SS Venissieux

Other Names
later: Iron Knight
Ship Dates
Date built: April 1948
End date: October 1972
Owner or managing owner(s)
Government Of France
BHP Shipping
Vessel Description

5547 gross tons, 2804 net, 7763 dwt. Lbd: 413'6" x 52'3" x 24'.

Venissieux was a steamship, cargo only, built by Burrard Dry Dock Co. Ltd., Vancouver for the French Government. She was single screw, coal fired, with a Parsons type double reduction Turbine engine. 11 knots on 20 tons of fuel per day. She was sold to Cie Nantaise Des Bhargeurs De L'Ouest & Others, then sold to the Society Nationale Chemins De Fer Francaise (French Railways).

In August 1955 she was purchased by BHP Shipping and registered in Melbourne, Australia. At which time her name was changed to Iron Knight. Accomodation was reconstructed to suit Australian conditions at Newport Graving Dock on the Usk River, Wales, U.K. On February 9th, 1956 trials were completed and she sailed for Swansea with Captain J. Miles in command and a crew of 39. She loaded 2,070 tons of Anthracite coal and proceed to Sauda, Norway to load 3,995 tons of ferro manganese. This visit gave her the distinction of being the first ever Australian vessel to visit Norway. Departing February 15th bound for Port Kembla, she broke down in the North Sea February 27th, taking four hours to repair. Arrived in Aden for coal bunkering and had to unload the Anthracite coal from the third hold due to spontaneous combustion. She sailed out only to return the following day with electrical problems. Eventually she arrived in Port Kembla via Port Said, Suez, Aden (twice) and Fremantle, a voyage of 16 weeks.

In her time on the Australian coast, BHP employed her very suitably in most cargo capacities. At times she carried train rails to Thevenard and Port Lincoln, South Australia. She has also transported Bentonite from Whyalla to Port Stanley, Tasmania. She also conveyed 'scrap' metal and pre-slung cargoes. By 1972 she had transported 2,500,00 tons of cargo. She was sold 1972 to Great Fareastern Ltd., Hong Kong, and resold to Great China Steel Enterprise Co., Taiwan for scrapping purposes. She sailed from Newcastle in tow with Iron Whyalla bound for Kaohsiung and arrived October 14th, 1972. October 30th, 1972 demolition began.

Source: John E. Hoskin