ST Empire Birch

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Name: Empire Birch
Owner: Ministry of War Transport
Operator: Ministry of War Transport
Port of registry: United Kingdom Hull
Builder: Henry Scarr Ltd, Hessle.
Yard number: 418
Launched: 9 August 1941
Completed: 12 December 1941
Out of service: 10 August 1942
Identification: UK Official Number 167111
Code Letters BCVM
Fate: Struck a mine, beached then sank
General characteristics
Tonnage: 245 GRT, 229 NRT
Length: 106 feet 7 inches (32.49 m)
Beam: 26 feet 7 inches (8.10 m)
Draught: 11 feet 6 inches (3.51 m)
Propulsion: One triple expansion steam engine 177 horsepower (132 kW).

Empire Birch was a 245 GRT tug built in 1941 for the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). In 1942 she struck a mine and sank.


Empire Birch was built by Henry Scarr Ltd, Hessle.[1] She was yard number 418 and was launched on 9 August 1941 with completion on 12 December.[2] She was 106 feet 7 inches (32.49 m) long, with a beam of 26 feet 7 inches (8.10 m) and a draught of 11 feet 6 inches (3.51 m). Her GRT was 245 with a NRT of 229.[3]


Empire Birch was operated by the MoWT, her port of registry was Hull.[3] She was the lead ship of the Birch-class tugs[4]. On 10 August 1942, Empire Birch hit a mine 150 nautical miles (280 km) north of Lourenço Marques (24°45′S 34°47′E / 24.75°S 34.783°E / -24.75; 34.783). Although she was beached and abandoned, Empire Birch slid off the beach and sank in deep water.[1]

Official Numbers and Code Letters

Official Numbers were a forerunner to IMO Numbers. Empire Bermuda had the UK Official number 167111 and the Code Letters BCMV.[3]


Empire Birch was propelled by a triple expansion steam engine which had cylinders of 16 inches (41 cm), 26 inches (66 cm) and 43 inches (110 cm) bore by 30 inches (76 cm) stroke. It was built by the O D Holmer & Co, Hull.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Mitchell, W H, and Sawyer, L A (1995). The Empire Ships. London, New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong: Lloyd's of London Press Ltd. ISBN 1-85044-275-4. 
  2. ""16560"" (subscription required). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "NAVIRES A VAPEUR ET A MOTEURS DE MOINS de 300tx, CHALTIERS, &c". Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  4. "THUNDER CAPE". Welland Canal. Retrieved 7 November 2009.