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 ASTRO- Yard No 492 - River & Esty Tanker - Union Lighterage Co Ltd - Built 1964

Leith Shipyards

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ASTRO- Yard No 492 - River & Esty Tanker - Union Lighterage Co Ltd - Built 1964

 Awaiting photograph

MV ASTRO Ship No 492


Owners    Union Lighterage Co Ltd
Registered     Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    River & Estuary Tanker Launched    28/11/1964
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    167' 6" Weather    
Beam    33' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     11' 6"      
G.R.T.    550 tonnes      
Props    1      
Other known names   1972-Blackburn, 1984-ASTRO    
Current Status        
Content  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 single screw River & Estuary tanker ASTRO was the third ship of the order for tankers from the Union Lighterage Co Ltd to be built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.

She was a little bit longer than her two other sister ships and as far as is known up to now she is still in use.

By today’s standard of tanker of course they are pretty small but they were built to go into waters that other larger tankers just could not go, designed to be used around the coast and able to go up river to the inland ports they were very useful ships for the oil company’s.

She was re-named BLACKBURN in 1972 but then re-named back to ASTRO in 1984

The ship is almost 50 years old and still going, a great testament to the quality of workmanship at the Henry Robb yard.

So you would think that with such a long working life we would have some photographs of her, but no such luck up to now.

If you know of any photos of the ASTRO then please contact the website.



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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