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Please Note: All “Save The Classic Liners Campaign” & ssMaritime, as well as all my other related Maritime/Cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or travel agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960, but is now retired, but occasionally will write an article on classic liners and cruise ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure! In addition, update this feature for the interest for my long list of supporters, but I no longer work in saving ships myself, I leave that for others now!

 

Click HERE to go direct to the MV Doulos Campaign Story!

 

Please Note: Photographs on this page are either - taken by the author, from my private collection or as mentioned otherwise!

Having been in the passenger shipping industry for a good fifty-five years working from an office boy with a major shipping company, to later becoming an agent selling berths on ships to and from the UK and European ports, as well other ports on the way. In due course I managed a major Passenger Shipping Company and operated a successful Cruise Company in the 1970’s, it stands to reason that my love for classic and traditional passenger liners/cruise ships is obvious!

Personally it has been my good fortune to have been directly involved in saving worthwhile passenger ships since 1990, but have done so officially online since 1995! However, sadly there have been far too many tragedies with some amazing ships lost, but there have also been some wonderful and sweet victories! But, this is not the time to sing praises for there are a few great classic liners left that are worth saving and thus this page being continued as a means of keeping you in the loop!

However, let me first advise you; although I am technically no longer involved in the actual saving of any of these wonderful ships, I now have to leave that job to others who I hope some are well trained and qualified individuals and organisations or owners who will be able to do this very difficult work. However, they will need your assistance! Therefore, this page is to keep you informed and reach out to those who may be able to assist in a greater way, as I have experienced in the past. Therefore I sincerely ask you with all my heart to continue to assist them through every possible means to save some of these fine and much loved classic liners and yes, even some of the lesser-known ships.

Of course there is the great SS United States that has already been purchased, but it requires our help for her to be fully restored to her former glory and you are greatly needed for this. Everything is fully explained by SS United States Conservancy. Of course there is the now rather tragic MV Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) that is now in a dead ship state in Dubai and is deteriorating badly and nobody knows what her future will be! In additions there is news about a number of other wonderful ships that may have already found a new home, including a ship I saved being my greatly loved and the worlds oldest passenger ship in existence, the 101 year old MV Doulos that is currently being converted into a hotel!

Thus, come aboard and support the very special work that is still being done by many good people and feel good knowing that you will have done your something special, for doing something in assisting in saving a part of great maritime history that will last long into the future as it will be for your children’s children to see what a genuine ship really looks like, rather than those hideous great big square boxes that look more like apartment (Condo)

I sincerely thank all my wonderful readers and supporters for the many years that you have been with me and returned again and again, for amazingly the ssmaritime/savetheclassicliners pages have received well over 504 million readers and that is an amazing feat indeed! Thus, I wish to thank all my supporters for I am most touched by your kindnesses, especially for your countless emails of support over the recent years during my poor health!

Reuben Goossens.

Ships on this page:

1 - SS United States, 2 - MV Queen Elizabeth 2, 3 - MS Saga Ruby, 4 - MV Doulos,

5 - SS Rotterdam V, 6 TS Queen Mary, 7 - MV Baragoola, 8 - MV Cape Don.

 

--Updated January, 2015--

 

S.S. United States

Above we see the without a Doubt the Greatest American Trans-Atlantic Liner ever built - NOW Let US SAVE HER!

Dear friends, it is vital to understand that the SS United States is without doubt one of the world’s greatest marine achievements that was brought about by the wonderful, William Francis Gibbs who was the brainchild behind the great SS United States an American liner like no ever other her the day. The end result was pure perfection a grand ship with the most sublime proportions, with her massive and impressive funnels to say the least, their grandeur would announce that “the SS United States has arrived!”

The ships builder’s plate taken quite a long time ago!

Part One: A short Introduction to a “Mighty Ship”!

For the more mature ones of us, we will well remember that the mighty SS United States departed on her maiden voyage on July 3, 1952 and she rapidly became one of the most sought after liners. Over the years she carried countless famous people, from Royalty, Heirs, Millionaires, the famous and great Movie, Opera and other famed Singing stars. However, her claim to fame is that she is the world’s fastest passenger liner!

During her trials she achieved a massive top speed of 38 knots. She departed on her maiden Atlantic crossing in July 1952, completing it in just 3 days, 10 hours and 40 minutes (From Ambrose Lighthouse to Bishops Rock), thus beating Queen Mary’s previous Eastbound record by 10 hours, after which she broke the Westbound record of 3 days, 19 hours and 20 minutes, giving her an average speed of over 34 knots.

On her maiden voyage to New York July 3, 1952, she crossed the Atlantic (Eastbound) in record time and was duly was awarded the much sought after Bleu Riband with an average speed of 35.59 knots (65.91 km/h). She then broke the westbound record on her July 11 voyage when she reached her destination with an average speed of 34.51 knots (63.91 km/h). Since 1838 the British, Germans, Italians and French have battled to build the fastest ship ever and to gain the famed Bleu Riband, however the SS United States was the very last liner ever to gain the Bleu Riband and retains it to this day!

Obviously, her weight was lessened as her complete superstructure and her mighty funnels were made of aluminium alloy. In order to make her completely fireproof William Gibbs even ordered Steinway’s to build aluminium grand pianos. But Steinway obviously refused to do so. Thus as far as we know, the only timber onboard the ship were the pianos and the butcher blocks used in the kitchen, everything else being steel and aluminium. For her day she even featured telephones in every single cabin. For passenger pleasure she offered an indoor swimming pool, a gymnasium, but she had two Turkish baths and two theatres.

Right from the beginning she was one of the most popular liners plying the Atlantic. During the first ten years of service SS United States sailed with an average of 90 percent occupancy rate. However loadings suddenly began to plummet and it was decided in 1966 to operate place her on a number of cruises between her Atlantic voyages to the UK. With poor loadings, her running mate the wonderful SS America was sold to Greek interests and she became the much-loved Chandris Lines SS Australis. The author was the Queensland (Australia) GSA for Chandris Lines in the very early seventies.

