A number of vessels were lost on 2nd January 1941, in what was one of the darkest years for merchant shipping and seamen during World War II. Just two of these are highlighted here:
NALGORA of British India. She was 6,600grt, and 433 feet long, built by William Gray in 1922. Built to carry grain or cotton in bulk, she had no passenger accommodation. Whilst in Convoy OB 261, from Leith to Alexandria, she was sunk by stern torpedo and 70 rounds from deck gun from the German submarine U-65 in position 22°24’N 21°11’W at 22.07 hours , 350 miles north of the Cape Verde Islands. All crew survived.
MERIONES of China Mutual. She was 7,557grt and 455 feet long, built by Palmers at Newcastle in 1922. She was in a convoy heading for Hull to complete loading cargo before heading for Australia. She grounded on a wreck on 22nd January 1941 and was abandoned. The crew were rescued by the Cromer lifeboat. Bombed by aircraft and sunk in position 52°53’N 01°47’E 26th January 1941, off Cromer.
Details of these and other vessels are in the book “Ships of the British Merchant Navy “– a fascinating summary of the careers of all vessels.
STX France, based at St Nazaire in France, specialises in building large cruise ships. It is part of the troubled Korean shipbuilding conglomerate STX, which is currently in receivership. The Seoul bankruptcy court stated in November that four parties had expressed interest in taking over the French part of STX, but it has since confirmed that currently only one bid has been received. This is from the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.
In spite of an apparently healthy order book, including the two recent orders from MSC, other yards have been hesitant to make a bid for the profitable shipbuilder. One of these, French naval contractor DCNS, admitted they had held talks with Fincantieri and were presently keeping their options open. Getting Hong Kong announced it was no longer interested.
The French government has a 33% stake in STX France, but has made public that it is not interested in getting a majority stake. However, it insisted that it would be retaining its blocking powers on any changes, and would have a say in any ownership change. The French Industry Minister insisted that France would maintain its right to veto any sale if the conditions weren’t right.