Ben Line ships had a substantial share of UK trade to the Far East in the 1960s, and Benwyvis was the second in the Scottish company's Benledi class of cargo-passenger liners designed for the services from Europe to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan and Taiwan. By Andrew Linington
There was intense competition on the Far East services, and the Benledi class of four high-speed ships were designed to boost the efficiency of Ben Line's operations. The elegant vessels featured long forecastles and poops, with a range of fittings and equipment intended to speed up cargo handling.
Built on the Clyde by Charles Connell & Company at a cost of just over £2m, the Leith-registered Benwyvis was launched in June 1966. Sistership Benledi had sailed a maiden voyage from London to Japan in July 1965, while the third vessel in the series – Benalbanach – came into service in 1967. The final vessel, Bencruachan, was launched in 1968 with a modified design enabling the carriage of some containers.
Benwyvis had a total crew complement of 51 and could carry up to 12 passengers in what was described as ‘de luxe’ accommodation. The 11,958grt ship was the fourth Ben Line vessel to bear the name Benwyvis and was 560ft loa.
Propulsion was by a nine-cylinder turbocharged Barclay, Curle & Company two-stroke single-acting Sulzer-type diesel engine, developing 20,700bhp at 119rpm. The vessel had a service speed of 21 knots.
The ship's bridge featured a piece of cutting-edge technology – the Honeywell Dew Pointer, which kept a continuous printed record of all relevant temperatures and dewpoints in the ship's five mechanically-ventilated cargo holds.
One of four elegant high-speed ships in the Benledi class, the 1966-built Benwyvis featured an innovative dew point monitor and stainless steel cargo tanks