Greek Mini Ships

Back in my ABS days, there were some Greek ship that I surveyed often that had chefs from the island resorts there that would work at sea during the off season. . . especially on the now very rare Mini Ships.

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The Greek Mini Ships you referred to, where those some shallow draft and very basic ships, which would now probably be called River/Sea Ships?

There were a few of them chartered to UNDP in Bangladesh after the 1971 war, transshipping cargo from larger ships at anchor off Chittagong in to the port. Later, after the port had been cleared of mines and wrecks, they were bringing cargo up river.

I worked in Chittagong at the time and knew the Greek Port Captain pretty well. I cannot remember that the food on board was anything special, but better than at the Chittagong Club, where we lived.(That did’n’t take much though)

OK a little OT, but at least I got back to food.

Yeah, they were very small bulkers, not much more than powered barges, really. Most, if not all were built in the 70s in Japan, by the Livanos family. I can’t recall how many were built, but several. Total crew about 8 or 9 as I recall, including the cook. Depending on which branch of the family was running them, they were in various condition. . . but many, especially in the early 90s, were in decent shape. Not so much later in the decade, however, as they were sold off. . . Getting back to the food idea, there were a couple of times, as I recall when we did a UWILD (which had to be performed about 20 miles offshore Galveston, due to visibility) that the Superintendent would have the cook make something special, primarily for the divers and myself. . . here is a link to a photo of a couple. Basic pontoon and tarp hatch covers. . .

I stand corrected. . started the series in 1969.

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Yes that’s the ones. There were 5 or 6 on UNDP charter in Bangladesh and I did see a few in S.E.Asia after that. Very basic but very suited for the rivers in Bangladesh, except that they had problems in the rainy season, when the rivers flooded and the current got very strong.
I was involved with small tankers that brought fuel suppliers up river. One of our tankers was an ex US Army tanker of WWII vintage that had the same problem. She was driven onto the river bank by the current, but our German Captain got her off by dumping part of the cargo into the water, which was “covering the fields as far as your eyes could see” according to him.
No problems with the authorities that a few thousand Takkas couldn’t fix. A nice “Note of Protest” claiming the need to “jettison cargo to save the remaining cargo, ship and crew” according to the Navigation Act of 1893 (or was in 1895?) satisfied the cargo owners and charterers (UNPD).
I was looking all over for a picture of these ships the other day when someone mentioned M/T Manhattan. Thanks.

Now, back to cooking.

PS> Ones in Bangladesh all had two cranes as far as I remember. (Like the one in the first link)

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Must have been fun trying to see through those cranes.

The were pretty interesting little vessels. Very few internal passageways. Only way into the Capt’s and CE’s Cabins were from the outside, as well as the wheelhouse. From what I understand, they more than paid for themselves through the years.

An acquaintance of mine put a bid on one of those Mini ships some years back at a Marshall’s auction in New Orleans. He wasn’t expecting to win but no one else bid. It wasn’t in bad shape and he was able to flip it to some European buyers a few months later.

I remember seeing a half dozen or so ships that fit this description (and painted with stacks and trim in the typical Greek flag blue) laid up in a bend on the Miss. River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) channel just before you got to the France Road container terminal in New Orleans back in the late 80’s / early 90s. Always wondered what they were about.

Yup. Like anything else, there were some real dogs, but a few were in decent shape. VERY simple ships.

Now you know. The blue and white stack insignia was the house symbol for Ceres Hellenic, headed by Captain Livanos, one of those Greek ship owners that made their fortunes with surplus Liberty ships.

The old Mini Line vessels stayed pretty busy until the glut of supply boats after the early '80s downturn.

I’m not too sure of my Miss River geography, but I do know that Southern Scrap Metals of New Orleans bought a bunch of them, so you may have been seeing their yard. One of theirs was sold, and I saw her up in a yard in Kenner when responding to Hurricane Katrina. They re-used her superstructure on a push boat, but never found a use for the hull, so re-sold it back to Southern Scrap a year or two later.

I’m not smart enough to expand that article on the MINI LUCK enough to read it, but perhaps it explained the size of the class. I can account for 51 of them that were built, but since it wasn’t a proprietary design, other owners might have built some. Of the 51 I’ve mentioned, all but one were named with the MINI Lxxx motif.

One ran aground near the highway west of Ciudad del Carmen a few years back.