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Maritime Image of the Day: “Shipbuilding on the Tyne”

PortandTerminal.com, November 8, 2019

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – Today’s “Maritime Image of the Day” features children playing in the shadow of the giant 253,000-ton oil tanker Esso Northumbria, which is being built at the end of their street in Wallsend, England in April 1969.

Esso Northumbria

The Esso Northumbria was the first of a series of Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) ships, built by Swan Hunter at Wallsend on Tyneside, in 1969. When launched on 2 May 1969 by Princess Anne it was the largest vessel to have been built in Britain at that time.

Princess Anne launching the Northumbria

Unfortunately, the ship was plagued with problems both with its fittings and more seriously, with cracking of the hull under stress. It needed many repairs in its short working lifetime and this, together with fears of a major spill, prompted its retirement in 1982 after only 12 years in service. The ship was broken up at Kaohsiung, Taiwan. A similar fate befell its sister ship, the Esso Hibernia, also built on Tyneside and launched in 1970.

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