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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 Ships Built in Leith 1946 to 1984 KOKIRI - Yard No 400 - Diesel Cargo Vessel - Union Steamship Co, N.Zealand - Built 1951

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KOKIRI - Yard No 400 - Diesel Cargo Vessel - Union Steamship Co, N.Zealand - Built 1951


 The M.V.KOKIRI Ship No 400  
Owners    Union Steamship Co, Ltd of New Zealand
Registered    Wellington Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Cargo Launched   08/09/1951 
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall    305' 4" Launch Details    
Length B.P.    290' 0" Weather    
Beam    43' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     19' 6"      
Draught    17' 6"      
G.R.T.    2485      
DWT    3129      
Props    2      
Speed    10 knots      
Other known names   1968 sold to Litonjua & Co., Manila & r/n JUNIOR K.L.    
Current Status    Lost during Typhoon Elaine whilst on passage from Tanjong Mani to Hong Kong 5th Oct 1971    
Content on the MV KOKIRI will be added as and when available. 
KOKIRI was named after an area of New Zealand in the South Island 
The M.V.KOKIRI departing Greymouth on another voyage.
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. Not all ships could be considered "Lucky Ships" as the sea is a very unforgiving place.

Kokiri was the last in a series of six AC class colliers built for the Union Steam Ship Company.

She spent almost all of her life with the USsCo, Ltd shipping coal from Greymouth to Wellington, although other ports were visited on occasion. She had some alterations done to her and in the mid 1950s she had her two aft derricks removed, then in 1958 while approaching the breakwater at the Port of Greymouth she hit rocks and this required the replacement of around 20 of her shell plates, which were riveted.



All welded ships had not quite taken over in the early 1950s, as can be seen from the above photograph.

Two men were killed when a mystery explosion rocked the fore hold of the vessel as she was arriving at Wellington on 13 March 1965. Believed to be caused by a build up of coal gas.

She was then sold on to a company in the Philippines, in 1968.

The ship went missing during typhoon Elaine whilst on passage from Tanjong Mani to Hong Kong.

5th of October 1971 she was never heard from again.

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.


  Find a lower price and we will beat it!
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.

The above photograph sent in to the Leith shipyards website shows the main hatch cover forward of the Bridge torn from its place the photograph shows only half of the hatch cover as the other half was blown right over the ship and has never been recovered.

The incident was believed to have happened due to a build up of gas from her cargo of coal, and unfortunatly resulted in the death of two of the MV KOKIRI's crew.

The photograph was taken by Alan Radford (Normandale) when still just a boy who was taken down to the ship to see the damage by his father an engineer.

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.


 Note-A lot of the photographs used on this site and in particular the ones of the ships built in the Leith shipyards for New zealand have been kindly donated by the guys on the Oceania Shipping Forum, a great source of information on ships used in New Zealand waters.


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