The Aberthaw Fisher, named after Aberthaw power station in the Vale of Glamorgan, was one of a pair of very specialised RO-RO (roll on – roll off) heavy transport ships, the other being Kingsnorth Fisher, built for The Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB). James Fisher & Co Ltd of Barrow-in-Furness were employed to operate and manage the vessel. The company specialises in the road transport of very heavy plant and equipment. The ship was launched on Friday 18th of February 1966 at Ailsa shipbuilders in Troon, with Kingsnorth Fisher being built by Hall Russell and Company at Aberdeen.

These ships were specially built to transport large roadborne loads, such as generators, turbines and transformers to the fleet of new power stations being built by the CEGB around the British coast at that time. They were designed to be very stable and could operate in shallow water. They were initially based in Pamona docks at Manchester, the centre of the British heavy electrical engineering industry, and may have been the last vessels to use this part of Manchester’s inland port. The builders of the current Aberthaw B power station utilised the vessel during construction.

As the UK road network at the time could not accommodate these large loads, they were transported over a short distance from the equipment builders to the docks by heavy haulage road trailers which were rolled aboard via a purpose designed rear loading ramp equipped with winches to haul trailers on. The ramp was then lowered down into the ship for the sea voyage. The coastal power stations had specially constructed loading berths to accommodate the ships, some since demolished.

First named Aberthaw Fisher she started out her life working under lease to the CEGB. With the privatisation of the CEGB, in 1990 she was renamed ‘National Generation’ after change of ownership to National power PLC. In 1992 James Fisher & Co Ltd took ownership of the vessel and continued her use as a Ro-Ro sea transporter. In 1996 the ship was sold to Benguela Concessions in Capetown South Africa where she was converted into a diamond mining vessel. She was subsequently renamed Moonstar and remained in the area until finally being sent for scrap at Alang in India. Her final date being given as 21/10/2000.  

Ship details


Built by Ailsa Shipbuilding Company
Yard No 522
Engines by W H Allen Sons & Co Ltd Bedford

Last Name: MOONSTAR (1996)
Port of Registry: Barrow
Propulsion: 2 x M6cy 4SA Allen 6BCS37D 2200bhp - driving 2genrs each 610kw 605v dc connected to 2 elec motors each 750shp machinery aft
Launched: Friday, 18/02/1966
Built: 1966
Ship Type: Heavy Lift Ro Ro Vessel
Ship's Role: Coastal transportation of large roadborne loads to power stations
Tonnage: 2355grt 2198dwt (1996: 2609grt 782nrt 2233dwt)
Length: 284 feet
Breadth: 54 feet 2
Draught: 15 feet 1
Owner History:
Central Electricity Generating Board ( mng: James Fisher & Co, Barrow)
1990 National Power plc (mng: Fisher)
1992 James Fisher & Co, Barrow
1996 Benguela Concessions Ltd, Cape Town (converted to mining vessel)
1997 Moonstone Diamonds (South Africa) Pty Ltd, Pretoria
1999 Benguela Operations (Pty) Ltd, Cape Town
Status: Scrapped - 21/10/2000 Alang, India