But in 1968 the great SS United States was sold to the Walter Kidde & Company. But unfortunately the holding company believed that she had become obsolete and simply far too costly to operate mostly due to high labour costs. Thus, sadly her days were numbered especially as in 1969 the US government subsidy was completely withdrawn, and that brought about the end as her owners decided to withdraw her from service immediately! It would be on November 7, 1969, when she left her New York berth for Newport News where she was laid up without any future plans for use.

The great ship, she was and always will be, remained in lay up condition until 1992. Although there had been a number of failed attempts to obtain her and return her to service, or preserve her as a maritime museum. In due time, she was towed across the Atlantic to Turkey to have her interiors gutted and asbestos removed. And in 1996 she returned to the United States and was laid up again, but this time in Philadelphia, but there in due course she comically became known as “the largest abandoned vehicle in the city.”

SAVE the SS UNITED STATES

A rather sad looking SS United States seen in Philadelphia

Photograph by & Dominique-Reer

She was sold to the famed Edward A. Cantor who was a real estate developer, however he died in 2002, and his son took her over, but her really had no interest in the ship, thus the fate of the SS United States became an unknown factor.

Next came a period, I would love to forget, as an Asian Casino/Cruise consortium obtained her and retained her for the most dubious, if not evil of reasons, and finally having obtained from the US Government what they wanted, they “got rid of her” as she (and another ship the SS Independence) had become a burden to them, and sold her thankfully to the SS United States Conservancy, rather than to the breakers!

SS United States Conservancy:

The SS United States then owner (I prefer not to name this company) commenced to search for a buyer sometimes in 2009. Why, well it was costing them around US$800,000 per year just to keep this rusting away dockside, a ship they ever intended to use, except to use as a means of obtaining an American flagged cruise company! Not wishing to repeat the massive anti company publicity they had received from this Campaign for many years for their disgraceful handling of their previous two ships: 1. The SS Norway: 2. The disgraceful demise of the SS Independence, they were forced to reject a US$5.9 million dollar offer from the breakers, which they would have much preferred.

However they agreed to sell the SS United States Conservancy for just US$3 million. You may ask “WHY?” The truth is that this company simply could not afford any further bad publicity and they just had to get out of the news and continue with their cruise line which by now had been partially taken over and the CEO dropped!

The SS United States Conservancy was able to obtain the ship mainly due to the great generosity of Philadelphia-based philanthropist Mr. H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest. The Conservancy took possession of the SS United States on February 1, 2011. It is important to note that this Mr. Lenfest’s donation and those of so many others who have so generously given, the Conservancy was not only able to purchase the ship but in this way able to buy time to locate suitable developer/s and a permanent home for this great liner!

Above image was provided by SS United States Conservancy, but Photograph taken by Greg Shutters

In addition to being a “Plank Owner” – I now also own another part of the ship IT is NEW

Click the LOGO above to ENTER

In fact I now own 100 Sq inches on the starboard side of her aft funnel, and yes you are more than welcome to join me on the funnel from just a few dollars donation.

Thus, if you wish to join me and assist in saving this Great Ship, just click the LOGO above and wait for the interactive page to load, and you can donate for parts of the ship, which will carry your name forever and will be permanently listed! When the page opens, it will eventually take you to the very space on the funnel where I have my 100 Square inches and you can add whatever number of square inches you may wish to obtain! I would love to see you join me, and if you do, please Email Me.

What a GREAT way to assist this GREAT SHIP!

 

May the future see a more beautiful Bridge section!

Above image was provided by SS United States Conservancy

And let me tell you right now, that without YOU the reader and our many and so many other supporters worldwide, there would be no future for the SS United States at all, for I am well aware that so many of you have already joined the Conservancy, or have donated in one way or another, and I thank you for that!

BUT, IF YOU HAVE NOT AS YET, PLEASE GO TO THEIR WEBSITE ASP - AND GIVE!

NOW, there is an S.O.S. call out, as YOUR URGENT HELP IS REQUIRED!

Click the image above for the SOS donation page 

Why not become a friend of the SS United States for just US$25, a Supporter US$50

An Associate US$100, Benefactor US$250, or a Champion US$500

Or one of the other levels – But every single dollar counts!

There is a great future awaiting the SS United States, just look at one of the superb possibilities, a wonderful maritime museum, with interactive panels, a theatre, featuring the SS United States and other great American and great ships of note! A hotel, tourist and conference centre, etc, with so much more opportunities that this great ship is able to offer!

And remember, you can have a part of that great FUTURE!

Above we see one of the suggested exterior possibilities for the SS United States future use, it stands to reason that she, as well as shore side, there will be substantial SS United States and maritime museum, as well as many other relevant features. Other intended projects may well include a well known Hotel chain, conference centre, restaurants, cafes and other tourist facilities!

You can help to make this a reality!

 

Museum ashore with the ship seen through the window

 

Discover the original plans and how they were drawn up?

 

Walk and relax on the Promenade Deck, just like the great old days!

 

Discover and view the engine room via a special viewing deck and large screen

 

To make all this become a reality support the …

ssMaritime.com & savetheclassicliners.com fully supports the SS United States Conservancy

And we ask that you donate TODAY and be PART in saving this great American Liner the SS United States.

Visit http://ssunitedstatesconservancy.org.

 

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MV Queen Elizabeth 2

An update on my update last October!

You will have read below and seen the photographs of all those millionaires and mighty men signing contracts and making plans in regard to our beloved QE2, and making statements that her engines were being made ready for her voyage to Asia and that she would sail her own power for the COSCO Shipyard in Zhoushan, in the Zhejiang Province of China. Once she arrives, she will receive a thorough revitalization and a complete makeover that is scheduled for completion by 2015, etc, etc!

The sad facts are this, the QE2 is still sitting and looking an old tired and a dirty ship in Dubai, for she is simply being terribly neglected by all and sundry! Thus, what will become of her? To be honest, nothing I hear and see, regardless of the mighty plans that seem to be absolutely legitimate and the last one surely did look wonderful, I will no longer believe anything until after it has occurred!

I am sorry to have to be the bearer of bad tidings just before the New Year, but it is necessary!

Happy 2014, may it bring us happier news!

Reuben Goossens.

-Updated October 26, 2013-

 

Please click the above Image to enter the page that contains FULL DETAILS!

 

QE2 Reported to Head for China to be Refitted into a Hotel!

