Australian National Line

The Australian National Line (ANL) was an Australian Government owned overseas and coastal shipping line that operated between 1956 and 1998, when the container shipping operations and naming rights were bought by CMA CGM.

Australian National Line
Sea transport
Founded1 October 1956
ParentGovernment of Australia

Corporate history

The Australian National Line was formed on 1 October 1956 as the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission with the passing of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission Act.[1] The organisation took around forty ships previously operated by the Australian Shipping Board, which had been formed in 1946 by the Australian Federal Government.[2]

The Australian National Line and its predecessors acquired 20 ships made at the Whyalla shipyards in South Australia prior to 1970. Among them were freighters, colliers and bulk carriers for mineral transport. In June 1964, the largest bulk carrier ever produced in Australia was launched by Ruth Birrell, the daughter of the Chairman of the Australian Coastal Shipping Commission, P. J. Williams.[3]

In 1974 Australian Coastal Shipping Commission was replaced by the Australian Shipping Commission,[4] and in 1989 Australian National Line was established as a wholly owned government company.[5] In 1998 the French company CMA CGM bought the naming rights of ANL Limited from the Australian Federal Government.[6]

The Australian National Line was an early member of the Australian Shipping and Defence Council (now the Australian Maritime Defence Council) which was established by the Government of Australia in 1982.



The company entered the ferry business in 1959, when Tasmanian Steamers announced would be withdrawing from the Bass Strait. Its ship the Taroona was becoming totally inadequate, only being able to carry 30 cars, which had to be lifted aboard. As no replacement was available, the Federal Government decided that the Australian National Line should take over, and it would be provided with a subsidy with an order placed with the State Dockyard, Newcastle. The new ship was named Princess of Tasmania, was the first roll on/roll off ferry in the southern hemisphere and the largest. She entered the MelbourneDevonport route on 23 September 1959. The new ship and route were such a success for the ANL ordered a cargo only ship, to be named Bass Trader.

With the passenger numbers going so well on the Princess of Tasmania and cargo going very well also, ANL decided that a regular passenger service from Sydney to Hobart should be re-established. An order was placed with Cockatoo Docks & Engineering Company. The new ship was christened Empress of Australia on 18 January 1964. Empress of Australia made her maiden voyage from Sydney to Hobart on 16 January 1965. The Empress of Australia operated from Sydney to Hobart and Sydney to Bell Bay/Burnie and back.

With the Princess of Tasmania going so well out of Melbourne, there needed to be more capacity on the route, so ANL ordered a new ship to be built at the State Dockyard. The new ship would be bigger, with smaller passenger capacity but more cargo space, an early example of the Ro/Pax concept. The new ship was launched on 17 February 1969 as the Australian Trader. On 24 June 1969, Australian Trader set out on her maiden voyage to Devonport. The new ship operated a rotation between Bell Bay, Devonport and Burnie.

On 27 June 1972 Princess of Tasmania left Devonport for the final time. ANL sold her to Bahamarine Ltd, Nassau and she left Australia on 7 October 1972. When the Princess of Tasmania left the route the Australian Trader swapped with her, and Empress of Australia replaced the Princess of Tasmania on the Melbourne - Devonport trade.

ANL were involved in the 1975 Tasman Bridge disaster in Hobart, Tasmania, as the owner/operator of the Lake Illawarra, the bulk carrier which collided with the bridge, and consequently sank.

ANL announced that Australian Trader would be withdrawn from service, being replaced by a new freight only ship named Bass Trader.

On the final arrival of the Australian Trader in Bell Bay the crew went on strike. The ship remained idle there for two months. Finally on 24 September 1976 they gave up and she sailed to Sydney, laid-up and was offered for sale. The sale was completed on 16 January 1977 to the Royal Australian Navy as a training ship.

In 1983 the Tasmanian government were seeking from the Federal Government funds to charter a supplementary ship, being either Scotia Prince, St Patrick II, Stena Baltica or Odysseus Elytis. This was rejected.

In 1984 ANL announced that it would not be continuing in the ferry business, and the Empress of Australia would be withdrawn in 1985 and sold. This was then put into the hands of the Tasmanian Government which subsequently formed the TT-Line with the Federal Government agreeing to buy a ship.


The ceasing of the ANL's involvement in the passenger trade allowed them to concentrate solely on bulk freight and cargo. In 1998 the French company CMA CGM bought ANL's container shipping business and trading name from the Federal Government.

CMA CGM operate over 350 vessels (mostly container vessels) on all of the world's major shipping lanes. As part of CMA CGM, the shipping company is now a part of the world's third largest container shipping operator. ANL now employs over 450 staff globally and moves roughly 900,000 cargo containers per year..

Commercially, ANL still operates the more traditional North-South directional trades, plus nearly 20 relatively new East-West directional trades riding on the services of its parent - CMA CGM.

