Astronomer (T&J Harrison)

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Astronomer (T&J Harrison)

Post by shipstamps » Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:42 pm

Container Ship built 1977 Stocznia Gdanska Shipyard, Poland for Harrison Lines. 278676t. L669'. 8102'. Dr32'1". Cegielski-Sulzer diesel. 10-cyl. 29000bhp. 22kn. Bow thruster and stabiliser fins. In 1983 took cargoes to Falkland Is. Taken over by Royal Navy as RFA RELIANT. Refitted as Aircraft Carrier/Supply ship at Cammell Laird's Yard - Jamaica 1983. 45c. SG581
Astronomer Falklands.jpg

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Re: Astronomer (T&J Harrison)

Post by aukepalmhof » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:18 am

The container vessel depict on this stamp is identified by the British Ship Stamp Society (Log Book) as ASTRONOMER, and also given under that name in the Stanley Gibbons Collect Ships on Stamps. I agree with this identification, but she also had two sisterships the ADVISER and AUTHOR, the latest never sailed for the Harrison Line, but the ADVISER was used also in the CAROL service from 1977 till 1983. ADVISER is depict as CGM PROVENCE on St Kitts 1990 80c sg 319.

Built as a container vessel as one of the B463/101 type by Stocznia Gdanska Lenina Shipyard, Gdansk for the Charente Steamship Co. Ltd. (Harrison Line), Liverpool.
06 July 1976 launched under the name ASTRONOMER.
Tonnage 27.867 gross, 15.348 net, 23.120dwt., dim. 204.2 x 31.0 x 15.6m., length bpp. 193.81, draught 10.0m.
Powered by one 10-cyl 2S.SA Sulzer diesel engine, manufactured by H.Cegielski, Poznan, Poland, 29.000bhp., one propeller, speed 20.5 knots. One bowthruster.
Could carry 1.416 TEU’s containers.
January 1977 delivered.

She was built for the CAROL (Caribbean Overseas Line) service, operated jointly by Harrison, Hapag-Lloyd, K.N.S.M. and Cie Générale Maritime. The service was operated from North Europe to the Caribbean.
February 1977 she sailed for her maiden voyage from the Seaforth container terminal in Liverpool.

29 May 1982 chartered by the British Ministry of Defence at Felixstowe for conversion into aircraft ferry, for service in the Falkland Island Campaign. She arrived at Devonport on 31 May.
Her conversion took only one week by the Devonport Dockyard. A hangar was built on deck, and fitted out with 2 - 20mm Oerlikons guns, and two chaff launchers to decoy missiles, and a Unifoxer decoy for use against homing torpedoes.
Also were loaded 850 tons of assorted stores and equipment, including Portakabins.
07 June 1982 she left the yard for bunkers and the loading of 13 helicopters.
16 June she reached Ascension when the Argentineans in the Falkland Islands had surrendered.
27 June she entered Port Williams (Stanley Harbour). There she unloaded her helicopters and thereafter used as helicopter support and repair facility.
By mid-August on her decks had landed 995 helicopters and had repaired and serviced 14 Wessex.
Also the helicopters crews and servicemen received rest and recreation on board the ASTRONOMER.
Mid-September was her crew relieved, she stayed in Port Williams.
22 April 1983 chartered by the Royal Navy, to test the US “Arapaho” system carrying 4 ASW helicopters.
25 April 1983 arrived at Birkenhead for conversion by Cammell Laird to an aviation helicopter transport ship, for a cost of around £30 million.
July 1984 renamed in RFA RELIANT (A131).
Displacement 28.000 tons full load.
Crew 60 RFA personal, and 150 navy crew.
11January 1984 sailed Portland to relief HMS FEARLESS off Lebanon as support ship to the British UN forces in the Lebanon.
08 February 1984 received 115 men and 50 military trucks and armoured vehicles.
10 February off the Lebanese coast received 518 civilians of 32 nationalities and air-shuttled them to Cyprus.
She was chartered to January 1987 and in 1986 her facilities to operate aircraft was removed by Seaforth Welding Co. Ltd. Liverpool, and she was put on the sale list.
1986 Sold by the Charente Steamship Co. Ltd to Paramatta Shipping Co., Panama and operated by the Hong Kong Island Line, renamed ADMIRALTY ISLAND.
1989 Renamed WEALTHY RIVER.
1998 Sold to Indian shipbreakers and she arrived at Alang 09 July 1998.

Marine News 1987/225. 1998/567. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary by Adams and Smith. Merchant Ships at war by Villar. Merchant Fleets, Thos. & Jas Harrison by Duncan Haws.

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