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Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer
Please Note: All ssmaritime as well as 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 agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960, but although retired and unwell, I occasionally attempt to write an article now and then, in order to bring enjoyment and pleasure to ship enthusiasts past passengers and crew.
Photographs are from the ssMaritime historic collection - unless stated otherwise
Later M.S. Tasmania & M.S. Union Reliance
Page One, will commenced with the very
beginning of the ship that became the M.S. Anna Salen, as she was built as the
12 passenger cargo liner the
Iam well aware that amongst some maritime historians seem to be confused on when the Empire Lagan, temporarily renamed by one of her earlier codes BAVD-1, was sold to the Norwegians, most claim it was around in 1949, the truth is, it was in 1946. I have viewed an official record that states; “In 1946 the BAVG-1 was auctioned off as surplus, and she was obtained by
last known photo of the Empire Lagan seen in Auckland New
Thus the hideous boxy looking ship was
However, considering Mr. Salén obtained a contract from the “International Refugee Organization” (IRO) to transport displaced persons to various parts of the world, he advised Bethlehem Shipyard to change plans and rebuilt into a basic migrant ship were the accommodation for up to 1,500 persons, which would be installed, in the huge open spaces of her holds with no actual fixed beds as such, but these were all triple-decker bunks, and the upper bunk would lower on top of the middle bunk during the day, these bunks were very cramped, so much so you were unable to sit up in them. There were some smaller four, six to eight bedded cabins on B and C Decks, as well as one smaller cabin on D Deck for special families. See the Passenger Deck Plan for details.
This is the men’s bunk hold, note the top bunks
Men would be assigned to one to their holds, with women and children to other. There was also a large open toilet and washing block. Up on A Deck there were two specious open air decks for the passengers to enjoy fresh air and some sunshine, there were the “Aft” and “Fore Decks”, whilst on B (Shelter) Deck there was a short narrow covered promenade deck. The main superstructure above was completely out of bounds to all passengers, as the area was for the crew only! Thus all passenger facilities and accommodations was located in the hull and generally there were no portholes or a view out to the sea, except one public venue which had three portholes.
Here we see the B (Shelter) Deck promenade deck, with an unknown passenger
Photograph from an unknown source; Please see photo notes at the bottom of the page
Also on B Deck far aft of the central superstructure was the Information Desk, and the hospital, Medical center just aft on the starboard side.
Down in the hull amidships on the starboard side was the “Grüner Salon” or the Green Lounge and Bar being the only area with three portholes. Whilst far aft was a spacious “Dancing Room” and Snack Bar. Amidships and D and E decks were the large interior Dinning Rooms.
One of the Dining Rooms where families would be able to gather
Dinning times were as follows: Passengers had to be seated for Breakfast 8 to 9 am. Lunch 12 noon to 1 pm, Evening meal 5.30 to 6.30 pm. A special daily children’s sitting in the Upper Dining Room was at 3 pm
After a long refit and rebuild, she was
finally completed and the
She was ready to commence in her new role as a
rather humble full time immigrant ship, and in 1949 she finally sailed from
However, most of her voyages back to
As many regular readers of ssMaritime know
well, I have covered countless ships that transported large numbers of European
displaced persons that settled either in
Voyage One: The
fine bow view of the
also departed from
Voyage Three: departed Naples on October two, 1949 and this would be come a voyage that would receive a huge amount of publicity when she arrived in Melbourne on October 30, and she was quarantined and the ship had to anchor in Port Phillip Bay, due to deaths of 6 poor children and 114 others on board from measles, even the pilot had to remain on board until the ship was permitted to berth for Doctors to be able to carry out quarantine examinations of the pilot and all passengers and the ships crew.
Please Note: On
Page Three there are a number of news Paper Reports for you to read and they
are very interesting, as they explain how
Voyage Four: On
December 1, 1949 the
The “Skaugum”, was a very similar
ship, also operating with much the same type of accommodations with berths
fitted in her holds, etc. Upon her arrival in
crowds have come to see the many on board as the Skaugum arrives back in
Please Note: The Newsletter below is a translation from German and several other Eastern European languages.
To all Passengers:
We bid all passengers onboard the “
Management of Ship.
Important Announcements for the Day of Departure:
Evening mealtime today is 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tonight from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. vouchers can be redeemed for the ship’s currency at the Snack Bar in the Dance Hall. From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. the Drug Store will be open for the sale of cigarettes. It was already pointed out today that the onboard currency must be spent during the voyage and cannot be returned.
During the voyage please especially comply with:
The passengers are requested to leave their cabins every morning, immediately after having made your beds, and stay away while the stewards are busy with cleaning. During the time from 10 to 11 before noon there will be a daily inspection during which all passengers are to be absent from the cabins. Quiet on the ship commences evenings at 11 p.m. At 11.15 p.m. is the nigh time inspection. Please conduct yourself quietly on board from 11 p.m., consider the mothers with children as well as the passengers who wish to sleep. Except for fruit do not take any food out of the cafeteria. Food found in cabins will be destroyed. Blankets belonging to the ship as well as cutlery and cabin fittings are not to be taken on deck. Pay attention to announcements on the notice board in the Green Salon as well as messages via the loudspeaker.
For special attention - VERY IMPORTANT:
Passengers with children should upon coming onboard ensure that life jackets are available for the children. Ask your steward or your stewardess about children’s life jackets. During ship drills, as well as in an emergency, all passengers should gather at life-boat stations as announced in the dormitories — and under no circumstances at the lifeboats. Inform yourself in advance about the location applicable to you.
Canadian voyages I have been able to
locate are the following sailings, although this is far from a complete list!
Please do NOT ask me for further details as I do NOT have them! All I have is
Canadian voyages I have been able to locate are the following sailings, although this is far from a complete list! Please do NOT ask me for further details as I do NOT have them! All I have is online,
However, having completed her ferry duties,
she was booked to sail to
Whaling Factory Ship
At the time there was thick fog at the time
and both ships suffered damage, but the
headed to “Burmeister & Wain Engineering” in
are seen disembarking the
Photograph with thanks from the “National Archives of Australia”
The new look M.S.
A Hellenic Mediterranean Line pre-release postcard of the M.S. Tasmania
She continued her voyages to Australia however whilst entering Port Philp Bay to Melbourne on April 3, 1956 she suddenly ran aground and she suffered some damage to the bottom of her hull. She did mange to reach her berth and all passengers disembarked, but she required repairs and this delayed her departure by around eleven days.
An actual photograph of the M.S. Tasmania
M.S. Tasmania arrived in departed
Upon arriving in
Please Note: I am sorry, but to date I have not been able to locate any images of the M.S. Union Reliance.
However, it was her old age as well as being a worn ship, but more so poor maintenance that finally caught up with her, when she broke down at the very worst possible time whilst under Taiwanese ownership she became a neglected ship and was operated by an incompetent captain and crew.
The ship was
found to be in need of extensive engine room repairs due to extensive wear.
Repairs were made to the engine controls in
Reliance headed to Taiwan, where additional repairs were to be made, before
proceeding with general cargo bound for Japan and then onto the United States.
She was given the five piston heads desperately needed for her engines upon
proceeded through the Panama Canal and arrived in
Steering the Union Reliance wasn’t the only problem – the telephone communication system between the bridge, engine room and steering engine room was inoperative. A Coast Guard enquiry later found that “it was difficult to hear over the ship’s telephone system, and that it was necessary to use messengers from the bridge to relay any emergency messages to the engine room.”
around 11.10 pm, whilst approaching a bend in the channel, pilot
The engines were ordered full astern and the danger signal was sounded on the ship’s whistle, after which pilot Duncan ordered both anchors to be dropped. All four engines had been coupled to run ahead for maximum speed. Upon receiving orders from the bridge for full power astern, “the engine room reversed one set of two engines, and coupled same to the propeller shaft to give astern power.” Capt. Charles Lary, the Houston Ship Channel pilot on board the “Berean”, immediately blew three blasts in return to show that he recognized the emergency, ordered full speed astern and gave the Berean hard-right rudder in order to run the ship aground in the mud on the side of the channel.
The Union Reliance sheered across the channel, where her bow made contact with the port side of the Berean, penetrating ten feet into the Berean’s number one cargo hold. The hold contained acrylonitrile, being a vinyl cyanide flammable material that gives off dangerous fumes similar to cyanide poisoning. The toxic liquid sprayed over the forward half of the Union Reliance and touched off a fire that consumed the forward section of the ship up to the deck house and continued aft to the stern. The fire spread so fast that only one aft starboard side lifeboat could be launched, taking 23 crew members aboard. They picked up the ship’s captain after he jumped off the bridge into the water.
The remaining crew members on the Union Reliance were successful in extinguishing smaller fires aft, but they were unable to fight the main larger fire forward being due to fire hose couplings having different threads they simply could not fit all the fire hydrants.”
Thankfully, there were no injuries or lives lost on the Berean, although she did sustain extensive damage to her hull. The Union Reliance continued burning for several days; and she blocked the channel until November 10, when she was finally towed to, and anchored in Galveston Harbour (arriving on the 11th), by the “United States Corps of Engineers”, but the fire had completely gutted her.
Tragically, there were 11 charred bodies of the Union Reliance’s crew as well of that of the pilot on the Union Reliance duly removed from the ship.
Guard inquiry after the collision ruled that “there was no negligence on
the part of either the
Please Note: On there is a link on Page Three for you to read a nine page pdf transcript of the “Coast Guard inquiry” - Final Reviews and results re the Inquiry, who clearly states who was to blame!
Reliance was completely abandoned by her owners and China Union Lines, who also
refused to make any payment to the
Finally it was on January 12, 1962, that the wreck of the Union Reliance was sold to be scrapped for US$109,100.72. However, she was completely destroyed by yet another fire on February 19, 1962, during her being dismantled at a New Orleans Shipyard, but her breaking up was completed late in March 1962.
Specifications & Details
Specifications & Details
Built by: Sun
Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.,
Launched: December 14, 1939 as the Mormacland.
Length: 494 ft - 150.5 m.
Beam: 69.2 ft - 21.1 m.
Draught: 29.1 ft - 8.86 m.
Propulsion: 4 × 7 cylinder SCSA diesel engines (Busch-Sulzer Bros Diesel Engine Co, St Louis) 2,060 HP (1,540 kW) each, driving a large single screw through electro-magnetic couplings and single reduction gearing.
Speed: Service speed 15.5 knots, maximum 17.5 knots.
Range: 14,550 nautical miles (26,950 km) at 10 knots.
including children on the
. None - Union Reliance.
Fate: Scrapped in
This is how the vast majority of migrants who sailed on this ship will remember her
… History of
… History of the
. 2. Union Reliance, a pdf “Coast Guard inquiry” who was to blame of the collision between her and the M/V Berean.
Use this Link …
Use this Link …
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