Eigamoiya – Ship Number 504 – Built for the Island of Nauru

Eigamoiya

See full size picture at : http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/myalbum/photo.php?lid=607944

This post looks at both the ship and the Island of Nauru for whose Local Government Council she was built.

Eigamoiya was a single screw diesel cargo vessel with special features to enable the Nauruans to import water and export phosphates as well as carrying 12 passengers in both directions.

Let’s start with a few details about her build and construction:

  • Her dimensions as ordered were : 335’ x 55’ x 22’ / 30’6” and her gross tonnage was 4425.74.
  • The gross steel was 1666 tonnes, the deck was made of 2½ inch Oregon pine.
  • Her bunker capacity 464T oil fuel, 86T diesel, 4191 gallons lub.
  • She had three holds: No. 1 hold was 81.5ft3/ton and no. 2 and 3 holds 51ft3/ton.
  • She had 2 fibreglass lifeboats for 53 persons and two inflatables.
  • Her keel was laid on 25.5.68.
  • She was launched in calm weather on 19.12.68 which took 34 seconds from daggers down.
  • Sea Trials were held on 10.4.69 in a wind force of 5/6. Eigamoiya’s speed was 16.71 knots and her SHP was 3940.
  • She sailed on 19.4.69 and had a crew of 30, with a Master, 3 officers and 4 engineers.

… And so to her role and the Island of Nauru:

The story of the Eigamoiya is at once a success and a part of a tragedy. She was highly successful from the point of view of her build and meeting the functions for which she had been designed. (It was essential that the phosphate carrying did not contaminate the water to be carried on the return journeys.) Her speed was well over one and a half knots above the specification of 15 to which she had been built. She contributed to the phosphate export business which at one point meant that the tiny island of Nauru had the second highest per capita GDP in the world.

Tiny island – oh yes, definitely. Nauru is only 2 miles by 3. It lies some 42 kilometres south of the Equator in the western Pacific Ocean. There are two other major phosphate rock islands, Banaba (sometimes called Ocean Island) and Makatea.

 

Nauru is surrounded by a coral reef which is exposed at low tides. It has a narrow sandy beach, inward of which there is a fertile coastal strip of between 150 and 300 metres where coconut palms and pandanus trees thrive. There is an inland lagoon where bananas, pineapples, and some vegetables are grown. The remainder of the island, in the wake of the frenzy of phosphate mining which took place in the 20th century, is virtually stripped and barren, comprising prehistoric coral pinnacles up to 15 feet high. Attempts to rehabilitate these areas have been largely unsuccessful.

The earliest contact with Europeans seem to have been in the 1830s when whalers and other traders stopped off at the island and introduced alcohol and firearms both of which have caused the islanders problems since, not least an internal war in 1878 which reduced the population from 1400 to 900.

Under the Anglo-German Convention Nauru was allocated to Germany, and when phosphates were discovered ten years later Germany allowed the Pacific phosphate Company to start mining in 1906.

With the advent of WWI, Australian forces captures Nauru in 1914 and after the war the League of nations gave Britain, Australia and New Zealand a joint trustee mandate. These three established the British Phosphate Commissioners.

During WWII Japan occupied the island in August 1942 and deported the indigenous population to work as labourers on the Caroline Islands where 463 died. Those who survived returned to Nauru in January 1946. After WWII Nauru was a UN Trust Territory under Australia.

In 1967 the Nauruans purchased the assets of the British Phosphate Commissioners and control passed to the Nauru Phosphate Corporation and in 1968 Naurua became an independent republic. It was at this point that the order for the Eigamoiya was placed.

1989 Nauru filed suit against Australia for damages caused by mining. Australia settled out of court in 1993, with a lump sum settlement of A$107 million and an annual stipend of the equivalent of A$2.5 million as it stood in 1993 toward environmental rehabilitation.

For most of the rest of the twentieth century this devastated island relied mostly on payments for fishing rights, for hosting Australian refugee processing camps and on huge sums in grants and development funding. In recent years it has been discovered that Nauru is not, after all, bereft of phosphates and mining has restarted on a smaller scale. One might venture to hope that those with the power to do so ensure it is carried out more sympathetically with a view to the long term future of the indigenous people.

