AFRICA SN1397 / SA15


As a tug in Swansea docks, alongside what is believed to be the tug CHALLENGER

Courtesy of John Ernest Parfitt, Mumbles.

Official No:  84878   Port and Year:  North Shields, 1883 (SN1397)

                                                               Swansea, 1891 (SA15)

Description: Iron side trawler; single screw, coal burning.  Ketch rigged. 


Built: 1883, by Armstrong Mitchell & Co., Low Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne (Yard no. 452)

Tonnage:  122 grt  41 net.

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 100.0  / 19.8 / 10.1

Engine: C 2-Cyl. 80 rhp.  Engine and boiler: Ross & Duncan, Glasgow



As SN1397

27 Jan 1883: Charles Dyble & Others, North Shields.

Managing owner.


By 1889: Charles Hooper, 21 Balaclava St., St. Thomas, Swansea.

Managing owner.

1891: As SA15


1896: James A. Wood, Hartlepool.

Managing owner.


By 1897: African Steam Tug Co., 11 Cambrian Place, Swansea

Manager: William H. Towers.

                Joseph Lawson jnr., 27 Baring St., South Shields. (By 1903.)



As NESTOR. Registered at South Shields.

1906: The Lawson Steam Tugboat Co., 27 Baring St., South Shields. (By 1917: 15 Thrift St., S. Shields.)

Manager: Joseph Lawson.


1915: Chartered to William Watkins, London.


17 Apr 1920: Lawson-Batey Tugs Ltd., "K." Exchange Buildings, Quayside, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Managers: Joseph Lawson & Frank Batey.


Landed at Milford:  20 Nov 1889 - 11 Apr 1893

Skippers: 1889: Hodge

1890: Harvey, Cook, Chamberlain, C. Beckett (Cert. 2151)

1891: Beckett; Foster; Horth; Dayes; Thain (Hain?); Wales.

1892: Chapman; E. Walker; J. Jackson; Wales; Dayes

1893: Dayes; J. Jackson; W. Jennings


1896: Converted to a tug.

20 Feb 1918: Requisitioned as a tug and renamed VELMAR.

18 Dec 1918: Returned to owners and reverted to NESTOR .

Jun 1937: Broken up by Clayton & Davie, Dunston.

[Information kindly supplied by Andy Hall.]

 Accidents and Incidents


From the Liverpool Mercury of Friday 25th April 1890:


Swansea, April 24th ― The steam trawler Africa, while proceeding to sea, collided with the quay wall, and damaged her bow.



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