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 1946 to 1984 MERSEY MARINER - Yard No 529 - Grab hopper Dredger - Mersey Docks & Harbour Board - Built 1981

Leith Shipyards

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MERSEY MARINER - Yard No 529 - Grab hopper Dredger - Mersey Docks & Harbour Board - Built 1981



 The MERSEY MARINER on the River Mersey

(photo credit unknown for now)


Owners    Mersey Docks & Harbour Board 
Registered    Liverpool Keel Laid    04/06/1980
Type of Ship    Grab Hopper Dredger Launched    04/02/1981
      Handed Over    04/06/1981
Ship Details          
Length Overall    78.7 metres Launch Details    
Length B.P.    73.5 metres Weather    
Beam    15.5 metres Time to Water    
Depth Mld     6.25 metres      
G.R.T.    2,191 tonnes      
DWT    2,764 tonnes      
Props    2      
Speed    12.5 Knots      
Other known names        
Current Status        
Content on the Dredger MERSEY MARINER will be added as it becomes available. 
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.

It was surely with some irony and a strange twist of fate that with the next order for the Leith Shipyards of Robb Caledon (Henry Robb) it was also the death knell for the fine sister shipyard in Dundee that Henry Robb shipbuilders had taken over in the late 1960's and even while the men of the Leith yard were working on a floating bridge unit (Given a Ship No of 528) for of all places Dundee the decision makers that were British Shipbuilders had already decided that there would be no future for the yard in Dundee and it was closed down with the loss of around a thousand jobs.

Although the yard in Leith was awarded a large job in the building of the next ship which was an order from the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board for another of the speciality ships that the yard excelled in building this time not a tug but a grab Hopper Dredger.

The MERSEY MARINER was aptly named as she would be working to keep that great waterway leading into the Port of Liverpool free of silt and mud to allow all the great ships that visited the famous old port enough clearance to navigate the river without fear of grounding.

As things started to look better for the yard there was a new mood of optimism in the place for a while and as ever shipbuilders have to be the supreme optimists as there is forever the thought that the better and faster you produce the quicker you will be out of a job without a constant stream of orders coming into the shipyard.

The MERSEY MARINER was a fair sized ship for a dredger and would provide work for a year or so.

She was duly launched into the Waters of Leith Docks in 1981 and after fitting out she was delivered to her new owners for work on the River Mersey where she was a well known sight on the river for many years to come with her distinctive three grab cranes on her deck, and it was only a couple of years ago that she was eventually sold to a Brazilian concern to work on the other side of the Atlantic where she is still working just in warmer waters now.



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 MERSEY MARINER at work with her three grabs

(photo credit unknown for now)


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.


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