See full size picture at : http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/myalbum/photo.php?lid=600679

As for Eigamoiya, she was renamed Chrysanthi in 1993 and Asoka II in 1997 but beyond that nobody seems to know her fate.

Perhaps you know more or have reminiscences of her build or encountering her during her working life to add to her story?

Copyright Ruth Patterson 2010

About Ruth Macadam

Great Granddaughter of Henry Robb. School teacher.
This entry was posted in Henry Robb, Leith Shipbuilding, Pacific Islands, Shipbuilding and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Eigamoiya – Ship Number 504 – Built for the Island of Nauru

  1. Bill Patterson says:

    The ship was launched with a coconut instead of champagne. The Nauruans insisted that Haggis should be on the menu of the post-lunch celebration dinner. Whisky was served as well!
    They were very happy likeable people, resulting in a very enjoyable day.

  2. Jim Brunton says:

    Dear Ruth,
    I looked up your website, concerning my interest in Eigamoiya.
    I joined her in Leith in 1968,as Chief Officer, as she was being fitted out in Edinburgh Dock.
    I later became Master of the ship my first command, in Nauru Pacific Line, as the Company became known.
    She travelled to Nauru, then Cairns, Australia on her delivery voyage, via New Orleans Port and the Panama Canal. We were blessed with good weather all the way, except for about five days in the Atlantic. But nothing really bad.

    She was a well built ship, ideal as an island trader, though the 2 electric cranes overheated after continuous 24 hour use. Like humans – they liked a rest. So did not like ‘midnight shifts’. Engines were ok generally, ’til Nauru’s financial problems started, and the Filipino engineers forgot to lubricate the main engine. This seized one of her twin engines and the ship was laid up, then sold to Singapore based owners. But she was an extremely comfortable little ship. A good cargo carrier and above all a very happy ship. She was really a delight to serve on.

    I now live in Australia, but when in Edinburgh, visting Scotland. I AM Scots originally. I never fail to re-visit Leith with its precious memories. Robbs was a great yard with fine workers and I remember Robb’s Offices standing empty, in the years following the yard’s closure. They were famous for their tugs-of ALL sizes and built some big ones. Mrs Lee, Henry Robb’s Scretary, springs to mind. A lovely lady. Also Gordon Milne, the ship Building Manager and Walter Waddell, one of the Directors we saw a lot of. One wonders if now all gone. Though I would expect Gordon to still be alive. All fine people. Captain Nicholson was the first Master and Vin Browne the Nauru Project Manager and Chief Engineer. I am now long retired.

    J.Brunton

    • Paul khan says:

      I sailed on board the MV Cenpac 2 as part of the Nauru Pacific Line Fleet in the 1988′s as a Deck Officer, Sadly I don’t have any photos of this vessel.

      I am hoping you can help me locate some photos of the MV cenpac 2.

      Thank you very much.

      Kind Regards

      Paul

      • Hi Paul,

        I changed your comment slightly and have put it up as it could well be that some of my readers or someone who stumbles upon the site can help you.

        Good luck with your search.

      • Hi Paul,

        I’ve got some, but they’re at home in an album… I’ll get them scanned when I’m reunited with my paperwork. :-)

    • Michael Fletcher says:

      Hi Jim,
      Good to see that you are still with us, Melbourne and Victoria Dock in particular has changed a great deal since the days that Eigamoiya would sit alongside for a couple of weeks loading all manner of cargo items that were required in Nauru, service vessel indeed. Hope you are keeping well, I am coming to the end of my sea going days, currently living in Bangkok and Captain of a Dive Support Vessel owned by a Singapore company and engaged in oilfield maintenance and construction around SE Asia
      Best regards, Mike Fletcher

    • derek nicolson says:

      I am Captain Thomas Robb NIcolsons son Derek Nicolson, have enjoyed reading this post .

