Palm Line

Page Two

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.

Ikeja Palm

Built in 1961 by Swan. Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Newcastle.
Tonnage: 5,682 gt.

Sold to Daniko Maritime Co., S.A. of Panama in 1981 and renamed GME Palma, changed to Palma a year later. She arrived at Karachi for breaking in the October of 1982.

Ilesha Palm.
Copyright I.L.

Built in 1961 by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Newcastle.
Tonnage: 5,682 gt.
Sold in 1979 to the Barnwood Shipping Corporation of Monrovia and renamed Daphnemar. Laid up at Mini Saqr in February of 1982, just over two years later she was towed to Karachi for breaking, arriving in the March of 1984.

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 entireGuinea 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 Makurdi Palm was sold on for further trading to Peruvian interests in 1969. She was replaced by Matadi Palm the following year.

Matadi Palm
Copyright I.L.

Built in 1970 by Swan, Hunter Shipbuilders Ltd., Haverton Hill.
Tonnage: 8,870gt.

She was taken over by the United African Conference International Ltd., in 1985 and renamed Matadi. In 1986 she was sold to the Troodos Shipping & Trading Co. Ltd., and renamed Modesty. Troodos originally placed her under their Panamanian subsidiary but later moved her to their Liberian concern, both flew the flag of Cyprus. She was still in service in April of 1994.

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.

Apapa Palm
Copyright I.L.

Built in 1973 by Stocznia Szezecinska, Szezecin.
Tonnage: 9,417gt.

Launched as Schauenburg for Seereederei M.S. " Schauenburg " Kurt Sieh & Co, Hamburg. Bought by Palm Line in 1977 and renamed Apapa Palm, taken over by U.A.C. International in 1985 and sold the same year to Vencaribe C.A. of Venezuela and renamed General Salom, still in service in 1994.

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.

Badagry Palm

Built in 1979 by Sunderland Shipbuilders Ltd., North Sands, Sunderland.
Tonnage: 12,279.

Handed over to UAC International in 1985 and renamed Badagry. Went to Navitrade Holding Corporation S.A. of Panama in 1986 ( V. Ships, Monte Carlo) and renamed Cordigliera. In 1992 to Starlauro SpA., Naples but retained her name and was still in service in 1994.

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, Lobito, Ilorin and Ilesha Palm's. The company's share of trade continued to fall and at this juncture its fleet stood at just seven ships. In 1982 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.

Lagos Palm
Copyright I.L.

Built in 1982 by Stocznia Szezecinska, Szezecin.
Tonnage: 15,575.

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, Lagos and Lokoja Palm's 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.