50 years ago

  • The newly-completed ‘Queen Elizabeth 2’, described as the flagship of the British merchant fleet

    Batteries, fuel cells and gas in 1969


    The January 1969 issue of ‘The Motor Ship’ opened, not with the customary look back over the year, but a look at technical prospects for 1969 and beyond.

  • ‘Manchester Challenge’ was the first British cellular container ship

    Glimpses of the future


    Reading the December 1968 issue of The Motor Ship, so much seems to belong to a later period that I had to look twice to see that I had the right date, writes Bill Thomson.

  • ‘Antilla Cape’, the largest European LPG carrier

    Crude, gas and containers


    The lead article in The Motor Ship, October 1968, concerned using crude oil as a ship fuel. The motivation came from some tanker owners, operating in isolated locations without normal bunkering facilities.

  • News

    Japan faces a crisis


    Once again, in The Motor Ship of June 1968, the Japanese shipbuilding industry was making headlines. Following its rapid rise, thanks to high levels of government investment, shipyards in Japan faced the prospect of a decline thanks to rising costs and a general slowdown in orders.

  • Sweden’s largest – ‘Sovereign Clipper’ pioneered electronic control of its large-bore 12-cylinder engine

    An automated future


    Proof that, 50 years ago, Britain still regarded its shipbuilding industry as significant was evident in a full-page message in a prominent position in the January 1965 issue of The Motor Ship, from the Rt Hon Roy Mason, government minister responsible for shipbuilding and shipping (in that order, believe it ...

  • ‘Methane Princess’ – first LNG carrier in regular international service

    First regular LNG traffic begins


    Although, as we know, transport by sea of gaseous cargoes is far from new, it may seem surprising that commercial international shipping of LNG began exactly 50 years ago.

  • LNG carrier, 1964 vintage, the ‘Jules Verne’

    Sulzer to the fore


    Big news back in October 1964 was that the first licence for building high power Diesel engines in the US had been awarded by Sulzer Bros to Nordberg Manufacturing.

  • ‘Ville de Bordeaux’ employed a high level of machinery automation and relied on automatic filters for main engine fuel purification rather than centrifugal separators, allowing a 25% cut in manpower

    US embraces Diesel power at last


    The September 1964 issue of The Motor Ship led with news that a US company was to build a European-designed large marine Diesel engine. This may not seem a particularly newsworthy story in a magazine devoted to large Diesel-powered ships, but as the US had resolutely stuck to steam turbines ...

  • ‘NS Savannah’ undertook its first voyage from the US to Europe

    The nuclear age dawns


    The big news in ‘The Motor Ship’, August 1964, was the US nuclear powered merchant ship, ‘Savannah’ undertaking its first voyages, including visiting several European ports.

  • ‘Viking I’ was in many ways the forerunner of the current ro-pax ship

    Nuclear and fuel cell alternatives foreseen


    Such is today’s focus on alternative fuels that it seemed slightly odd to see that the same subject was a hot topic back in 1964.

  • The Hall Russell built ‘Hebrides’, for Scottish Western Isles services

    Diesel benefits underlined


    Such is the dominance of the internal combustion engine in today’s ships that it is easy to forget that the prime purpose of ‘The Motor Ship’ when launched in 1920 was to promote the advantages of the Diesel engine over steam power.

  • Motorship, marine engineering, history

    Automation enters the fray


    Automation was the hot topic in 1964. The April issue of The Motor Ship devoted several articles to the subject.

  • Machinery control room in ‘Mississippi Maru’, said to be the world’s most automated ship

    US remains cool about Diesel power


    The lead article in The Motor Ship, March 1964, suggested that the Diesel engine had been accepted as preferred ship propulsion technology everywhere except the USA.

  • ‘Centaur’ – luxury accommodation for passengers who did not mind sharing a passage with 4,500 sheep

    Sheep-shape in 1964


    The pages of The Motor Ship, February 1964, provided a breath of fresh air. Rather than the emphasis on large-bore engines, the reader was presented with a somewhat broader range of topics.

  • Refrigerated fruit carrier 'Letaba', first in a four-ship class, was the first motor ship in the Safmarine fleet

    Japan emerges while Britain falters


    The January 1964 issue of ''The Motor Ship'' concentrated on reviewing shipbuilding in the previous year, with an emphasis on what were seen as the ‘hot topics’ of the time.

  • ‘Berge Bergensen’ – owned by Bergesen and chartered to Shell; the largest motor ship afloat in 1963

    The British marine engine


    To many of us – myself included – 50 years doesn’t really seem that long ago. And looking at some items in old copies of The Motor Ship we think that little has really changed in that time.

  • News

    287 large bore engines on order


    The hot topic in the November 1963 issue of The Motor Ship continued to be large bore engines. The fact that these were now firmly established in the ship propulsion universe was borne out by a five-page list of such engines in service and on order, grouped by engine type.

  • The Harima-Sulzer 10 RD 90 engine fitted to the ‘Hatsushima Maru’ tanker- the largest and most powerful Sulzer-powered ship

    The digital age appears on the horizon


    The Motor Ship for October 1963 began with reports that Shell Tankers was bucking the trend away from opposed-piston engines by chartering a newbuild tanker with the latest Doxford J-type engine.

  • The ‘Johann Schulte’ bears little resemblance to modern car carrriers

    One large or two small?


    In The Motor Ship, September 1963, the debate raged on about large bore marine diesel engines. Then, as now, there was discussion about whether a single large engine was a more economic and safer option than two smaller units.

  • MAN's gas-fuelled four-stroke on test in Augsburg

    Gas fuelled ships, 1963 style


    One of ‘The Motor Ship’s’ campaigns was to promote the advantages of the Diesel engine over steam power. Therefore it was rather a surprise to read in the July 1963 issue a leading article on a ship powered by a steam turbine.