This film is part of Free

The Launch of the Punta Medanos at Wallsend

Tyneside shipyard Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson turns out a beast of a tanker for the Argentine Navy

Sponsored film 1950 8 mins


A bit-part player in the Falklands conflict of 1982 was the Argentine naval tanker Punta Medanos. Thirty years earlier, all 500 feet of this newly built behemoth are seen sliding into the waters of the Tyne - twice. You don't need to understand the Spanish title cards to see that the two countries enjoyed, at least for the time being, a good business relationship.

The copy of the film in the BFI National Archive is something of an oddity. The footage seems unedited, with the launch seen from two angles - not intercut, but separately with glimpses of construction stages in between. But the effusive Spanish titles at the beginning and end of the film seem fully finished - even if some of them refer to things unseen.