Tuesday October 16, 2013: For over four decades, the MV Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) was “The Most Famous Ocean Liner in the World.” Today, QE2 Holdings Ltd (“QE2 Holdings”) announced its appointment of COSCO Shipyard Group (“COSCO Shipyard”), a subsidiary of China Ocean Shipping Company, to complete the refurbishment of the QE2 into a luxury heritage hotel, taking this great ship into the next chapter of its illustrious history!

The official refurbishment contract signing ceremony and press conference at Shanghai, China

Mr. Khamis Juma Buamin and Mr. Haudong Cao sign the official contract for QE2’s refurbishment

Photograph provided & 2013 QE2 Project team

The QE2 will sail under her own power for the COSCO Shipyard in Zhoushan, in the Zhejiang Province of China. Once she arrives, she will receive a thorough revitalization and a complete makeover that is scheduled for completion by 2015.

The COSCO Shipyard will be responsible for all the technical repairs and coordinate with an appointed interior renovation contractor to revamp the accommodation and ballroom, as well as the refitting of seven restaurants, 10 lounges, a cinema, a maritime museum displaying QE2 memorabilia, and the shopping mall. The existing 990 staterooms onboard the ship will be converted into 400 premium luxury suites ranging from 60 to 150 square metres.

seven international designers were contracted to design the interiors of the new Hotel QE2 and their designs are now online and all of 5these can be viewed at; www.qe2design.com. There is a video online from one of these designers, being “BG-Studio” view it at; www.qe2design.com/bg-studio/.

The elegant Hotel QE2 is seen at her future berth, ready for her guests

Photograph provided by www.qe2design.com and the “Benoy” designers!

Further to the above:

As stated above, I received the wonderful news that the Chinese COSCO Shipyards has been contracted to convert the QE2 into a luxury-floating hotel. Mr. Daniel Chui, who is the chief executive, “Oceanic Group Pte Ltd” & “QE2 Holdings Ltd,” provided the news in regard to the project at the “Cruise & Shipping, Asia-Pacific” in Singapore, just last week. Of course as most will know the QE2 has been in Dubai for some five years awaiting her fate, but now she is being made ready to sail under her own power to China.

Mr. Chui said that the project was “an irresistible proposal” and that he envisioned the iconic ex Cunarder having a new lease of life up to a good 40 years as a luxury heritage hotel with 450 rooms.

Several months ago seven international designers were contracted to design the interiors of the new Hotel QE2, when these come available I add these online as soon as they are released (now online!). However, we have been told that “heritage, elegance and regal are the core principles” for the designs. Mr. Chui said the owners have also commissioned a documentary on the refurbishment of the historic ship whilst she is in China.

As soon as her refurbishment is completed in 2015, this great ship will be undertaking a 90-day voyage “showcasing her onboard offerings stopping at key Asian port cities.” Said Mr. Chui,

Her accommodations will range in size from 60 to 150 sq m, and will have a range of British, Continental European as well as classic and neo-modern designs.

The ship currently has seven restaurants, three of these seating 500. Mr. Chui said careful consideration is being given to how these will operate for ‘MICE events.’

Although he was happy to say that the QE2 will be finally located in the Asia Pacific, but he said that nothing at this time was finalized as yet, however, I do feel that Hong Kong would be the number one contender!

Apparently the estimated cost of QE2’s refurbishment should be around US$100 million. Mr. Chui said, “She is solid, but since she has not been activated for the past five years this is coming at a great cost.” Her refit and delivery as well as acceptance by authorities on her status and that is post conversion, which is also a big challenge, he added. For instance, with regard to questions such as whether it is designated a ship or a floating hotel. Mr. Chui said that the reason the cost should be around the US$100 million mark is mostly because the major works are being done in Asia.

All I can say is I am delighted with the news and now the QE2 will be safe for the future!

Best wishes,

Reuben Goossens.

I also suggest you visit QE2 NEWS Updates at … www.theqe2story.com

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More on the QE2

The QE2 Story:

In July 2007 the QE2 was sold to Istithmar being the investment arm of “Dubai World” a wholly owned company of the Government of Dubai. However she would be taken over by Nakheel, also a “Dubai World” company would redevelop her and construct the new islands being built known as the “Palm Jumeirah” where she was going to be berthed to become a major luxury hotel. Istithmar paid and estimate 65 million (British Pounds) for the QE2.

Having completed her final official cruise, the QE2 departed Southampton for the very last time on November 11, 2008, and she began her farewell voyage to Dubai. She arrived on the evening of 26 November 26, 2008 in a flotilla of around 120 vessels that were there to greet her including the MV Dubai, being the personal yacht of Sheikh Mohammed the ruler of Dubai. QE2 was greeted with a fly-past from an Emirates A380 jet as well as a huge fireworks display, while thousands of people gathered at the Mina Rashid, waving of British and United Arab Emirates flags.

It was a fitting welcome and her future seemed assured, however things was not as it seemed for the financial crisis of 2008 caused Dubai to have a financial freefall and the wealthiest of its citizens escaped the country, even leaving their Mercedes and BMW’s and super luxury cars at the airport as they escaped the financiers who were about to pounce on them, for most emptied their accounts and run. This disaster also left the QE2 high and dry and although she was reregistered cheaply in Vanuatu in Port Vila in 2008, she had been well maintained by around 100 workers until recently, but most have now gone, with just a very small number remaining to keep her reasonably tidy. However reports state that she is suffering, especially in areas that are from view and behind the scenes.

Today her future is unsure and when I visited the ship a company insider told me that they doubted that she will ever become a hotel, for the company had suffered far too greatly. Although, the country did receive money’s from the outside to revive its tourism industry and attempt to restore some pride, but to date numbers remain way down. In reality Dubai has little to offer as it is all show and razzmatazz, there are heaps of spectacular man made structures and they are great, but they are just building filled with very expensive ships, and Dubai is VERY expensive indeed! Then they do have some beaches, well by Australian standards these are of an extremely poor standard and rather small and with the severe heat there and no protection provided whatsoever from the blazing sun, this is what I would call the melanoma (skin cancer) capital of the Middle East! I have been throughout the Middle East and I love this region, but Dubai has little to offer, unless you like skyscrapers! I would choose countries like Oman and Egypt for they really have something to offer!

