MV Empire Abercorn
|Operator:||New Zealand Shipping Co 1945–1968|
|Port of registry:||Belfast, later London|
|Builder:||Harland & Wolff, Belfast|
|Launched:||30 December 1944|
|Completed:||30 June 1945|
|Out of service:||28 March 1968|
|Fate:||Scrapped in Hong Kong, 1971|
|Notes:||Sister ship Empire Clarendon|
|Length:||474 ft 2 in (144.53 m)|
|Beam:||63 ft 3 in (19.28 m)|
|Depth:||34 ft 2 in (10.41 m)|
|Propulsion:||1 x Harland & Wolff two-cycle double-acting 8-cylinder diesel engine, 7,500 hp (5,600 kW)|
|Speed:||14.5 knots (26.9 km/h)|
|Capacity:||367,902 cu ft (10,417.8 m3) insulated cargo space, 45 passengers (later 40 cadets)|
Empire Abercorn was built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast for the MoWT and was initially managed by the New Zealand Shipping Co, London. She was sold to the New Zealand Shipping Co in 1946 and renamed Rakaia. In 1950, Rakaia was converted to a cadet training ship, and the accommodation reduced from 45 passengers to 40 cadets. Her first voyage in this role started on 10 June 1950. On 16 February 1955, a dockside fire at Wellington, New Zealand threatened to spread to Arawa, Port Pirie, Rakaia, and Rangitoto.
On 16 October 1957, on a voyage between New York City and Liverpool, No.8 piston rod in the engine snapped. The ship was about 300 miles (480 km) off Halifax at the time. The weather deteriorated, and the ship was rolling, making repairs difficult. To stabilize Rakaia, it was decided to jury rig a set of sails. Tarpaulin sails were made from hatch covers. Two square sails and one staysail were erected, giving approximately 2,500 square feet (230 m2) of sail. The engine was reduced from eight to six cylinders, running at a maximum of 50 rpm; it took eleven days to reach Liverpool.
On 28 December 1966, Rakaia was sold to the Federal Steam Navigation Co, remaining under the management of the New Zealand Shipping Co. Her last voyage as a cadet training ship ended on 28 March 1968. Rakaia was sold to the Lee Sing Company, Hong Kong in August 1971 for scrapping.
Engine and generators
Empire Abercorn had an eight-cylinder, two-cycle double-acting diesel engine built by Harland & Wolff. It produced 7,500 hp at 115 rpm. Normal operating speed about 101.2 rpm, giving a fuel consumption of 28 tons per day.
Empire Abercorn had four main generators and one auxiliary generator. The main generators were "Harlandics", built by Harland and Wolff. They were powered by six-cylinder diesel engines of 335 horsepower (250 kW) producing 250 kW each ; the auxiliary generator was powered by a three-cylinder diesel engine of 30 horsepower (22 kW) producing 15 kW, voltage was 220 volts.
Official number and code letters
Official numbers were a forerunner to IMO Numbers.
- "Blue Star's M.V. "Tuscan Star" 2, Blue Star's M.V. "Timaru Star" 1, Blue Star's M.V. "California Star" 2". Blue Star Line. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
- "Empire — A". Mariners. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
- "M.V. “RAKAIA”, NEW ZEALAND SHIPPING COMPANY LIMITED" (PDF). Rakaia.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
- "5,000 Bales of wood destroyed". The Times (53168). London. 17 February 1955. col A, p. 8.
- "JURY SAILS IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC" (PDF). Rakaia.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
- "RAKAIA / EMPIRE ABERCORN 1945". Shipslist. Archived from the original on 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
- "M.V. “RAKAIA”, MAIN ENGINE AND AUXILIARY MACHINERY" (PDF). Rakaia.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
- "LLOYD'S REGISTER, STEAMERS & MOTORSHIPS" (PDF). Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
- "Vessel ID 5289481". New Zealand Maritime Index. Retrieved 2008-11-23.