M/V EXUMA PRIDE, “unofficial” mailboat wrecked at Crab Cay, Georgetown Exuma in late 1990s’

Note this marks the discovery of a fascinating – if flawed “European” mailboat in the Bahamas fleet plying from Nassau to Georgetown Exuma in the 1978 – 1998 timeframe (roughly). Feedback welcome!


PAST NAMES: M/V Hjelmeland Fjord, before 1949 known as LCG(M)192 1946

DIMENSIONS: 300 gross registered tons, Roll-on, Roll-off or RO-RO type cargo passenger vehicle vessel built as a landing craft in the UK. “LCG(M)1”-type medium support landing craft (1944):

Displacement standard, t308 tons
Displacement full, t380 tons
Length, m47.1 / 155 feet
Breadth, m6.81 / 22.5 feet
Draught, m2.10 deep load 2.44 max / 7′ deep / 8′ max
No of shafts2
MachineryPaxman diesels
Power, h. p.1000
Max speed, kts11.75
Fuel, tdiesel oil 37 (max 52)
Endurance, nm(kts)1730(11.7) (max 2060(11.7))
Armour, mmdeck: 51, sides, turrets, CT: 25

Complement 31 people in the Royal Navy. Armament when built 2 x 1 – 88/27 25pdr QF Mk II, 2 x 1 – 20/70 Oerlikon Mk II/IV

CONSTRUCTION: as a landing craft in the UK of steel. Repowered in the 1950s: April 1954: New engines mounted. Base and shaft mounted at AS Haugesund Slip , Haugesund , while own company’s own workshop stood for mounting engines: 2 x 8syl 2tev Bergen diesel altogether. 800bhk 12 knots
YEAR BUILT: 23 October, 1944
BUILDER: Tees Side Bridge and Engine Works, Middlesborough, England, UK (or Motherwell, Scotland according to Wikipedia)

EARLY CAREER: 1949-1976 one local liner associated AS Jøsenfjorden Rutelag, Stavanger and was used in that company’s local routes in Ryfylke . “Hjelmeland Fjord” was in many ways the largest and finest local steamer that ever walked in Ryfylke Fjords, -before ferries and speedboats took over traffic.

  • 31 May 1945: Provided that landing craft “LCG (M) 192” to the Royal Navy . Upon delivery, the war in Europe over, and the vessel went straight laid in (in Southampton ) along with plenty of other marine vessels are now no longer was needed. In Norway, where also a great need for new tonnage in the coastal fleet by excessive wear and apostasy during the war. The many ineffective, unless navy vessels were in this situation attractive. It was especially minesweepers , escort trawlers and just landing vessels such came to Norway and was converted to civilian purposes. Most beaching vessels resulted in cargo ships of quite variable quality, -and most had relatively short lives. Three landing craft, however costly particularly extensive renovations to beautiful and for its time modern local liner, -one of them was “LCG (M) 192”.


    • August 1946: Sold to shipping agent Leif Storhaug, London , England . Storhaug was originally from Stavanger . He bought up decommissioned naval vessels with a view to resale. “LCG (M) 192” was lying in Southampton. (Wikipedia)
    • 1946: Sold to AS Jøsenfjorden Ruteselskap , Stavanger. Retrieved Southampton. Comprehensive converted to local liner of “sea bus” type. Assembly with two light lounges for 427 (later 399) passengers amidships, large cargo fore and had as its first boat en tires aft. Total boat had space for 14-15 cars. The original two engines were retained. The boat also ended despite its many modern qualities with fixed pitch propellers, scrambled and machine telegraph, -which did the heavy maneuvered. At least parts of the rebuilding work was performed by Jøsenfjordselskapets own workshop in Fancy Sundet on Buøy in Stavanger. Kjenningsmål, after the conversion: 150.3 ‘x 22.1’ x 6.8 ‘brt: 299
      • 19. August 1949: Went trial that MS ‘Hjelmeland Fjord “after reconstruction. The day after the put into regular service. Skipper Johan Kalheim. It came to walk most of the company’s route Stavanger Hjelmeland alternately Vadla and Vik in Erfjord as last stopover. It was also occasionally leased to Stavangerske and went occasionally additional trips to eg. Bergen and Hardanger .
      • April 1954: New engines mounted. Base and shaft mounted at AS Haugesund Slip , Haugesund , while own company’s own workshop stood for mounting engines: 2 x 8syl 2tev Bergen diesel altogether.800bhk 12 knots (which was still a few ignominious knots slower than Stavangerske “Fjorddrott» , «Fjordbris» and «Fjordsol» ).
      • 1959: New skipper Johan Warland.

It Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab Edit  | edit source ]

    • 1. January 1976: The holding company’s vessels and routes taken by Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskap , Stavanger. “Hjelmeland Fjord” were now painted white, but continued in the route.
    • 27. September 1978: Taken out of the route and obvious at Stavangerske workshop on “blade” in Stavanger . The route was a time acquired by Stavangerske local liner

FATE:  Featured in the WWII catalog of ships named “British & Empire Warships of the Second World War, by H. T. Lenton – pages 462 & 465, suggesting it was built in Britain or her colonies as a small warship.

BAHAMAS CAREER: served as a mailboat roughly from 1978 to roughly 1998 when was wrecked of Crab Cay’s north shore, east of Georgetown, the capital of Exuma. More specifically, from Wikipedia:

  • March 1979: Sold to Exuma Shipping & Transportation Co., Nassau , Bahamas . Renamed “Exuma Pride” . Crossed the Atlantic under its own steam, but suffered engine trouble outside Bermuda and had to be towed into the Bahamas where it arrived in August 1979. It was here inserted into the night route with passengers, cargo and mail between Nassau and Georgetown on Exumas.
  • April 2006: Located sunk at Crab Cay, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas and marketed as among divers.

CAPTAINS: Johan Kalheim & Johan Warland in Norway
OWNERS: In Norway the primary owners were AS Jøsenfjorden Rutelag, Stavanger.  The last European owners were AS Saki, Søreidgrend / Bergen

In Bahamas – Exuma Shipping & Transportation Co of Nassau

The caption for this photo by a visiting American yachtsman reads: “The wreck Exuma Pride lies off the northern shore of Crab Cay. She was an ‘unofficial’ mailboat put into service by local businessmen. One night she mysteriously slipped her mooring and ended up here.”

Source: http://www.makelikeanapeman.com/2013/03/12/georgetowncrab-cay/