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.SORRENTO was the third ship in what was the largest order for ships to be built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb. she would be the third ship to have the name of SORRENTO for the shipping line of Ellerman Wilson.
The order was from The Ellerman Wilson Line and was for a total of seven (7) ship of which five were to form the new "S" Class of cargo vessel for the Wilson Line with the other two ships to be Papayanni Line ships.
This was a big order for the shipyard and it meant continued employment for the highly skilled shipbuilders of Leith for the next three years of there build.
More functional than and not as elegant as the previous Ellerman vessels built in the yard, but a very welcome order.
She was the third ship of the Ellerman Line to have the name of SORRENTO and sailed as a Wilson Line ship.
The above photo of The M.V.SORRENTO is show here courtesy of Stuart
The Wilson line were in the process of developing a modern fleet equipped for speedy and efficient cargo-handling, the "S" class ships had on board cranes to allow the handling of general and containerised cargo and loaded pallets as well as refrigerated containers.
They also had side-loading doors port and starboard or driving cargo straight into the t'ween decks.
She was fitted with a bow thrusters to aid berthing and docking, all in all very modern ships for the time.
SORRENTO was of course named after the Italian town.
The "S" Class ships as they were to be known, while still fitted out to a high standard did not quite have the same opulence as previous Ellerman ships built at Leith.
With her super structure aft as was becoming the norm for ships at this time to give more hold space and a smaller shaft coupled to the engine, this was a big saving in cost for the owners.
She was used on the trade routes from Hull to East Sweden, across the unpredictable North Sea, as part of the Ellerman Wilson Line reorganisation around 1973/4 she was transferred into the Ellerman City Line and she was renamed CITY OF SPARTA.
Seen above unloading in dock as the CITY OF SPARTA (photo credit unknown)
She trade the Mediterranean routes with the Ellerman City Line.
She continued with the City Line for another 4 years before being sold on to the Gracechurch Shipping line, London and she was renamed as Gracechurch.
The ex MV SORRENTO was to go on and have many different names over her life span of 43 years as a useful working vessel, same ship with a different name traded around some of the many smaller and somewhat less reputable shipping lines, she was sold on by the Gracechurch line to be re-named as Waybridge in 1983 next in line was the name of Five Stars three years later in 1986 only to change her name again six years on from being called Five Stars she then took on the name Sea Princes in 1992 to trade under this name before yet another name change this time in 1997 to be named as the MV ALBATROS, before she was to take her last and final known name of AL MARJAN in the year 2000.
This was the name she would trade under as she plied the waters of the Horn of Africa, somewhat dangerous waters well known for the threat from local modern Pirates who are shall we say nothing in the least bit glamorous just modern day maritime gangsters and thugs armed to the teeth with modern weapons and fast boats to carry them in, however this small Leith Built ship would find herself voyaging through and most of her trade at the time was involved in relief efforts, and delivering much needed food commodities from Dar es Salaam to Kismayu and Merca, up until The ship was hijacked by Somali pirates while on its way to that wonderful city of Mogadishu! from Dubai, she was taken over on 17th October 2007. She was only released by the pirates on the 2nd December 2007 off the coast of Somalia, where she received much needed assistance from the USS Whidbey Island part of a task force set up to help deal with the local pirates who were making things very dangerous in this part of the world.
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.