American Marine Limited [1956-1975]

Submitted by Klaus on Sun, 10/17/2021 - 01:00

Shipyard founded by Robert Newton, (manager of Bireley’s soft-drink bottling plant located on Mok Cheong Street/Ma Tau Kok) and his sons John and Whit. They started in 1956 building boats on the parking lot of the bottling plant.

In 1962, they moved to Junk Bay near the village of Hang Hau. Here they manufactured heavy sailboats and big motor yachts to designs by the world's top marine architects - Sparkman & Stephens, William Garden, Nat Herreshoff, Ray Hunt and others. When writing “manufactured” it literally means “hand crafted”. Many carpenters were building the boats, photos of their work can be seen on posts listed below.

From1963 onwards, they were concentrating more on diesel-powered cruisers than on sailboats, and in 1965 they designed and started to built a 36 foot diesel-powered cruiser series named “Grand Banks”, a total number of 1.124 "GB36" have been built. They are regarded as an iconic type of boats, many of these still run today.

In 1962, Tony Fleming started as the technical director of American Marine in Hong Kong, a few months before typhoon Wanda struck Hong Kong and the shipyard. His report on Youtube with many photos can be viewed (link below).

In 1968, American Marine built a shipyard in Singapore and moved activities more and more to this location. 1975, the Hong Kong branch was in bankruptcy, the premises were taken over by Joseph Kong (former general manager of American Marine) and Harvey Halvorson who formed Kong & Halvorsen Marine & Engineering Company, Ltd.

They continued shipbuilding in Hong Kong until the early 1980s when they moved the business to mainland China.

Sources and further reading:

Grand Banks History - agbm (a powerpoint presentation, will be downloaded after clicking)

Surviving Typhoon Wanda

Grand Banks

Taipan Charters


Date organisation created
(Day & Month are approximate.)
Date organisation closed
(Day & Month are approximate.)

Photos of this organisation: