COASTER KARTHALA WITH SULZER ENGINE
IMO No.: 8434348
Manuskript: Team Swiss-Ships
|This small, old coaster was discovered and visited by one of our friends in Port Gentil, Gabon on 3rd. September 2008. His French owner and captain probably is even older and he commanded for some time one of the harbour tugs in Port Gentil before going into retirement and then purchasing this vessel.
The coaster was built in 1937 by the shipyard W. Holst in Hamburg-Neuenfelde as the hull number 150. The ship has a length of 36,7 m, a width of 6,82 m and has a draught of 2,54 m. The original tonnage was 212 BRT and 97 NRT, with an approximate carrying capacity of 210 mt DWT. On the 29. September 1937 the coaster was delivered to its first owner, Heinrich Rahmstorf, Hamburg, and was registered under the name WELLE under the German flag (call sign: DJUR). Originally a 6-cylinder diesel engine, built by FAMO, Fahrzeug- & Motoren Werke GmbH (before: Motorenbau Linke Hofmann), Breslau, Germany was installed. Later a 4-cylinder Sulzer engine was fitted, type: 4 RKWN-25 with a power output of 201 kW (275 BHP). The engine is directly coupled to the propeller shaft via one reversing gear.
When the Sulzer engine was fitted, we could not trace, but from the cylinder numbers 24051 to 24054 (on one photo on cylinder No. 4, the No. 24054 is visible), we could establish, that the engine was ordered in April 1940 from CCM, Paris, the French subsidiary company of Sulzer Brothers, Winterthur. We assume, that the engine was fitted during the World War or shortly afterwards, also it is not sure, if the engine was installed on another vessel before. Today, after 68 years, the engine still gives reliable service and runs without any major problems.
After the World War II has commenced, the WELLE was confiscated by the Kriegsmarine and was working for the next 6 years under their command:
- 1939 Kriegsmarine, V-1003 (01.09.1939) und 02.11.1939 returned to owners
- 1940 Kriegsmarine, Testvessel for landing bridges
- 02.09.1940 Cable vessel for "Nachrichtenmittel Versuchs Kommando"
- 01.09.1943 Supply vessel for the Channel Islands (194)
When the German Army retreated from France, the vessel was abandoned in St. Nazaire and subsequently taken over by the French Navy (Marine National).
The ship was renamed FALLERON (a small community in the Vendee, south of Nantes) and as a navy transporter (K08) mainly carried (neutralised) ammunition around the coasts of France. Navy markings:
- 1951 marking A 614
- 08.09.1977 marking Q 570.
End of the seventies, probably in November 1978 the small ammunition transporter was taken out of service and was sold. She was converted to a sand ship and continued to sail under the French flag and with same name FALLERON, fetching sand from the sea bottom of the French Atlantic coast (probably in the region of Brest).
It is assumed, that the FALLERON was laid up for a longer period, until her present owner purchased her in 2006. The cargo gear was removed and the ship was dry docked and repaired. She was registered for the company Breizh Shipping, Kingstown, St. Vincent & The Grenadines under the flag of Comoro Island with home port Moroni (GT: 185, NT: 55, IMO No. 8434348, call sign: D6DD9) and renamed KARTHALA (Name of the volcano outside of the town of Moroni).
Initially the new owner intended to sail and trade in the waters of Madagascar and the Comoro Islands, however he then got stuck on the coast of West Africa. As the health of the old captain is not so strong anymore, he has entered negotiations with some Nigerians and hopefully, when the funds arrive, the KARTHALA will be handed over in Nigeria to a new owner. This most probably will be the last station in the long life of this little ship.