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IThe core business of all P&I Clubs is to provide good and solid cover for the individual ships entrusted to them. The names of some of these ships will be imprinted in the collective memories of the Clubs - for better or for worse, but, unfortunately, often for the worse: it is normally the disasters and the big casualties that are remembered. But there are exceptions.

In the 1930s Gard insured a series of elderly steam tankers, the so-called Anglo-Saxon tankers. Out of a total of 26 bought by Norwegian owners from the Shell transport arm, 25 went to Gard. These ships proved to be of great value to Gard in many respects - not least in the building up of tanker competence - and are still remembered with fondness. Gard News issue No. 152 carried a detailed article on the story of these ships.

Ship lovers will always ask the question "what happened to her?", so the article in Gard News issue No. 152 tried to address that point. However, for one of the ships - the S/T BUCCINUM - the information available ended in Port Said in June 1947, when she was sold to Greek interests and apparently re-named THEODORA. We asked for help to find out more - and got it.

According to the archives of the Norwegian Maritime Museum in Oslo, the old lady was indeed re-named THEODORA. She was bought for 50,000 Pounds Sterling by Messrs C. Scrivanos, S. Elefteriades and G. Pappas under the company name of Mediterranean Shipping Agency and traded faithfully for another eight years. But on 23rd January 1955, it all came to an end: on a voyage with oil from Odessa to Piraeus the THEODORA grounded on the northern shore of Marmara Island. She was declared a total loss and demolished on the site of the grounding. An active shipping career of 45 years was over - a tribute to the Middlesborough craftsmen that built her!

In the light of the names and places suddenly leaping together in this little epilogue, please forgive us for a bit of historical somersaulting: in the sixth century, the Byzantine emperor Justinian was busy building the wonderful Hagia Sofia in Constantinople. Together with his wife, the empress, he was actively involved in picking the best marble for building material from pagan temples, other classical sites and some of the finest marble quarries of the Byzantine world, including his main quarry … on Marmara Island! And what was the name of the empress? No other than Theodora!

And while we are at it: in 1997, Gard's Member Finnlines of Helsinki issued their 50th anniversary book of managed vessels, with a magnificent array of photos of the ships in their care over the years. Out of the pages springs a familiar profile: isn't it? - sure! One of "our" old tankers. With a slightly different background from the majority of the Anglo-Saxon tankers, the S/T HENRY DEUTSCH DE LA MEURTHE was built in 1921 at Sparrow's Point, Maryland, for Davies and Newman, London. Operating within the Shell system, she was offered for sale by the broking arm of Davies and Newman via Johan G. Olsen of Kristiansand together with the other 25 tankers. She was taken over by Mosvolds Rederi in 1930 and re-named TORBORG. In 1948, she was sold to Neste OY of Finland and re-named NESTE. Five years later, a new change of ownership: Polish Ocean Lines of Gdynia bought her and her last name became nearly as difficult as her first: WSPOLPRACA.

But even strong Maryland steel comes to an end: in December 1956 we find good old TORBORG in the breaking yard of Eisen und Metall KG Lehr & Co. in Bremerhaven.


Gard News is published quarterly by Gard Services AS, Arendal, Norway.