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  4. R. Martin says:

    In the early 1970’s I lived in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea when ships of Nauru Pacific Line,” Enna G”, “Rosie D” and “Hydra” were in service. I recall “Hydra’s” being berthed at Rabaul’s Coconut Products Wharf and attending a farewell party aboard “Hydra” before she set sail for Melbourne. I was impressed with the standard of her accommodations.
    In 1979 I sailed from Melbourne to Nauru on “Eigamoiya” which was commanded by Australian and British officers and mostly Micronesian crew. Passengers included retired academics, and ex-patriot Nauruan workers’ wives returning from shopping-sprees in Melbourne.
    In the course of the initial days at sea the route was set close to the always visible east coast of Australia to about Newcastle, from which point no land was sighted until Nauru.
    For some forty-eight hours of the passage the ocean conditions caused “Eigamoiya” to roll – and, after dinner one night, sufficiently briskly as to throw passengers seated on a lounge to the floor!
    On a more placid night a bar-be-cue dinner was served on the foredeck and beneath a canopy of stars and, afterwards, a movie was screened on a sufficiently white and appropriately arranged tarpaulin.
    “Eigamoiya’s” point of arrival off Nauru was in the evening, where the ocean was deeper than the vessel’s anchor cable – thus the vessel drifted throughout our last night aboard. A little before midday, passengers were assembled on the foredeck and then with our luggage we were herded or loaded into a grubby steel cage. As soon as it was raised by the ship’s crane it functioned like a pendulum in response to the vessel’s lazy wallowing on the ocean’s swell. Thus a few sharp bumps on side of “Eigamoiya’s” hull were experienced as we were lowered into a waiting barge which conveyed us to the shore. There a land-based crane raised us up the cliff-face to the Immigration and Customs shed. Thus ended my memorably happy voyage on Nauru Pacific Line’s “Eigamoiya”.

    • Thank you for sharing your memories. Eigamoiya seems to be a very popular post on my blog, I think she has memories for many people and would be delighted to hear from anyone else who would care to share them.

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  6. John Downe says:

    I am just about to marry a girl whose mother is from nauru and I was given the following information. The ship was named after the last Queen of Nauru (1860 – 1915).
    Importance to Nauru – first ship owned by Republic of Nauru (built in the year of Nauru’s independence) and advocated by my girlfriend’s Nauruan grandfather who was a member of the Local Government Council prior to Independence. My future mother-in-law’s family sailed from Nauru to Saipan on this ship until it was sold in the 1990’s.

  7. Hello, I think I just Googled Nauru Pacific. My Father may have been Captain of this ship at some stage? He was Captain John Dale Turner, of NZ. I know he was Captain of the Rosie-D for a while. He died over ten years ago. Was this a Nauru company or a Japanese company??

    • Dempsey.Keppa says:

      Hi Kathleen, thank you to learn that you a closed to Captain John Turner whom I used to work with him, please to be honest i was 16 yrs old dropout from college which i met him on my first ship on the MV.Enna.G normally chartered by the North American shipping co in San francisco sometime in 1980…i was very fortunate to work with him as a helmsman then a qualified quartermaster which he passed me foe being a good a nd relaible ships bridge helmsman..i wish to say that i missed him very much as a dear father skipper to me who looked after me as is sons since we last met on the MV Eigamoiya..also at this very moment i would like to request from ther family if i may please can i have a copy fotos of him.or you may sent it in emal address -dempsey.keppa@hotmail.com

    • Hi Kathleen,

      Very sorry to hear that Captain John has passed… I sailed with him three times, on the Eigamoiya, Rosie D and Eigigu, and liked and respected him enormously. He had sailed in square-rigged ships, and often talked about his time in the ‘Pamir’.

      NPL was a Nauruan company. I remember once, drifting whilst the engineers did some maintenance, and I was standing-in for the Chief Mate who was sick which meant I was responsible for the deck-crew. I found they had all left their work and were no-where to be found… until I looked on the poop deck, where they had managed to hook a large shark. As I arrived, they had managed to get a rope around the shark’s tail (I heard later that they had managed this by lowering a small ordinary seaman into the water in a bo’sun’s chair!) and were trying to get the beast over the railing. The shark, to put it mildly, was resenting the attention, and people were getting knocked all over the place.
      Considering that this scene of mayhem wasn’t going to do much for my reputation as a competent Chief Mate, I urged them to hurry up and get it done with before the ‘Old Man’… John… found out; but too late. Suddenly I smelt the pipe-smoke, and realised that the Captain was right behind me.
      Given the danger some of the men were putting themselves in (oh, how those islanders loved a fish! Any fish!), the fact that no work was being done and the mess that was being made, almost any ‘Old Man’ would have gone bananas; but John just prodded me with his pipe and asked me, “Are you awfully sure we want that on board?”

