CHANT (ship type): Wikis


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Class overview
Builders: Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Haverton Hill-on-Tees
H Scarr Ltd, Hessle
Goole Shipbuilding & Repairing Co Ltd, Goole
Burntisland Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Burntisland
J Readhead & Sons Ltd, South Shields
Operators: Ministry of War Transport
Completed: 68
Lost: 18
Scrapped: 50
General characteristics
Type: tanker
Tonnage: 401 GRT
(in practice many were 402 or 403 GRT)
450 TDW
Length: 148 feet 2 inches (45.16 m) overall
142 feet 2 inches (43.33 m) between perpendiculars
Beam: 27 feet (8.23 m)
Draught: 8 feet 5 inches (2.57 m)
Installed power: 1 x diesel engine, 220 to 270 horsepower (160 to 200 kW)
Propulsion: single propellor
Speed: 7.5 knots (13.9 km/h)
Notes: Double hull, flat bottom

A CHANT (from Channel Tanker) was a type of prefabricated coastal tanker which was built in the United Kingdom during the Second World War due to a perceived need for coastal tankers after the invasion of France.[1] Some CHANTs were adapted to carry dry cargos. These were known as the Empire F type coasters.[2]

Although five CHANTs were lost during the war, the majority of the ships saw service post war, lasting into the 1990s.



The CHANT was developed with experience gained by building the Tug, Inshore and Dock (TID). As with the TIDs, CHANTs were built from prefabricated sections which were manufactured at various factories across the United Kingdom. A total of twenty-eight sections made up into a ship. The largest sections weighed thirteen tons which enabled them to be delivered by road. To simplify construction, they were built without compound curves. All plates being either flat or curved in one direction only, with the exception of the skeg at the stern. All joints were welded, with the final 10 inches (254 mm) being left unwelded at the factory to enable final adjustment at joints when the ship was assembled by the shipyard.[1]

CHANTs were designed with a flat bottom to enable them to ground on beaches. A double hull was used to minimise any chance of leakage. Each CHANT had four sub-divided tanks and was fitted with two derricks and winches.[1] They were not the most stable of ships, and needed to carry plenty of ballast.[3] CHANTs were assembled at five different shipyards, and launched between February and May 1944.[1]



H Scarr, Hessle

Henry Scarr Ltd, Hessle, Yorkshire built twelve CHANTs. They were named CHANT 1 to CHANT 12 inclusive. A further twelve ships were completed as "Empire F type" coasters.[1]

Goole Shipbuilding & Repairing

Goole Shipbuilding & Repairing Co Ltd, Goole, Yorkshire built nine CHANTs. They were named CHANT 22 to CHANT 28, CHANT 50 and CHANT 51. A further thirteen ships were completed as "Empire F type" coasters.[1]

Furness Shipbuilding, Haverton Hill-on-Tees

Furness Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Haverton Hill-on-Tees, Co Durham built sixteen CHANTs. They were named CHANT 42 to CHANT 45 and CHANT 52 to CHANT 65.[1]

J Readhead & Sons, South Shields

J Readhead & Sons Ltd, South Shields, Co Durham built only two CHANTs; CHANT 60 and CHANT 61.[1]

Burntisland Shipbuilding

Burntisland Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Burntisland, Fife built four CHANTS; CHANT 66 to CHANT 69.[1]

Empire F type coasters

The Empire F type coasters were a dry cargo version of the CHANT tankers. Due to the success of Operation Pluto, which put a fuel pipeline between the English and French coasts, the demand for CHANTs was not as high as had been thought initially. Although of the same dimensions as the CHANTS, the Empire Fs were 410-411 GRT and 460 DWT. They were driven by diesel engines of 300 horsepower (220 kW) and could make 8 knots (15 km/h). A total of twenty five were built. They were renamed with the prefix "Fabric" instead of "CHANT" while still under construction. All were renamed again before launch, carrying the "Empire" prefix and had a suffix beginning with "F". They were built by H Scarr Ltd, Hessle and Goole Shibuilding & Engineering Ltd, Goole.[2]

