M.S. Anna Salen was built as the C-3 class ship M.S. Mormacland.in 1939, but she taken over by the Royal Navy as the HMS Archer, later became the M.S. Tasmania & Union Reliance

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With Reuben Goossens

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.


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Page Three

M.S. Anna Salen

Later M.S. Tasmania & M.S. Union Reliance

Reports re the Anna Salen & an Inquiry Review of the

Collision of the Union Reliance and the Berean

If you have arrived at this page via a search engine looking for the M.S. Anna Salen or M.S. Tasmania, please use this link to visit Page Two, or for the complete history of these ships visit Page One first!

This page contains reports and reviews of various incidents that have occurred during Anna Salen’s days, as well as one that ended this ships career when she was the Taiwanese ship the Union Reliance!

Migrant ship quarantined with 30 new cases aboard:

Melbourne - October 31, 1949 - The “Argus” Newspaper.

The Scandinavian migrant ship Anna Salen anchored in the bay yesterday with 30 more of its child passengers suffering from measles. Ambulances will stand by today to rush the victims to Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital. Health authorities say they expect more cases to develop.

Dr F. R. Kerr, Deputy Commonwealth Director of Health, said last night that the position among the children aboard the ship was considered serious. Dr Kerr said it was hard to judge the extent of the epidemic, but every precaution would be taken to stop it from spreading.

When the ship berths at Port Melbourne those free of sickness will be immediately transferred to the Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre. The pilot who boarded the ship outside the Heads and brought it to its anchorage had to stay on board all night. Before he will be allowed to leave the vessel he will have to be medically cleared with the passengers.

Doctors will carry out quarantine examinations this morning:, but it is not known how long the ship will remain in quarantine. Neither Health Department doctors nor Customs officials had boarded the ship last night.

An ARGUS reporter and photographer went out in a launch to meet the Anna Salen as she anchored. As the launch came alongside some of the migrants lined the decks and waved greetings. Many of them looked tired and listless and showed definite signs of earlier privations.

There was only a sprinkling of small children on deck. Most were wrapped in heavy woollen clothes, and some were wearing balaclavas as protection against the weather. Some of the children waved feebly when their parents held them up to watch the launch as it cruised near by.

Only spirited persons on board were young people in their teens and early twenties. A number showed enthusiasm to have their photos taken, but older ones looked on without interest. Since the ship left Naples for Australia five children have died and more than 100 have been reported sick. Three died on the voyage, and the others in hospital in Perth.

The Anna Salen carried 1,554 passengers, including about 500 children.

Italian Embarkation Camps Blamed For Migration Scandal:

Deaths of Children on Ship on Way to Australia from Naples:

Melbourne, Nov. 3, 1949 - “Cairns Post” (Oueensland).

“Badly equipped and poorly staffed embarkation camps in Italy were the cause of MS Anna Salen’s migrant scandal it was learned on the best authority to-day. These camps were responsible for the deaths of 6 child migrants on the ship and the deaths of 112 others. Evidence mounts that many of the 413 refugee children should not have been allowed on board. The sketchiness of the final medical inspection is indicated by the fact that a few hours before the Anna Salen sailed from Naples, two measles cases were sent ashore. Because of the sick and underfed condition of many of the passengers and the measles epidemic, the medical staff and the volunteer assistants had a nightmare voyage.

Passengers' Weak Condition:

It is surprising in the circumstances that only three children died on the voyage. With the weakened condition of the passengers undergoing a crowded voyage through the Red Sea, there might have been a death roll of dozens or scores.

Information on very high authority suggests that not all the doctors at the transit and embarkation camps are competent or sufficiently careful, and that some are merely students.

Doctors on the Anna Salen were left in doubt by the International Refugee Organisation whether all passengers had been vaccinated and inoculated. The ship had been only a few hours at sea when passengers started to go to the surgery. Most were suffering from malnutrition in an advanced stage and from enter colitis.

General Malnutrition:

lt quickly became apparent that every case of illness was complicated by general malnutrition and that the medical treatment in the camps had been inadequate to fit the refugees for the, voyage. Most of the passengers had been in embarkation camps near Naples for months before sailing.

The authorities concerned with the Anna Salen migrants make the following recommendations for the future. Detention in the transit camps from the assembly points to Naples should be as brief as possible, unless modern hospital facilities are available in the camps; there should be a strict and detailed medical inspection before embarkation by the chief doctor of each ship who should have the right to defer departures of the unfit: inoculation and vaccination against all potential diseases should be insisted upon before embarkation”.



Breakdown at Sea

Perth, December 19, 1949 - “The Western Australian”.

“With 1,570 migrants on board, the Swedish liner Anna Salen bound to Australia from Naples broke down in the Indian Ocean after leaving Aden early last week. It is believed that the vessel has been taken in tow.

The Norwegian liner the SS Skaugum which is on her way to Naples from Newcastle will head for Naples. According to a radio message received by the ship's Fremantle agent, the vessels are due in Aden tomorrow. Passengers will then be transferred from the Anna Salen to the Skaugum and brought to Fremantle on her, and she will arrive here on January 4, 1950. It is not known" whether the Skaugum will continue to the Eastern States or disembark all passengers at Fremantle”.

The SS Skaugum the ship that took the Anna Salen’s passengers from Aden to Australia

The newspaper continues:

“When the Anna Salen arrived at Fremantle seven weeks ago on her last voyage from Naples, and 78 sick children and 260 relatives were landed. Another 30 children were taken to hospital when the ship reached Melbourne”.

A postcard of the Anna Salen arriving in Melbourne on July 29, 1950



November 7, 1961 The M.S. Union Reliance collides with the M.V. Berean in the Houston Ship Channel.

Read a 9 page pdf transcript of the “Coast Guard inquiry” - Final Reviews and results of the Inquiry, who clearly states who was to blame, it certainly was not the Berean!


INDEX: M.S. Mormacland, BAVG-1, HMS Archer & M.S. Empire Lagan, Anna Salen, Tasmania & Union Reliance.

Page One           History of M.S. Mormacland, BAVG-1, HMS Archer & M.S. Empire Lagan.


Page Two          History of the M.S. Anna Salen, Tasmania & Union Reliance.


Page Three        1. Anna Salen, News reports of passengers arriving ill, and deaths in Melbourne.

.                            2. Union Reliance, a pdf “Coast Guard inquiry” who was to blame of the collision between her and the M/V Berean. (This page).



 “Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”


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