In line with its parent company, ANL has a major focus on the environment for its vessels, containers and office operations.

Fleet summary

This is a list of ships owned or operated by ANL between its formation in 1956 and privatisation in 1998.

NameTypeEntered ANL serviceLeft ANL serviceDispositionFate
MV BaralgaGeneral cargoFebruary 19571972Sold to Nilmore LtdBroken up 1980
SS BilkurraGeneral cargoFebruary 19571969Sold to Malaysian International ShippingBroken up 1974
SS BinburraGeneral cargoFebruary 19571969Sold to Malaysian International ShippingBroken up 1974
MV BoonarooGeneral cargoMarch 1957January 1971Sold to Collin Navigation CoBroken up 1985
MV BulwarraGeneral cargoMarch 1958January 1971Sold to Collin Navigation CoRan aground off Keelung and broke apart on 22 October 1971, total loss
SS DalbyGeneral cargoJanuary 1958October 1969Sold to Cronulla Cia Nav SARan aground off Keelung on 14 November 1971, abandoned as total loss
SS DandenongGeneral cargo19571960Sold to Jones Brothers Coal Pty LtdBroken up 1971
SS DaylesfordGeneral cargo19571960Sold to Fung Shing Navigation Co LtdBroken up 1972
SS DelungraGeneral cargoNovember 1957April 1960Sold to H & S Credits Pty LtdBroken up 1974
SS DenmanGeneral cargoMarch 19571965Sold to Eddie Steamships (Philippines) IncBroken up 1970
SS DubboGeneral cargoMarch 1957May 1965Sold to Australia Pacific Co (Hong Kong) LtdBroken up 1969
MV EdenhopeGeneral cargoFebruary 1957October 1965Sold to Bougainville Trading Co LtdBroken up 1979
MV ElmoreGeneral cargoFebruary 1957January 1965Sold to John Burke LtdBroken up 1987
MV EnfieldGeneral cargoFebruary 1957January 1965Sold to Legaspi Oil Co IncDeregistered 2008 in Manilla, Philippines. Still afloat.
MV EugowraGeneral cargoFebruary 1957June 1969Sold to Pacific Islands Shipping Co Pty LtdBroken up 1974
MV EuroaGeneral cargoFebruary 1957March 1969Sold to Keith Hollands Shipping Co Pty LtdBroken up 1980
MV InyulaBulk carrierFebruary 1957September 1975Sold to Octamaris Maritime CorporationSank in the Black Sea December 1977 in bad weather
MV Lake BarrineBulk carrierFebruary 1957October 1975Sold to Drillships LtdBroken up 1982
SS Lake EyreBulk carrierFebruary 1957February 1973Sold to Century Shipping Lines (Hong Kong) LtdBroken up 1975
MV NilpinaGeneral cargoFebruary 1957June 1971Sold to Simanggang Sawmill Co Pty LtdSank off Little Andaman Island on 22 June 1985.
MV NoongahGeneral cargoFebruary 195725 August 1969-Sank off Smoky Cape in heavy seas with the loss of 21 crew
MV RansdorpTankerMarch 1957May 1958Sold to Dent & GrahamSank in the Tasman Sea on 18 March 1961
SS River BurdekinGeneral cargoMarch 19571959Sold to Indonesian governmentBroken up 1971
SS River BurnettGeneral cargoMarch 1957April 1965Sold to Australine Shipping Co IncBroken up 1973
SS River ClarenceGeneral cargoMarch 19571960Sold to World-Wide SS Co LtdBroken up 1968
MV River DerwentGeneral cargoJanuary 1957April 1959Interstate Steamships Pty LtdRan aground during Typhoon Wanda, refloated and scrapped 1962.
MV River FitzroyGeneral cargoMarch 1957March 1963Sold to Amakasu Sangyo Kisen K KBroken up March 1963
MV River GlenelgGeneral cargoMarch 1957October 1960Sold to Hang Fung Shipping & Trading Co LtdBroken up January 1963
MV River HunterGeneral cargoFebruary 1957July 1959Sold to Albert Sims LtdBroken up 1960
MV River LoddonGeneral cargoMarch 1957March 1963Sold to Amakasu Sangyo Kisen K KBroken up March 1963
MV River MittaGeneral cargoMarch 1957July 1959Sold to Hang Fung Shipping & Trading Co LtdBroken up 1959
MV River MurchisonGeneral cargoFebruary 1957February 1963Sold to Amakasu Sangyo Kisen K KBroken up March 1963
MV River MurrayGeneral cargoMarch 1957August 1959Sold to Albert Sims LtdBroken up 1959
MV River MurrumbidgeeGeneral cargoMarch 1957January 1963Sold to Amakasu Sangyo Kisen K KBroken up March 1963
MV River NormanGeneral cargoFebruary 19571959Sold to Wallem & CoRan aground during Typhoon Wanda, refloated and scrapped 1962.
MV TalingaBulk carrierFebruary 1957July 1970Sold to Elios Compania Navigation SARan aground during Typhoon Rose, refloated and scrapped 1972.
