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House flags of South African shipping companies

Last modified: 2011-04-15 by bruce berry
Keywords: african coasters | aliwal | celphalonia | durban coasters | grincor | irvin & johnson | jupiter shipping lines | point shipping | safmarine | sal | smiths coasters | thesens steamship | tristan dvpment corp | unicorn lines |
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African Coasters

  image by Jarig Bakker, 05 Jan 2005

From Scott, R.M., The Caltex Book of Flags and Funnels, Cape Town, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959) [scx59].
#136 African Coasters (Pty.) Ltd., Durban - quartered per saltire orange - white - blue - white; on white red "AC".
Jarig Bakker, 05 Jan 2005

This version is also shown by US Navy 1961 and Stewart 1963 whereas Brown 1951 changed the orange quarter to yellow and had black letters.
Neale Rosanoski, 28 Feb 2005


Aliwal Steamship Co.

  image by Jarig Bakker, 29 Dec 2004

From Scott, R.M., The Caltex Book of Flags and Funnels, Cape Town, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959) [scx59].
#37 Aliwal Steamship Co., Cape Town (Panama flag) - red flag, blue "A" contoured white
Aliwal is a town in the Punjab, India. Aliwal North is a town in the Free State province of South Africa, southwest of Lesotho.
Jarig Bakker, 29 Dec 2004


Cephalonia Shipping  

 image by Martin Grieve, 31 Mar 2005

Cephalonia Shipping (Pty) Ltd registered a flag with the South African Bureau of Heraldry on 18 April 1975 with the description:  On  a rectangular flag Azure, a sun in splendor Or.
Source: Data of the Bureau of Heraldry on registered heraldic representations.
Mark Sensen, 19 May 2002


Durban Lines

image by Martin Grieve, 27 Sept 2009

There is another error on this website and that is the reference to Durban Coasters. To the best of my knowledge and belief, there has never been a company called Durban Coasters.

Durban Lines owned and/or operated a number of small ships which plied between Durban, Mozambique and the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Reunion. Durban Lines was a company which was part of the South African-based Mosenthal Group, which failed early in 1976. Unicorn Lines, which colloquially (and incorrectly) was referred to as "Unicorn Shipping Lines (Pty) Ltd" bought Durban Lines which was absorbed into Unicorn's operations.

The Durban Lines house flag house flag is correctly depicted in your website.

Durban Lines Agents

King and Sons, Dunn & Company of Durban were the managers and Durban Agents for Durban Lines. At the time of the collapse of Mosenthal Group, King and Sons was headed by members of the highly respected Siedle family which had been involved with the company in one way or another since 1889.

King and Sons was purchased in 1976 by the Grindrod family as an extension to their existing ships agency and land-based businesses interests.

I quote from the current King and Sons web page:-
"King & Sons (Pty) Limited is one of the oldest ships agencies in Southern Africa, having been founded on 19 December 1881. Its origin was the agency formed by Captain Don King and Mr W S Bullard, who inaugurated the White Cross Line sailing ship schedule between London and Natal. The formation of a separate company to act as Natal agents for the Bullard King fleet was spearheaded by John George Maydon, a well known figure and one of the instigators in the development of Durban harbour, at the turn of the century. Maydon was a young man in 1881 when, together with Thomas Hurr, Jarvis, Daniel King and Daniel King Junior, he set up the business of shipbrokers, insurance brokers and surveyors in Durban. The company was named King & Sons. Offices were opened in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town. John Maydon retired to the United Kingdom in 1897 and the company was purchased jointly by Otto Siedle, who had joined the company as a clerk in 1889 and Harold King, the grandson of the original owner. In 1911, King retired and Siedle became the sole proprietor, later joined by his three sons, Karl, Basil and Jack.  In 1952, the Dunns joined the company. In 1976, King & Sons was bought by the Grindrod family and today is part of the Grindrod Limited Group, which listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The company's experience in shipping is vast and its highly qualified staff is able to handle ships ranging from passenger liners to specialised gas carriers at all Southern African ports from Walvis Bay to Maputo. The Grindrod Group as it exists today is a result of more than 75 years'
service to commerce and industry in the broad transportation field. It has grown as a result of its reputation for excellent service and the acquisition of other companies engaged in complementary activities".
Syd Oram, 16 Sept 2009


Durban Coasters

image by Jarig Bakker, 02 Jan 2005

From Scott, R.M., The Caltex Book of Flags and Funnels, Cape Town, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959) [scx59].
#60 Durban Coasters Ltd., Durban - yellow swallow tail background with blue Scandinavian-style cross.
Jarig Bakker, 02 Jan 2005