The truth is that QE2’s future will most likely be a rapid and a secret sale to the breakers, and it will come so swiftly that we will be totally unprepared, and that is my greatest fear! Please stay alert and if you hear anything let me know!

Interesting background on the QE2:

QE2 sailed an amazing 5.6 million nautical miles, that's more than any other ship ever I know about, in other words that is like travelling to the moon and back 13 times. She has accommodated approximately 2.5 million guests and completed 802 Atlantic crossings and 24 full world cruises, thus some 1,438 voyages. That is an excellent record indeed!

What will be her future?

A close up of a clean looking ship as she had recently been repainted

Photograph Reuben Goossens

The Timeline of the SS/MV Queen Elizabeth 2:

1964 - Cunard signs a contract to build the ship with John Brown Shipyard Clydebank, Scotland.

1967 - September 20 the ship was launched by HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

1968 – QE2 undertakes her deep sea trails; the first was on November 26 to 29, and the second, December 17 to 19.

1968 - QE2 departs on her maiden voyage, being a cruise from Greenock to the Canary Islands with the author on board. Sadly the ship developed turbine troubles and she had to return to her builders.

1969 - After renewed trails on April 1 to 8, Cunard takes delivery of the QE2 on April 18 for the second time.

1969 - On May 2 the QE2 commences her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, officially taking four days, 16 hours and 35 minutes.

1970 - She crosses the Atlantic Westbound in record time of just three days, 20 hours and 42 minutes.

1972 - QE2 undergoes a refit and rebuilding as penthouses added to the top of the ship, altering her external appearance. Accommodating 604 First, 1,223 Tourist, and 1,740 one class when cruising.

1975 - QE2 departs from Southampton on her first World voyage, the first of many world cruises.

1982 - The QE2 was requisitioned by the British government as troopship to operate in Falklands Islands Campaign. She carried 3,000 troops and 650 volunteer crew to the South Atlantic. However, she was kept well out of the way for no harm was to become her, for the ship did carry the name of Her Majesty the Queen, the Sovereign of Britain, thus she was kept far out of harm at all times, unlike the SS Canberra!

1987 – In October the SS Queen Elizabeth 2 made her final Trans Atlantic crossing from New York under steam as she was about to head to Germany where her new diesel engines were to be installed and an extensive refit and remodelling at a cost of US$162 million.

1988 –A new look MV Queen Elizabeth 2 complete with a new and far superior funnel and far more economic and faster that before, she returned to service and gained even more popularity on the Atlantic service.

1990 - Queen Elizabeth becomes the first Monarch to sail on the commercial liner with other passengers on board.

1995 - QE2 leaves New York for Southampton on her 1,000th voyage.

1996 - During her twentieth around the world cruise the QE2 passed her four millionth mile mark, and amazing feat, but there was more to come!

1998 - South African President Nelson Mandela sails on the QE2 from Durban to Cape Town. A year later the QE2 was treated to a multi-million dollar refurbishment which included all her public rooms as well as her cabins that needed updating.

2002 - QE2 passes five million miles - a world first.

2004 - The QE2 was considered as being one of the last of the great Trans Atlantic liners, for there has not been any true liners since. Although, they pretend that the Queen Mary 2 is a liner, but she certainly is not and neither was the QE 2 in her latter years, for both were then cruise ships. Although QE2 was built as a liner that would also operate cruises, but her main function was to be a liner; that means line voyages from the UK to the USA and back. Today all ships operate short and longer cruises and they may undertake the occasional cruise from the USA to and from the UK, but that does not qualify them as being a “liner”, for the encyclopaedia clearly states that a liner must be a ship that is on a regular (constant) liner service – “line voyage”!

2005 - The QE2 becomes the longest serving Cunard ship ever, surpassing the RMS Aquitania's 35 years.

2008 – November 11 Queen Elizabeth 2 departed Southampton in the evening for Dubai UAE and she was officially retired from active Cunard service.

2009 – September 21. The author saw and photographed the QE2 today whilst on a around the world cruise on Dawn Princess and noted that she was registered in Port Vila Vanuatu.

2010 – January 29. QE2 broke loose from her moorings during a storm and was only just saved from destruction by two brilliant pilots.

2012 – July, 03. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem announced that a decision has been made to retain the ship’s exterior in her “classic and traditional shape, and install 300 rooms and use her as a hotel at the new Port Rashid International Cruise Terminal within several years! Sultan Sulayem said: “So we have decided to leave her basic design as it is. We will preserve her tradition. What we are doing today is what we should have done when we first bought her.” And I agree with him, they should have and she would have been operational by now!

2013 – July, after an Asian possibility, there are great doubts for the ship as she has no power and she will be deteriorating whilst at lay-up in Dubai!

The stern of the QE2 - How sad is thos photo?

QE2 in Dubai on September 21, 2009 – Note that she is registered in Port Vila

Southampton can still be seen beneath the over painting

Photograph Reuben Goossens

 

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MS Saga Ruby Sold

She is now named the OASIA

 

MS Saga Ruby is seen towards the end of her career with Saga, she is seen towards the end of 2013

Her History in Short:

Norwegian America Line (NAL) ordered the Vistafjord to be built by Swan Hunter Shipyards in Newcastle the United Kingdom. Her overall design was based on the earlier MS Sagafjord, but the new ship would have a larger hull, as well as an additional deck in her superstructure and interior wise a vastly improved interior layout.

Originally it had been intended to have her constructed by the same builders as her earlier sister the Sagafjord, but due to the cost of building her for some reason, this saw “Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranee” go out of business. Therefore the Vistafjord had to be built by another yard and the British one was perfect. She was constructed in Yard number 39 and the ship that could well be called the “May” ship was launched on May 15, 1972 and delivered to the Norwegian NAL on May 15, 1973. The 24,492 GRT and 627 ft long MS Vistafjord departed on her maiden voyage from Oslo to New York on May 22, 1973.

