KPM, RIL MS Boissevain, Tegelberg & Ruys - 1942 to 1968

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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer

Please Note: All ssmaritime and my other related ssmaritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any cruise or shipping companies or travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960 and is now semi-retired, but continues to write article on classic liners and cruise ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure!



The Three KPM Liners

Part Two

The Three Ships from 1942 to 1968

KPM / RIL MS Boissevain, Tegelberg & Ruys 1938 to 1968

The artist is unknown - See the photo/images notes at the bottom of the page


Please Note: Postcards, photographs & other images are from the Author’s private collection, unless otherwise stated


The new trio of liners, the largest Passenger-Cargo (combination) liners KPM had ever built were just beginning to establish on their services when World War II commenced, and they operate at that time a total of 140 ships ranging from smaller vessels to this famed trio of combination liners, the MS Boissevain, Tegelberg and Ruys, which operated on the following schedule from September 1938; Hong Kong, Manila, Saigon, Bangkok, Singapore, Batavia, Rodriguez, Mauritius, Réunion, Tamatave, Lourenço Marques, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay, Cape Town. Also Zanzibar, Mombasa, Mahé, Belawan Deli, Shanghai back to Hong Kong.

The MS Boissevain seen prior to being conscripted into war service

The Trooping Years:

However, by 1940 the MS Boissevain and her sisters entered their next phase operating a variety of voyages.

With the Boissevain having been chartered by the Netherland’s Government Ministry of War, which was in exile in London, she sailed to Sydney where she was converted to become a troop transport ship, as. Having been completed, she sailed independently via New Zealand, the Pacific, and the Panama Canal to Glasgow, Scotland, where she arrived on June 9, 1942 where she received further armaments. Thereafter she sailed on a multitude of convoys and even escaped a German U-Boat, managing to increase her speed to a maximum of 20 knots. She sailed in convoy to and from Indonesia bringing more and more soldiers from the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, and they would usually disembark at Batavia and others would then embark at Tandjong-Priok.

Soldiers onboard the Troop Transport Ship HMS Boissevain as it prepared to depart Tandjong Priok bound for Australia


HMS Boissevain from 1942 to 1943:

I am well aware that I cannot possibly add all the wartime trooping information in relation on all three ships, thus below is a partial history of the Boissevain’s hectic schedules, which in very many ways represents all the ships involved. I trust that it will provide you with a good idea of their movements!

Reuben Goossens.

MS Boissevain having been place on the Indonesia to Australia service for some time, departed Surabaya on February 5, bound for Oosthaven (Indonesia) remaining there from February 7 to the 12th, and arriving at Batavia on February 14, and she then continued to Fremantle arriving on February 24, and headed for Sydney arriving there on March 6, 1942.

On the above voyage she carried a good number of evacuees as well as a large quantity of *bullion.

*A Treasury letter forwarded from England, dated February 23, 1942, addressed to the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank, Sydney (ref 7543/42/248) it stated: “Most Secret. ‘Dutch vessel ‘Boissevain’ left Batavia February 18, due Fremantle 24 February with evacuees and large quantity of bullion. No details available. Navy Fremantle will inform Western Australian Government expected time of arrival.’” This confirms that the Navy, being solely in charge of the ports, was involved in the movement of gold shipments. And through the British Consul General in Batavia, the British government in London was briefed about the gold movements before the Australian Government. In comparison to the £20,000,000 pounds sterling worth of bullion the Dutch moved to Australia.

The Boissevain was in Sydney, where the she would undergo a partial refit and made fit to become a troop transport ship, which took place between March and April 1942. With the refit completed, the Boissevain departed Sydney on April 25, 1942 for a voyage to the U.K., being a completely independent voyage, as she was not yet commissioned as a troop transport ship.

She crossed the Tasman Sea bound for Lyttelton, being the Port for Christchurch, New Zealand, arriving there on April 28, and she departed on May 10. She then headed across the Pacific bound for Balboa (Panama) arriving on May 27, then to New Orleans where she remained from June 3 to the 23rd.