Grincor

[Grincor houseflag]  image by Jorge Candeias, 12 Feb 1999

A triangular red flag with a bold italic "G" in white.
Jorge Candeias, 12 Feb 1999


Irvin & Johnson (I&J)

  image by Jarig Bakker, 30 Dec 2004

From Scott, R.M., The Caltex Book of Flags and Funnels, Cape Town, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959) [scx59].
#48 Irvin & Johnson, Cape Town - horizontal triband of Red, White and Red.
Jarig Bakker, 30 Dec 2004

André Burgers of Cape Town writes:
I&J is a deep sea fishing company and I am not sure it belongs here. At the start of World War 2, South Africa had no navy and a sea service called the Seaward Defence Force (SDF) was hurriedly created from which the modern SA Navy traces its origins. This force's primary purpose was minesweeping and anti-submarine work around the South African coast (although they later also served in the Mediterranean). Most of the vessels came from requisioned trawlers from the local fishing (and whaling) companies of which Irvin and Johnson was one of the biggest and contributed the most vessels. The Nazi propaganda radio station operating from the occupied Netherlands (Radio Hilversum) aimed directly at South Africa and broadcasting in Afrikaans, dubbed the SDF derogatively the Irvin & Johnson Navy! Those little ships, however, did sterling work throughout the war and four of them were lost in the Med by mines or through direct enemy action. Most were returned to their original owners after the war.

Irvin & Johnson is still the biggest deep sea fishing company operating in the Southern Oceans from Cape Town but their ships are now very much bigger than those used in World War 2.
Jarig Bakker, 30 Dec 2004


Jupiter Shipping Lines

  image by Eugene Ipavec, 13 Nov 2007

On the pages of the Dutch Kombuispraat ("galley talk") discussion site (http://www.kombuispraat.com/viewtopic.dnv?t=911&highlight=maatschappijvlaggen) there is information about the house flag of a short-lived South African shipping company:

See the 15 Oct 2005 and a contribution by "Akwanaut", source unknown (extract titled 'Bijlage 2: De rederijvlag' i.e. "Annex 2: The house flag), concerning the various house flags belonging to, or related to, the Java China Japan Line (NL) :

The right flag of the second row is “ blue with large white initial 'J' connected to a white stylized wave above it (or, Jupiter-like, descending from a cloud formation?) with the caption: "Jupiter Lines (Pty) Ltd., Durban 1974-1976".

More is gained from the Ships List site (http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/java.htm) as follows:

"Also a joint venture was started with the South African Marine Corporation named Safocean Pty and in 1974 to avoid flag discrimination, the Jupiter Lines Pty, a daughter company was started in Durban. The New Holland (ex Randfontein) was taken over from Nedlloyd but the Australian passengers or tourist market was too small and the ship was sold to China.

In 1975 all the shipping lines were re-grouped and brought under the Nedlloyd banner and on 01 May 1977 the Nederlandsche Scheepvaart Unie was restyled as the Koninklijke Nedlloyd Groep and the KJCPL or RIL lost its name and disappeared into history."
Eugene Ipavec, 13 Nov 2007


Point Shipping Company

  image by Jarig Bakker, 02 Jan 2005

From Scott, R.M., The Caltex Book of Flags and Funnels, Cape Town, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959) [scx59].
#54 Point Shipping Co., Durban - per fly diagonal green - yellow; black  "PSC".
Jarig Bakker, 02 Jan 2005


Safmarine 

[Safmarine houseflag]  image by Jorge Candeias, 3 Feb 2002

The Safmarine flag is an orange Scandinavian cross, fimbriated in blue – since the company was largely Government-owned, it was expected to reflect the orange, white and blue so beloved of the former National Party government.

The company has largely been sold off, and I'm not sure how the ownership is currently structured.
Mike Oettle, 3 Feb 2002

Safmarine Agencies registered a flag on 3 September 1969 with the South African Bureau of Heraldry with the description: Argent a cross Tenne bordered Azure.
Source: Data of the Bureau of Heraldry on registered heraldic representations.
Mark Sensen, 19 May 2002
 


Smith's Coasters

  image by Jarig Bakker, 07 Jan 2005

From Scott, R.M., The Caltex Book of Flags and Funnels, Capetown, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959) [scx59].
#163 Smith's Coasters (Pty.) Ltd., Durban - red flag, white hoist diagonal charged with red "C.G.S".
Jarig Bakker, 07 Jan 2005

The letters stand for the original owners, C.G. Smith & Co. Ltd.
Neale Rosanoski, 28 Feb 2005