A perfect ship, but the last of the NAL line, the superb MS Vistafjord

Somehow, NAL seemed to have that effect on shipbuilders for the Vistafjord was the last cruise ship to be built in the United Kingdom. In 1983 Cunard Line purchased NAL meaning that in October 1983 the Vistafjord joined the Cunard fleet. Thankfully, she retained her original name and her grey hull. The only changes made was that her funnel was repainted in the Cunard red and black livery and was re-registered in Nassau the Bahamas. Despite the flag change she did retain her Norwegian command staff.

Many years later in 1999, Cunard decided a was time that more traditional name and livery was required for their ship and she was renamed - MS Caronia and repainted with the companies traditional dark blue hull and she was registered in Southampton, the United Kingdom.

Here we see the genuine Cunard cruise ship, the MS Caronia with her new Penthouses topside

Cunard operated the Caronia until November 2004, when she was sold to Saga Cruises, who gave her a 17 million extensive refit at Valletta in Malta. Upon completion, in March 2005 the Caronia appeared as the all-new MS Saga Ruby and she joined the Saga Cruises fleet of ships, including her former Norwegian America Line ex sister the MS Sagafjord that was now named the Saga Rose.

The MS Saga Ruby is seen at the Dover Cruise Terminal just after her refit in 2005

She sailed successfully for Saga Cruises, although many ship lovers felt that she had lost some of her elegant sleek yacht-like lines and that she had become somewhat “a mess” topside! However, personally I feel that it is the high standard of her original design that has kept her a far more attractive ship than all those new, modern and large cruise ships, for there is no doubts that she looks an elegant lady and she seemed to be at home in her new Saga identity!

Her Final Voyage:

After seven years of operation, sadly Saga was forced to pre plan her final cruise well in advance, however they were put in a position where they were forced to change the itinerary of her final cruise to a new one with the Saga Ruby operating a Western Mediterranean cruise calling at:

Tenerife; Almeria, Spain; Valletta, Malta; Messina, Sicily; Naples, Italy; Civitavecchia (for Rome); Livorno (for Florence, Pisa); Monte Carlo; Barcelona, Spain; Valencia, Spain; Gibraltar; Funchal, Madeira; Lisbon, Portugal; La Coruna; and she would have returned to Southampton on January 7, 2014.

During this cruise, when the Saga Ruby was in Funchal she met up with the Saga Sapphire and their passengers were able to enjoyed the spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks display. But when the she reached Canary Island sadly major problems affected one of the generators and with the loss of this generator meant there was simply insufficient power available to operate the ships Air-Conditioning system. With various problems Saga Ruby arrived back in Southampton two days late on January 9, 2014, mostly due to heavy seas in the Bay of Biscay. Her very last passengers remained onboard overnight and disembarked the next day on January 10.

The once luxurious MS Vistafjord and Cunard Lines glamorous MS Vistafjord & Caronia and Saga Cruises MS Saga Rose was now on the market and she was snapped up rapidly!

Floating Hotel OASIA:

The Saga Rose had only just arrived home and soon enough in January 2014 she was sold for good price of US$14M to a privately held company based in Singapore, “Millennium View Ltd” who rapidly renamed her “OASIA” and reregistered her in Hamilton Bermuda and she soon departed bound for Thailand sailing via Gibraltar where she was berthed early in February 2014.

The renamed OASIA is seen here berthed in Gibraltar on February 6, 2014

Photograph by & “Gibdan

She headed for Thailand where she was laid up awaiting renovation. Although a photograph that my dear friend Neil Whitmore has sent me shows her laid up along this River in Thailand, but take note that except for the far aft lifeboat all the forward lifeboats are missing.

The OASIA seen in a Thai river, but she has not been refitted as yet

In mid-February 2014 she sailed from Gibraltar as OASIA under Bahamas flag and management of FleetPro Ocean to Thailand, where at the last information received, she remains. Her new owners intend to convert her into a floating hotel on the Yangon River at Pazundaung Township, Yangonin Myanmar (Burma). You can visit their website at: www.oasia-yangon.com and in due course she will open.

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The World’s Oldest Passenger ship!

MV Doulos

SS Medina (1914-1948) was sold and renamed: SS Roma (1948-1952)

MS Franca C (1952-1977) - MV Doulos - (1977-2010)

Doulos – (2010 - ) she is will be permanently located in Singapore

She will officially be 101 Years of Age on August 22, 2015

 

Doulos at the ASL Ship Yards at Batam - Indonesia

The Doulos Phos is seen at the ASL Shipyard’s in Batam on December 1, 2013

Photograph provided with thanks by Mr. Evan Jones, ASL Marine Group, Batam

--Doulos Updates

NEW … February - March 2015 Updates Down the Story!

Introduction:

For those who are unaware, I am the MV Doulos’ official historian and my first experience with the Doulos was when she was still the all First Class luxurious cruise ship owned by Costa Lines, when the Company was still great, unlike today and the ship was named MV Franca C and that was in Italy back in 1971 with my beloved! The next time I saw her would be a good twenty eight years later as she arrived in Sydney Australia on Sunday July 4, 1999 on a perfect sunny day and she looked a perfect beautiful lady, gleaming white and so perfectly maintained as she slowly slipped past the Opera House and turned into Circular Quay. The Doulos had been given the very best berth in Sydney for the duration whilst she was in port, the International Passenger Terminal directly opposite the Sydney Opera House!

As this elegant vintage lady of the sea gracefully slipped past the Sydney Opera House and manoeuvred herself towards Circular Quay and alongside the “International Passenger Terminal” where there was a massive crowd of people awaiting her on the Observation Deck of the Terminal! She remained berthed there until July 26. I boarded her on an official basis the next day and remained on board until the day prior her departure. It was a wonderful time!

The next time I was fortunate to spend time on board was in 2008 in Brisbane, Queensland from August 1 to the 19, including a voyage down to Sydney on her. I had an excellent single cabin, number 21 portside up on Promenade deck for the duration! Photographs of my Sydney and Brisbane and voyage experiences are on my MV Doulos feature. Of course, I visited every space and corner of this amazing and remarkable ship during this special tme for it would be her very last ever visit to Australia and my stay on board is all photographically recorded.

