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Howick Hall

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Howick Hall

Postby shipstamps » Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:38 pm

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Not only was the Howick Hall a fine example of the pre-war cargo liner but her owners, Chas. G. Dunn & Co. Ltd., of Liverpool, were determined that she should appear so. Their most ambitious ship yet, she was designed for the U.S.—Latin American trade, on which she had to compete with ships of companies both larger and longer-established. As built, the Howick Hall had a gross tonnage of 4,923 (later increased to 5,096) and a d.w. capacity of 8,079 tons. Her overall length was 413 ft (400 ft b.p.), breadth mld 51.5 ft, depth mld 29.7 ft and load draught just under 26 ft. Her hull had two continuous decks and, above these, a long combined bridge and forecastle and a short poop, which resulted in the rather unusual small well deck aft. Thoroughly up-to-date in design, she was one of the first cargo liners to have longitudinal framing and her derricks included one capable of 35-ton lifts.
A ship without sisters, she was launched by Wm. Hamilton & Co. Ltd., Port Glasgow, on 1 October, 1910, and given a single set of triple-expansion engines supplied by David Rowan & Co., Glasgow. She had four S.E. boilers with a working pressure of 180 lb and bunker capacity for 8oo tons of coal. Her speed was about 10 knots. On completion she sailed direct for the States, to enter service on the New York and South America Line, of which Dunn's were the managers.
Under the Stars and Stripes the Howick Hall retained her grey hull but was given plain buff funnels. This ended in October 1929 when she was sold to a London firm who renamed her Dovenden. Active service as such was minimal, for she spent most of 1930 laid up at New York, a collision there hardly helping matters. By October she had crossed the Atlantic to Rotterdam, where she became a near-permanent feature. Sale to another London concern late in 1932 was followed by continued idleness. In January 1935 she was sold for £7,500, reputedly to be broken up. However, as with various other Italian purchases made then, demolition did not follow. Instead, her new owners,
Ditta Luigi Pittaluga Vapori, Genoa, put her back into service as the Ircania. In 1937 she changed hands yet again, this time locally. The Pittaluga funnel mark—a white band on black—then gave way to the green, white and red bands of the S.A. Co-operativa di Nay. `Garibaldi'. This was at the time of the Abyssinian war and the Ircania was one of the many ships used to carry Italian military supplies to Massowah. In 1941 she was lying at Jacksonville when she and other Axis ships then in American ports were taken over by the U.S. Government. Recommissioned as the Panamanian flag Raceland, she was bombed and sunk south of Bear Island in March 1942. SG3474
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