Grampian Dawn and Grampian Princess

The "Grampian Dawn" formerly "Ben Strome" has a tonnage of 272GRT, 89NRT, is 37.9 metres long, 7.75 metres in beam, and has a 3.18 metre draft. She was built in 1962 by John Lewis & Sons of Aberdeen, yard number 318, and registered to North Star Shipping, owned by George Craig & Sons. She was converted into a side trawler in 1980 and classed until 15/7/83 before becoming a motor standby safety vessel - pollution control, in her role as a rig support ship.

The "Grampian Princess" formerly "Linden Lea" was built in the same yard in 1960, number 292 and had the same owners. Based in Aberdeen she served as a trawler until the 1980’s when she was converted to a Standby Rescue Ship to serve the offshore oil industry. 37 metre all steel strengthened hull. 280 GRT, Mirrlees Bickerton main engine, turbocharged intercooled 712 HP @ 200 RPM, single screw, Bridge & engine room controlled. Gardner auxiliary engines producing AC/DC, 40 days plus range. Average speed 10/12 knots on approximately 2 tons per day. 15 person accommodation. Fitted with a 2 ton crane and custom fitted hold this vessel would be suitable for diving or a multitude of other uses. 

Official Documents: m.v. GRAMPIAN PRINCES (ex LINDEN LEA) Call Sign M C V U Built: 1960 John Lewis – Aberdeen L.O.A: 127ft (39 metres) Regd. length: 121ft B.P: 118.5ft Breadth: 25.65ft Depth (moulded): 12.75ft GRT: 280.73t NRT: 95t Displacement: 492.5t Main Engine: Mirrlees “K” type 6 Cylinder 712hp @ 200 revs Direct acting Computerised Bridge control driving 4-blade fixed pitch propeller Winch Engine: Mirrlees TLA 5 Cylinder 262hp Generator 143KW Generators: 2 x Gardner 3 LW 20KW 220v DC 1 x Gardner 6 LW 25KW 220v DC Hold Capacity: Length – 29.8ft Width – 24ft Depth – 11.02ft Volume 283 cu yards (219 cu m). Tank Capacity:- Fuel Oil - Port – 23.92t Starboard – 23.92t Daily Service Tank – 1t. Fresh Water: Double Bottoms – 14.46t plus reserve – 8.75t Lube Oil: 285 galls. E&OE Lying Ipswich, Suffolk. In February 2003 you could purchase the vessel via E-Bay for £ 20.000....

Both vessels have Mirrlees 712 BHP engines, and whilst the ancillory engines and generators are reasonable, neither ship has turned a propeller since legislation over 10 years ago put them out of service. Therefore they were towed from London to Ipswich Docks.[Most information by Bob Le-Roi]

Planned offshore radio station: An RSL station in 2002

"Deja Vu or When Will They Ever Learn or It's A Small World"

Twenty two years ago, two derelict trawlers lay side by side in the fish dock in Aberdeen. After the loss of the Mi Amigo a number of ex Caroline staff and others were trying to create a new radio station Radio Phoenix on one or other of these ships. Sadly, the staff were incompetent and the project never had any real hope of success. They managed to flood the Birchlea and deciding that this ship never would be useable they concentrated on the other ship Cederlea. Central to the project was one Paul Graham, now well known in offshore and RSL ventures. Cederlea did leave Aberdeen and headed south, arriving eventually in the Thames Estuary. Lost in thick fog, the crew called for assistance and the Thames Pilot took the ship up to Ipswich dock, one of the most expensive places in the UK where a ship can be moored. Next day
the crew abandoned the ship which lay, being photographed by Anoraks, until it owed Ipswich docks so much money that they claimed it and sold it to Greenpeace who agreed to remove it from Ipswich and never to bring it back.

In 1991 two other trawlers, converted as oil rig safety ships, again languished in Aberdeen. The Grampian Princess and her sister ship [the Grampian Princess], middle water trawlers around half the size of Ross Revenge made their way to the Thames to a shipyard on the Kent side of the river opposite Tilbury Dock. There they lay for eleven more years.

It seems that a few weeks ago, these ships were 'inspected' by one Paul Graham and purchased for a reputed £10.000. The financier is said to be one Ray Anderson. The ships left the Thames under tow, since they do not work and arrived in Ipswich, where one sustained damage in a collision with the tug. The supposed future for one ship was said to be as a diving vessel, while the other was going to be a temporary transmitting base for Music Man 279, a nonsensical suggestion.

It seems that Ray was hoping to sell one ship to cover the cost of the second one and turn the remaining vessel in to a mobile RSL station. Both men Paul and Ray were previously involved in a similar venture that failed on the old light ship LV18 which was ejected from the train ferry pier in Harwich and now lies neglected in the middle of Harwich harbour.

It appears that the shipyard were very kind to Paul and threw in many spare parts along with the two trawlers, saying that these components could be sold on at a good return. However at this stage it is suggested that the spares have no value and may in fact be a liability containing dangerous materials. As for the ships themselves, no machinery works after eleven years of neglect.

Owner Ray Anderson was last seen sitting on the deck of one of his fleet, with his head in his hands. It is not known what Paul Graham now thinks of his purchases. None the less it is still hoped that a buyer will take one of the ships and plans are afoot to dry dock the other for shotblasting.

While Radio Caroline has no argument with either of these men or indeed with their project we do not at this stage hold very high hopes for their success. Anyone wanting one or perhaps two cheap trawlers might like to keep an eye on the situation." [Extract from (April 2002)]

Planned location: Off the coast of England

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