Completed 1944 as Palo Duro for U.S.M.C. 1947 purchased by STUK and renamed "THELICONUS". 11-1959 laid-up Lough Swilly. 29-5-1962 arrived Dalmuir for scrap.

Also known as
Palo Duro
IMO number
Call sign
Construction number
16.678 ton
Length overall
Year of construction
Year of renaming/broken up
Service for Shell
1947 to 1962
Flag state
Home port




Date Visitor Anecdote
01/10/2016 - 19:42 David John Turner

I joined the Theliconus in Middlesburgh dry-dock as a first trip apprentice. She was not exactly as beautiful as we had been led to believe. Our cabins were retrofits on the aft end of the boat deck. My first job was to remove the ropes stored in mine and bail out the water flooding it. The ship was a cheap wartime built tanker equivalent to the liberty cargo ships, but the turbo electric power plant was a brilliant design. The main generator powered the DC shaft motor at sea and then powered the cargo pumps whilst in port, which meant that did not stop running from one dry-docking to the next. We sailed from Middelesburgh to Curacao and stayed on the Maracaibo/Willemstad run for many months bringing crude oil from Maracaibo to the refinery on the island. I visited Curacao in 2015 and found a photo of the Theliconus in the museum in Willemstad - made me feel pretty old! The pontoon bridge is still there, but no longer used, a road bridge has now replaced it a?? times change!

11/09/2012 - 17:00 Laurence Harold...

My twin brother (Ernest) and I joined the Theliconus at the Bute dry-dock, Cardiff on 1st March 1951 as Junior Ordinary Seamen. One morning, with nobody about, I slipped into the Officer's Saloon to see what was on offer - a nice tin of mixed biscuits was very soon lightened. Pockets full, I was just about to go back on deck when Captain Webster appeared on the scene and understandably, wanted to know what I was doing in there. Luckily for me, I'd heard that in the saloon, each of Uncle Joe Shell's tankers (Anglo Saxon Petroleum Company) had a sea shell in a cabinet which the vessel was named after. Captain Webster was kind enough to show me the cabinet with it's shell and rather impressed by the fact that I knew abou such things. After that close call, I never ventured in there again. Just maybe, the Chief Steward should have had biscuits available for us mere lower-deck ratings for our smokos'. A good ship (hot as hell up the Persian Gulf, but for all that a happy ship.
Laurence H. Stroud
Master Ret'd.

09/04/2011 - 12:13 Keith Brewster

Theliconus was my first deep sea ship.Joined her at Smiths dry dock North sheilds October 1958 and paid off in August 1959 after she was laid up in Loch Swilly County Donegal.She was a bit of a rust bucket and in rough weather the after accomodation was always awash with sea water,thank goodness for large coamings to the cabin.We spent the winter of 1958/59 sailing from Curasao to New Jersey,Perth Amboi and once for a change Buckport in Maine,plus Pasadena in Texas.mind You as a lowly cabin boy the North American living allowance made the rough weather every week bearable

04/02/2010 - 21:56 Alan Elliott

1954, I was 4th engineer on the Thelconus. We were in passage from Curacao to Ghent
when we ran into some pretty rough seas.I am sure this must have been the worst crossing I could recall. At times it reached force 9 to 10,

We were approaching the Bay of Biscay and the weather had not eased at all. I was on 8 to midnight watch. At about 11.0 pm the telegraph rang to standby. The bridge rang to tell me that we had received a distress call from a small boat in our vicinity and we were going to assist.
We duly arrived alongside the Motor Cruiser "The Episode". She was taking on water and her engine-room was flooded. The seas were huge and the it was blowing mighty hard. I was informed by the Chief Engineer, an Aussie by the name of John L. Stuart.He and the second mate would take a boat crew and try to take off the crew from the "Episode", using our only Motor Life-boat.The lifeboat was launched and made way to the motor cruiser, but the engine of the life-boat siezed up and it was too rough for them to continue using oars so they were forced to abort the attempt.They returned to the ship.
The captain decided to wait until daylight and make another attempt. At first light he took the ship alongside the Episode This created a lee and took all three crew members off the cruiser.
We then stood by the Episode until she finally sank.
It was a brilliant piece of seamanship by the skipper. Unfortunately I cannot remember his name but I hope that he did get some recognition.It was worthy of it.