RFA Surf Patrol



Previous name:                 Tatry
Subsequent name:            Marisurf    

Official Number:                169230                                                         

Class:                                 SURF CLASS Freighting Tanker

Pennant No:                      A357

Laid down:                         20 March 1950
Builder:                               Bartram and Sons Ltd, Sunderland
Launched:                          7 February 1951
Into Service:                      17 July 1951
Out of service:                   11 May 1961 - laid up at Devonport
Fate:                                   Sold commercially December 1969


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  The two sister ships in this Class were originally ordered by Polish owners and both were jointly commandeered by the Admiralty and the Foreign Office under the Defence Regulations and Enactments during the Korean War. They were initially used mainly for charter work, then carried Admiralty cargoes for a short while before being placed in reserve. There was to have been a third ship in this Class, to have been named SURF PILOT, which was also requisitioned by the Admiralty during the Korean War to prevent her being used by the Communists. She however commissioned instead as a tender to HMS TERROR at Singapore, before being laid up in very poor condition and she was never used by the RFA


14 May 1948 ordered with a contract price of £630.000

20 March 1950 keel laid down by Bartram and Sons Ltd, Sunderland as Yard Nr: 332

7 February 1951 launched and named TATRY for Gdynia-America Shipping Lines Ltd, Gydnia, Poland which was subsequently dissolved and its fleet transferred to the Polskie Linie Oceaniczne  

14 July 1951 requisitioned by the Admiralty and renamed SURF PATROL

14 July 1951 Captain Donovan J S Newton MID RFA appointed as Master

16 July 1951 ran trials

17 July 1951 completed and handed over to the Admiralty

19 July 1951 berthed at the Admiralty Quay, Hebburn, River Tyne

Surf Patrol 1951 press cutting

Press cutting from the Sunderland Daily Echo of 19 July 1951 

21 July 1951 sailed from the River Tyne for Southampton

25 September 1951 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on Flamborough Head sailing north arriving at West Hartlepool from Plymouth the same day for repairs

26 January 1952 Mr A Webb RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 February 1952 the builders submitted an account for £629.5.0d for additional work undertaken at the Admiralty's request

14 March 1952 sailed Curacao for Trinidad

18 March 1952 agreed payment for the ship made this day

3 September 1952 Captain C N Kennels RFA appointed as Master

15 September 1952 from the River Tyne for Trinidad

24 February 1953 berthed at Hobart, Tasmania from Bahrain

4 March 1953 berthed at Melbourne from Bahrain

26 April 1953 berthed at Melbourne from Bahrain

3 May 1953 sailed Melbourne

6 July 1953 sailed Melbourne for Perth, WA

9 July 1953 berthed Perth, WA

3 September 1953 arrived Hobart to discharge from Bahrain

5 September 1953 sailed Hobart to Barhrain

30 October 1953 sailed Melbourne for Bahrain

23 December 1953 arrived Sydney, NSW Australia to discharge

31 December 1953 arrived Cairns to discharge from Sydney NSW

2 January 1954 sailed Cairns for Bahrain

18 January 1954 Mr T H Purvis RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

19 March 1954 arrived at arrived Cairns to discharge

29 April 1954 Captain T G Hill RD RFA (Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master

14 May 1954 sailed Melbourne

11 July 1954 arrived Brisbane to discharge from Bahrain

21 July 1954 sailed Townsville, Australia after discharging cargo

8 September 1954 arrived at Hobart to discharge from Bahrain

10 September 1954 sailed Hobart to Sydney, NSW

12 September 1954 arrived at Sydney, NSW from Hobart

19 September 1954 at Cairns

11 October 1954 arrived at Bombay from Chittagong

2 December 1954 Mr P Ryan RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

9 December 1954 arrived Melbourne, Victoria

10 December 1954 sailed Melbourne, Victoria

16 December 1954 arrived Cairns, North Queensland to discharge

1 January 1955 sailed Colombo for Bahrein

19 April 1955 sailed Melbourne, Victoria for Bahrein

15 August 1955 arrived Brisbane

15 October 1955 arrived at Bahrein

21 November 1955 sailed Melbourne for Colombo, Ceylon

7 December 1955 sailed Colombo, Ceylon for Bahein

17 December 1955 arrived at Bahrein

25 December 1955 sailed Colombo for Sydney, NSW

17 January 1956 five members of the Chinese crew appeared before Sydney Magistrates' Court, NSW, Australia and each pleaded Guilty to smuggling £10,000 worth of opium into Australia. They claimed they had bought the drug in Bahrain. They were each fined £100

23 January 1956 Sailor Lee Ing Chong discharged dead from gas poisoning 

22 March 1956 Captain Donald B C Ralph OBE DSC* RFA appointed as Master

25 March 1956 Mr Reginald R Darroch RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer


Chief Engineer Officer Reginald R Darroch RFA

31 March 1956 sailed the River Tyne and later passed the Lloyds Signal Station on Flamborough Head sailing south - when on passage to Antwerp

5 May 1956 at Smiths Dock, River Tyne. RFA SURF PIONEER was also berthed there

12 May 1956 Captain B Smith RFA appointed as Master

2 December 1957 Mr E S Meaton  RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

17 January 1958 Captain Emile E Sigwart RFA (Temporary Lieutenant Commander RNR) appointed as Master

Captain E Sigwart

Captain Emile E Sigwart RFA

2 December 1958 Captain George S Perry RFA appointed as Master

13 February 1959 after grounding off Innellan Village, Argyllshire in the Firth of Clyde was refloated this day and taken to Tail of Bank, Greenock for inspection

22 November 1959 berthed at Malta

26 November 1959 sailed Malta to the Persian Gulf

31 January 1960 berthed at Malta from the Persian Gulf

6 January 1960 Captain Douglas G Cox OBE RFA appointed as Master

7 January 1960 Mr W Ditchburn RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

4 March 1960 berthed at Singapore

2 April 1960 berthed at Malta

17 June 1960 berthed at Malta from the Persian Gulf

8 July 1960 berthed at Malta

2 August 1960 Mr W B Jones RFA appointed as Chief Engineer Officer

5 August 1960 Captain J Ditchburn RFA appointed as Master

5 February 1961 visited Auckland, New Zealand

11 April 1961 at Gosport Oil Fuel Jetty

11 May 1961 laid up at Devonport

1 November 1969 offered for sale 'as lying' at Devonport Dockyard in the Times of this day

Press cutting Times WLaird WDuke Surf Patrol 1969

December 1969 Purchased by General Carriers S.A, London and renamed MARISURF

1970 Purchased by Allied Industries Ltd, Limassol name unchanged

31 August 1974 laid up at Piraeus, Greece

27 May 1980 sold for demolition

16 June 1980 delivered to Elkhart & Co, Germany for resale

21 July 1980 arrived Split for demolition by Brodospas




1. Her and her sister (RFA Surf Pioneer)  always retained the Polish Eagle embossed on their funnels

Additional information

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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