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 ARCADIAN - Yard No 473 - Diesel Cargo - Ellerman Wilson Line - Built 1960

Leith Shipyards

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ARCADIAN - Yard No 473 - Diesel Cargo - Ellerman Wilson Line - Built 1960
Owners    Ellerman Wilson Line (Papayanni Lines)
Registered    Liverpool Keel Laid    04/06/1959
Type of Ship    Shelter Deck General Cargo Launched    27/07/1960
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    340' 0" Weather    
Beam    54' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     31' 0"      
Draught    20' 11"      
G.R.T.    3,402      
DWT    4518      
Engines    Sulzer 7SD 60 engine built by Fairfield of Glasgow, producing 3500 BHP      
Props    1 Bronze Fixed      
Speed    15 Knots      
Other known names   1974-CITY OF FAMAGUSTA, 1977-Batroun    
Current Status   Broken up at Gadani Beach in 1986    
Content on MV ARCADIAN will be added as and when available. 
(Photograph from Andrew Grant)
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.
Was the third of the three ship order from the Ellerman Wilson Line, she was sister ship to to the M.V.RAPALLO which was managed by the Wilson Line while the M.V.ARCADIAN was a Papayanni Line vessel.
Along with her sister ship she the largest of the Ellerman ships to be built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.
Beautiful looking vessels and very popular with crew as well, and along with luxurious interiors and a passenger carrying capacity of 12 she crossed the North Atlantic a few times on trips to the Canadian great lakes down the St Lawrence seaway.
Then she was used on the Mediterranean fruit runs where she was a well known sight around the ports distinctive with her classic looking shape.
She sailed as a Papayanni Line vessel until 1974 when as part of a reorganisation of Ellerman Wilson Lines she was absorbed into the Ellerman City Line and along with all the other ships she was re-named according to that company’s convention which meant her being renamed as “CITY OF FAMAGUSTA”
By the late 1970’s The Ellerman Group where again reorganising in line with the advent of containerisation and they sold of a lot of ships deemed as surplus to requirement.
1977 saw her sold to Lebonon shipping interests and she was renamed again this time as Batroun who operated her for another nine years before she was eventually sold to Pakistani shipbreakers and she ended up at that ship graveyard of Gadani Beach in Dec of 1986 where she was broken up.
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 M.V.ARCADIAN re-named as City of Famagusta
(The late Richard Parsons, ARCADIAN seen here at Avonmouth 1967)
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.
From one of her crew
Built 1960. Beautiful ship. On charter to Head Line of Belfast. Four trips up the St Laurence Seaway to the Great Lakes. The Ellerman vessels were all built by Henry Robb of Leith and had a distinctive silhouette. I sailed on this ship again, as third mate, from Dec 1970 - May 1971 (to the Med). It was the last Ellerman vessel I sailed on. It was later renamed CITY OF FAMAGUSTA (I think) and I saw it in Antwerp 1976. At this time all the Papayanni ships were absorbed into Ellerman City Line and renamed according to that company's convention.

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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+1 #13 John Nichols 2016-07-27 11:21
I sailed with Capt Mathieson in about 1964 when I was 2/mate on Florian. He was a fine seaman and we all thought he modelled himself on Peter Finch in Battle Of The River Plate. He was a gentleman but a stickler for protocol and behaviour.
0 #12 tim oyston 2016-02-03 21:10
just did the one trip straight from sea training college gravesend 1974 sailing from hull down the med transporting tractors from international harvesters returning with fruit from israel
0 #11 Isabelle Schaub 2013-10-28 21:11
Dear Andrew Grant
As I am looking for further news of the whale-shipping in 1965, I try to contact persons, who knew the Arcadian. Could YOU give me some informations or details of the ship or could you describe me the way a ship went from Québec to England and where there were dangerous places to pass etc etc
Thank you a lot
Isabelle Schaub
0 #10 Isabelle Schaub 2013-10-27 18:12
Dear Tom Conway
Could you tell me MORE about Captain Quilby ( Kilby?) and Chief Engeneer Watson?
And did you travel from Canada to England on the Arcadian and could you tell me about the journey ( the route, how long, the way) or some special things about the Arcadian?
Many thanks Isabelle Schaub
0 #9 Tom Conway 2013-10-26 16:58
I sailed on the Arcadian from maiden voyage as an engineer,for approx two years. Captain Kilby and Chief engineer Watson, Great Ship.
+1 #8 Isabelle Schaub 2013-09-08 10:03
In 1966 a white whale caused a sensation along the river Rhine in Germany and the Netherlands.
In the film "Der weisse Wal/The white Whale" from Lichtblickfilm it is told and shown, that ONE white Beluga escaped from a cargo Diesel on his way from Canada to an English Zoo.
I now wonder, if there has been another transport of one white Beluga in 1966 or if this Beluga - after called Moby - was one of the four Belugas , escaped in 1965?
Does anybody know something about it?

You would help me a lot, because I would like to write a story about this animal.
Thanks a great lot
Isabelle Schaub, Basel, Switzerland
+1 #7 jim glendenning 2012-11-09 09:37
Hi Donnie,ellerman papayanni offices were on the 2nd floor of tower building in water street liverpool.the building is still there
-1 #6 Michel Lagacé 2012-10-20 13:18
Québec, Canada 2012-10-20
ARCADIAN Ship No 473-I am looking for information on a special delivery by the Arcadian of 4 beluga whales from Québec, Canada (May 27th , 1965) to the port of Immingham, England (June 7th, 1965). Captain Quilby and Chief engineer S. Wilson was in command of the Arcadian. I am interested in any pictures , details of this journey. Do you know if the captain or the chief engineer are still living.

Thanks a lot.

Michel Lagacé
Biologiste M.Sc.
Aquarium du Québec (1989-2008)
Québec, Canada
0 #5 Donnie Matheson 2012-02-13 08:35
Many thanks Maureen, much appreciated.
Does anybody know what happened to the Arcadian / City of Famagusta?
+1 #4 Maureen Hallam 2012-02-12 23:43
Quoting Donnie Matheson:
I hope you get this note. Angus Matheson was my father, he passed away in 1991. He always said that the Arcadian was his favourite. I've been trying to find out where Ellerman's offices were in Liverpool, can you remember?

The offices were in the Liver Building - my dad, Ronnie Millington sailed on the Arcadian.

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