Essex County Standard 4 June 1954 says POLAR MAID arrived in the Blackwater 26 May. She had 4,000 tons soluble oil on board.
A correspondent on www.shipsnostalgia.com writes:
"Spent about four months there standing by Polar Maid in 1955. Cargo whale solubles aboard. Carter was agent, boatman Alf ?? first class boat handler. Eventually raised steam, signed articles Maldon, departed for discharge port. Diesel compresser ran weekly to partially turn main shaft and turn over steam generator. Dined once or twice in Victory Hotel, West Mersea. Good bookshop in Colchester and Ever Ready battery radio helped to retain sanity."
"She had come into Tilbury ? from South Georgia about the end of the whaling season, say about May 54. The whale soluble market prices were low so it was decided to lay her up until prices rose. She was there during the summer, a ship's lifeboat was lowered to improve access to shore, lifted prior to winter gales."
"To avoid the weekly chore of climbing over the bow to lubricate the anchor chain swivel we tied the end of a rubber hose to it, attached a funnel to the upper end and the watchman/handyman generously poured oil down every few days. The officer in charge had to write weekly to the owners, it was difficult to vary the letters from week to week, month to month, but after all those those years I remember the unalterable phrase "vessel continues to ride with clear hawse." After discharge Manchester we came up to the Clyde to lay up again, my date of discharge was Glasgow 26/5/55.
POLAR MAID was built as EMIL GEORG VON STRAUSS at Noordseewerke Emden in 1916. Renamed STEAUA ROMANA-1922, POLAR MAID-1947.
Broken up Rosyth 6 Mar 1957.
Oyster Company ledger starts with 4 weeks compensation paid 22 June 1955. Last payment for 20 April 1955.
Above: Tankers laid up in River Blackwater. POLAR MAID on the right, arrived with a cargo of whale oil 26 May 1954 and stayed waiting for the value of the cargo to improve. She left 20 April 1955
The tanker in the foreground is thought to be the MARACAIBO, laid up in the Blackwater 27 April 1954 to 1 December 1954. Date: cAugust 1954. Source: Mersea Museum / Wendy Woolley