When it was decided that due to various problem that she would not pass the safety inspections whilst she was in Drydock in Singapore late in 2009, which I had sadly been expecting, knowing some of the problems that had long been well hidden and therefore she was put up for sale. It was even before that occurred I had already commenced the Save the MV Doulos Campaign! I was excited during the period when her owners OM (Operation Mobilisation in Germany) were in a period of deep thought due to some dispute that I contacted one of my three main contacts I had been working with, being Mr. Eric Saw of Singapore and advised him to make another offer immediately and that OM would except his offer, for I knew with absolute assurance that they would! Mr. Saw had made an earlier offer, which had been rejected by OM, but thankfully all that is history!

The idea for the Singaporean connection was to turn the Doulos into a tourist facility and have the ship berthed somewhere in Singapore for their group already had another tourist vessel berthed there. They intend to renamed her “Doulos Phos” meaning “Servant Light.” Thus as the ships was already named “Doulos” being “Servant” in Greek, they will add another Greek word “Phos” meaning “Light.”

Sadly, at first the ex MV Doulos remained berthed in Singapore for a considerable time and I had begun what was happening, for I knew that the right man and organisation obtained the ship. Mr. Eric Saw is the Director and Chief Executive of BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd in Singapore and I had all faith in this fine man and his wonderful family! I am aware that originally the Singapore Government was not exactly playing ball for no berth would be allocated for the Doulos and not even Saratosa or the Island of Bintan did not seem to be interested at first! But the story commences from here, thus keep on reading as this is indeed a “Miracle Ship.”

However a change of came into the heart of the Authorities and they gave permission for the Doulos to be berthed at the popular resort Island of Bintan. In for in September 2013 the Doulos was towed from Singapore to Batam in Indonesia where she will be stripped and then be comprehensively refurbished. Her completion will take a considerable time!

Official News Updates:

November 7, 2014: Doulos Phos is in the process of undergoing retrofit work at the ASL Shipyards in Batam. When she is completed she will be taken to the beautiful resort Island of Bintan, Indonesia, about a hour south of Singapore by fast ferry. There she will be dry berthed with around 100 hotel cabins on board.

Mr. Eric Saw, the Co-owner told me:

“We are fitting her out to be at a 5-Star/Boutique Hotel standard and there will be an all-day-diner, library, meeting rooms etc. The Engine Room and related areas will be conserved as a maritime museum. Ashore there will be a swimming pool, a piano lounge cum restaurant, a large banquet hall etc.

We are hoping that we able open by Christmas 2015, but at the moment it may be a bit tight. Therefore, it may be sometime between end of next year and the first quarter of 2016 when the Doulos Phos commences her new chapter.

Whilst there have been delays, we are thankful that doors have opened the beautiful site on Bintan Island, for it will be will be the new home of the “100 year Grand Old Lady.”

More later news below …

 

Above & below: The Doulos Phos is seen above at the ASL Shipyards in 2014

And below is a close up view of her starboard side looking towards her bow and we see that her

exteriors are suffering somewhat, however, she will be beautiful again by the time she reaches Bintan!

Photographs provided by a manager of the ASL Shipyard

 

February 2015: I received a request for filming on board the Doulos, and I forwarded this request to Mr Saw, who replied (in part) as follows; “The “Grand Old Lady” has endured five years of wharfage in “dirty” shipyard conditions and in my opinion, not in a state appropriate for filming. Overall, she is looking very tired.”

Mr. Eric Saw also provided further information regarding the future of this historic ship, and I am sure that parts of it will shock many!

“She is now in a shipyard in Batam and round about April or May of this year, we hope to have her dry-docked to undergo some hull work and partial painting. Thereafter, we will dead-tow her to her new operating site, not in Singapore, but in Bintan, Indonesia (a neighbouring resort island to the east of Batam). There, we will continue with her retrofitting as well as construction of the other facilities and buildings around her. You see, at Bintan, she will be “dry-berthed”, ie pulled up on dry land, and no longer floating. We feel that this is a better way to “preserve” her for several more decades. Our site will be approximately 1.4 hectares in size (14,000m2). She will be the main attraction with approximately one hundred cabins, several meeting rooms, a Club Lounge, an All-Day-Diner, and have her engine room converted into a Maritime Museum, etc. On land, there will be an Arrival Pavilion, Outdoor Dining, a Piano Bar and Restaurant, a Banquet Hall, Swimming Pool, etc. Our architects will be designing to keep her heritage; we use a phrase “the old made new” rather than “all new”. Her decks will be themed to reflect her time as Medina, Roma, Franca-C, Doulos, and of course her latest role as Doulos Phos.”

Yes the Doulos Phos will be “dry-berthed” and I am sure that myself and others will not find this to be the kind of outcome we would have desired, for other ships, like the great ss Rotterdam had her hull cleaned and painted and treated meaning that she would not require underwater maintenance for three to four decades!

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As I already reported in August 2010 I placed a good number of artist impressions online of what the rebuilt ship would have to offer and could possibly look like: However, as these were made back in 2010 there may well have been many changes since then.

The hotel section of Doulos Phos will be located on A and B decks. However, I simply do not understand why Main deck was not the first choice for the hotel together with A deck, for B deck is the deck with holds, the engine room, baggage room and storage spaces, there has never been any accommodations on this deck!

There will be two restaurants seating 250 guests each; one will be located on Promenade deck in her original dining room and the second in a new space to be built on Boat deck. Other facilities will include a Deli, Cafe, Wine and Juice bars, the Bookshop, a Banquet Hall, Meeting rooms, a Bible school and very importantly a Maritime Museum. An Amphitheatre that is expected to seat around 70 people is to be place on the bow section.

View the Doulos Phos Rebuilding Details - But remember, everything on this page were only advance ideas!

 

MV Doulos Phos as seen in Singapore on November 14, 2012

Photograph was taken by and is Copyright 2012 - Peter Knego – MarritimeMatters

Peter Knego, who I consider as a dear friend, spent a day onboard the MV Doulos Phos whilst he was in Singapore on assignment. Thus on November 14, 2012 he boarded her and for the first time and obviously he had a wonderful time looking around my much beloved Doulos.

I am most grateful to Peter Knego for allowing me to use the photograph above and for further excellent reading and some great images of her as she was whilst in Singapore, visit: http://maritimematters.com/2012/12/decking-doulos-part-one/.

