View Full Version : Wreck of MV Chica near to Acton Bridge discussion

03-23-2010, 04:22 PM
This is a discussion thread for the following file:<br><br><b><a href=http://www.gearthhacks.com/dlfile33549/Wreck-of-MV-Chica-near-to-Acton-Bridge.htm>Wreck of MV Chica near to Acton Bridge</a></b><br><br>MV Chica launched in 1894 and formerly used as a trip boat along the river Weaver. She sank in 1993 at Dutton locks.<br /><br /><img src=http://www.gearthhacks.com/showimage.php?image=112807/3425151.jpg>

03-23-2010, 04:50 PM
I hope somebody will find this interesting, a little background on the MV Chica who started her life in 1894 as the 'Flora'. The history is as much as I have so far and more than anyone else and much of my insight results from being the Son-in-Law of the last Master, the late Capt Tom Barlow. If anybody can add anything further to Chica's history then please PM me.

Andy Coles

Built in 1894 and named 'Flora' by Rolf Sjeasather, Surendalen, Christianssund, Norway. Originally rigged as a yacht was a wooden hulled general cargo ship, length 73ft 3 inches, beam 20ft 6 inches, draft 8ft 8 inches.

1894 -1940 Flora had a succession of eight owners out of Christianssund, Norway. She was specifically built to freight salt fish from Northern Norway (Lofoten and Finnmark area) back to Southern Norway (Bergen /Trondheim). This type of trading started several hundred years ago and continued almost until WWII.

1937 Flora was rebuilt with a new rig and a 61BHP diesel engine was installed.

1940 Flora was sold yet again and moved to Trondheim where she was commandeered by the Germans and renamed and 'Bjorg Haukus'.

After WWII she reverted to her existing owners and carried logs and all kinds of general cargo from South to Northern Norway to help rebuild the Country following the destruction of all houses and infrastructure following the Germans withdrawal early in 1945. Due to shortage of tonnage Flora (now Bjorg Haukas) continued this trade right up to mid 1960's.

In 1964 Flora was sold once more, this time to Knut Sevaldsen in Trondheim but she had been laid up and was no longer trading. The wooden hull however remained in excellent condition due to her earlier life as a salt fish trader. In 1965 She was renamed the 'Lill Tove' taking the name from the daughter of the then owner. Somewhere between 1964 and 1974 the original 1937 engine had been replaced with a twin cylinder 120HP Wickman.

On 1st December 1974 Lill Tove was chartered to the European Shipping Company Limited in Gibraltar c/o Captain Huysmans (an Ex Sabena Airline Captain), John Holland and Elias Ledang from Bronnoysond in Norway. In 1975 Lill Tove was sold to Ledang who owned her for two years before selling in 1977 to The Strait Shipping Company in Gibralter. During this period Lill Tove traded in the Mediterranean and down the West coast of Africa, particularly Casablanca and further South towards Angola.

Ownership of Lill Tove (Renamed 'CHICA' in 1981) remained with the Strait Shipping Company to the very end (Strait Shipping was liquidated in 2002) although the ownership of the company itself had changed hands in 1981. The new owners were DeVegas Securities Limited and the Gibraltar Brewery Company Limited both companies registered in Gibraltar. Very oddly Strait Shipping and DeVegas between them also owned the Gibraltar Brewery Company (go figure !) so it became almost impossible to tell exactly who the new owners actually were !! At this time and up until her ultimate move to the UK Chica no longer traded in cargo but became heavily associated with the Offshore Financial Services Industry.

She left Gibraltar c.1983 putting into Portugal inland of Porto for repairs to her hull on her way to the UK eventually arriving at Mostyn Dock on the North Wales coast and then the River Mersey before moving into the Manchester Ship Canal (Weston Point Docks) and ultimately the River Weaver where she ended her days earning an intermittent keep as a converted passenger vessel. Chica capsized in 1993, just shy of her centenary, whilst moored at Dutton Lock on the River Weaver and lies there today in an increasing state of decay but of significant local historical interest and folklore.

The final twist to the ownership of Chica was that she is now under the control of the British Waterways Board who, having received no assistance from Strait Shipping Company as regards salvage, have left her to rot in a watery grave at 53 degrees 17.3 minutes North and 2 degrees 37.2 minutes West.