MV TimbarraBulk carrierFebruary 1957January 1969Sold to Montauk Maritime LtdBroken up 1973
SS TyallaBulk carrierMarch 1957May 1957Sold to Cambray Prince Steamship Co LtdFormerly repair ship HMS Dullisk Cove. Broken up 1962
MV WangaraGeneral cargoMarch 1957October 1966Sold to Western Australian Coastal Shipping CommissionComveryed to a barge 1983
MV WindarraGeneral cargoApril 1957October 1970Sold to Collin Navigation CoBroken up 1980
MV YanderraBulk carrierFebruary 1957November 1970Sold to Collin Navigation CoBroken up 1976
MV YarrungaBulk carrierFebruary 1957December 1971Sold to Corona Navigation Co SASank in the Persian Gulf 4 May 1975 after cargo caught fire
MV IrandaBulk carrier1957August 1977Sold to Jollyboat SABroken up 1982
MV North EskGeneral cargo1957June 1979Sold to West Pacific Shipping Pty LtdBroken up 1984
MV Lake BogaBulk carrier195729 March 1978Sold to International Activity Shipping & Investment Co SABroken up 1984
MV Lake BogaBulk carrier1957January 1978Sold to Tien Tai Shipping Co SABroken up May 1978
MV IllowraBulk carrier1957June 1970Sold to Athenmar Shipping Co LtdBroken up 1982
MV Lake IllawarraBulk carrier19585 January 1975-Sank after colliding with the Tasman Bridge
MV Lake ColacGeneral cargo19581978Sold to Maliac Shipping CorporationBroken up 1979
MV Lake MacquarieBulk carrier1958January 1979Sold to Project and Services Pty LtdBroken up 1982
MV South EskGeneral cargo1959December 1972Sold to Eastern Shipping Lines IncSank in the South China Sea on 16 February 1980
MV Lake MacquarieBulk carrier1959June 1979Sold to Bluewater Bay Maritime IncBroken up 1981
MS Princess of TasmaniaPassenger and roll-on/roll-offSeptember 1959December 1972Sold to Bahamarine LtdBroken up 2005
MV Mount KeiraOre carrier1960June 1976Sold to Agile Shipping Co SABroken up 1983
MV Mount KemblaOre carrier1960June 1973Sold to Drillships LtdBroken up 1988
MV Bass Trader (1st)Roll-on/roll-off1961April 1975Sold to Halley Enterprise Shipping IncBroken up 1984
MV MerinoGeneral cargoOctober 1963December 1964Sold to Carpentaria Holdings Pty LtdScuttled in the Arafura Sea on 17 December 1986
MV JeparitGeneral and bulk cargo1964September 1979Sold to Massis Charity Shipping CoBroken up 1993
MV Musgrave RangeOre carrierNovember 1964June 1977Sold to Zea Shipping CoBroken up 1983
MS Empress of AustraliaPassenger and roll-on/roll-offJanuary 19651985Sold to Sun Cruises MaritimeSank in the Strait of Malacca on 23 August 1992
SS Darling RiverBulk carrier1966February 1979Sold to Malcome Collins (Australia) Pty LtdBroken up June 1979
MV Australian Trader (1st)Passenger and roll-on/roll-off1969January 1977Sold to the Royal Australian NavyBroken up 2004
MV Australian Enterprise (1st)Container and roll-on/roll-off19691 January 1986-Broken up 1986
MV Australian Endeavour (1st)Container19691 June 1985-Broken up 1985
MV Brisbane TraderContainer and roll-on/roll-off196910 December 1986Sold to Mastrogiorgis Shipping Co LtdBroken up 2010
MV Sydney TraderContainer and roll-on/roll-off19691984-Broken up 1984
MV TolgaBulk carrierOctober 1969 (leased)1983Returned to Arctic Shipping Co LtdBroken up 1994
SS Yarra RiverBulk carrier19701982-Broken up 1982
MV Townsville TraderContainer and roll-on/roll-off1970November 1984-Broken up 1984
MV Darwin TraderContainer and bulk carrier19701998-Still in service
MV EchucaContainer1971July 1976Sold to Wan Hai Steamship Co IncStill in service
MV AllungaContainer and roll-on/roll-off19711986-Broken up 1986
MV Mount NewmanBulk carrier1973 (chartered)1981Returned to Pacific Maritime Services LtdBroken up 1996
MV Alnwick CastleBulk carrier1974 (leased)June 1981Returned to Ben LineBroken up 1996
MV Tambo RiverBulk carrier1972 (chartered)September 1979Returned to Northern Bulk Carriers LtdBroken up 1998
MSC Australian ExporterContainerJuly 1972 (leased)1990Returned to Mediterranean Shipping Co SABroken up 1999
MV Lysaght EndeavourRoll-on/roll-off197310 June 1987-Broken up 1987
MV Lysaght EnterpriseRoll-on/roll-off19731987-Broken up February 1987
MV Australian EmblemContainer and roll-on/roll-off1974 (leased)17 April 1988Returned to Kawasaki Heavy IndustriesBroken up 1997
