One of the Finnish built vessels for the Soviet Union shipping industry was the OKHA seen here as the SPEYBANK owned by the Bank Line (Andrew Weir Shipping Ltd., UK.
In the late 1970s Sudoimport, the Soviet foreign trade organization with a monopoly for the foreign trade of ships, requested for tenders for the design and construction of 20,000 DWT arctic cargo ships according to the specifications laid out by the Ministry of the Merchant Marine of the Soviet Union (MORFLOT). In terms of hull strength and engine power, these ships were to be in par with icebreakers that would escort them through the most difficult ice condition.
She was built by the Valmet Shipyard, Helsinki/Herlsingfors as yard no 311 named as OKHA completed on 6th May 1983. During the difficult season, which around fifty cargo ships were trapped in ice in the East Siberian Sea, the SA-15 class freighters were sent to the Northern Sea Route as soon as they were delivered from the Finnish shipyards . They were used to unload cargo from icebound ships and deliver the much-needed supplies to isolated communities along the coast. The ships also acted as escort icebreakers, using their stern notches to tow smaller ships through the ice fields even though it was not their original purpose. Among the ships that received assistance from the new SA-15 class ships was the nuclear icebreaker SIBIR which had to be helped on several occasions by OKHA. Unlike the freighters, the icebreaker had no abrasion-resistant coating and suffered from severe hull corrosion that considerably increased the ice resistance of the vessel
In 1995 Bank Line, a subsidiary of Andrew Weir Shipping Ltd, purchased four SA-15 class ships OKHA, BRATSK, TIKSI and NIKEL for their westbound round-the-world liner service linking Europe to the South Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea via the Panama and Suez Canals. The ships, no longer required to sail in the arctic conditions and were renamed SPEYBANK, ARUNBANK, FOYLEBANK and TEIGNBANK while converted in the United Kingdom for the South Pacific service. So in August 1995 OKHA was renamed SPEYBANK.
In 2005 we had the opportunity to see SPEYBANK at Grand Harbour, Malta and a year later in February 2006 she was renamed to MAHINABANK.
She was 174 metres long with 24.50 metres wide and 11.30 metres maximum draft with 18,663 GRT and 22,492 DWT. On Saturday 24th October 2009 she was beached at Chittagong, Bangladesh and broken up on Monday 2nd November 2009.
Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. NO PHOTOS can be used or manipulated without our permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com
Published – Wednesday 9th September, 2020.