Parcel and products tanker trading was very volatile at the beginning of 1980, when Tate & Lyle Ltd signalled their exit from shipowning by announcing the sale of the sisters ATHELMONARCH and ATHELQUEEN of 1977 to Silver Navigation Ltd. The six Sugar Line Ltd bulk sugar carriers were sold shortly afterwards, with Chairman Earl Jellicoe announcing that the ANCO parcel tankers would be sold by the end of the year. This was in addition to the closure of their Liverpool sugar refinery, which had been in operation for 100 years. The last three, ANCO PRINCESS, ANCO EMPRESS and ANCO SOVEREIGN were sold in December, 1980 to British buyers with all three remaining in ANCO-PANOCEAN trading. Henceforward the shipping requirements of the British sugar and molasses industry would be met by foreign chartered tonnage. The ATHEL name lives on, however, with little ATHELSPRITE of 1,039 dwt still plying between Georgetown and Port au Spain,Trinidad with molasses for onward shipment; and in an insurance company, ATHEL Reinsurance Ltd.

Many thanks to Henk Jungerius and Ted Finch for his assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.

Funnels & Flag:

Fleet:

Funnel Funnel Flag
Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Anco Duchess   see Athelduchess (3).  
Anco Duke   see Athelduke (3).  
Anco Empress 1971 built by Uddevalla Varvet, Uddevalla | 1983 sold renamed Globe Empress, 1988 Empress, 1993 sold renamed New Empress, 1997 sold renamed Empress Trader, 1998 sold renamed Empress, 2000 scrapped at Alang. 15,424
Anco Knight   see Athelknight (3).  
Anco Princess 1971 built by Uddevalla Varvet, Uddevalla | 1981 sold renamed Molaventure, 1982 Jamac, 1993 scrapped at Alang. 15,402
Anco Queen   see Athelqueen (3).  
Anco Sceptre 1972 built by Uddevalla Varvet, Uddevalla | 1983 sold to Stolt-Nielsen renamed Stolt Sceptre, 1991 sold renamed Iver Sceptre, 1992 sold renamed Sceptre, 2003 scrapped at Alang. 15,401
Anco Sound 1956 built by Tangen Verft, Kragero | ex- Boehme, ex- Anco Storm, 1969 transferred from A/S A.O. Andersen renamed Anco Sound, 1969 sold to Miramar Maritime Corp., Liberia renamed Miramar, 1981 scrapped at Inchon. 8,747
Anco Sovereign 1972 built by Uddevalla Varvet, Uddevalla | 1982 sold renamed Iver Sovereign, 1993 sold renamed Lady Sovereign, 1996 scrapped at Alang. 15,401
Anco Stane 1972 built by Uddevalla Varvet, Uddevalla | 1983 sold to Stolt-Nielsen renamed Stolt Stane, 1988 sold renamed Iver Stane, 1991 sold renamed Aldebaran IV, 1993 scrapped at Alang. 15,401
Anco Templar 1972 built by Uddevalla Varvet, Uddevalla | 1983 sold to Stolt-Nielsen renamed Stolt Templar, 1993 sold renamed Templar, 1998 sold renamed Warrior, 2003 scrapped at Alang. 15,401
Athelbeach (1) 1918 built by Armstrong, Whitworth & Co., Newcastle on Tyne | ex- War Rajput built for The Shipping Controller, ex- Conia 1919, 1924 purchased from Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. and renamed Athelbeach, 1931 sold To G. Ronneberg & F.Geltung, Oslo renamed Realf, 1936 repurchased by United Molasses Ltd renamed Athelmere, 1951 Sold to Mageolia Nav. SA, Panama renamed Alexandros, 1964 Arrived Split for scrap. 5,566
Athelbeach (2) 1931 built by Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 7th March 1941 torpedoed by German submarines U-47 and shelled and torpedoed by U-99 in North Atlantic. 6,568
Athelbeach (3) 1950 built by R. & W. Hawtorn, Leslie & Co. Ltd., Newcastle on Tyne | 1967 scrapped at Santander. 7,533
Athelchief (1) 1925 built by Caledon ShipBuilding & Engineering Company Ltd, Dundee | 1938 sold to Skibs A/S Prba, Norway renamed Astrell, 5th Nov. 1942 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-129 in Atlantic. 7,707
