Friday, March 1, 2024

End of an Era - H. Hogarth and the Baron Line

 Another in the End of an Era Series, highlighting the last conventional general cargo ships to call in  Halifax.

H. Hogarth + Sons Ltd traced its roots back to the 1860s when Hugh Hogarth of Ardrossan, Scotland partnered with Capt. James Goodwin in a ship's stores company. They began to purchase sailing ships, initially wooden hulled, many of which were built in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec. The first vessel associated with the company was a 238.60 gt brigantine named Fearless built in 1861 in Annapolis, NS.

They transitioned to iron sailing vessels then into steamships, by which time Henry Hogath and his two sons had established a shipping line to Portugal, and had begun to name their ships with the prefix "Baron". Over the subsequent years the company built new, sold old and lost ships due to hazards of navigation and two world wars. Of its 39 tramp ships owned in 1939, 20 were lost during the Second World War, plus an additional five ships that the company managed on behalf of the UK government.

Hogarth's was one of the few companies that never had to lay up a ship during the Great Depression of the 1930s. In doing so it earned the sobriquet "Hungry Hogarths" - a nick name that followed the company ever after. (The company's houseflag with the letters "H H" was a reminder.)

In all Hogarths had owned more than 150 ships and managed another 42 during wartime by the time they closed their doors in 1986.

Halifax was not a regular port for the "Baron Line" although its ships did call here while tramping and during wartime. The only Baron ship that I can claim to have seen had ceased being a Baron by the time I caught it loading at Pier 9B in 1970. It was then carrying the name Bordagain. (Ciboure Bordagain is a village on the French coast of the Bay of Biscay in Basque country, near the Spanish border).

Cargo was largely palletized and was moved from transit sheds to brow by "towmotors."

Built as Baron Garioch in 1958, it came from the John Redhead + Sons shipyard at South Shields on the River Tyne. It was a 8337 gt, 11,675 dwt ship with engines amidships. Its 4 cylinder Doxford type main engine generated a paltry 4400 bhp, and pushed the ship along at a stately13 knots. Its five cargo holds were served by 10 winches and one 25 ton and ten 5 ton derricks. (Such power and speed were normal for tramp ships at the time, as they di not have to adhere to schedules.)

I have no information on crew size, but there appears to be accommodation for a large number, especially aft.

Hogarth's sold the ship in 1968, and it was renamed Bordagain under Liberian flag by Bordagain Shipping Co Ltd. In 1976 it was renamed Erini Patera under Greek flag by Canero Cia Naviera SA. and was broken up in Bombay in 1982.

[It is not often that ship's names can be traced, but in this case I have learned that Erini Patera was the wife of Spyros A. Lemos (1897-1962), founder of a shipping dynasty that continues to this day. The Lemos and Pateras families (and the Hadjipateras family) originally from the island of Oinoussis, have been involved in shipping since the 1840s, and formed Lemos and Pateras in London in 1937. Under the guidance of Nikolas S. Lemos the company has evolved into Enesel Group which currently operates seven tankers (plus three on order), eight container ships and five bulk carriers.  Similarly the Pateras family is now in its seventh generation as shipowners. Nikolas D. Pateras is the founder of Contship Management which currently operates close to fifty container ships.]


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