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.
This was a ship which was ordered by the Nauru local Government Council, which was made up of a collection of the native chiefs on this small Pacific Island at the time.
The yard had won the order to build her at Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb and she was a large order for the yard, and her launching seems to have caused a bit of argument between some of the old shipwrights on her launch.
You see she was to be launched using a Coconut (of all things) not for EIGAMOIYA the traditional bottle of sparkling plonk.
It seems that the bloody coconut did not break across her bow and indeed it broke off and landed at the bottom of the launching platform and by all accounts it was heard from the Head Foreman shipwright words to the effect of "get that F**king coconut into the water" (The ship was slowly moving down the sliding ways by this time)
So it fell to one of the intrepid shipwrights (the closest one to the coconut) to pick up the unbroken nut and run down the debris strewn slipway dodging all kinds of obstacles to get close enough to the water to throw the coconut into the sea just after the ship had got there and so thereby save face with the native chiefs who where present at the launch. And much to the hilarity of the workforce present there at the time.
It must have been some sight to see this old shipwright running down the slip shouting get oot ma F**kin way, and of course not renowned for doing the 100 yard dash he managed it all the same.
There were a lot of laughs in a shipyard working environment some intentional and some not so intentional.
So the good ship EIGAMOIYA was safe into the water and ready to be outfitted and do her trials before being handed over to her owners.
And by all accounts she was not a great sea keeping ship in the long rollers of the Pacific as she had a lot of flair to her shape at the bow and this meant she done a lot of slamming into the sea's which is not very comfortable over any length of time.
The above is a photo of EIGAMOIYA (credit Stuart Glen)
Nauru had been overseen by the Government of Australia who paid little attention to the people of the Island.
She was built to carry phosphate as a cargo which was to be the saving of the Island but this did not work out the way that many had hoped it would.
This was an Island paradise which was mis-used by the mining concerns responsible for extracting all the phosphate reserves on the Island and leaving an economic and environmental disaster area.
Topographically, Nauru is shaped like a hat, with a coastal fringe forming the brim and the raised interior forming the crown. The interior, known as Topside, makes up four-fifths of the island; it has been mined for phosphate, and now is an almost impassable area of calcite pinnacles.
In 1968, Nauru took over the management of its people and affairs when independence was granted by the trusteeship committee of the United Nations. It took over the running of the phosphate mines in 1970 after paying $13.5 million (U.S.) to the British Phosphate Commission. Those two assertions of social and economic self-reliance released Nauruans from the dominance of outsiders who had exploited the phosphate and the people for seventy years. Mining for phosphate, which dominated Nauruan history in the twentieth century, began when the Pacific Phosphate Company based in Sydney found high-grade phosphate in 1906. This mineral was used to fertilize pasture in Australia and New Zealand. Control passed from Pacific Phosphate to the British Phosphate Commission (BPC) in 1919. BPC was owned by Australia, Great Britain, and New Zealand. In addition to running the mine, Australia became the administering authority under a League of Nations mandate after World War I. Thus, the lives of Nauruans became inextricably tied to Australia and BPC until they achieved independence in 1968. The mine was run using laborers from China and the Pacific islands, particularly Kiribati and Tuvalu. Nauruans chose not to work in the mine other than to hold administrative positions in the 1950s and 1960s. Today most of the administrators are Nauruan, and labor is brought in on contract from the Philippines and India as well as from Kiribati and Tuvalu. World War II left a major mark on the history of Nauru. In 1942, the Japanese invaded, bringing some seven thousand men and military installations and building three runways. Two-thirds of the population was deported to Truk, an atoll to the north, where one-third died of starvation and disease. Those left on Nauru suffered severe privation, including starvation and bombing by the Americans for two years. When Australian forces reclaimed Nauru at the end of the war, the island was a mass of military litter, almost totally lacking in food supplies.
The island is now a lot more democratic and the lives of the people seem to be getting better!
In the interests of
historical accuracy we reproduce below the story from a man who was directly
involved with the Nauru Local Government Council.
As told to the website by
I was appointed Senior Legal
Officer and then Secretary of the Department of Justice in the Nauru Public
Service in 1968. The entire administration of justice together with various
judicial and advisory duties to the President (Hammer de Roburt), the new
Cabinet and Parliament and its members became my responsibility. Part of that
responsibility was as Registrar of Ships following the decision of the
Government to create a Registry and then to register the MV Eigamoiya then
under construction in Leith, Scotland In the Robb Shipyards.
Robb's client was the Nauru
Local Government Council (NLGC).
The NLGC was largely the
representative body of elected local officials which agitated for self
government for Nauru, achieving that goal in 1968. A number of Councilors became Members of Parliament.
The NLGC was comprised of senior elected people from the Tribes of Nauru. The
flag of Nauru with its 12 point star depicts those 12 tribes.
Nauru is traditionally a matriarchal society and MV Eigamoiya was named after
an early queen of Nauru from the middle 19th century.
Other ships of the Nauru
KOLLE D - named after Kolle
De Roburt wife of the Head Chief and then President of the Republic, Hammer De
ENNA G - named after Enna
Gadabu the wife of Ray Gadabu similarly an early Chief
ROSIE D - named after the
wife of Timothy Detudamo also an early Head Chief
follow this tradition.
I could continue with
further history of life on the Island at that time and in relation to my work duties, but
space and time will here not permit.
In 1971 I was asked to assume a temporary appointment in Melbourne as Nauru Government Representative for Australia and New Zealand. That 'temporary' posting existed until 1974.
Again I was heavily involved in membership of the Nauru Phosphate Royalties
Which as a statutory body
under Nauruan Law was charged with investing the royalty monies from mining.
As one example we entered into the construction of Nauru House in Collins Street.
After a time in private business both as a lawyer and adviser to industry
associations the President asked me to take over the role as Nauru's Consul General in Auckland, New
in 1983. I spent another two years for Nauru in that position.
At one point the New Zealand
Seamans Union impounded the Enna G in Wellington over Pacific Islander crewing issues for a period in
excess of 6 weeks. I vividly recall a meeting between President De Roburt and
Prime Minister Kirk where the two came very close to exchanging blows. The ship
was released shortly thereafter.
I have lost contact with
many of the people with whom I worked and Nauruan friends built up over those
years of stewardship but which I recall with both satisfaction and pleasure. I
do regard the Nauruan people with respect, although their fortunes have been
more recently under great duress. My history of stewardship and acquaintance
with Nauru and its people speaks for itself and from firsthand
A parting comment which may be of interest to you and your readers not familiar
with Nauru's racial origins.
They are in fact a distinct race and most anthropologists and historians have
those origins with Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian influences as
Due to Nauru's occupation/ possession / administration in the 20th century variously
by German, Japanese and European countries so the traditional Pacific racial
mix has gradually become less predominant.
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.