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 RFA BACCHUS - Yard No 483 - Diesel Cargo - British.India.S.N. Co Ltd - Built 1962

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RFA BACCHUS - Yard No 483 - Diesel Cargo - British.India.S.N. Co Ltd - Built 1962


RFA BACCHUS (A404) Ship No 483

 RFA BACCHUS Ship No 483

(photo credit unknown)


Owners    British.India.S.N. Co Ltd (Later part of the P&O Group)
Registered    London Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Diesel Cargo Launched    16/11/1962
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall    379' 3" Launch Details    
Length B.P.    350' 0" Weather    
Beam    55' 1" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     31' 0"      
Draught    22' 6"      
G.R.T.    4,823      
DWT    5,218      
Engines   5-cyl, 2SCSA Sulzer Diesel Engine, producing 5,500 bhp, built by Swan Hunter, & Wigham Richardson Co Ltd, Newcastle, England      
Props    1      
Speed    15 knots (Service) 17.56 knots (Trial Speed)      
Other known names   1981-Cherry Lanka    
Current Status   Broken up in 1986    
Content on RFA BACCHUS will be added as and when 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.

The M.V.BACCHUS was an order from the British India Steam Navigation Company Ltd, one of two ships ordered at the same time.

The BACCHUS was launched from the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb in 1962.

She was to be chartered out to the Admiralty on a 19 year bareboat charter, and as such was painted naval grey and renamed as RFA BACCHUS (A404).

BACCHUS was to have a luckier time than her sister ship HEBE and she served out her full 19 years on charter to the Admiralty.

She along with her sister ship was a large vessel to be built in the Leith yard and this was a continued time of full order books. The two ships could carry a lot of stores with a Cargo capacity of 7,103 cubic metres (250,850 cubic feet) including

113 cubic metres (4,000 cubic feet) insulated.

Most of her time as RFA BACCHUS was spent in Mediterranean waters.


In 1971 Management transferred to P&O General Cargo Division. Then in 1973 her ownership was transferred to Ownership transferred to The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, so she became a P&O vessel for the rest of her working time with the Ministry of Defence.

1977: Damaged in a collision with Frontier on leaving Limassol, Cyprus.

She was to continue her work on in her capacity as a store ship until she saw out her full charter and was handed back to her then owners P&O in 1981 and was immediately sold on to Lion Shipping Co Pte Ltd (Lian Soon Agencies Pte Ltd, managers) Singapore and re-named Cherry Lanka.

1985:  Sold to Goodluck Corporation, Pakistan, for demolition.

1986:  Demolition commenced at GadaniBeach on the 1st of January 1986.

So ended the career of BACCHUS Ship No 483




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.

The above is the Christmas menu from the ship in 1978 sent into the website by Barry who served on her and has many fond memories of his time on the BACCHUS


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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0 #1 Barry DIXON 2014-11-14 12:16
I did my second trip DeckCadet in RFA Hebe in 1975 and my first trip as Third Mate in Bacchus in 1978.

Some pics (mostly HEBE) are here:

Click on the pics. to enlarge.

They were both popular little ships with small crews by RFA standards. Even the Chief Officer took a watch!

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