Cable ship in HK harbour 1960s – information needed.
IDJ: With reference to HF’s article Eastern Extension Telegraph Company – linking HK to the world this picture shows a cable ship moored off Causeway Bay in the late 1960s.
The ship was a long-term resident and rarely seemed to move. I understand that it belonged to a Danish cable company.
HF: You can see the ship’s name but not quite read it. Can anyone tell us its name, of its time in HK or elsewhere and what happened to it?
And if you can provide further information connecting Hong Kong and submarine cable communication please send it in to:
Related Indhhk articles: Eastern Extension Telegraph Company – linking HK to the world
As it happens, I stumbled on the probable answer to this question the other day while researching for a Gwulo post.
“When the “H. C. Oersted” was taken out of service, the maintenance of the submarine cables in Europe was assigned to a new cable ship, the “Edouard Suenson”, 1552 GRT. She was built in 1922 and operated from Copenhagen until 1968. In the Far East, the first “Store Nordiske” was replaced by a new “Store Nordiske, 1456 GRT, built in 1922. When the old Nagasaki‑Vladivostok cables have been replaced by the new coaxial cable between Naoetsu and Nakhodka, this cable will be maintained by the “KDD Maru”, built in 1967 and belonging to the Kokusai Denshin Denwa Company. The “Store Nordiske” which has been stationed at Hong Kong since the Second World War, will then be taken out of service.”
So she’s likely the larger of two ships built in 1922 and called Store Nordiske, and was stationed in Hong Kong from an indeterminate date until 1967.
There are a couple more pictures of her and an onboard account here:
And this page says that after departing Hong Kong, she was sold to Mitsui Ocean Development & Engineering Co. and renamed Ohtaka:
After that, I can’t find any record, although I’ve barely searched as yet.
Actually, correction to the above as I misread and then realized right after posting. (Wish you could edit posts!)
She was the second and larger of two cable-laying ships made in 1922, but they were the Edouard Suenson and the second Store Nordiske. The first Store Nordiske was an earlier ship that was also based somewhere in the Far East.
My father William Elmgreen was an engineer on the second Store Nordiske and was based in Shanghai, 1927-1940. In May 1940, just after Germany had invaded Denmark in April 1940, both cable steamers the CS Pacific and the CS Store Nordiske (Great Northern) left Shanghai for Hong Kong, On arrival, they pulled down their Danish flags and raised the Union Jack. They continued their work of repairing undersea cables.
My father wrote that: ” … the Store Nordiske was held up in the Yangtse Kiang River repairing a cable damaged by an American passenger ship which had anchored in the cable and broken it when she weighed anchor. On completion of her repair, the Store Nordiske proceeded south, heading for Hong Kong, when an Australian destroyer fired a warning shot across her bow. Of course, she was regarded as an enemy vessel and an Australian crew boarded her. According to our colleagues onboard, the boarding crew were treated like Royalty all the way to Hong Kong, judging by a slight reduction of the beer supply.”
The Pacific was later stationed at Singapore, relieving the British Cable Steamer, The Cable, and then went on to Australia, returning to Singapore in 1941..