2 Acquisition and transfer to Norway

Early in 1946 the first batches of surplus vessels were offered for sale through the Director of Small Craft Disposals in Cobham, Surrey. We note that a Belgian buyer, F Daems of Antwerp, acquiring a number of vessels on 19 March 1946. These were duly offered for resale through the broker network.

Only a few weeks later some of this batch were sold to Norwegian buyers at prices around GBP 10.500 (abt NOK 210.000). The buyers were mostly based in Bergen and Haugesund, in communities that had traditionally  involvement in shortsea shipping, partly in combination with fishing.

In March/April 1946 the first group of Norwegian brokers, buyers and surveyors arrived at lay-up berths along the Thames, in Milford Haven and Scotland, to inspect the vessels offered.

Other vessels were acquired directly from the Director of Small Craft Disposals, but especially Bergen buyers took vessels directly from Daems.


The vessels were offered on “as is, where is” terms to a stipulated price. No bottom inspection was possible, so buyers had to verify the vessels’ condition through perusal of log books and reports. Following inspection and acceptance, the sale contract was finalized in a Certificate of Purchase with a new basic clauses. Also for vessels acquired from Mr Daems the Certificate of Purchase was used, with entry of transfer to new owner. This was to be valid as a bill of sale.

With a Certificate of Purchase, the owner would apply to the local Norwegian consulate to have a Interim Nationality Certificate (INC)  (“Midlertidig nasjonalitetsbevis”) issued for the voyage from UK to Norway. On this basis a call sign was issued by the Maritime Authority (Sjøfartskontoret) in Oslo. In all the known cases the Nationality Certificate was made out to the vessel’s original name; thus forming a reliable link between the original and later identity.


As soon as a transfer crew arrived the vessel was readied for sea with assistance from the local agent. The vessels were handed over with the basic equipment for navigation and operation, but had to take fuel, water and provisions.

The voyage from the UK lay-up port to Norway was for escort trawlers undertaken in the original naval colours still with pennant numbers. Most did the tip under own power; some were taken in tow, particularly vessels like corvettes and landing craft. Many of the transfer crews were personnel with recent RNN service.

Arriving in Norway, the buyer was bound to arrange formal registration as soon as possible in  order to obtain legal protection for any mortgage. For registration the Certificate of Purchase had to be presented with confirmation of payment and with the INC. An interim registration under the call sign was then entered in the registration ledger at the local magistrate.


The first Temporary Nationality Certificates were issued in March 1946, Fandango to Ålesund on 9 March and Flint to Haugesund on 23 March. Another eight followed in April and them several more through the summer and autumn.


Acquisition of 164-foot escort trawlers to Norway:

1946               34

1947               13

There would be another one in 1955 as converted into a trawler, while two went to Sten A Olsson, Sweden, in 1948 and one to Iceland in 1946. Together this accounts for a total of 51 vessels of the Isles, Tree, Dance and Shakespearean classes.


Most of the 47 sold to Norway in 1946/47 were intended for conversion into cargo vessels, but also for purposes such as trawlers, tankers, passenger vessel and salvage.


Conversion to 1946 1947 Comments
Cargo vessel 31 10
Trawler 1 Cailiff >  Borgenes
Passenger 1 Cotillion > Brand V
Salvage 1 Kerrera > Jason
Tanker 1 Ailsa Craig > Veslemøy
Sold before conversion 2 Sarabande and Bay
Total 34 13