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Vessel type Cargoship
Year launched 1967
Cargo type General cargo
Country of build United Kingdom

Launched in December 1967 at the Austin & Pickersgill (A&P) yard in Sunderland, the 9,034grt general cargoship Nicola was the first in a series of more than 200 British-designed vessels intended to replace the 'cheap and cheerful' Liberty ships built by the US during the Second World War.

The build

With many of the 2,700 Liberty ships reaching the end of their service lives by the mid-60s, builders around the world drew up more than 30 different plans for a low-cost successor, and A&P's SD14 shelter deck cargoship was by far the most successful – with the company eventually licensing the design to builders in Scotland, Greece, Brazil and Argentina.

SD14 is variously stated to stand for Shelter Deck or Standard Design with a 14,000dwt cargo capacity (and sometimes at 14 knots on 14 tons a day). The semi-enclosed top deck meant the ships could maximise their loads by minimising the impact of tonnage regulations, and the design also offered the potential for modification to enable the carriage of containers.

Changeable specifications

Originally selling at £915,000, the SD14s were also intended to be operated cheaply, with the five-cylinder Sulzer diesel engine giving a service speed of 14 knots on an actual daily fuel consumption of 19.5 tons of oil. However, owners could also add to the basic specification by ordering from a range of optional extras, including additional crew accommodation, full air-conditioning of accommodation, CO2 cargo hold fire extinguishing systems, and more sophisticated navigational aids.

Mavroleon Brothers

Ordered by the London-Greek owners Mavroleon Brothers, operated through London-based chartering agents, and put under the Liberian flag, Nicola was among the first of the initial dozen SD14s to be ordered. It was also the first – by just one day – to be completed, in February 1968. The ship had five cargo holds, four forward of the machinery space and one aft, and the upper deck was designed for the carriage of timber to a height of 7ft 6in.

Nicola underwent three changes of ownership – all Greek – in the 1970s, and was renamed Alvaki and subsequently Glasgow in 1979. The ship switched to the Philippines flag in 1983 and was sent for scrapping in Taiwan in October 1986.

Nicola Fact File


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