SS Benalbanach (1946)

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Name: Empire Athelstan (1946-47)
Benalbanach (1947-66)
Camelot (1966-69)
Dragon Castle (1969-75)
Owner: Ministry of War Transport (1946-47)
Ben Line Steamers (1947-65)
Ministry of Transport (1965-69)
Board of Trade (1969)
Mercur Shipping Enterprise, Panama (1969-75)
Cuatebol Shipping SA, Panama (1975)
Operator: Owner operated except:-
P Henderson & Co (1946)
Alfred Holt & Co (1946-47)
British India Steam Navigation Co Ltd (1965-68)
Port of registry: United Kingdom Newcastle (1946-47)
United Kingdom Leith (1947-69)
Template:Country data PAN Panama (1969-75)
Builder: Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd, Barrow in Furness
Yard number: 94
Launched: 15 January 1946
Completed: June 1946
Identification: Official Number 169213 (1946-69)
Code letters GKJD (1946-47)
IMO number: 5040689
Fate: Scrapped December 1975
General characteristics
Tonnage: 7,803 GRT
4,511 NRT
9,750 DWT.
Length: 451 feet (137.46 m)
Beam: 66 feet 7 inches (20.29 m)
Depth: 31 feet (9.45 m)
Propulsion: 2 x steam turbines (Metropolitan Vickers) 800 horsepower (600 kW), double reduction geared, driving one screw
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h)
Notes: Lifting capacity: 2 x 120 ton derricks

Benalbanach was a 7,803 ton heavy lift cargo ship which was built in 1946 as Empire Athelstan. In 1947 she was sold and renamed Benalbanach. Further name changes were Camelot in 1965 and Dragon Castle in 1969. She was scrapped in 1975.


Empire Athelstan

Empire Athelstan was the first postwar merchant ship built by Vickers-Armstrongs at Barrow in Furness.[1] She was yard number 94, launched on 15 January 1946 and completed in June 1946.[2] She was built for the Ministry of War Transport and initially managed by P Hendersonn & Co, and then by Alfred Holt & Co.[3]

Empire Athelstan was powered by two Metropolitan-Vickers steam turbines, double reduction geared to one screw. She could achieve 15 knots (28 km/h). She had two derricks with a lifting capacity of 120 tons.[4]


In 1947,[3] Empire Athelstan was sold to E G Thompson (Shipping) Ltd, Leith,[5] who traded as Ben Line Steamers Ltd.[3] She was renamed Benalbanach, the second of five Ben Line ships to bear that name.[6] She served with Ben Line until 1963 when she was laid up at Hartlepool.[4]. In 1965 she was sold to the Ministry of Transport and renamed Camelot[3]


Camelot was placed under the management of the British India Steam Navigation Co Ltd. In February 1968 she was laid up in the River Fal.[4] In 1969, ownership of Camelot passed to the Sea Transport Branch of the Board of Trade. Later that year, she was sold to Mercur Shipping Enterprise, Panama and renamed Dragon Castle.[3]

Dragon Castle

Dragon Castle was operated by Mercur for six years. In 1975, she was sold to Cuatebol Shipping S.A., Panama, operating under the management of Societa Italia Gestioni, Italy.[7] Later that year, she was sold to Brodospas for scrap, arriving at Split, Yugoslavia on 5 December 1975.[4]

Official number and code letters

Official Numbers were a forerunner to IMO Numbers.

Empire Athelstan, Benalbanach and Camelot had the UK Official Number 169213.[2] Empire Athelstan used Code Letters GKJD.[8] Benalbanach, Camelot and Dragon Castle had the IMO Number 5040869.[2]


  1. "Vickers-Armstrong". Grace's Guide. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 ""5040689"" (subscription required). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "EMPIRE - A". Mariners. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "The LSL Class". Merchant Navy Officers. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  5. "Ben Liners". Teesships. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  6. "Ben Line / William Thomson & Co.". The Ships List. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  7. The Empire Ships. London, New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong: Lloyd's of London Press. 1990. pp. p192. ISBN 1-85044-275-4. 
  8. "LLOYD'S REGISTER, STEAMERS & MOTORSHIPS". Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 

External links