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 AARO - Yard No 471 - Diesel Cargo - Ellerman Wilson Line - Built 1960

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AARO - Yard No 471 - Diesel Cargo - Ellerman Wilson Line - Built 1960


Wilson Lines M.V.AARO Ship No
Owners    Ellerman Wilson Line
Registered    Hull Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Cargo Ship Launched    20/01/1960
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    300' 0" Weather    
Beam    48' 6" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     19' 9"      
G.R.T.    2,600 tons      
Props    1      
Speed    13.5knots      
Other known names   1972-Maldive Trust, 1981-Islami, 1983-Maldive Faith, 1984-Northern Star    
Current Status   Broken up at Gadani Beach 1984    
Content will be added as and when available. 

 The more "modern" look of Ellerman Wilson Line M.V.AARO Ship No 471

Picture sent in by George Carr

(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.

The M.V.AARO was one of a new breed of dry cargo ships ordered by the Ellerman Wilson Line she was to be built and launched at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb, part of a three ship order from one of the yards best customers the Ellerman Group.

The M.V.AARO would be operated by the Wilson Line and would primarily be used on the London to Copenhagen route (See the 3rd Mates Story below)

She was a fast modern design for the time with her bridge set further aft than previous ships for the line but she still had an after hold.

The AARO was to serve the Wilson line from her launch in 1960 up to being sold in 1972 along with a few other ships as the Ellerman Group of companies was restructuring.

She was sold to the Maldive Islands who knew a good ship when they seen one, it seemed that a lot of Henry Robb built ships would end up working for shipping interests connected to this group of Islands in the Indian Ocean.

She was to be re-named a few times before ending up in the ship graveyard of Gadani Beach. 

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.



© National Maritime Museum, London


The Ellerman (Wilson) Line's cargo steamer 'Aaro' (1960, 2468 GRT), leaving the West India Docks in March 1962. She was sold to a Maldives-based line in 1972.

National Maritime Museum, London. Grierson Collection

photograph taken: 31 March 1962

She was still brand new almost and in pristine condition.



 The M.V.AARO with a full cargo underway

(photo credit unknown)





 Model, of MV AARO

This wooden model is of the single screw motor vessel 'Aaro'. The original was built in 1959 as a cargo carrier for Ellerman's Wilson Line Ltd of Hull by Henry Robb of Leith. The model is built to a scale of 1:48 and was made in the joiner's shop of Henry Robb Ltd.

Many of these models were made for the ships that were built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb


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.


I served on her as Third Mate in 1961/62 on the London ~ Copenhagen trade. General cargo out, bacon, beer and furniture home. She used to unload at hays Wharf in the Pool of London and then shift to Millwall dock to load.In Copenhagen she used to unload at Nord Toldboden near the Little Mermaid and then shift to Christiansbrygge to load. She was a fine ship.

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.



 The M.V.AARO seen here looking as if she needs some repairs and new paint

(photo credit unknown)

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0 #9 Brian Ayre 2017-10-06 20:12
Sailed with Wilson Line as cadet. The happiest ship by far was the Aaro. Beautiful lines, modern, comfortable, with a great crew. Sailed from Hull to Denmark and back with bacon in mind. In contrast to the usual dark green hulls that I was used to, the colour scheme was light, modern and added to the beauty to her neat lines. Alas, two trips was my lot, and Wilsons moved me on.
0 #8 Dick Cross 2017-06-10 17:02
This ship was the reason I went to sea. As an 11 year old in 1966 Ilooked into the engine room from the boat deck, saw the biggest imaginable engine possible. Life story and Chiefs Ticket later still have fond memories. Particularly of her larger lookalike Rapallo, which I sailed on as Cadet and Junior Engineer.
0 #7 M. L. Eno 2016-02-01 08:01
I served as Third and Second Officer on Aaro during the mid-late 60's, plying between Riverside Quay/Albert Dock in Hull and Copenhagen, Odense and Aarhus. Captain Jardine was Master and Henry Blagdon, Chief Officer. She was an immensely happy ship; my time on which I will always treasure. Speeds of 16 + knots were often achieved. With twelve fare paying passengers, the food was always superb and 'tab nabs' the best of the best. It was a singular honour to sail under Captain Jardine, a fine man and sailor. God bless to all those who sailed on her!
0 #6 stuart johnston 2016-01-05 13:15
I sailed on the aaro as cadet on what i think was her second ever trip from the millwall dock in london with if i recollect a large consignment of triumph herald cars. when we offloaded in copenhagen near the lttle mermaid. upon. once on the dock it was discovered that all the batteries had been nicked by the dockers in london, so much for the cargo watch we had to do during loading unloading! came back to london and was so pleased to be on the helm as we passed under tower bridge and docked on a wharf on the south side of the thames. think the cargo was tuborg beer and bacon. Aaro was the best ship i sailed on what with up to date radar and decca navigator systems. lovely ship
0 #5 sam grannon 2014-12-19 16:12
Hi can you help me , I am writing a book about my life in the shipyards in Hull. I served my time has a boilermaker at the ship yard of Brigham and Cowan Ltd. During that time I worked on every Wilson boat from 1956 old and new. On your site is two photos that I would like to put in the book and I don't want to brake copy right rules can you give me that right. I have loads of photos of the Wilson line ships.but two of yours are better and will look good in the book. thanks sam.
+1 #4 Darren yorgensen 2014-05-30 20:25
Quoting Howard Eastwood:
I sailed on this ship in 1970/71 -5th Engineer, my first ship, the 2nd Engineer was called Eddie Frame and the 3rd Engineer John Filby, the Captain was Freddie Firth. We sailed from Hull on a 10 day voyage to Copenhagen and Arrhus, it was a nice ship,

Yes my dad did too he was called les yorgensen and he was the ships chippy,sadly he has passed away now august 19th2010
0 #3 Peter Wallace 2014-03-14 22:25
I saw her launched while I was at Leith Nautical college. Long ago!!
+1 #2 Howard Eastwood 2012-08-10 19:16
I sailed on this ship in 1970/71 -5th Engineer, my first ship, the 2nd Engineer was called Eddie Frame and the 3rd Engineer John Filby, the Captain was Freddie Firth. We sailed from Hull on a 10 day voyage to Copenhagen and Arrhus, it was a nice ship,
0 #1 Ingolf K. Kaas 2012-06-22 08:03
I saw this ship in Copenhagen harbour, in the summer of 1961 :-)

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