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Cotswold was a Bulk Carrier owned by Hain-Nourse of 23 St. Mary Axe, London.

I cannot find out much about her but I think she was about 65,000 tons, 630’ length, 68’ beam and drew about 35’

She was powered by a 7 cylinder diesel engine - 900mm bore 1550mm stroke.

Callsign GPZE

I joined Cotswold whilst she was in dry-dock in Amsterdam. Unfortunately she was not ready to sail so we all had a lovely week of so in Amsterdam in June of 1971. As she had been in drydock she was empty so we left to load cargo.

Our journey took us out of the river Ij to Ijmuiden and into the North Sea. Once in open waters we needed to ‘swing the compass’. This required the ship to be steered in a large circle whilst the compass calibration was checked. It gave me the opportunity to check the accuracy of the Direction-Finding (DF) equipment. For an explanation of the DF equipment see the page ‘Marconi Equipment’

We made our way up the coast to Brunsbuttel on the Elbe to transit the Kiel Canal and enter the Baltic Sea. Although it was now 1971 there were still a massive number of German WWII mine fields. Navigation up the Baltic was strictly via the narrow mine-swept channels. We were on our way to Lulea which is right up in the very top of the Baltic Sea in Sweden just a few miles south of the Arctic Circle. We were loading iron ore, which is a very fast process.

I remember being amused by seeing the sun at midnight thinking to myself that it should have set by now but when you are that far north in the summer…

Once loaded we made our way to Baltimore on the US East Coast at the top of the Chesapeake Bay. We were well loaded and only just made it over the sand bars. If you are in a situation where there is less than a couple of feet of water below a ship there is not enough water to support the weight and she will settle on the bottom. Our pilot had to make sure we had good speed when approaching the bars.

We were in Baltimore just long enough to hire a mini-bus for a day trip to Washington DC and have a tour around the Capitol Building which was an unexpected pleasure.

During a visit to Norfolk VA I was able to gain access to the technical area of a local television studio which was of great interest to me (their colour, NTSC was pretty awful! Even on the studio monitors).

Work in progress…

Ports visited (but not in that order)




Norfolk VA

Gijon N Spain

Seven Islands Canada to take Iron ore US, probably Philadelphia PA

Port Elizabeth South Africa to load and take Manganese ore to Europe


Philadelphia PA

Kawasaki Japan via Panama Canal