A PORT man who was on the Greek sugar boat MV Captayannis just hours before it sank off The Tail O' The Bank 50 years ago is set to make a poignant visit to the wreck tomorrow.

Alex McConnachie never dreamed that the ship would still be in the same place five decades later or that he would be sailing out to see it to mark the milestone January 27 1974 accident.

Greenock Telegraph:

Alex, 66, had worked at Clyde Marine Motoring Company at Princes Pier, and after leaving school at 15, worked in Cooper's Fine Fare in Kilmacolm before seeing an advert in the Tele for a deckhand on board the Captayannis.

The Bardrainney Avenue man said: "It was dead exciting for a 16-year-old.

"We used to take the ships agents out to the ships, they dealt with admin and wages we took the customs guys out too.

"We had to wait to take them back, so the crew used to take us in the galley and we'd get a meal.

"It was a brilliant job and I met loads of interesting people. I used to take [famous local artist] George Wylie out to the boats.

"George was brilliant, I had great banter with him. I never thought he would have become as famous as he did, he was a really nice person to talk to.

"I had only been there for eight months when the boat sank.

"That fateful day we took this agent out to the sugar ship and I was waiting to take him back."

MV Captayannis had been waiting at the Tail 'o the Bank to deliver sugar to James Watt Dock but a storm that night caused her to drift onto the anchor chains of a BP Tanker causing a hole in her side.

Alex said: "It wasn't until the next morning that I heard from the nightshift, I couldn't believe she had sank.

"I was shocked that only a few hours earlier I had been on the ship. The captain had a wee motorbike and the crew had been painting the deck."

All crew and the captain were brought to safety but the shipwreck has remained in situ for the last half-century.

Alex said: "It's nostalgia. It's a bit of history. I never thought it would still be lying there 50 years later. It's almost a tourist attraction now."

Alex is married to Caroline and they have a daughter Amy and grandson Glen, who is four months old.

He stayed with the company for five years before becoming a bus driver with SMT, and then a lorry driver.

But he still kept a connection with the sugar industry.

He explained: "I used to take the sugar from the ships up to the warehouse in a tipper truck.

"I took deliveries all over Scotland, liquid sugar to Coca-Cola and Barr's, and sugar to Tunnock's in Uddingston. I knew Boyd Tunnock, he used to move his Rolls Royce which was parked in the weighbridge to let the delivery in."

Clyde Charters are running trips out to the sugar ship tomorrow.