I have done a bit of research myself and found that WIL was wound up in 1987 when the last seven ships were sold to various parties:
Some of these ships are still around and trading in the Caribbean, but not as HLVs.
I found this interesting article by one of the Masters that was with WIL at the time, but I cannot recall if he was on any of the ships I was dealing with at the time:
Sounds like the discussion about waivers from the Jones Act was just as heated as today even back in the early 1970’s.
Carrying large Nuclear Reactor Vessel that had been loaded way up the Ohio River appears to have been a regular occurrence for WIL.The Danish-American WIL Superintendent showed me pictures of a discharging operation of one such Reactor Vessel on an exposed beach in Taiwan. Not many ships that could do such a thing, than or now.
We travelled around to different manufacturing sites in Japan in 1976-78 while loading different WIL ships with mostly large pressure vessels for Aramco’s Gas Gathering Project and modules for Desalination plants in Saudi Arabia. The trickiest was the pressure vessels, since they had been stress relieved and could not be touched withe a welding rod. All lashing was by wires and turnbuckles and without any pre-calculations or lashing plan.
I remember especially loading two Surge Bullets of 900 m.t. each on one of these 2002 DWT ships. The forward on was jammed up against the bow visire, while the aft one was sticking out several feet over the open stern. The distance between them was less then 2 ft. and the space between deck houses and the cargo was also less than 2 ft. (We had to move the ship under the cargo rather than trying to move the crane to get it in there)
I was the Warranty Surveyor (Known as “Surveyor-san”) for Aramco, which was still an American company at the time. Their budget for purchases from Japan was USD 5 Bln/yr. so expenses was fairly open ended. (The only way to travel in Japan) Their regular hotel in Tokyo was The Imperial and my travel to/from Singapore between jobs were in 1st Class.
I also came across an article about one of the Masters that did several trips between Japan and Saudi for Aramco:
Our regular port to carry out preparation and take on board lashing material etc. was Yokochi, near Nagoya. It became a tradition that when a WIL ship arrived, there would be Oxtail stew for lunch with the lashing gang invited.