UNIKLOR (1939)

From South Gare to Stockton

UNIKLOR (1939)

Postby teesships » Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:17 pm

Must get around to showing one of my favourite ships!!!!!!
73 years old and still in service!

On 12 December 1960 I first came across the UNIKLOR in berth in Middlesbrough Dock. Over the next 12 months I was to see her a total of 8 times, but then she disappeared from the local scene, my last sighting being on 15 October 1961. I do recall a conversation with someone on the dockside one time she was in berth that the chlorine (implied by her name) she carried was used in the production of biro pens. One suspects in this day and age hazardous cargo regulations would come into play and I would not be able to get near such a ship!! She is ship no. 31 in my records and like many from those early days passed unrecorded with the camera. Since then I have often dreamed of finding a photo of her, and over recent years this has now come to pass.

(Originally written during 2000) Apart from the fact that I saw her so many times in a short period, I believe what has endeared this ship to me is her longevity - as far as I know she is still in service over 60 years after being built - but also the unusual nature of her career. Part of this is that she must have been the last, or among the last, ships to be bestowed with an EMPIRE prefix after the war - in her case several years after! She is also one of few ships to be credited as holding four different names in just one year.
Let me give you the gist of her story, mainly as recorded in THE EMPIRE SHIPS (SECOND EDITION) by W.H. Mitchell and L.A. Sawyer, published in 1990. She was built in 1939 at Elmshorn as the TRAVE for German owners. Clearly she was a victim of the war that was then about to ensue and she was found damaged at Flensburg and, in May 1945, when the war in Europe ended, she was taken as a war prize. Subsequently towed to Methil and passed into ownership of Ministry of War Transport in October 1945, but remained laid up until 1952. During that year repairs were completed and she was converted from dry cargo by being fitted with tanks for the carriage of corrosive acids. She was then renamed EMPIRE CHLORINE for the Ministry of Transport.
The following year, 1953, she was returned to the German Government, and reverted to her original name of TRAVE with her original owners. She did not stay there for long for in 1954 she was renamed successively HYBO (Norway); HYBORG, and UNIKLOR (still Norway), this being her fourth name that year. She was to give long service as such, being fitted with a new engine in 1963, until sold to other Norwegian owners in 1978 to become the FRISNES. In 1989 she passed on again to become the HINNATANK (still Norway) and is still listed as a liquefied gas carrier at 60 years of age in this a new century and millennium.
Then, in 2000 she was renamed MILJOTANK and is still in service so far as I know.

In 2004 I reported in TEESSHIPS: Nice to hear recently from Ivar Rakke as follows:
I ran into your website now, and found some pictures of M/S Uniklor. I will like to tell you that both my father and grandfather worked on this ship for a long period. I think I can get you some more pictures of it if you are interested. Best regards, Ivar Rakke, Larvik, Norway.
followed by: I can already give you some more info on UNIKLOR, the ship was orginally built as a canal boat, with foldable masts and a lower wheelhouse, the original wheelhouse was there you can see the round windows on the pictures on your site. I can also tell you that my grandfather was onboard the boat on all the visits to Middlesbrough during 1960 and 1961.
Another story is that on one visit to Middlesbrough, there was a cat coming onboard the ship, my grandfather tried several times to take back on land but when they left Middlesbrough heading back to Norway the cat again appeared onboard, the end of this story is that my grandfather took the cat with him home, and the cat lived happily at their home until 1973 when it was run over by a car.
Ivor later sent me these photos:
Uniklor1957x1.jpg
Uniklor1960x1.jpg
Second view was captioned - Berthed at my home town Middlesbrough in 1960.
Yes, well, a slight quibble here! Accepting that it does show the UNIKLOR in the River Tees, the location seems to be the Power Station on the north (Billingham, County Durham!) side of the river. This site is between Bamlett's Wharf and Billingham Wharves in the final approach to the Tees (Newport) Bridge. As far as I can recall this power station became redundant when the Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station came on stream in 1972 and lay unused for many years. About 10 years or so ago the derelict site was acquired by Able UK (of ghost ships fame) who have used the berth for occasional scrap export cargoes, including rubble from the power station when it was finally demolished several years ago. Interesting to find this view showing that the UNIKLOR called at other berths in my home port other than where I so frequently found her in Middlesbrough Dock.

I found her photo as MILJOTANK, taken by Terje Moen at Sandnes on 28 December 2002.
MILJOTANK.jpg
MILJOTANKx2.jpg
Later, Ivor popped in again with this view taken in the autumn of 2007
miljotankred.JPG
Ron
Last edited by teesships on Sat May 03, 2014 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Replaced missing images
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Re: UNIKLOR (1939)

Postby cromptony » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:42 pm

Ron, re second view, this berth certainly was nothing like North Tees Power!! The station itself was a brick building and
set well back from the face of the quay. I am sure that the pic was not on the Tees as there was no berth
in any way resembling the one in the pic.

When the Power Station was demolished the berth was used for importing Sand & Gravel,
the "Arco" ships, "Sand Heron" etc.

Tony
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Re: UNIKLOR (1939)

Postby cromptony » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:49 pm

NTP.tiff


North Tees Power
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Re: UNIKLOR (1939)

Postby teesships » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:39 pm

The sad day I knew would come eventually.
Now reported: BU 11.7.17

She was the longest-standing surviving ship in my personal records having first sighted her in the closing weeks of 1960 during my first few weeks of ship observing. Next in line comes the JOHN H. AMOS or what is left of her!

Ron
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Re: UNIKLOR (1939)

Postby northeast » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:08 am

I dated her 11/12/1960 on the Tees, Ron, so maybe the same day as you.
Cheers, George
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Re: UNIKLOR (1939)

Postby teesships » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:15 pm

My most frequent sighting for my first few months back in those days!
All in Middlesbrough Dock
12 December 1960
22 December 1960
3 January 1961
28 January 1961
13 February 1961
.... and that seems to have been it!

Ron
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Re: UNIKLOR (1939)

Postby northeast » Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:50 pm

There you go Ron, I was one step ahead of you even then :)
Cheers, George
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Re: UNIKLOR (1939)

Postby teesships » Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:13 pm

Although you are some months younger than me, you started six months or more ahead of me ... so I have always been playing catch up!!!

Ron
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Re: UNIKLOR (1939)

Postby teesships » Thu Mar 26, 2020 2:33 pm

I didn't go far enough on in my notebook!
My initial introductory notes above confirmed I saw her eight times in my first year of shipping interest, seeing her for the last time on 15 October 1961,

Ron
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Re: UNIKLOR (1939)

Postby northeast » Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:01 pm

teesships wrote:Although you are some months younger than me, you started six months or more ahead of me ... so I have always been playing catch up!!!

Ron

We must have passed but mummy always told me not to talk to older men :D
Cheers, George
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