MV Melbourne TraderRoll-on/roll-offJanuary 19751988Sold to Bulk Enterprise LtdStill in service
MSC Australian ExplorerContainerApril 19751986-Broken up 1986
MV Stirling RangeBulk carrierApril 1975March 1980Sold to Antigoni Shipping Co LtdSunk 21 November 1983 in the Iran–Iraq War
MV Australian EscortContainer and roll-on/roll-offJanuary 19761989-Renamed Anro Melbourne
MV Bass Trader (2nd)Roll-on/roll-off19761997Sold to Strintzis LinesStill in service
MV Australian PioneerBulk carrierAugust 19761986Sold to Shanghai Ocean Shipping CoStill in service
MV Australian ProspectorBulk carrierDecember 1976July 1979Sold to Trikappa LtdBroken up 1999
MV Australian VentureContainer1976December 1996Sold to Lavicer Investments CorpBroken up 2006
MV Anro AustraliaContainerFebruary 19771997Sold to Ruby Enterprises IncBroken up June 1997
MV Flinders RangeBulk carrier19772 January 1987Sold to China Shipping GroupStill in service
MV Australian PurposeBulk carrierDecember 1977June 1979Sold to Lavicer Investments CorpBroken up 2006
MV Lake BarrineBulk carrier19781986Sold to Societe Mo Car SpAStill in service
MV Lake EildonBulk carrier19781985Sold to Queensland Lime & CementScrapped 2008
MV Lake EyreBulk carrier19781984Sold to Julia Shipping Pty LtdStill in service
MV Lake HumeBulk carrierJanuary 19791986Sold to Clarry Shipping LtdStill in service
MV Australian ProgressBulk carrierFebruary 19791991Sold to Treasure Sea Shipping IncBroken up 2002
MV Selwyn RangeBulk carrierJuly 19791990Sold to CSL PacificStill in service
MV Cape HawkeBulk carrier1981 (leased)December 1986Returned to British Phosphate CommissionBroken up 1987
MV Baron MurrayBulk carrierAugust 1981 (leased)1987Returned to Otway Shipping Co LtdBroken up 2003
MV Cape OtwayBulk carrierAugust 1981 (leased)1987Returned to British Phosphate CommissionBroken up 2008
MV River BoyneOre carrier1982--Still in service
MV River EmbleyOre carrier1983--Still in service
MV River YarraOre carrier19842002Sold to Canada Steamship LinesStill in service
MV Australian Trader (2nd)Container1 February 198519 January 1997Sold to Hub LineStill in service
MV Australian AdvanceContainer1986 (leased)1988Returned to United Arab Shipping CoStill in service
MV Tranztas TraderGeneral cargo19891998Sold to Littleton Services IncSank off Vietnam on 16 December 2010
MV Anro MelbourneContainer and roll-on/roll-off19891992Sold to Plixia Trading LtdBroken up 1998
MV Australian SearoadRoll-on/roll-off19891994Returned to Pacific Intercontinental Co LtdStill in service
MV Australian ExpressGeneral cargo6 September 1989 (leased)3 February 1990Returned to Nanyuan ShippingStill in service
MV Australian Endeavour (2nd)Container1991--Still in service as ANL Australia
MV Australian EnduranceContainer19911996Sold to Koala Shipping IncStill in service
MV Australian Enterprise (2nd)Container1997--Still in service as ANL Explorer

See also

  • Commonwealth Line, another government-owned shipping company in operation between 1916 and 1928


  • Ferry to Tasmania, a short History by Peter Plowman, ISBN 1-877058-27-0.
  1. "Corporate entry: Australian Coastal Shipping Commission". Australian Science at Work. Archived from the original on 14 August 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  2. "Corporate entry: Australian Shipping Board". Australian Science at Work. Archived from the original on 15 August 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  3. "Biggest Australian Bulk Ship Launched". The Canberra Times. 10 June 1964. p. 13. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  4. "Corporate entry: Australian Shipping Commission". Australian Science at Work. Archived from the original on 15 August 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  5. "Corporate entry: Australian National Line (ANL) Limited". Australian Science at Work. Archived from the original on 15 August 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
  6. "ANL - About Us". Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008.
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