      Lovely man and a splendid seaman. May he rest in peace.

    • Michael Fletcher says:

      Hi Kathleen,
      Very sorry to hear that your father is no longer with us, although I did not sail with him in Nauru Pacific Line we were NPL captains at the same time in the 1980′s in fact the last time we met was when I relieved him on “Rosie D” alongside Princes Wharf in Auckland in 1985.
      A good shipmaster and collegue sadly missed
      Best regards
      Mike Fletcher

  8. John Downe says:

    As far as I know, it was a Nauruan company. There must be people around who remember your father.

  9. to
    Kathleen

    Nauru Pcific shipping line is owned by the Republic of Nauru.
    I once sailed on the Eigamoiya for almost six years as a storeman and moved on to be a ship’s writer between 1971 to1976 and i did’nt go to any of our ship.

    I am very sorry for to hear your father.

    Apparently I sailed with your father for only 8 days when he first boarded in Melbourne to Nauru. I went on leave when we called Nauru, but when I came back after 1 month, He may have transferred to the Rosie D when Nauru open its route to NZ port to deliver phosphates.

    I sailed with a few Kiwi officers whom I knew during that time on the same ship mentioned

    I also sailed with Jim Brunton for almost three years. he was our chief officers at that time and left for another new ship as a captain.

    stryker.

  10. For Kathleen’Your father Capt John Turner, was a well knowqn ans respected Ship Master in N.P.L,I considered him a friend.I did hear he had died-as yoiu say about 10 years ago-from Leukemia.A sad loss.Also good to hear of Solomon Stryker-a good lad.I remember him fondly.As you can see I’m still alive and kicking.Had a few heart probs, but have good doctors.So still ‘soldiering on’.As for the much loved ‘Eigamoiya’-she was greatly admired by Sir Adrian Swiore and his colleagues, when we were on charter to Swires in New Gunia.Swires wwere so impressed with the ship, that they asked De Roburt, Pres.of Nauru to build 2 more like her.Which would be ionstantly time chartered to Swires.Sadly Hammer de Roburt refused.He-astute men that he and his team were,recognised a good ship when they saw one.Apart from her cranes, there was little wrong with her.A better type of crane woulkd have been imperative on a successor[No big deal].I hear reports that she is still around-after all this time.In India, under the name ASOKA II.But no details.If so that would make her 45 years o0ld.I suspect laid up and badly broken down in some lonely Indian creek.I would dearly love to know.She was a very special ship.And we had wonderful times on her.Best to you.And all your Robb Lovers.I was in Leith last year.At the docks and the old Victoria Shipyards seeing the Royal Yacht.Now laid up there.Not built in Robbs, but she has a very happy ‘resting place.God bless you all Jim Brunton.

  11. Ruth Macadam says:

    Wow, thank you Jim for this great informative piece. I have done a quick check on your name for her and found a website in Spanish which says that she was renamed several times, as follows and more importantly doesn’t record her as being scrapped:

    (1969) Eigamoiya; (1998) Chrysanti; (1994) Windasor; (1997) Asoka II.

    The website page can be found at:

    http://www.histarmar.com.ar/MarinaMercanteExtr/MarinaMercanteHonduras/Mercantes/0IndiceHND-A-.htm

    The Loftsman has far more detail on his website which is well worth a read too, the last known sighting of her according to the information he has gathered was in 2009. There are also several great pictures of her on his page about her:

    http://www.leithshipyards.com/ships-built-in-leith/1946-to-1984/489-eigamoiya-yard-no-504-diesel-cargo-nauru-local-government-council-built-1969.html

    Eigamoiya is on my list of ships I would dearly love to trace when we manage our trip to India, there’s a lifetime of wandering up sleepy backwaters in that I guess, but I intend to have a more definite idea of where to look so that hopefully I can fill in some of the gaps of where they went.

  12. For Ruth Macadam,
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN eIGAMOIYA.You say you are going to India,soon.and hope to track her down.HERE IS A CONTACT THAT MAY BE USEFUL Seaways Shipping Ltd,S.P. Road,Hyderbad,Tel;40-27844600.fAX40-27848878,Good luck.She has not been reported as scrapped yet-To my knowledge.If any luck[IE NEWS]-Please post this web-site.’Thank you j.b.