In Conclusion:

My greatly beloved Franca C and Doulos a ship that I have had such a close connection with for a wonderful 44 years, first as a luxury all First Class Cruise Ship the MV Franca C and then the Book ship the MV Doulos and I again sailed on her and occupied one of her finest cabins! Today she is 101-year old, in March 2015 and she remains at the Batam shipyards being rebuilt into a hotel. Of course hat is so sad that she will be “dry-berthed,” which for genuine ship lovers is the worst outcome and not what we had hoped at all! All I can say, although still being horrified at the very thought of it, is that at least she will still look very much like her old self, well at least above the waterline and her interiors will be very special indeed, for they will retain a great deal of her heritage as possible as well as a maritime museum. The popular tourist Island of Bintan off Singapore will be a great new home for the newly named Doulos Phos, and we should all remember, had it not been for the author’s rapid email to Mr. Eric Saw to place a bid now, and that he would get the ship guaranteed, as I knew the situation in Germany, thanks to my people in the office there, and I do mean senior managerial staff who objected their sale to the Indian breakers, which this campaign so boldly opposed and I thank all of the countless hundreds of thousand of supporters who emailed them, for it was together we saved the Doulos, for Mr saw would never have gotten the ship for there was no doubt about it, she was Alang bound!

Read my extensive MV Doulos - A Ship Like No Other Online Book

 

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Ships Saved by this & other Campaigns

SS Rotterdam V ~ Part One

Was sold – BUT to WHO?

 

A superb photograph of the SS Rotterdam V, now a hotel in the city where she was built and would depart for New York – Taken in March 2011

Photograph by Philippe Pierre Brebant

2 November, 2012: The superbly beautiful ex Holland America liner and cruise ship, the SS Rotterdam was sold, however the good news is that she will remain in her homeport of the City of Rotterdam!

On Friday October 26, the ships owners being the accommodation corporation “Woonbron” sold the Rotterdam to a Netherlands based Hotel Company “WestCord Hotels” who also own the famed “Hotel New York”, being the original Holland America Line head office located on the original HAL wharves. The sale is said to have been for 29.9 million Euros.

With the acquisition of the SS Rotterdam WestCord will now have a total of 15 hotels throughout the Netherlands. Although, I have been advised, that the transfer of the ship to WestCord will take place before the end of April of 2013!

Besides WestCord, there was also great interest by an Oman who desired to obtain this amazingly popular SS Rotterdam, but obviously when a Dutch Hotelier desired to obtain her this was obviously a far better option for the Netherlands to retain this great ex Dutch liner in the City she was built as well as being her homeport. The decision was received with a great applause worldwide! As for myself having commenced my campaign so long ago in the mid nineties to save her, believe me, this news was a huge relief, for I certainly did not desire her to depart the Netherlands, for she is far safer in Rotterdam than anywhere else!

There is one other factor that will come into play for her future. As she will be in the hands of a solid and safe Hotel company, for I am very happy to say that “WestCord Hotels” will manage the “Hotel De Rotterdam” in a far superior manner than her previous owner, for ever since she was opened to the public as a hotel I have, which is very sad to say, received countless complaints from those who stayed on her and visited her from around the world. The vast majority made a very similar statement, which said that they felt that the ship was geared only to the Dutch public and English on board, was very poor to just bad and that so many venues were closed most of the time.

In addition, for ship lovers who travelled especially to Rotterdam just to stay on her found that “the ships souvenir shop was closed much of the time”, and thus they were unable to obtain the souvenirs they so much desired. “No one seemed to care less and it seemed that the “Hotel De Rotterdam” was not being run like a real hotel at all. No it was a really sad stay for us, for we remember the days we sailed on this ship, both during her liner and her cruise ship days. Sadly, we will never go back to her as this hotel, for it destroyed our memories, even though some of the venues are still much the same that is if they were not locked!” With her sale, this problem will be fully overcome, for Dutch hotels, to my experience are very efficient, and I do know WestCord are simply excellent hotels! If you have ever stayed at the delightful and historic “Hotel New York,” you will know all about it!

Hotel De Rotterdam seen at her special berth at her homeport the City of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in March 2011

 

Enter my SS Rotterdam V multi page feature

 

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S.S. Rotterdam V ~ Part Two

She is berthed in Rotterdam the Netherlands

I commenced my original “Save the SS Rotterdam Campaign” way back in 1997, when I heard that Carnival (HAL) had intentions of disposing of the superb SS Rotterdam for they claimed that to upgrade her to meet the new 1997 SOLAS regulations would cost at least $US40 million dollars.

It was heard that there were thoughts of her being sold to Indian or Bangladeshi ship breakers. But then suddenly, the news came that she had been sold to Premier Cruises and that she would be renamed SS Rembrandt, which for all who loved the great SS Rotterdam V was at least a fitting name for the Grand Dame of the Sea! It was for this reason I placed the campaign on hold, but retained it on file. Premier refitted her to SOLAS Regulations and amazingly it turned out to be half the cost than what Carnival had told the world it would cost to bring her back to compliance, for they obviously desired a new fleet of ships and get rid of all old stock, which they did! Upon completion the Rembrandt returned to duties and continued to be as popular a cruise ship as ever with many past Rotterdam passengers sailing on her. She first commenced cruising in South American waters and then from other ports. However, as is well documented Premier Cruises was going through difficulties and the company suddenly officially shut down on September, 13, 2000!

As soon as I heard this tragic news I recommenced my original “Save the SS Rotterdam Campaign” which continued and received massive support from all around the world!

However, it was at midnight on September, 13, 2000, when the terrible news was made official and Rembrandt’s captain was ordered to go to Halifax Nova Scotia, and offload his passengers. Upon arrival the ship was placed under arrest by the Halifax Sheriff's department until early the next day. Thankfully, she was permitted under special warrant conditions to sail for Freeport in the Bahamas where she arrived on September 21, and she was laid up and was placed on the market to be sold. As we continued the campaign there was a superb Dutch SS Rotterdam Organisation, which was then headed by Mr. Klaas Krijnen and considering they were doing such an outstanding job and with the Rotterdam being an all Dutch ship, I decided to hand the campaign over to them, yet continue my pages, but now in a support role encouraging that my supporters/visitors/readers would go to their site and and donate funds of course! As we now know all this ended up very well and that the ship is now owned by a Dutch organisation and she is a fully operational Hotel and Tourist operation! I am glad that I was part of that success in some way! However, now you can enjoy the sublime pleasure of living on board this once great Dutch liner, thus head for the Netherlands and stay for a week on board the SS Rotterdam and explore a wonderful city that has so much to offer and a country filled with fine castles, delightful country villages, fishing villages and many wonders to behold. I loved my last visit there!

