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OLOVAHA (I) 1965

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OLOVAHA (I) 1965

Postby aukepalmhof » Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:26 pm

SG 0100
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Built under yard No 448 as a passenger-car ferry by Charles Hill & Sons, Bristol, U.K. for the Isle of Scilly Steamship Co. at St Marys
16 Nov. 1964 launched under the name QUEEN OF THE ISLES, christened by HRH Duchess of Gloucester.
Tonnage 515 gross, 214 net, dim. 156.75 x 30.09 x 9.6ft. (draught).
Two 6 cyl. Ruston Hornsby diesels 1.146 shp., twin screws, speed 13 knots.
Passenger accommodation for 300 passengers.
April 1965 completed.

Used in the service between Penzance and St Mary’s
It was planned to use her as a support ship for the SCILLONIAN (II), but the seas between the mainland and the island proved to be too much for her and it soon became apparent that she was not a viable solution to their needs.
1966 Laid up.
1967 On charter to the Mersey Docks Board.
1968 Chartered to P&A Campbell which had acquired the L&NWSS Co.
1970 Operated for Norwest Hovercraft between Douglas IOM and Fleetwood.
1970 Bought by the British Government for £ 150.000 and donated to the Government of Tonga, renamed in 1971 in OLOVAHA. She was managed by the Tonga Shipping Agency at Nuku’alofa. Sailed from the U.K to Tonga via the Panama Canal.
Used in the inter-island service with an occasional voyage to the Fiji Islands.

August 1977 sailed from Tongatapu bound for Ha’pai group a distance of 100 km, an 8 hour voyage. Leaving port she was listing alarmingly.
After a few hours the engines stopped, she was taken in water, bailing operations were undertaken, as she was taking in water badly, and the bilge pump was not working. One of the engines was re-started and the voyages continued to Vava’s. reaching Tofua the engine shuddered to a halt and the ship drifted. The radio was not working, there were only two lifeboats. The ship listed even more, the wind and waves were rising. The Tongan navy at Pangai had recorded her as missing and so had sent a ship to find the OLOVAHA, but without no radio communication this would have been difficult to say the least. A Tongan freghter came upon them by chance and the 300 passengers were rescued in very high seas, several meters high. The OLOVAHA sank in shallow waters and was later salvaged.
Thereafter not more in Lloyd’s class till sold.
When the new built OLOVAHA came in service, she was sold to G.L.Wright at Tonga in 1982.

The same year sold by G.L.Wright, Tonga, to Trans Tours Gray Line (Morgan Shipping Corp.), New Zealand.
27 December 1980 she arrived at Whangarei, new Zealand under tow of the tug PACIFIC SALVOR.
Underwent an overhaul, refit and a long lay-up at Whangarei.
Renamed GULF EXPLORER, used as a Cruising Casino Ship for short cruises out of Whangarei until 2nd/3rd August 1986 in New Zealand waters.She was then arrested with several large debts and sold.
Under New Zealand register her tonnage is given as 529 gross, 212 net, dim. 47.78 x 9.17 x 2.89m.
1987 Renamed QUEEN OF THE ISLANDS, and entered service on 04 October 1987, reported Queensland for Barrier reef work.
Operating 7 day cruises out of Cairns.
1994 Renamed ISLAND PRINCESS by unspecified owners in Australia.
1996 Sold by unspecified Australian owners to Western Development Corp., Solomon Islands and renamed WESTERN QUEEN.

Marine News September 2004 has a photo of the WESTERN QUEEN in which she is pictured lying aground in a derelict condition at Honiara. She has been stripped of anything valuable and it is unlikely she will be salvaged.
The exact date of her grounding is unknown but believed to be in 1997.

Tonga 1972 2s/90s sg393/397, scott287/91. 1973 40s/1p25 sg 0100/102, scott?

Marine News 1983/317. 1996/676. Merchant Ships World Built Vol. XIV 1966. New Zealand Ships Illustrated 1988-1989. Navicula. Marine News 2004/566, some info copied from the web-site of Mr. Raymond Forward ... ackets.htm
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Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:28 am

Re: OLOVAHA (I) 1965

Postby D. v. Nieuwenhuijzen » Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:49 pm

Queen of the Isles mag 1a lg.jpg
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QueenOfTheIsles end 1 lg.jpg
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Western Queen beached in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands Sep-Oct 1998. According to locals she was left unmanned at anchor during a cyclone and dragged her anchor grounding herself near Honiara. Apparently attempts to free her failed and she was left as is. At the time I walked through her she had been completely stripped of everything right down to light switches and wiring. Exterior wise though despite her grounding she still looked in better cond. than most of the vessels still in service there. Less rusty, anyhow! Check out this excellent site about her life by a former crew member:
D. v. Nieuwenhuijzen
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Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:46 pm

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