The Loftsman
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 Ships Built in Leith 1918 to 1939 CUBAHAMA - Yard No 262 - Motor Cargo Vessel - Bahama Line U.S.A. - Built 1938

Leith Shipyards

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CUBAHAMA - Yard No 262 - Motor Cargo Vessel - Bahama Line U.S.A. - Built 1938



M.V.CUBAHAMA built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb

Owners    Bahama Line U.S.A.
Registered    New York Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Twin screw motor cargo Launched    28/06/1938
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall    269' 9" Launch Details    
Length B.P.    250' 0" Weather    
Beam    38' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     21' 0"      
Draught    13' 5"      
G.R.T.    932      
Engines    Two Atlas Diesel engines      
Props    2      
Speed    15 knots      
Other known names  

USS KAULA (AG-33) 1941-46

1973 Wanda Jean

Current Status   Believed scrapped in late 1980's and removed from Lloyds register in 1993    
Content on the MV CUBAHAMA will be added as and when available. 
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Broadside view of USS Kaula (AG-33) underway in Puget Sound, 26 July 1945. Naval Air Station, Seattle photo # 19-N-89167, a Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US National Archives RG-19-LCM.

(photo is by kind permission of the courtesy of Navsource project general manager, Auxiliaries, Amphibious and Yard and District Craft Archives, U.S.Navy) 

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Ships History

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, who would look to have that ship at sea, as long as possible to
pay for her build costs and of course to make the company good profits.

To this end one company may have had no requirement for a particular ship after a time and would then sell her on just like any other disposable commodity.

Hence a ship may have had a few owners and would go through many changes and names during what was
hoped for a long and successful working life.

The M.V. CUBAHAMA had a very long and eventful working life which included being on of the United States Navy ships during world war two, where she went on to provide sterling support services in the Pacific campaign. The U.S.Navy took her over in 1941 and re-named her USS KAULA (AG-33)

She was an original design from the pen and vision of the Cheif Shipyard Draughtsman at the time a Mr John Ashcroft very fine lines and yet another beautiful looking ship a fact that was not lost on the U.S.Navy when she was under there control during World War II.

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.


World War II U.S. Navy Vessels in Private Hands

World War II U.S. Navy Vessels in Private Hands

During World War II, the U.S. Navy swiftly expanded to include an array of vessels, from smaller yachts and fishing boats bought early in the war for patrol work to fast, modern commercial ships built to haul troops and supplies. After the Allied victory, this diverse fleet became unnecessary and the Navy sold many of its vessels. This comprehensive catalog documents the Navy ships and boats sold after the war and registered under the American flag for commercial or recreational purposes. Focusing on those vessels with names or clearly identifiable hull numbers and crew accommodations, it chronicles each craft's prewar ownership, wartime history, and postwar fate. The product of painstaking detective work in a wide range of primary sources, this meticulous directory highlights an unexplored but illuminating aspect of U.S. maritime history.


The M.V.CUBAHAMA on trials in the Firth of Forth


Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.



We see the old ship here in the Port of Santa Marta in Columbia, date unknown in this photograph sent into the Leith Shipyards website by Luis Delgado and shown with permission.

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