MV KARITANE here at Greymouth on her final voyage in 1965 for the U.S.S.Co of New Zealand.
(Photo is courtesy of the G.Ferguson collection)
The twin screw Motor Cargo Vessel KARITANE had a long and successful history of 32 years.
Built by Henry Robb of Leith Scotland, the KARITANE was launched without any fuss or ceremony on December 21st 1938, and was taken over by the Union Co the following February. She loaded 2000 tons of coal for Port Said and sailed that month for Port Safago, Egypt, where a part cargo of phosphate was shipped.
The KARITANE left on March 15th for Wallaroo South Australia, where after discharge, she loaded bagged wheat and sailed for Wellington on April 10th arriving nine days later. Her Master on her delivery voyage was Capt C.C. Waters who died at Palmerston North six weeks ago, a week before the vessels sale was reported.
The KARITANE was the only motor-ship with steam winches built for the Union Co. It was understood that she would be employed in trades where it would be necessary to use grabs for discharging, in which case steam would be more reliable. On arrival in New Zealand she entered the Trans Tasman trade, where she remained until requisitioned by the NZ Govt for war service in 1941. She sailed from Lyttelton on November 30th for Lautoka and returned with a cargo of sugar for Auckland.
Further voyages were made to Fiji and she was returned to her owners in January 1942, but was requisitioned again in June of that year. Several trips were made to Fiji, New Caledonia and other Pacific Island ports she was released again in March 1943. In October 1952 she was fitted out to carry bulk wheat and she took her first cargo from Geelong to Wellington that month.
The KARITANE left the bulk wheat trade in November 1958 and re-entered the general cargo service on the trans-Tasman run, she also did short spells in the New Zealand coastal trade and made a voyage to the Islands in May 1960. In October 1964 she was chartered by an Australian Co to load bulk salt at Adelaide.
Principal dimensions of the KARITANE were 2534 gross tons, 1274 net tons 3410 Dwt, length 278 ft 8 in x breadth 45 ft 3 in x depth 19 ft 1 in., she was powered by twin Polar Atlas diesels which gave a speed of 11 knots. The name KARITANE is the Maori word for swamp. During her 26 years with the Union Co she wasn't involved in any serious incidents.
Her new owners were Kinabatangan Shipping Co of Hong Kong who renamed her GOOD PHILIPPINE ANCHORAGE, she was later renamed AMARIAM, then became the UNISTAR until broken up in Hong Kong in 1970.
It was ironic that her first cargo was coal and her last cargo was coal loaded at Greymouth, she departed Greymouth for Auckland in July 1965, which was to be her last voyage under Union Co ownership.
OSF Graham Ferguson 20.7.08