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Sir Charles Parsons

Vessel type Collier
Year launched 1985
Cargo type Coal
Country of build United Kingdom

The vessel Sir Charles Parsons was part of the British collier fleet, which played a vital role as the 'nursery' for the country's seafarers.

British coal trade

The UK coal trade was, for several centuries, a major employer of British seafarers who were highly valued for their standards of seamanship.

With power supplies nationalised after the Second World War, the Central Electricity Authority – which became the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) in 1958 – took over the responsibility for a fleet of ships supplying coal to power stations.

The build

In the early 1980s, the CEGB decided to build a series of 22,000dwt 'super-colliers' as part of an 'economies of scale' plan to phase out older and smaller tonnage. The first of these ships was Sir Charles Parsons, named after the inventor of the steam turbine, and it was followed by sisterships Lord Citrine and Lord Hinton.

Built by Govan Shipbuilders and launched in May 1985, Sir Charles Parsons was of 22,530dwt and 154.85m (508ft) loa. Powered by an eight-cylinder Mirrlees KMR8MK3 type engine, geared to a controllable pitch propeller, the vessel had a service speed of 12.5 knots.


The ship's main role was to carry coal from the Tyne Tees Coal Terminal to Kingsnorth power station on the River Medway in Kent, as well as imported coals trans-shipped via Dutch and Belgian ports.


The CEGB colliers were originally under the management of the Newcastle company Stephenson Clarke, but from 1968 onwards Edinburgh-based Christian Salvesen (Shipping) took an increasing share of the fleet, and it was given responsibility for Sir Charles Parsons was taken on by Powergen and its management moved between Jebsen and Lothian Ship Management over the next decade.

Nuclear and oil-powered stations increasingly replaced the traditional coal-fuelled facilities from the 1960s onwards and the collier fleet was accordingly cut back. By 1999 only Sir Charles Parsons and Lord Hinton remained in service. Their ownership passed to E.On UK in 2004, and they were switched to Meridian Marine Management of Liverpool.

In August 2010, Sir Charles Parsons was sold to the Turkish shipping company Barko Denizcilik Tasimacilik, renamed Barko and put under the Cook Islands flag. In 2015, the ship was sold again and renamed Princess Ayat, spending the next three years trading between the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea under the Sierra Leone flag.

In 2018, the ship was sold to a Liberian-registered company and renamed Daytona Prime. It spent the next two years on a regular run between Istanbul and the north coast of Turkey before demolition at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, in October 2020.

Sir Charles Parsons fact file


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