Tale of an Australian Trader

Filed under Featured ~ by Editor on  14 Feb 1969
MV Australian Trader early morning, days before launching ceremony at NSW State Dockyard, Newcastle

This series of original negatives shows the launching site preparations from media vantage. Composite image below ~ dignitary stand facing stem, water astern, television camera on scaffolding lower mid left.
Images copyright and watermarked.

Two images below ~ launch day, or imminent, with regalia, pennants, people.

Below, cine-cameraman prepares recording equipment on structure at considerable height on a quite treacherous-looking surface that appears to slope away in both directions from a level centre. And – as was workplace custom – in those days one just got on with it, and took great care.

Visible lower-left, NBN’s first television outside broadcast vehicle

View from NSW State Dockyard, 1969, facing south-east

The Australian Trader keel laid 27 September 1967, and launched 17 February 1969.

The ship operated Melbourne – Devonport as passenger and roll-on roll-off vehicular ferry, later Sydney to Tasmania. In 1977 it was bought by the Royal Australian Navy, renamed “HMAS Jervis Bay,” for training and troop transport. The RAN has a fine description of that navy ship’s service at this page:  HMAS Jervis Bay  that includes a fine series of photographs. Refer also to RAN’s page describing Jervis Bay’s role in relief aid to Somalia, 1992: RAN Operation Solace

Then, from Wikipedia:

After decommissioning in 1994, the vessel was sold to Voyager Marine Ltd., and renamed MS Agios Andreas. After modifications to increase her passenger and vehicle capacity, Agios Andreas commenced ferry services between Greece and Turkey in 1995. In 2003, she was sold to Marwan Shipping and Trading, renamed MSAmjan Leader, and began operations in the Persian Gulf. The ship was renamed MS Amjan City in 2004, but was sold for scrapping later that year.

RAN Communications Branch Assoc. references a “Navy News” clipping:

Australian Navy ship HMAS Melbourne conducted hundreds of boardings during its stint in The Gulf, but none of the boardings were quite like the time they boarded the passenger ferry MV Ajman City. Usually the boarding teams found their way around a foreign vessel by reading deck names in either Greek, Arabic, or Russian. However during one such boarding in February the team discovered the deck markings to be all too familiar. The vessel on that day was the former logistic support ship HMAS Jervis Bay. After paying off she was sold to a Greek company and operated in the Mediterranean as a passenger ferry for many years before being purchased recently for operations between Dubai (UAE) and Umm Qasr (Iraq). She has had modifications to her aft deck and ramp to make her more of a cruise ship than when in service with the RAN.

In the same batch of negatives two interesting images emerge, next below.

One is BP Enterprise, the other of two unknown vessels: at left, quite likely BP Enterprise, if superstructure supports that assumption. At right, a new ship which could be identified by the other in the dockyards construction timeline.

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