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Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
 
     
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Home Ramage and Ferguson Shipbuilders 1878 to 1931 SS VINA Yard No 124 Ramage-Ferguson-Ltd-Leith-Scotland
 
 

Leith Shipyards

 
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SS VINA Yard No 124 Ramage-Ferguson-Ltd-Leith-Scotland
 
SS VINA Yard No 124 built in 1894
   
Owners    J.T. Salvesen & Co, Ltd
           
Registered    Grangemouth Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Single Screw Steamer Launched    Feb 1894
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall    219' Launch Details    
Length B.P.     Weather    
Beam    32' Time to Water    
Depth Moulded            
Draught          
G.R.T.    1,021 tons      
DWT          
           
Engines    Steam Triple Expansion engine      
Props    1      
Speed    11.0knots      
           
Other known names        
           
Current Status        
Content on the SS VINA will be added as and when available. 
 

 The photograph above shows the wreck of the SS VINA in this RNLI photograph

WARNING - the sands and the tides can be treacherous.

Ships History
The Screw Steamer SS VINA was another from the early years of building at the Leith Shipyards of Ramage & Fergusons Shipbuilders, some of the finest looking ships ever built came from the shipyard at Leith.
 
This ship was the first of a two ship order from the shipping company of J.T. Salvesen & Co of Grangemouth, Scotland. Her sister shipthe SS VANA had been launched only four months previous, with the main difference between the two sister ships being the engines used. The SS VANA was to use the steam compound engine while the SS VINA was powered by a Triple Expansion engine. 
 
Build as a short sea trader this fine lined coaster was for trade on the East Coast with voyages to the Baltic States as part of a round trip. 
 
She spent most of her working life for the Baltic Trade. In 1940, during World War II, she was brought to Yarmouth under the command of Captain Pickering to act as a block ship to prevent attack on the port and, if needed, wired to explode and block the harbour entrance. In late 1943 she was towed to Brancaster.

In 1944 she was purchased by The Ministry of War and anchored further out at sea, to be used as a target for RAF planes testing a new shell. A north-west gale dragged her to her present position where, full of the shell holes being good evidence that they worked, she sank.

The ship was subsequently sunk and the wreck remains on the sandbank to this day. Numerous efforts have been made to retrieve the wreckage as the ship was not only a danger to navigation, but also an attraction to the holiday makers on Brancaster beach who regularly walked out to the vessel's remains at low tide. Lives have been lost due to these ill-advised actions and the local lifeboats and RAF rescue helicopters have been pressed into service on many occasions each summer. A warning sign on the wreck advises anyone reaching it to return to the beach immediately.Removal efforts have long been abandoned due to the excessive costs involved. 

Post-war various firms have salvaged scrap from the Vina, floating it across the channel on amphibious vehicles to the beach car park. In 1968 the bronze propeller was blown off, floated across the channel, and with much difficulty winched with chains up the beach. (Information from Brancaster Local History Group)
 
The photographs on this ships page show her as a wreck on the shifting sands of Brancaster Beach.
 
We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.
 
 

The wreck of the SS VINA seen at low tide complete with barnacle encrusted hull and stern

(photograph unknown copyright for now)

This photograph shows whats left of the old ship with the tide right out. 

(Copyright unknown for now)

 
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