Athelchief (2) 1939 built by Barclay, Curle & Co., Glasgow | Launched as Kongsten but completed as Athelchief for Athel Line, 1953 sold renamed West River, 1955 Westriver, 1962 sold renamed Yanxilas, 1969 scrapped. 10,001
Athelchief (3) 1958 built by Cockerill S.A., Hoboken | Launched as Astropalitis purchased on the stocks and completed as Athelchief, 1974 sold renamed Athenian Star, 1975 hull fracture and scrapped. 11,878
Athelcrest (1) 1917 built by Earle's Shipbuilding & Engineering Company Ltd., Hull | ex- Elmleaf, ex- Melona 1919, 1924 purchased from Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. and renamed Athelcrest, 1935 sold as a storage hulk to NV Vlissingssche Mineralolie & Asphalt Raffinaderij renamed Vlismar II, 1983 Left Flushing outer harbour for Antwerp for scrap. 5,934
Athelcrest (2) 1940 built by J. Laing & Sons Ltd, Sunderland | 25th Aug. 1940 damaged by German submarine U-48, wreck later sunk by escort warship. 6,825
Athelcrest (3) 1928 built by Armstrong, Whitworth & Co., Newcastle on Tyne | ex- Scottish Heather, 1951 purchased from Tankers Ltd and renamed Athelcrest, 1954 scrapped at Blyth. 7,105
Athelcrest (4) 1957 built by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow | 1971 sold renamed Maori, 1979 sold renamed Al Salimi V, 1979 scrapped at Gadani Beach. 7,548
Athelcrown (1) 1929 built by Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Haverton Hill on Tees | 22nd Jan. 1942 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-82 in North Atlantic. 11,999
Athelcrown (2) 1949 built by Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1971 scrapped at Burriana. 11,149
Athelcrown (3) 1954 built by Gotaverken Arendal, Göteborg | ex- Vasara, 1972 purchased from Grangesberg-Oxelosund and renamed Athelcrown, 1975 scrapped. 16,170
Athelduchess (1) 1929 built by Wm. Hamilton, Port Glasgow | 1943 stranded on Smalls and declared C.T.L., stern later salved, 1947 new forepart and renamed Milford for Norwegian owner, 1954 sold renamed Jean Marie, 1956 Mano, 1959 Bahama Count, 1962 ronga, 1964 Billy, 1969 scrapped. 8,940
Athelduchess (2) 1951 built by R. & W. Hawtorn, Leslie & Co. Ltd., Newcastle on Tyne | 1962 scrapped at Castellon. 9,161
Athelduchess (3) 1968 built by Uddevalla Varvet, Uddevalla | 1970 renamed Anco Duchess, 1978 sold renamed Tarn, 1983 sold renamed Taurus Erre, 1987 sold renamed Eva Cob, 1991 Eva, 1996 scrapped. 11,102
Athelduke (1) 1929 built by Duncan & Co. Ltd., Port Glasgow | 6th April 1945 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-1274 in North Sea. 8,966
Athelduke (2) 1949 built by J. Laing & Sons Ltd, Sunderland | 1967 scrapped at Hirao. 9,089
Athelduke (3) 1968 built by Uddevalla Varvet, Uddevalla | 1970 renamed Anco Duke, 1980 sold renamed Lake Anette, 1983 sold renamed Satu Mar, 1986 sold renamed Tove Cob, 1993 scrapped at Chittagong. n/a
Athelempress 1930 built by Wm. Hamilton, Port Glasgow | 9th April 1942 torpedoed, shelled and sunk by German submarine U-16 in North Atlantic. 8,941
Athelfoam (1) 1918 built by Irvine's Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. Ltd., West Hartlepool | ex- War Gurkha built for The Shipping Controller, ex- Caprella 1919, 1924 purchased from Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co. and renamed Athelfoam, 1931 sold to G.O. Aarvold & Co, Oslo renamed Hird. 1935 repurchased by United Molasses renamed Athelstane, 1942 bombed and sunk by Japanese aircraft off Trincomalee. 5,571
Athelfoam (2) 1931 built by Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 15th March 1941 shelled and sunk by German battleship Scharnhorst. 6,554
