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 MEDITERRANIAN - Yard No 503 - Diesel Cargo - Ellerman Wilson Line - Built 1968

Leith Shipyards

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MEDITERRANIAN - Yard No 503 - Diesel Cargo - Ellerman Wilson Line - Built 1968



 The M.V.MEDITERRANIAN at Merkland Dock Glasgow 1969

(Photo belongs to the Donald Robertson Collection)


Owners    Ellerman Wilson Line (Papayanni Line Ship)
Registered    Liverpool Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Diesel Cargo Launched    20/10/1968
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    280' 0" Weather    
Beam     47' 6" Time to Water    
Depth Mld      26' 0"      
G.R.T.    1459      
Engines   6-cyl, 4 stroke diesel engine by Mirelees of Stockport, producing 2580 bhp at 300 rpm      
Props    1      
Speed    13 Knots      
Other known names   1973-City of Istanbul, 1978-Fenchurch    
Current Status   Unknown    
as content on M.V.MEDITERRANIAN becomes available it will be added here. 

M.V.MEDITERRANIAN at Merklands Dock Glasgow 1969

(Photo from the Donald Robertson Collection)


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 MEDITERRANIAN was the Final ship in what was the largest order for ships to be built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.

In fact it was during this year 1968 that rightly or wrongly Henry Robb shipbuilders Ltd decided to take over the Caledon Yard of Dundee and the new larger company was to become officially known as

Robb Caledon Shipbuilders Ltd, but was always to be known as Robb's by the men of Leith. 

The order was from The Ellerman Wilson Line and was for a total of seven (7) ships 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.

MEDITERRANIAN was allocated to be a Papayanni Line vessel and as with tradition she had a name ending with “IAN”

The end of what was the largest single order from one company at a time for the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.

More functional than and not as elegant as the previous Ellerman vessels built in the yard, but a very welcome order.

Some of the men who sailed on her complained at the length of her name when it came time to paint her, due to having so many letters, it was the same long job for the Loftsmen who had to mark off her name.

The Ellerman 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.



Bow on while tied up in dock

(photo credit unknown) photo is from the shipnostalgia website.


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 primarily on the trade routes to the Mediterranean, and as part of the Ellerman Wilson Line re-organisation around 1973/4 she was transferred into the Ellerman City Line and she was renamed CITY OF ISTANBUL.

She was to stay with the Ellerman City Line until 1978 before being sold to Gracechurch Shipping Ltd, Newcastle, England and she was renamed Fenchurch.

She was to have a few more names over the next 20 years and was last know as SARA in 2010 sailing under the flag of Togo and managed by shipping interests from Lebanon.

She was withdrawn from the classification societies in 2008 so she could still be sailing around as an unsafe rust bucket somewhere in the world, or she may have been scrapped.




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.


Stern on view of M.V.MEDITERRANIAN

(Photo credit unknown)

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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0 #3 RAYMOND SHAND 2014-01-10 17:45
Was bosun on hur when salvensen of leith had
management of hur hur name was fenchurh
late 1979 think need to look in dis /book
she was at hur best then (crap) but nice looking
0 #2 Richard Winchester 2013-05-22 20:39
I was Third mate on her and Whilst in Dry dock in London she was used in Ripping Yarns. In some copies shown you can just make out the name
0 #1 Steve Farrar 2013-01-31 15:01
I sailed on her from Edinburgh to Liverpool and then on her first trip to the Mediterranean. I was the cabin boy, first time at sea.

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