3 Conversion for commercial use
M/V Mizar, formerly HMS Mincarlo. NSS Jenssen Collection
The hulls were rather sharp forward wit rounded bilges and a free fin-type rudder. The boiler and engine rooms were placed amidships with fuel and water tanks, while accommodation for 35-40 officers and men and messes were to be found forward and aft. However, as they had been fitted out for a number of duties, they appeared rather different when brought home to Norway.
How would escort trawlers be rated for commercial service?
To take the negative aspects first: The hull shape was rather sharp and narrow in front of the boiler room and the draft was rather high for such a small vessel. The steam engines were rather powerful for commercial service and thus uneconomical. On the other side, the vessels were of robust construction and could be converted into cargo vessels of 500-700 tdw, depending on design and costs.
It should be remembered that everything was in short supply in 1946/47, including steel materials, with rapidly rising prices and extensive delivery time for new vessels. A rapid conversion job could be a favorable investment.
There were several ways to go about conversion.
The simple thing was to take the vessel as it was with engine and boiler and strip out the sections ahead of the boiler room and aft of the engine to two cargo holds. This could be done quite simply, but would leave a rather small and less competitive vessel.
The other end of the scale would be to strip the hull entirely of superstructure, propulsion and accommodation and install a diesel engine as far aft as practicable. Out of this a cargo vessel of 600-700 tdw could emerge, but still rather narrow forward and with an excessive draft.
The 41 vessels converted for Norwegian owners would be spread over the entire scale, although of six basic designs:
Type 1: Steam propulsion and original arrangement, superstructure retained
Type 2: Boiler room stripped, diesel engine fitted in engine room, original superstructure retained
Type 3: Diesel engine fitted in boiler room, cargo holds forward and aft, parts of original superstructure
Type 4: Diesel engine fitted in engine room, new superstructure aft
Type 5: Diesel engine placed further aft with new superstructure
Type 6: As type 4, but also lengthened and fitted with partial shelterdeck
Vessels categorized by conversion type:
About a third of the converted trawlers were fitted out as reefers with insulated holds and refrigerating plant. These were intended for the fruit and fish trade but also to meet expected demand from frozen fish and whale meat for consumption. Tonnage supply, however, far exceeded this market.
When reappearing as commercial vessel, Lloyd’s Register for many years refrained from giving the original naval name. In some cases the identities have been in dispute.
For example HMCS Flint has been stated as going to Germany as Trave, while Norwegian sources indicate that she became the Argo. As pointed out above, the original Interim Nationality Certificates were generally made out to the vessels’ original names, which tends to confirm the reliability of this source.
The Swedish Sarabande went to Canada to become Guard Mavoline, whereas Lloyd’s gives the latter as ex HMS Romeo.
Ships imported, to Norway except where noted