P&O’s S.S. Iberia 1954 to 1972
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Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned, thus ssmaritime is NOT associated with any shipping company or any other organisation! Although the author has worked and been involved in the passenger shipping industry for well over 60 years, but due to his old age and poor health, he was forced to retire. Yet, he has completed well over 1,550 Classic Liners, Passenger-Cargo Liners as well as humble converted C3 converted Migrant Liners, which has transported countless thousands of folk to the new world, as well on vacations’. Amazingly, ssmaritime.com has received 573.4 million visitors to date I trust the features online will continue to provide Classic Liner and Ship enthusiasts both the information they are seeking, but more so provide a great deal of pleasure and relive many happy memories!
Please Note: Postcards, photographs & other images are either from the author’s private collection or from my supporters.
Thus thank you to my ssmaritime supporters for sending me their wonderful photographs & images.
I am sorry if some of the images shown may not be of the highest quality, but they are the best that were available
is one of the early P&O postcards of the
Please Note: All photographs & images are from the author’s private collection, unless otherwise stated
After WWII P&O decided to upgrade their
fleet for the Australian service considering P&O had lost six of their
passenger ships. Four of these had been sunk during jus one of WW 2’s
operations, “Operation Torch,” being the Allied landing in
Obviously, even the ships that survived WWII needed considerable refitting at great cost. Thus P&O commenced a plan to build a series of new ships that would be economically more viable and have a sustainable future, for the much loved black hulled Mooltan and Maloja which had entered service in 1923 and 1924 respectively were almost 27 years old. They were noted for having been the first P&O ships to exceed 20,000 GRT, but the time had come to consider replacing them with more effective and more modern units. Other problems had arisen, such as who were going to build these ships, due to steel shortages, rising inflation and industrial problems as well as competition from abroad. However once the details were worked out, British shipbuilders were decided on, as at the time they were considered to be “the best in the world.”
In order to recommence the rebuilding plan, in 1946 P&O placed an order for the first ship to be built, the 28,000 GRT SS Himalaya, which was followed up four months later by an order for smaller version of the Himalaya, the 24,000 GRT SS Chusan.
Then the next two ships to be built, although
similar to the
The order was placed for the first ship, SS
Arcadia to be built at Clydebank in autumn 1951, whilst the
SS Iberia was built by the famed shipyards of
Harland & Wolff Ltd, Yard 1476, in
Seen at the Harland & Wolff shipyards during the building process
From the Harland & Wolff Collection
From the Harland & Wolff Collection
She was launched on January 21, 1954 by Lady McGrigor the wife of the “First Sea Lord” - Admiral Rhoderick McGrigor. After launching she went to her fitting out wharf. For interest, her interior design was entrusted to “A. McInnes, Gardner & Partners” of Glasgow, who followed a well trusted standard set by her earlier sisters, but also made some new innovations!
When completed, she underwent sea her trials
during September 1954 where she achieved a respectable 24.9 knots. She was
delivered to P&O on September 10, 1954. It was decided to name her
*There was another ship that carried the name
It is obvious to all followers of the Orient
Line and P&O story that 1. These two ships were contemporaries of Orient
Line’s Oronsay and Orsova respectively. In addition: 2. That the
The 29,614 GRT Iberia departed on her maiden
voyage on September 28, 1954 from
In June 1955
The Main Lounge which was certainly built for comfort and having a simple elegance
The ever-popular dance arena was semi indoors, but out on deck with sliding glass doors
that could be open or shut pending weather conditions – cane furnishings was the popular mode here
The floral and heavy patterned Writing and Reading Room
The ever-popular Library and reading area
The Observation Lounge, the forerunner of greatly extended “Crows Nest” on the modern P&O ships
The expansive spaces of the Sports Deck
Far aft is the popular Verandah Café overlooking the stern
The Dining Room was adorned with fine timbers and murals and wall lighting and had an elegant feel!
The superb Verandah Cabin with comfortable lounge chairs
A Single Cabin
The Main Lounge was a beautiful room with a fine mural and a Grand piano
Another view of the Main Lounge
The Smoking Room also had writing desks and was a popular venue for games
Verandah Café was a beautiful room with a fine mural
I was impressed that the Tourist Class Dining Room has so many tables for four
postcard of SS Iberia was part of the above
Below is a list of both good and the bad incidents of her ongoing troubled career.