On this voyage across the Atlantic from Cristobal it is reported that on July 1st whilst zigzagging the foremast lookout reported a submarine ahead, which was also confirmed by the Chief Officer on visiting the foremast. It was soon noted the submarine had changed course to intercept the Boissevain. Under the command of Captain Jansen, the ship turned 180 degrees and the Chief Engineer was ordered to push the engines to the limit. The needle recording the speed showed the maximum of 20 knots, which was maintained for four hours until nightfall. Each cylinder lubricator was manned by a greaser to maintain a steady supply of lube-oil for the cylinders.

After nightfall the Boissevain resumed her original course and she finally arrived on the River Clyde (Glasgow) on July 9, 1942.

It was in Glasgow where a comprehensive inspection was made of her engines, which revealed several of her twenty-four pistons had suffered cracks, and it was repaired or replaced.

On August 28, 1942 with convoy WS.22 and the HMS Boissevain departed Clyde bound for Freetown arriving there September 9 and she departed on the 13th, next was Durban arriving on September 29.

Convoy WS.22; besides the HMS Boissevain, there were a total of four Dutch liners, being the Ruys, the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, the Nieuw Holland, as well as the Boissevain. The California was the Commodore-ship and the convoy was escorted by the cruiser H.M.S. Aurora, the auxiliary cruiser H.M.S. Alcantara, and there were twelve destroyers that escorted convoy WS.22.

HMS Boissevain departed Durban on October 3, but now she was with convoy WS.22B that sailed to Bombay arriving on October 17. She departed Bombay on October 26, bound for Cape Town, arriving there on November 10, and departing again on November 16, for a voyage to Surabaya, but this time without an escort and she arrived on December 2.

HMS is seen packed with troops arriving in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)

The Boissevain then sailed once gain for the Clyde arriving in December and then sailing in convoy KMF.6 on December 26, to Algiers arriving there on January 3, 1943.

More troops seen aboard the HMS Boissevain

In 1942, MS Tegelberg was also chartered by the Netherland’s Government Ministry of War, and she headed for Harland & Wolff shipyards in Liverpool, where she was converted into a troop transport ship. During their conversions, all three ships had additional drinking water and sanitary facilities installed for the large number of troops on the vast majority of sailings. The HMS Ruys and Tegelberg were greatly involved in the Allied landings in North Africa as well as on Sicily.

Here we see the Troop Transport Ship HMS Tegelberg during her wartime duties

On November 6, 1943, the ocean liner MS Marnix van Sint Aldegonde being six miles off Cape Bougaroin Light, Algeria, and with 3,000 troops and crew onboard during convoy KMF 25A sailing from Liverpool to North Africa, was torpedoed by German aircraft. Although she remained afloat, she was taken in tow, but she was rammed by the also damaged Destroyer Beatty (DD-640) and she and the destroyed sank before reaching port.

The HMS Ruys distinguished herself during the sinking of the Marnix van Sint Aldegonde, although the Ruys was packed with troops and crew, there was no space to take any survivors, and with other ships being nearby, the Captain decided to leave all the ships lifeboats behind for the survivors, and the other ships nearby were able to take them. Thankfully there were no losses for all 3,000 were landed at Philippe Ville. However the ‘Marnix’ was a tragic loss!

The HMS Ruys still had the look of a passenger ship, but she was very much a troopship


Here is one more view of the HMS Boissevain during her latter wartime operations

Ships Returned to Owners:

Although all three ships were kept very busy on a variety of sailings, but finally in 1947 they were officially decommissioned and returned to her owners. But sadly for KPM, during the war the company lost 98 ships, or a massive 171,064 tonnes, which was a huge loss for them, and it would take a long time to rebuild their freight operations.