South African Lines (SAL)

 image by Jarig Bakker, 02 Jan 2005

From Scott, R.M., The Caltex Book of Flags and Funnels, CapeTown, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959) [scx59].
#77 South African Lines, Cape Town - seven horizontal stripes of blue and yellow; in center white "SAL".
Jarig Bakker, 02 Jan 2005

image by Eugene Ipavec, 15 Oct 2011

I am a former service-engineer of Wilton-Fijenoord Shipyard, which specialized in Doxford ships diesel engines.  Since my retirement in 2001 and being the last surviving of the six service-engineers that this yard had employed, I have kept myself busy documenting and writing about merchant marine related subjects that are dear to me, and whereof little can be found in books and other means of publication. From the cap badge it appears that the stripes of the SAL flag are navy blue and orange and not yellow as you illustrate above.

image sent by Tony van Eijk, 24 Feb 2011
Tony van Eijk, 24 Feb 2011

An open question is whether this should be considered a more accurate depiction, or whether it's an alternative?  We all agree the cap badge looks more orange, but does anyone have access to the source for the yellow colour, "Scott, R.M., The Caltex Book of Flags and Funnels, Cape Town, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959) [scx59]?"
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 24 Feb 2011

As to the colours, see Maritime Timetable Images which shows dark blue & orange stripes and a white monogram.
Jan Mertens, 25 Feb 2011

As opposed to the yellow of the Deutsche Ost-Afrika-Linie.  So in 1967, and according to the Deutsche Ost-Afrika-Linie, the SAL flag was using orange.  Yet, according to R.M. Scott [scx59] the flag had "seven horizontal stripes of blue and yellow; in center white "SAL".  I have seen this version used on other web sites as well.

Globus Rheederei (Hamburg) bought SAL around 1958. If they changed the flag, that would explain the difference. I wouldn't know whether they did, though.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 25 Feb 2011


Thesen's Steam Ship Co.

image by Jarig Bakker, 01 Sept 2004

From the link provided by Barbara Tomlinson of  The National Maritime  Museum: "The house flag of Thesen's Steam Ship Co. Ltd, Cape Town. The flag is a
red swallow-tailed burgee with a five-pointed white star. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist."
Jarig Bakker, 01 Sept 2004

From Scott, R.M., The Caltex Book of Flags and Funnels, Cape Town, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959) [scx59].
#94 Thesen's Steamship Co. Ltd, Cape Town - red swallow tail, white 5-pointed star.
Jarig Bakker, 04 Jan 2005


Tristan Development Corporation

  image by Jarig Bakker, 07 Jan 2005

From Scott, R.M., The Caltex Book of Flags and Funnels, Cape Town, Caltex Africa Ltd. (1959) [scx59].
#165 Tristan Development Corporation, Cape Town - red flag, white diamond, black "T".
Jarig Bakker, 07 Jan 2005


Unicorn Lines

image by Martin Grieve, 27 Sept 2009

I have noted with interest the flag shown on your website as that of Unicorn Lines. I can say with some authority as a staff member involved with the revision of the company logo, and subsequently as a Director of Unicorn Lines, that the flag you show is  incorrect.

image by Martin Grieve, 27 Sept 2009

The logo which was initially adopted by Unicorn Lines in the mid-1960s was a rampant red unicorn, in profile, facing right. The entire "animal" was depicted, and not merely the head. This logo was based on the logo of Union Corporation, a Johannesburg Sock Exchange mining and industrial conglomerate which had a substantial interest in Unicorn Lines.

image by Martin Grieve, 27 Sept 2009

In the early 1970s the logo was revised. I attach a JPEG file containing a scan of a Unicorn Lines desk-top flag which Unicorn distributed to its Clients for many years. As you can see the logo consists only of the stylized head, which itself it is substantially different from that reflected in your website (see original article below).

The new logo was incorporated into company letterheads and other documentation and also appeared on ship's funnels, containers, buildings, vehicles, etc.

image by Martin Grieve, 27 Sept 2009

Unicorn Lines ceased trading under that name several years ago. However the format of the logo/flag which I have attached continues to be used in a somewhat modified form by certain Divisions or Departments of Unicorn Shipping. This may be verified by looking up in the Grindrod Limited website.
Syd Oram, 16 Sept 2009

image by Jarig Bakker, 29 Dec 2005

Unicorn Lines (Pty), Ltd., Durban has horizontal blue over red flag; in center white outlined rounded square, charged with a white unicorn's head in the centre.
Image after Brown's Flags and Funnels of Shipping Companies of the World, compiled by J.L. Loughran, Glasgow, 1995.
Jarig Bakker, 29 Dec 2005