puffers & vics




VIC 85         Marsa


Builder R.Dunston, Thorne
Official Nr 180304
Yard Nr 513
Launched 14/9/1944
Delivered 11/1944
Length 66.8 ft
Beam 18.4 ft
Gross 96 tons
Deadweight 140 tons
Engine 2 Cyl Steam Compound

In Naval service until 1947

1947 – transferred to the Admiralty and served at Fort William

1963 – sold, probably to a Mr Kelly of Paisley


I have anecdotal evidence that around the time of her diesel conversion in 1963 she was owned by a Paisley (where else!) businessman who went by the sobriquet "Cash Down Kelly", earned apparently when he tried to buy the then ailing John Brown shipyard at Clydebank for cash !

She passed into the ownership of Hugh Carmichael of Craignure on Mull around 1971. He operated her on timber carrying  for the Corpach paper mill.  He was also running the former VIC72  "Eldesa" at around the same time. When Carmichael sold her in the late 1970s, she came into the hands of two local "businessmen" who reputedly had grand plans for her. They removed her mast and derrick and fitted a Hiab hydraulic crane but their venture hit the financial rocks and their creditors removed her crane and valuable Kelvin engine to cover the debts.

Her hull was then towed to Salen Bay, Mull, where it was beached before being purchased by an American named Jones who re-engined her with a Rolls Royce unit removed from an old artic. It wasn't a success and the vessel then passed into the ownership of an enterprising young Rothesay man named Kevin MacNeill who took her to Bowling, which is where my correspondant, John MacDonald, thinks that the photograph below was taken, probably in the 1980s. By this time she has been fitted with a wooden mast and derrick, intended to restore her original appearance. What happened to her after this is unclear; most likely she was left to rot alongside so many other abandoned vessels in the Bowling basin while her erstwhile owner was a guest of Her Majesty.



photograph courtesy of the Roy Cressey Collection