Ferries

The output of the Berwick yard included a number of small ferries built to different designs. Rosehaugh launched in October 1967 and was completed the following March. The vessel would be the biggest ferry to be completed at Berwick. Capable of carrying 17 cars and up to 150 passengers, the ferry was ordered by Ross and Cromarty Council at a cost of £95,000, (the equivalent of £1.45m in 2021 taking account of inflation). Propulsion was via Voith-Schneider propellers which made provided greater manoeuvrability. Over the years the vessel would carry thousands of passengers on the short Kessock run connecting Inverness and the Black Isle. Following the opening of the Kessock Bridge in 1982 however, the vessel was no longer required and was transferred to Loch Linnhe on the West Coast of Scotland. Here, it provided a ferry service between the Corran Narrows until 2001 when it was withdrawn from the route having been replaced by a new vessel. After being sold by Highland Council Rosehaugh ceased being used for passenger duties. In 2005 the former ferry was being operated by MacDonald Ferries as an oil support vessel based at Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth. Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania was the destination for two diesel- engined ferries built in 1965 and 1968. The second of these was the Usiwe Kupe (see picture below). The vessel’s name, translated from Swahili, means ‘don’t be a tick’ (don’t be a parasite), and was a slogan adopted by the Tanzanian government, to tap into local frustrations with those sections of the population whose behaviours and attitudes ran counter to the the socialist goal of achieving social justice. 1 The vessel was double-ended and powered by two 78½-horse power Kelvin engines. On completion, the ferry was towed to Antwerp before being transported to Africa as deck cargo. In 1998 Usiwe Kupe was operating on one engine while the other was in Mombassa for repairs. After experiencing difficulties in strong winds while taking passengers across Kigamboni Creek Usiwe Kupe sank at the entrance of Dar-es-Salaam harbour. The Tanzanian navy made unsuccessful attempts to refloat the vessel in the following March and Usiwe Kupe was later declared a total loss. Not all ferries built at Berwick were of single-hull construction or indeed designed for estuary operations. In February 1955 work was completed on a pontoon ferry ordered on behalf of Buem- Krachi District Council, Togoland (today part of Ghana),by the Crown Agents Marine Department. The ferry was designed to cross the fast-flowing River Oti to provide a year-round link between the towns of Kete-Krachi and Nkwanta. The river had a 29-foot flood-time rise and the existing vessel was ill suited for year-round operations. The solution was to build a ferry comprising of six pontoons that were three-foot deep. The significance of the shallow draught was that the ferry could be operated in only four feet of water. Propulsion was achieved by hand-operated winches fitted to two of the pontoons that were connected to ropes tethered to the shore. Raised ramps at each end allowed the ferry to load up to four trucks at a time. After shipment to the Gold Coast via Liverpool, the pontoons were then transported inland to their destination where they were bolted together and overlaid with a wooden deck. The final ferry to be built at Berwick was the Grenadines Star that left the Tweed in November 1978 bound for West Indies. Eighty-two feet long and displacing just over 252 tons, Grenadines Star was designed for carrying passengers and vehicles on inter-island routes. The vessel took just over ten months to complete and was built at a cost of approximately £250,000. Maximum carrying capacity was 100 tones liquid cargo or 80 tons dry cargo. Fitted with a hydraulically operated ramp Grenadines Star was designated a ‘LCT’ (landing craft) in marine terminology. The vessel featured in a series of postage stamps issued in 1982. Grenadines Star was advertised for sale in 2005 having undergone a major refit in 2004. In 2007, the vessel was French-flagged and was working out of St Barthélemy in the French West Indies.
Rosehaugh was launched in October 1967. The ferry was built at a cost of £95,000 for Ross and Cromarty Council. The vessel was too big to go down the slipway,and was given a side launch at high tide.Photo:© Berwick Advertiser Above Left - The ferry Rosehaugh. Work on the Kessock bridge can be seen going on in the background. The opening of the bridge in 1982 led to the withdrawal of the ferry service. Photo: © www.wildmuir.co.ukAbove Right - After operating on the West Coast, Rosehaugh was withdrawn from passenger duties and sold to MacDonald ferries. The vessel is seen here loading drill casings at the Service Base, Invergordon.  Photo:© Pat Swanson Grenadines Star pictured in the Tweed Dock left Berwick with a delivery crew for the transatlantic crossing.  The vessel was photographed at Union Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1981.Photo: Bill Todd (left) and ole©holbech.org (right). The Berwick-built Usiwe Kupe would be a vital daily link transport for thousands, carrying passengers and vehicles across Dar-es-Salaam harbour until her loss in 1998. Photo: D.Redfearn Collection
Pontoon Ferry built for Ghana Click image to enlarge
1 Brennan, J (2006) Blood Enemies: Exploitation And Urban Citizenship In The Nationalist Political Thought Of Tanzania, 1958 –75, Journal of African History, 47, pp. 389–413
Grenadines Star this time at Fort de France, Martinique in April 2008. Photo: © Yvon Perchoc TOP

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