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Voyage 8 on the Empire Malta

Capt. Sam Nicolson: Voyage 8 on the Empire Malta – 25/5/1944 to 02/01/1945

Voyage and total distance for the ship – 8,480 miles

West Hartlepool – Hartlepool – Middlesbrough (LD) – Purfleet – Hartlepool (LD) – Beckton – Jarrow (repairs) – Blyth (LD) – Rochester – Hartlepool (LD) – Beckton – South Shields (LD) – Greenwich – Howden-on-Tyne (LD) – Erith – Hartley Main (LD) – Dagenham – Howden-on Tyne (LD) – Albert Dock Hoists – Howden-on-Tyne (LD) – Beckton – Blyth (LD) – Albert Dock Hoists – Hartlepool (LD) – Purfleet – Hartlepool (LD) – Dagenham – Howden-onTyne (LD) – Beckton – Hartley main (LD) – Greenwich – Tyne Dock South Shields (LD).

The ship was kept on the North-east coast to London area coal trade waiting for the invasion and the opening of Continental ports. On my thirteen trips we carried some 57,000 tons of coal, mainly supplying power stations.

East coast convoys were subjected to fairly regular E-boat attacks and in addition there was the ever present danger of sea mines. We had no air attacks but we were under good air cover. Frequently we saw our own bombers returning home, flying low with engines out, gaping holes in the fuselage and general bits hanging off. In London River we were in the track of the V1 or ‘buzz-bombs’, with several landing in our vicinity. V2 rockets followed with little warning of arrival but most of these seemed to be concentrated on the main upriver docks and London town. Once more we scraped through and the comparative peace of the north-east coast ports was very welcome.

In 1945 the Ministry of War Transport sold the ship to the Indo-China Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., Hong Kong, and was renamed the Hinsang. In 1960 she was sold to Continental Enterprises and Navigation, Hong Kong and renamed Slight Wind. In 1965 she was sold to Sunbeam navigation Co. SA, Panama, and renamed Sunbeam. On July 23rd, 1969, her main engines broke down in position 13° 56’N, 114°30’E, while on a voyage from Malaysia to Kaohsiung. She was eventually towed to her destination and laid-up, before being scrapped at Kaohsiung in 1970.

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