SS Rotterdam has been superbly restored to her original 1958 beautiful self and is now open to the public

Serving as a fine Hotel, restaurant, food and conference venue and tourist centre

This Dutch ex Trans-Atlantic liner was known as the “The Grande Dame” was launched by HRH Queen Juliana in a gala ceremony on September 13, 1958, and she departed on her maiden voyage on September 3 1959. The SS Rotterdam became the very last of the great Dutch “ships of state,” employing some of the greatest Dutch artisans during her construction and fitting out process. Her successful career spanned a good forty years, and she became one of the most successful and profitable passenger ships of all time. She sailed from September 1959 until her final retirement in September 2000.

Enter my SS Rotterdam V multi page feature

 

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TS Queen Mary 

FOTSQM Stands for: “Friends Of TS Queen Mary”

Click the Photograph above to enter their website and help to save this fine ship!

The delightful 871 GRT (Gross Registered Ton) Triple Screw - TS Queen Mary was built by the famed Clyde shipbuilders William Denny & Bros Ltd of Dumbarton on behalf of Williamson Buchanan Steamers Ltd. She was launched by Lady Colquhoun on March 30, 1933 and this fine two-funnelled ship epitomises the legendary Clyde ship building tradition and pedigree!

But the company was contacted by 1935 in regard the great new liner the RMS Queen Mary that would be launched by Her Majesty Queen Mary, thus there was a slight name change made and she became the TS Queen Mary II, but continued her regular Clyde services.

Queen Mary II was a spacious and certainly a comfortable ship and thus well suited to the large numbers of passengers on the service. Her passenger capacity made up for a good speed of 21 knots on her trials. Being a two class ship, having Cabin Class passengers located forward as well as the top deck extending aft giving the Steerage Class passengers a share of it, and also the sheltered space below it.

TS Queen Mary Specifications:

Builder: William Denny & Bros Ltd., Dumbarton.

Yard: 1262.

Built for: Williamson Buchanan Steamers Ltd.

Engines: Triple Denny & Bros Steam Turbines.

Screws: Triple, direct drive.

Tonnage: 1933-1950 - 871 Gross Registered Tons.

. 1950-1957 - 917 GRT.

. 1957-onwards - 1,014 GRT.

Length: 252.5ft - 77m.

Beam: 35.1ft - 10.7m.

Draught: 10.1ft - 3.1m.

Speed: 19.5 knots max 21 knots.

Passengers: 2,086-day passengers.

The delightful TS Queen Mary was finally retired after an evening showboat cruise from Largs to Rothesay on September 27, 1977 after which she was laid up in the “East India Harbour” at Greenock.

I will not go into her story in relation to her being saved and restoration etc, for I will let the wonderful folk over in the UK, and a dear supporter of this Campaign who is fully involved, in fact he was influenced by “Save The Classic Liner Campaign” to do something, which is just great!

Enter the Site to Save the TS Queen Mary Here

 

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MV Baragoola 

 

I am well aware that the MV Baragoola may not fit my criteria as a “classic liner”, however, I believe with all my heart that this superb historic 1922 built vessel, which I have supported online for quite a long time needs to be restored and retained for the future!

The SS Baragoola was the last of a series of six ferries that were designed by the Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Co. Ltd., and she was built in Australia by Mort’s Dock and Engineering Co. Ltd in Woolwich, NSW who also built her engines. Significantly the Baragoola would be the last Manly (ocean going) ferry to be constructed in Australia for the next 62 years. For interest “Baragoola” is an Aboriginal word meaning “Flood Tide.”

MV Baragoola operated her final service from Circular Quay to Manly on January 8, 1983. Being such as popular vessel there was a huge number of passengers on this her final voyage. There were so many, that there were even people standing on the roof of the promenade deck. For this being her last official voyage, a pennant bearing the name “Baragoola” streamed from her front mast and she carried on her rear mast the house flag of the Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company. No other Manly ferry has ever received a send-off as grand as she did.

After many tough years, with possibilities that she could well be sold for scrap she was sold to a number of owners, but each failed. I commenced the “Save the Baragoola Campaign” many years ago to bring her plight to all Australians and the world! The idea has always been to point readers to her owner’s websites, especially when this fine heritage listed MV Baragoola came under the ownership of the “Baragoola Preservation Association” in May 2010 and they have been actively raising funds and have been busy restoring this superb vessel to her original condition and obviously my cause is to see this through to its completion! I am not personally interested for any gratitude, for I have not even notified the Preservation Association of my support, it comes free and with my hopes!

Reuben Goossens.

Please visit the two page SS/MV Baragoola covering her history with many photographs!

 

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I am proud to present a very special Australian ship for preservation

MV Cape Don

 

Like the famed historic Sydney Harbour ferry the MS Baragoola, which I strongly support in saving and preserving, and I am also adding the delightful 1963 built MV Cape Don, which is a unique all Australian vessel that should and must be retained at all costs!

The MV Cape Don was a most unique purpose-built ship to service navigational aids (including manned lighthouses) all around Australia, thus being part of the “Commonwealth Lighthouse Service.”

Since retirement this excellent ship, the “MV Cape Don Society” is now responsible for restoring this delightful vessel and they will be setting up a museum on board to tell the story of her many years of dedicated service. I suggest that you visit my webpage on her, that has many interesting photographs of her and you will discover all her details as well as further links!

 

Visit the MV Cape Don Feature

 

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Visit our ssMaritime Main INDEX

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ssMaritime.com & ssMaritime.net

Where the ships of the past make history & the 1914 built MV Doulos Story

 

Please Note: ssmaritime and associated sites are 100% non-commercial and the author seeks no funding or favours of any shape or form, never have and never will!

Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be found on www.ssmaritime.com only), in order that due credit may be given.

This notice covers all pages, although, and I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!

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