    • Ruth Macadam says:

      Thank you so much Jim, this will be very helpful.

      The planned trip is still a year away, and with the two very different historical research topics being investigated by myself and my husband it’s looking like there may be a need for two trips as his interests lie in the north, but an excuse to make two trips cannot be overlooked!

    • dale collins says:

      Jim, I remember you well from the time I sailed with you on the Rose-E-D My name is Dale Collins ,and I was Second Engineer at that time. It is good to find our that you are still alive and kicking, as it was 30 years ago.You will no doubt recall Ahmit Sen, who was the Chief Engineer at that time. As I recall, we did a few voyages from Newcastle to Japan carrying coal. I remember those voyages as being pretty smooth sailing, with no breakdowns or other problems to speak of. After leaving this vessel, I went back to the ”Eigamoiya” as both second and Chief engineer,during my time on this ship, a total of 5 years, there was never a breakdown of any consequence, and it was a great pity the engines were seized up, and the ship going out of service because of lack of proper maintenance. Glad to hear the engines were fixed/replaced. and the ship continued to give service at least a few more years. I finished up with the sea in 1985, but still I think after 23 years at sea, I enjoyed working for the NPL the most.

      • dale collins says:

        Made a small mistake jim, it was MV KOLLE-D, not ROSIE-D.

      • Michael Fletcher says:

        Hi Dale,
        Long time since the Eigamoiya !, hope you are keeping well, and yes, I am still at sea, been in Offshore Oil and Gas for last 20 years, currently living in Bangkok and Master on a Singapore owned DSV working around SE Asia, Best regards, Mike Fletcher

  13. Michael Fletcher says:

    Hi Ruth,
    Great to see that the Eigamoiya is not forgotton, I was Chief Officer and then Captain on her during 1982 for three voyages from Melbourne to Nauru, but as well as “the island” we went as far west as Guam, called at Ponape and Truk in the Caroline Islands, as well as Majuro in The Marshall Islands and Tarawa in Kiribati.
    Eigamoiya was my first command and I remember the ship as a delight to serve on, I stayed with Nauru Pacific Line during the 1980′s and also had command of Cenpac 2, Eigugu, Kolle D and Rosie D, I enjoyed working around the Pacific Islands, they really were the last of “the good old days” Best regards, Mike Fletcher

    • Ruth Macadam says:

      Hi Mike,

      Fantastic to see people getting in touch through the blog, and to learn more about the history of the ships.

      thank you for your interest and your contributions

      kind regards

      ruth

  14. Mike Dovey says:

    I am researching the first 10 vessels to be registered in Nauru and have come up with this list. R Martin mentions a ship called the Hydra in the 1970′s and even sailed on her. Was this ship actually registered in Nauru, maybe as ship number 2 or 3, or was she chartered and if so what was her port of registry ?

    1 EIGAMOIYA 1969 Nauru Local Gov. Council sold – 1993
    2 Triaster 1970 Nauru Local Gov. Council re-registered same year as
    Rosie D
    3 Rosie D ex TRIASTER – 1955 1970 Nauru Local Gov. Council sold – 1975
    4 ENNA G ex PRINSES MARGRIET -64 1970 Nauru Local Gov. Council scrapped -90
    5 CENPAC ROUNDER ex FEDERAL PALM – 61 1971 Nauru Local Gov. Council scr-1979
    6 KOLLE D 1973 Nauru Corp (Victoria) Ltd sold-1988
    7 Tryphena ex TRI-ELLIS – 1958 1974 Nauru Local Gov. Council sold-1978
    8 ROSIE D 1977 Nauru Corp (Victoria) Ltd sold-1991
    9 Cenpac 2 ex Kyokyu Maru – 1970 1982 Nauru Corp (Victoria) Inc sold-1988
    10 Eigugu ex Booker Challenge – 1979 1983 Nauru Pacific Line sold-1989

    PS Great comments on all who sailed with the Nauru Pacific

  15. Graham Eyre says:

    Can somebody explain why my post has been deleted???

  16. Graham Eyre says:

    Thats funny – its just reappeared

    • Ruth Macadam says:

      Hi Graham,
      No idea, just got back from work to find your disappeared and reappeared comments in my mail box. WordPress must have been playing up as nobody else has access to approving or disapproving comments.

      Hey ho!

      :o)

      Ruth

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