Athelfoam (3) 1951 built by Smith's Dock Company, Middlesborough | 1963 scrapped at Kure. 7,486
Athelking (1) 1926 built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Newcastle | 9th Sept. 1940 sunk by German raider Atlantis in Indian Ocean. 9,557
Athelking (2) 1950 built by R. & W. Hawtorn, Leslie & Co. Ltd., Newcastle on Tyne | 1962 scrapped at Valencia. 11,183
Athelking (3) 1964 built by Uddevalla Varvet, Uddevalla | 1977 sold renamed Hassan, 1985 scrapped at Kaohsiung. 35,398
Athelknight (1) 1930 built by Duncan & Co. Ltd., Port Glasgow | 27th May 1942 torpedoed, shelled and sunk by German submarine U-172 in North Atlantic. 8,940
Athelknight (2) 1948 built by J. Laing & Sons Ltd, Sunderland | 1966 scrapped at Onamichi. 9,087
Athelknight (3) 1968 built by Uddevalla Varvet, Uddevalla | 1970 renamed Anco Knight, 1972 sold to Great Eastern Shipping Co., Bombay renamed Jag Jyoti, 1974 renamed Anco Jyoti, 1977 renamed Jag Jyoti, 1985 sold renamed Fal XV, 1987 Alexander, 1988 Christina Cob, 1990 Svangen, 1991 sank off Almeria. n/a
Athellaird (1) 1930 built by Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 2nd July 1940 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-29 in North Atlantic. 8,999
Athellaird (2) 1949 built by Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd, Birkenhead | 1971 scrapped at Faslane. 11,150
Athelmere (1) 1914 built by Wm. Doxford & Sons, Sunderland | ex- Briefond, 1922 purchased from Norway and renamed Athelmere, 1934 scrapped. 5,656
Athelmere (2)   see Athelbeach (1).  
Athelmere (3) 1954 built by R. & W. Hawtorn, Leslie & Co. Ltd., Newcastle on Tyne | 1969 scrapped at Faslane. 7,524
Athelmonarch (1) 1928 built by Wm. Hamilton, Port Glasgow | 15th June 1943 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-97 in Eastern Mediterranean. 8,995
Athelmonarch (2) 1940 built by R. & W. Hawtorn, Leslie & Co. Ltd., Newcastle on Tyne | 1972 scrapped at Burriana. 11,182
Athelmonarch (3) 1977 built by Davie Shipbuilders, Lauzon | 1980 sold to Silver Navigation Co. renamed Alrai, 1982 sold renamed Baraka, 1983 sold renamed Lucerna, 1986 sold renamed Daklia, 1988 sold renamed Dagrun, 1989 sold renamed Quebec, 1996 sold renamed Silver Shing, 1996 sold renamed Yong Chi. 24,132
Athelprince (1) 1926 built by Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Haverton Hill on Tees | 1953 scrapped. 8,782
Athelprince (2) 1959 built by Caledon ShipBuilding & Engineering Company Ltd, Dundee | 1966 to Sugar Line renamed Sugar Importer, 1976 sold renamed Lucky Importer, 1980 Nikolaos k, 1982 Devon, 1983 Banahaw, 1983 scrapped. 11,688
Athelprincess (1) 1929 built by Wm. Hamilton, Port Glasgow | 23rd Feb. 1943 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-522 in North Atlantic. 8,882
Athelprincess (2) 1960 built by Caledon ShipBuilding & Engineering Company Ltd, Dundee | 1966 to Sugar Line renamed Sugar Exporter, 1976 sold renamed Zeus, 1985 scrapped at Dalien. 11,688
Athelqueen (1) 1928 built by Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Haverton Hill on Tees | 15th March 1942 torpedoed, shelled and sunk by Italian submarine Enrico Tazzoli in North Atlantic. 8,780
Athelqueen (2) 1943 built by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast | ex- Empire Benefit built for MOWT, 1945 purchased renamed Athelqueen, 1955 sold to Chandris, Greece and renamed Mariblanca or Mariverda ?, 1961 scrapped. 8,202
Athelqueen (3) 1960 built by Barclay, Curle & Co., Glasgow | 1966 renamed Anco Queen, 1971 sold renamed Ocean Trader, 1972 sold renamed Allison Star, 1981 sold renamed Sanika, 1981 scrapped at Gadani Beach. 12,458