Built by H Scarr

The twelve Empire F type coasters were originally to have been named CHANT 14 to CHANT 17, CHANT 20, CHANT 21, and CHANT 46 to CHANT 49. Renamed with the prefix Empire, they served as Empire Fabric, Empire Fabian, Empire Fable, Empire Farringdon, Empire Fanfare, Empire Faversham, Empire Facility, Empire Faraway, Empire Fanal, Empire Fastness, Empire Farrier and Empire Fathom.[2]

Built by Goole Shipbuilding

The thirteen Empire F type coasters built at Goole were originally to have been CHANT 29 to CHANT 41. They were renamed with the prefix Empire. They became Empire Factor, Empire Fairhaven, Empire Favourite, Empire Fashion, Empire Fans, Empire Farnham, Empire Farouche, Empire Farringay, Empire Farjeon, Empire Facet, Empire Fang, Empire Fairplay and Empire Fairway.[2]


CHANTs were built to provide supplies of fuel to the Allied Forces in the aftermath of D-Day. Three CHANTs capsized during June 1944 and it was decided to use the Gooseberrys until stability tests had been carried out. CHANT 23 was disabled by a shell in her engine room but continued to refuel other ships. CHANT 26 was driven ashore on a large wave and ended up in a field having passed through a hedge. After discharging her cargo she was dragged back to the beach, refloated and towed back to the UK.[3]



  • On 8 June 1944, CHANT 61 capsized and sank off the Normandy beachhead.[1]
  • On 16 June 1944, CHANT 69 capsized off Normandy. She was sunk by gunfire from a Royal Navy ship.[1]
  • On 19 June 1944, CHANT 7 was driven ashore on the Normandy coast and capsized. Declared a constructive total loss.[1]
  • On 5 January 1945, CHANT 68 capsized and sank in Grangemouth Harbour while under repair. Although she was raised on 23 January it was deemed uneconomic to repair her and she was scrapped.[1]

Post war

  • On 8 January 1951, MV Monty (ex CHANT 4) capsized and sank near the Torungen Lighthouse, Arendal, Norway.[1]
  • On 28 December 1951, MV Gemma (ex CHANT 51) capsized 10 nautical miles (19 km) from San Sebastián, Spain. Wreck drifted ashore and was scrapped in situ.[1]
  • On 26 September 1954, MV Necati Pehlivan II (ex CHANT 23) ran aground at Mariehamn, Finland and sank.[1]
  • On 16 March 1961, MV Lizzonia (ex CHANT 35 / Empire Farouche) was in collision with MV Arctic Ocean 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) north west of the Varne Lightship, English Channel. Ship was abandoned and later sank.[2]
  • On 18 June 1963, MV Agios Nektarios (ex CHANT 38 / Empire Facet) caught fire in the Ionian Sea. She was taken in tow by the SS Lastovo but sank near Patras, Greece.
  • On 22 April 1972, MV Gilani (ex CHANT 41 / Empire Fairway) capsized and sank at Vercheres Wharf, Montreal, Canada while being loaded. Later refloated and repaired. Reported to have been sold to new owners in Honduras in 1978 and lost at an unknown date.[2]

Last in service

The MV Fermont (ex CHANT 49), which ran aground in 1991 was the last CHANT in commercial service.

CHANT 28, which had been sold to the French Government in 1946 was still in service at Le Havre, France in 1981, her name never having been changed.[1] She was scrapped in 1986.[6]

Notes and References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Mitchell, W H, and Sawyer, L A (1995). The Empire Ships. London, New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong: Lloyd's of London Press Ltd. pp. p286–292. ISBN 1-85044-275-4.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Mitchell, W H, and Sawyer, L A (1995). The Empire Ships. London, New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong: Lloyd's of London Press Ltd. pp. 222–225. ISBN 1-85044-275-4.  
  3. ^ a b "Fuelling at Sea". Merchant Navy Officers. Retrieved 19 February 2009.  
  4. ^ "Fermont MV [+1991]". Wrecksite. Retrieved 19 February 2009.  
  5. ^ "Fermont - 1991". Nova Scotia Government. Retrieved 19 February 2009.  
  6. ^ "CHANT 28". Goole Ships. Retrieved 20 February 2009.  


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