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Harry Nicholson 7th January 2020 16:49

Lost Ship
I've been ferreting in my files and found an old poem. The loss of 'Minocher Cowasjee' in 1957, Central Indian Ocean. I took part in the distress traffic. It does not use the Rennaisance affectation of rhyming line endings, but is more akin to Saxon verse.

Lost Ship

We saw nothing on the wind-glazed surface,
nothing floating in the spume as we steamed
across her track on the chart;
no scrap of cargo, no boiler suit,
nor a crumb of last night’s rice.

In the dark we’d talked
in bursts of dots and dashes,
that other man and me.
We’d clung in chairs chained to the deck,
one hand on the tuning knob
chasing each other’s warbling signals
as masts swayed
and phosphor-bronze aerials swung out
wild over the troughs;
the other hand thumping a big brass key -
in the cyclone.

It was sixty years ago - she flew the flag of Pakistan,
a new country. But the ‘Minocher Cowasjee’ was old
I now discover - launched as ‘Parisiana’
by Irvine’s yard in Hartlepool, where my father -
back from his war with Kaiser Bill - might well
have hammered rivets into her - hard against
his own dad’s hammer on the other side of the plate.

Three miles down they’re rusted now, those rivets;
strewn about, forgotten, like Asian mother’s tears.
She’s just another hull - after all,
the ocean floors are flung with ships...

Harry Nicholson, July 2007

revised 2017

Hawkey01 8th January 2020 12:52

1 Attachment(s)

A well written poem. Thank you.

She was very long in the tooth by this time - some 46 years old.
I have just added her history for anyone who is interested and also a photo of her
from my collection as the Fatakada from her previous owners.

Built 1920 by Irvine Middleton - Yard No586 as Cedarmore.
Cargo - Pakistan.
6640 tons.
L128m x B16.8m.
Single screw steam turbine - 12 kts.

Name Changes:
1921 Parisiana.
1922 London Exchange.
1938 Benrinnes.
1950 Fatakada.
1955 Minocher Cowasjee.

Missing in distress 24.01.1957 - 25.30S 68.00E - voyage Darien - Antwerp soya beans.


Harry Nicholson 8th January 2020 15:24

1 Attachment(s)
Thank you, Neville. I had not known of her launch as Cedarmore. I'll need to edit the poem.

Attachment 1581 Here she is as Minocher Cowasjee. Photo courtesy of the radio officer's grandaughter. He is depicted by the X.

I've had a deal of correspondence with the grandaughter, who lives in Brisbane.

Hawkey01 9th January 2020 11:36


The link below gives all her owners and in fact has the same photo as you have posted.


Harry Nicholson 9th January 2020 11:50


Originally Posted by Hawkey01 (Post 27627)

The link below gives all her owners and in fact has the same photo as you have posted.


Thanks, Neville. I had noticed that the picture had appeared on that site shortly after I'd passed it on to a German chap who claimed his relative had been engineer aboard said vessel, and was lost. I was surprised. But no matter.

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