With the HMS Boissevain, Tegelberg, and Ruys having served as troop transport ships during WW2, they all headed for the Taikoo Dockyards in Hong Kong where they would be comprehensively refurbished, and restored to their original beauty, complete with their luxurious accommodations and facilities.

The MS Ruys seen after her 1947 refit with a buff (yellow funnel) and at one of her new destinations, never before visited!

Upon completion late in 1947 they were all reregistered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as well as being transferred to the newly formed “Koninklijke Java-China Paketvaart Lijnen” or “Royal Interocean Lines.” However more so, their schedules received a massive makeover, as all three ships would now be sailing from Asia to Indian Ocean ports, to west, south and east African ports, and then crossing the southern Atlantic across to the east coast of South America concluding at Buenos Aires, and then return almost via the same oceans to Yokohama and Hong Kong, with a number of different ports.

Ports of Call Outward: Yokohama, Hong Kong, Singapore, crossing the Indian Ocean to Mauritius, Durban, and Cape Town, then onward across the South Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Montevideo to Buenos Aires.

As we can see from the above, these fine liners navigated these oceans much like the ancient navigators, and therefore, these wonderful and much loved combination liners gave world travellers some of the most historically interesting countries and Islands in the Indian Ocean as well as west and South Africa and ports along the east coast of South America, this was indeed a “Voyage to remember!

Engine Changes:

In 1954 the ships were converted to heavy oil and improve operation costs; in order to achieve the changes there were technical problems involved, and in already spacious engine room an additional platform was installed to place the necessary equipment required to clean heavy oil. The Boissevain was by then registered as being; 14,271 GRT, the Tegelberg 14,281 GRT, and the Ruys 14,285 GRT.

March 1956 to June 1957 Schedule: Yokohama, Nagoya (optional), Osaka (optional), Kobe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Port Swettenham and/or Penang, Mauritius, Lourenço Marques, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Buenos Aires. Returning; Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, Mauritius, Belawan for (one call each ship, thereafter optional), Singapore, Manila (Boissevain called once, otherwise optional), Hong Kong, Kobe, Osaka (optional), Nagoya (optional), Yokohama.

Note: Optional ports were based on number of passengers booked to board in those ports, otherwise if in numbers were very small in Japan, they would travel to Yokohama, or the nearest port the ship would be berthed.

Refitting the RIL Trio:

The official Royal Interocean Lines (RIL) flag & logo

In 1961 and 1962 all three ships saw a dramatic change as they received an extensive refit, modernising the public rooms as well as all accommodations. In addition, air-conditioning equipment was installed, which would now be extended to all public rooms as well as to all First Class accommodations. Accommodations were now listed as being: 131 First Class, 84 Second Class & 179 in Third Class.

A promotional image of the new looking trio in their new look

Their exteriors were also dramatically altered, as they would now feature the traditions RIL livery, which was, a black hull with red boot topping, and a white superstructure, Her funnel was painted black with the RIL logo of a red, white and blue Dutch flag, but having a white diamond in the center with a gold Crown, as it was Royal Interocean Lines!

Here is a painting of the MS Ruys in her new Royal Interocean Lines livery

The Painting is by & © Rodar


A colourised photograph of the Boissevain, seen in her new RIL livery and funnel

An original black & white RIL Promotional photo

Once again there was a tonnage change, being; MS Boissevain 14,285 GRT, Tegelberg 14,300 GRT, and the Ruys 14,303 GRT. With the ships looking simply magnificent, they returned to their previous services and their passengers loved their new interiors.

