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 RHINO - Yard No 523 - Minibulk Carrier - Paal Wilson - Built 1978

Leith Shipyards

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RHINO - Yard No 523 - Minibulk Carrier - Paal Wilson - Built 1978


M.V. RHINO Ship No 523

 The Mini-Bulk Carrier M.V.RHINO seen here after her conversion

to increase her length (photo credit unknown)


Owners    Paal Wilson, Norway
Registered    Bergen Keel Laid    06/10/1977
Type of Ship    Minibulk Carrier Launched    10/04/1978
      Handed Over    24/07/1978
Ship Details          
Length Overall    71.8 metres Launch Details    
Length B.P.    66.0 metres Weather    
Beam    13.4 metres Time to Water    
Depth Mld      6.5 metres      
G.R.T.    1,445 tonnes      
DWT    2,342 tonnes      
Props    1      
Speed    13 Knots      
Other known names   1993-Boa Rhino, 2007-RHINO    
Current Status  

Still working as of 2015  (our thanks to Bernard for this information that she is still working, currently owned in Greece and trading as Rhino in the Mediterranean)

Bernard runs the excellent website


As content on the M.V.RHINO becomes available it will be added here. 


The RHINO seen here at the quayside (photo credit unknown)


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.


At a time of great political upheaval and a distinct lack of shipbuilding orders as we reached close to the decade that was the 1970's the Leith Shipyards of Robb Caledon (Henry Robb) managed to secure some work by much good fortune and sadly at the expense of another shipyard which had been forced to close down, the yard that had won the original order was a small yard in Wales (Hancocks Shipbuilders, Pembroke) and this was an order from the Paal Wilson Shipping Company.

The whole job was a bit strange as the yard was only contracted to do the steelwork which meant that she would be built and launched as a hull with no superstructure as this would be fitted onto the ship in Norway by the owners.

Her Ships lines had already been done and this was also a first as her lines had been done by computer to an existing design that the owners had available and her lines had also been run out full size in the body plan on a plastic stable film which meant that there was no requirement for a screive board (sign of times to come) for more on the Lofting of a ship visit the Mould Loft.

Times were starting to get very tough in the shipbuilding industry in the United Kingdom where the government of the day was against all the traditional industries which the British Isles had been built on so if you worked in the Steel industry or as a coal miner or shipbuilder (All union shops) you were the enemy of the day as far as they were concerned and this was the start of a so called new revolution in the Industrial world of the U.K. and one for which we are still paying for today as the country was turned into a service based and financial base for others money.

The job of building the bare hull of the M.V.RHINO was as ever taken on and completed despite all the turmoil going on in the country and the fear of unemployment being just around the corner or in a shipyards case when the last order was completed.

Once finished she was towed over to Bergen, Norway to be completed and there were empty slipways at the Leith Shipyards of Robb Caledon.

Welcome work all the same at a desperate time for the shipyard, with no orders in the books it did not look too promising for the yard.

This was the time when British Shipbuilders should have been investing capital and time into the Leith shipyard, with more modern plant and a covered building berth the future could have been very different for the yard. Christ there was still machines in the yard for the rolling and bending of steel plate that were made by a near local firm in Falkirk the Carron Iron works who made the cannon for the British army during the Crimea war and the two plate machines at the yard dated from around the late 18th century, no wonder the other shipbuilding nations were moving streets ahead of the antiquated shipyards in the British Isles.



This ship was another vessel which was to undergo a conversion to make her almost 20 metres longer overall in 1983.

The M.V. RHINO was broken up in 2009 so she had a working span of around 30 years, which is not bad for her owners. 



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


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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