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The Fleets

Booker Line

In 1815 Josias Booker of Liverpool managed a cotton plantation and later a sugar plantation in British Guiana and was later joined by his brothers George, William and Richard who based themselves in Georgetown. The business flourished and in 1846 John McConnell joined the company, together with Josias' son, Josias junior. McConnell became the senior partner when the Booker family sold out in 1886 and the corporate title became Booker Bros, McConnell & Co. in 1900. The company branched out from colonial plantations to insurance services, agencies for consumer goods, transport, retailing and publishing.
The Booker Line was formed in 1911, principally to operate cargo and passenger services between Liverpool and British Guiana. Later calls were also made at Windward Islands ports and Trinidad.
British Guiana became independent in 1966 and was renamed Guyana. In 1976 the then-Marxist government nationalised Guyanan industry including Booker's interests with the result that Guyana's economy went into permanenet recession. In the 1990s Bookers and Tate & Lyle were contracted to manage their sugar industry and succeeded in reviving it. Although the company retired from the shipping industry, thay are still active in the sugar industry and own chains of supermarkets, distribution services and publishers (who inaugurated the Booker Prize).

The company ceased shipowning in 1983.

Many thanks to 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.

  • Routes:
    • Liverpool - British Guiana
    • Liverpool - Windward Islands ports and Trinidad

buff yellow with a narrow black top.


Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Amakura (1) 1893 ex- Castillian Prince, 1912 purchased from Prince Line renamed Amakura, 12th Jun.1917 torpedoed and sunk by U.94 in the North Atlantic. 2,316
Amakura (2) 1924 25th Aug.1942 torpedoed and sunk by U.588, 100 miles off Jamaica; loss of 13 lives. 1,987
Amakura (3) 1949 1961 sold to Peninsular Shipping Co., Hong Kong renamed Greenford. 2,961
Arakaka (1) 1896 ex- Grenada, 1913 purchased from the Trinidad Shipping & Trading Co. renamed Arakaka, 1924 sold to Atlantic SS Co., Glasgow. 1924 sold to Greece renamed Aki. 2,262
Arakaka (2) 1933 23rd Jun.1941 torpedoed and sunk with all hands by U.77 in position 47.00N 40.00W while acting as a weather ship; loss of 31 lives. 2,379
Arakaka (3) 1946 1963 sold to Greece renamed Aba Prince. 2,814
Booker Challenge 1972 ex- Sol Michel, 1979 purchased from Solstads Rederi A/S, Skudenshavn, Norway renamed Booker Challenge, 1983 sold to Government of Nauru renamed Eigugu. 8,336
Booker Courage 1973 ex- Brageland, 1980 purchased from A/B Svenska Orient Linien, Gothenburg, Sweden renamed Booker Courage, 1983 sold to D'Amico Soc. di Nav., Palermo renamed Cielo di Livorno. 8,522
Booker Crusade 1975 ex- Sol Neptun, 1979 purchased from Solstads Rederi A/S, Skudenshavn, Norway renamed Booker Crusade, 1983 sold to D'Amico Soc. di Nav., Palermo renamed Cielo di Trieste. 8,347
Booker Valiance 1962 ex- Johan Wessel, 1963 chartered from J. H. Wessels, Drammen, Norway renamed Booker Valiance. 1973 sold to Star SS Soc., Beirut renamed Amira K. 4,469
Booker Valiant 1965 ex- Tropic, 1978 charter transferred from Shaw, Savill & Albion Line renamed Booker Valiant, 1980 sold to Saudi Arabia renamed Arab Dabbor. 6,660
Booker Vanguard 1963 1979 sold to Ermionis Companhia Naviera, Panama, registered in Greece and renamed Katy. 5,417
Booker Venture 1961 1978 sold to Transvenezuelan Shipping Co., Panama renamed Caribbean Memories. 8,227
Booker Viking 1967 1980 sold to Qatar National Navigation Co., Qatar renamed Al Amirah. 5,383
Booker Voyager 1961 ex- Eugenio, 1973 chartered from Cia de Nav Puerto Nueva, Panama renamed Booker Voyager, 1978 transferred to Elinkamar S.A., Panama renamed Ambri. 4,166
Booker Vulcan 1968 ex- Seahawk, 1974 purchased from They & Co., Hamilton, Bermuda renamed Booker Vulcan, 1983 sold to Star SS Soc., Beirut renamed Fouad K. 2,220
Imataka 1911 23rd Mar.1917 torpedoed and sunk by UC.47 off Daunts Rock. 1,776

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Last updated: October 25, 2006 and maintained by and M. Kohli