Athelqueen (4) 1977 built by Davie Shipbuilders, Lauzon | 1980 sold to Silver Navigation Co. renamed Altanin, 23rd Sept. 1980 trapped off Jazirat-Abu Davo, Shat-al-Arab and written off. 24,132
Athelregent (1) 1930 built by Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Haverton Hill on Tees | 1956 scrapped. 8,881
Athelregent (2) 1964 built by Uddevalla Varvet, Uddevalla | 1977 sold renamed Will Adams, 1980 sold renamed Kimolos, 1984 sold renamed Mabrouk, 1992 scrapped at Gadani Beach. 35,396
Athelrill 1916 built by Barclay, Curle & Co., Glasgow | ex- Masula built for Lane & McAndrews, ex- Limeleaf 1916, ex- California 1919, ex- Oligarch ?, 1924 purchased from Insulinde Tankstoomboot Mij., Amsterdam and renamed Athelrill, 1926 sold to Japan renamed Koyo Maru, 1938 sold to Ogura Sekiyu KK, renamed Ogura Maru 3, 23rd Feb 1944 torpedoed and sunk by submarine USS Cod. 7,398
Athelstane (1) 1920 built by McDougall-Duluth Shipbuilding Co., Duluth, Minnesota | ex- Theodore F. Reynolds, 1922 purchased from United States Food Products Co. and renamed Athelstane, 1928 sold to Skibs-A/S Oljetransport (manager S Dahl & Co A/S, Oslo) renamed Gard, 1931 sold to Japan renamed Gard Maru, 1932 sold to Dairen Kishen Kaisya renamed Hojo Maru, 1938 Hozyo Maru, 1946 sold to Toho Kaiun KK, Tokyo, 1949 sold to Sumitomo Sekitan Kogyo KK, renamed Hoko Maru, 1954-1955 scrapped. 1,920
Athelstane (2)   see Athelfoam (1).  
Athelstane (3) 1941 built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Newcastle | ex- Empire Flint built for MOWT, 1945 purchased and renamed Athelstane, 1952 sold to Skibs A/S Vaholm, Norway renamed Oakley, 1959 sold to H.A.Moller A/S, Oslo not renamed, 1962 scrapped at Hamburg. 8,129
Athelstane (4) 1955 built by R. & W. Hawtorn, Leslie & Co. Ltd., Newcastle on Tyne | 1969 scrapped at Faslane. 7,517
Athelsultan (1) 1929 built by Wm. Hamilton, Port Glasgow | 23rd Sept. 1942 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-617 in North Atlantic. 8,882
Athelsultan (2) 1951 built by Smith's Dock Company, Middlesborough | 1964 scrapped at Onamichi. 9,149
Atheltarn 1916 built by Barclay, Curle & Co., Glasgow | ex- Olinda built for Lane & McAndrews, ex- Boxleaf 1917, ex- India 1919, 1924 purchased from Insulinde Tankstoomboot Mij., Amsterdam and renamed Atheltarn, 1929 sold to Nippon Tanker Co., Japan renamed Zuiyo Maru, 1st Oct. 1944 torpedoed and sunk by submarine USS Cabrilla. 7,283
Atheltemplar (1) 1930 built by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow | 1942 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-457 off North Cape. 8,939
Atheltemplar (2) 1951 built by J.L. Thompson & Sons, Sunderland | 1969 scrapped at Villanueva y Gettore. 9,108
Athelvictor 1941 built by Caledon ShipBuilding & Engineering Company Ltd, Dundee | Launched as Silenus for Swedish owner but completed as Athelvictor for Athel line, 1952 sold renamed California, 1962 scrapped. 8,108
Athelviking 1926 built by Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Haverton Hill on Tees | ex- Java, 1933 purchased and renamed Athelviking, 1945 torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-1232 off Halifax. 8,779
Athelviscount (1) 1929 built by Duncan & Co. Ltd., Port Glasgow | 1942 torpedoed and damaged declared C.T.L., 1942 repaired and returned to sevice as Empire Viscount for MOWT, 1946 repurchased by Athel Line and renamed Athelviscount, 1957 scrapped. 8,882
Athelviscount (2) 1961 built by Smith's Dock Company, Middlesborough | 1978 scrapped at Hong Kong. 12,592
Manx Isles 1905 built by Wm. Hamilton, Port Glasgow | ex- Manx Isles, 1921 purchased not renamed, 1929 scrapped. 2,642

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