On March 14, 1956
Iberia is seen at
Just aft of the funnel and below, you will see some vertical iron bars that were railway irons
that held the decks together, in order they would not collapse during
the voyage to
by & © Terry H. Connell
we see some of the extensive damage up on Boat deck
Here we see some of the extensive damage up on Boat deck
even extended as high as Sports Deck
It even extended as high as Sports Deck
The Stanvec Pretoria had damage on its lower hull see lower left, as well as the upper bow
Just aft of her name where the plates have
buckled extensively. However
In April 1957 she called
In April 1957 she called
On February 15, 1959
In January 1958 P&O and Orient services to
In May 1960 her management and operation was transferred to P&O-Orient Lines.
In 1961 from January to March she was refitted by J.I. Thornycroft Ltd, Southampton. During the work she was modernised and finally fitted with air-Conditioning and stabilizers.
On October 17, 1961 she suffered a complete
electrical failure having just departed Auckland New
On August 12, 1962 she struck a sandbank near Port Tewfik and damaged a blade of her portside propeller.
Teresa Swan’s journey began in
Special arrangements had been made to have
baby Teresa Baptized on Sunday January 20 directly after Holy Mass in the Port
Writing Room forward on Promenade Deck. For this special occasion, it had been
decided that they would use the ships bell as the
The Captain and the Ships Company gave Teresa and the family two boxes of silver gifts containing eggcups and napkin rind as well as a special Egyptian teaspoon as the ship was in the area.
Above SS Iberia’s daily Events & News paper for January 20, 1963
All images related to this story were provided by Teresa Shaw
With the event over, a happy family gets together
A beautiful BUB and the gifts given by P&O
Two silver egg cups and napkin rings and note the delightful Egyptian teaspoon
Photograph by & © Iberia’s Radio Officer Paul Soper
I received the following
interesting story from ex P&O Radio Officer Paul Soper
and decided to add it to the page as well as his photo above of the
However, during my time on her I can recall at least two other unfortunate incidents occurring either in 1964 or 1965. The first was when we were in a long beam sea and the stabilizers became stuck in position. The ship started to roll to port, and continued rolling and then rolled more and more until the radio transmitters were hanging off the bulkhead, then the typewriter smashed to the floor and the whole ship resounded to the sound of breaking crockery. She did eventually come to a halt, but not before a great deal of damage had been done and I suddenly realised how many prayers I knew. But all ended well and there were no real injuries except for a little one related to pride.
The second incident occurred when we were
Paul Soper (P&O Radio Officer 1964-1971).
In 1966 her passenger capacity was revised to 651 First Class and 733 Tourist. In addition her management and operation was transferred to “P&O Lines.”
On June 10, 1966 on her way to
On January 19, 1967
On February 2, 1968 she was delayed in Funchal by two days with a power system breakdown.
On November 16, 1968 her number 2 boiler room
forced draught fan failed. Repairs were made in
On June 12, 1969 she sailed on her final
On December 8, 1969 she finally arrived in
On December 9, 1969, the day after she
On December 26, 1969, after all the work done at the major overhaul, guess what? She suffered yet another major a stabilizer failure.
In October 1971 her management and operation was transferred to the “P&O Passenger Division.”
On November 6, 1971 she sailed from
Southampton on her final voyage from the
superb photograph of the
we see the
For she was about
to sail to
On June 28, 1972
Built by: Harland & Wolff
Yard Number: Yard 1476
Launched: January 21, 1954
Launched by: Lady McGrigor the wife of the “First Sea Lord” - Admiral Rhoderick McGrigor
Official No: 186127.
Call Sign: GBCN.
IMO No: 5157781.
Maiden Voyage: September 28, 1954
Length: 718.8 ft – 219m
Breadth: 90.10 ft – 27.5m
Draft: 36.6 ft
Power: Single Reduction Geared Steam Turbines
Propellers: 2 – 42,500 SHP
Speed: 22 knots service speed - 24.9 max
Passengers: 679 First Class, 735 Tourist.
June 1973: 1,350 Tourist (One) Class.
The way we like to remember her!
S.S. Iberia, a ship with a superb stern and built for the tropics, thus all those wonderful wide promenade decks!
Today ships are closed in like apartment blocks and deck spaces are taken up by private balconies that are seldom used.
How I miss those great days when ships like the S.S. Iberia made
you feel like you lived on a real castle at sea.
How I miss those great days when ships like the S.S. Iberia made you feel like you lived on a real castle at sea.I hope and pray that you enjoyed this feature and that you relived some wonderful memories!
Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”
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The Author has been in Passenger Shipping & the Cruise Industry for well over 60 years
In addition he was the founder of “Save the Classic Liners Campaign” in 1990.
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.
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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