Irish American Oil Co., Ltd., Dublin
(later Esso Petroleum Co., (Ireland) Ltd.)
The formation of the Irish American Oil Company Ltd., registered in Dublin on 5th December, 1922, was the result of the creation of the Irish Free State on 15th January, 1922, the change in the national and economic status making it desirable that a separate organisation should handle, in that country, the business of the Anglo-American Oil Company Ltd. On 1st January, 1923, the new company officially acquired the business, in Eire, of Anglo-American.
Two notable facts in connection with the formation of the new company were that Anglo-American was among the first to recognise the changed status of the territory, and that Irish American was the first limited liability company un-der the new conditions to offer part of its capital to the Irish public for subscription.
Two seagoing ships were acquired by the company in 1924, both from the two-ship fleet of the Union Petroleum S.S. Company Inc., of New York, and they became the first ocean-going tankers owned in Eire.
By the time Irish American celebrated their 25th anniversary in 1948 all branches of the petroleum industry were covered and the company occupied the proud position of one of the largest trading organisations in Eire, with five sea-board installations and sixty inland depots. Its two main ocean terminals were at East Wall, Dublin, and at Foynes, on the river Shannon. Both were fully equipped so that the largest tankers of the day could be quickly and efficiently discharged. At the same time a thirty-acre site on the river front was acquired for further extension of the Foynes terminal, where additional storage tanks increased the total capacity to some 22,000 tons.
The immediate post-war development of air traffic between America and Ireland and the continent of Europe had made Shannon airport one of the most important air crossroads of the world and the proximity of Foynes enabled Irish American to provide an excellent aircraft refuelling service. Other depots for seaborne cargo were at Cork, Limerick and Sligo. Great interest at Sligo was aroused on 10th February, 1947, when the coastal tanker Esso Dakotah, (1942, 784 gt) arrived with a cargo of motor spirit and kerosene. This was the first cargo of petroleum products to arrive in the port since November, 1940.
Also at the end of the war, the company started to make good the demands accumulated during the war years, shortage of coal and oil having drastically curtailed railway services and motor transportation.
In 1951 Irish American became Esso Petroleum Company (Ireland) Ltd., a move to bring the company's title into complete association with the world-wide brand name. Subsequently in 1971 the company title was changed again, to Esso Teoranta, to emphasise its role in the development of Ireland's energy resources.
Currently, four seaboard installations are operated, these being at Dublin, New Ross, Cork and Shannon and there are also twenty inland depots. The Foynes terminal was closed some years ago and, instead, new facilities capable of taking coastal vessels were installed near Shannon airport, exclusively for aviationjet fuel.
Dublin continues to operate as Esso Teoranta's main installation, its berths capable of handling sea-going "coastal" tankers such as Esso Fawley, Esso Mersey and £550 Milford Haven. The other seaboard installations are serviced by smaller vessels, such as Esso Pemance and Esso Inverness, and by chartered vessels.
Limerick and Sligo, as sea-fed installations, have also been closed for some years, but they continue to operate as land depots, the former now fed by road tanker and the latter by rail tank wagon.
Map of harbours in Ireland.
Irish American ships.
Completed 01.1903; Gross tons 4,634,
Built by Greenock & Grangemouth Dockyard Co. as Pennoil.
Measurements: 365 feet length x 50 feet breadth.
Engines: T3cyl. 11 knots.
1924: (Irish American).
1950: On fire, explosion. Sold to shipbreakers.
As Pennoil, the ship was ordered by the Pennsylvania Trading Company of Hamburg, and operated by the Pure Oil Company (U.S.A.), on the Atlantic trade. A description of the vessel published soon after her building declared her to be "a most successful vessel" of the three-island type, carrying 6,775 tons of oil in twenty-two cargo tanks, loading and discharging being controlled by two pump rooms.
Features of her outfitting included steam fans for the dispersal of volatile vapours and the fitting, throughout, of electric light. Her various bunkers had a giant capacity for 1,500 tons of coal and overhead trolleys conveyed the fuel to the stokehold.
Later, she served the Vacuum Oil Company as the Gargoyle, before passing to Union Petroleum as Oswego. In 1924 she changed her name when acquired by Irish American, and in the same year she was converted to oil fuel. Seven years later, in 1931, she was sold to John A. Galani & Company, of Istanbul, and placed under the Greek flag as Petroil, becoming the only tanker in that nation's fleet.
Two years later the ship went to Piraeus owners, S. A. Hellenique Maritime et Commerciale Transpetrol.
She remained with these owners for the next seventeen years but hoisted the flag of Panama in 1947.
Her end came in 1950 while she was at Sete, on the French Mediterranean coast. On June 5th an explosion on board set her afire and she was beached. The fire was extinguished after three days, but the ship was badly damaged and the wreck was sold for breaking up.
Completed 06.1914; Gross tons 5,088
Built by J.Frerichs & Co., AG, Einswarden, as Steana Romana.
Measurements: 388 feet length x 52 feet breadth.
Engines: T3cyl (aft).
1924: (Irish American).
1930: Marangona (5,257 gt).
As Steana Romana, the Queen Tailte was built in Germany for Romanian owners. Then she, too, passed into Union Petroleum ownership, becoming Westwego, before being acquired by Irish American. Sold in 1930 to Guiseppe Calzavara, of Venice, she was renamed Marangona. Four years later she changed hands again, still within Venice, going to Cia. Industrie Marittima. On 10th December, 1940 the ship was lost in the Mediterranean, when she struck a mine and sank in position 36.13N 11.59E, off the island of Pantellaria, south of Sicily.