The new look as seen in the Social Hall on the MS Boissevain


Guests dancing in the Social Hall


The modernised Social Hall onboard the MS Tegelberg


The Writing, and Reading Room and this venue also has a Library



Above & below: Smoking Room and Bar onboard the MS Boissevain



The Smoking Room received a brand new look and all three ships, this is the MS Ruys


The Smoking Room New Bar on the MS Ruys


MS Tegelberg in her RIL livery



Above & below; portside Deluxe Suites seen after their refit



Deluxe Suite on the MS Ruys


An A Grade twin bedded cabin with facilities


The A Deck Lobby looking forward with the well over the Dinning Room on the MS Ruys


Here we see the Entrance Hall & Lobby, with the grand Stairwell from The Social Hall seen aft

The well over the Dinning Room, a lounge area, and the stairs leading down to the Dinning Room


 The Dinning Room on MS Ruys, looking aft to starboard, the grand stairwell is on the right


Another view of the Ruys’ Dinning Room looking to aft to port


And here is a first view towards the sweeping glass wall and door, with the stairwell behind, to the Dinning Room


Modernised seating was introduced, but the Pursers office remained traditional


MS Ruys seen after her refit

All three ships continued on their Asian, Indian Ocean Islands, African, and South American schedules and remained successful, but sadly as the sixties continued passenger loadings were declining, due to the popularity of air travel. 

However in April 1967, Royal Interocean Lines announced plans to retire the Boissevain, Tegelberg, and the Ruys during the year of 1968, as passenger loadings were down, as well as new cargo handling taking place on newly equipped ships. These new situations made this trio of ships uneconomical to operate, and thus RIL decided to mostly concentrate on their smaller and extremely popular MS Tjiluwah and Tjiwangi which continued to operate on the Asia to Australia service!

MS Boissevain heading toward her final days

But then during her second last ever commercial voyage, on January 29, 1968, the Boissevain was sailing from Kobe to Nagoya (on her way back to Yokohama), and being some 22 miles west of Cape Daio, there was a collision with the 1955 built, 325-ton Japanese vessel MS Hokko Maru No 1, being en-route from Hokkaido bound for Anan with her holds filed with a cargo of wood pulp. Although the Boissevain was not badly damaged, and was able to continue her voyage, the Hokko Maru (I) sank SSW of Cape Daio, and her crew were rescued.

The Final Two Voyages of the MS Boissevain:

A still magnificent looking MS Boissevain departed for her very last commercial voyage from Yokohama in February 1968, and returning in June.

Her schedule was as follows: Yokohama, Nagoya, Kobe, Pusan, Naha, Hong Kong, Singapore, Port Swettenham, Penang, Mauritius, Lourenço Marques, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Montevideo, Buenos Aires. Return voyage: Buenos Aires, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, Mauritius, Singapore, Hong Kong, and back to Kobe, Yokohama.

This is a Royal Interocean Lines postcard that was given out to all passengers during the MS Boissevain’s final voyage

The Boissevain was sold in the second quarter of 1968 for £204.000 to the Taiwanese ship breaker “Shin Fa Steel Manufacturing Co. Ltd” of Taiwan. She departed Hong Kong on June 21, 1968 with a small delivery crew and headed for Kaohsiung where she arrived on July 14, 1968 where this 31-year-old liner was the second of the trio to be broken up.

The last voyage of the MS Tegelberg:

Having returned from her final voyage in March 1968, she headed for Hong Kong where she was de-stored and all her crew had disembarked the ship, as soon a new small crew would board her.

The MS Tegelberg is seen arriving in Cape Town during her final voyage there

Although being the second of the trio to have been built, the MS Tegelberg was the first of the three ships sisters to be sold to the breakers. In the first quarter of 1968 the “Victoria Stem Company” of Taiwan purchased her, for her to be demolished. The Tegelberg departed with a skeleton crew on March 14, 1968 and headed for Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and there, she was broken up between June 20, and September 11, 1968 and thus the second of this wonderful 30-year-old trio had gone!

The Final Two Voyages of the MS Ruys:

MS Ruys’ made her final commercial voyage departing from Yokohama in April 1968, and she returned in August. Her voyage was as follows:

Yokohama, Nagoya, Kobe, Pusan (optional), Naha (optional), Hong Kong, Singapore, Port Swettenham, Penang, Mauritius, Lourenço Marques, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Montevideo, Buenos Aires. Return voyage: Buenos Aires, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London (optional), Durban, Mauritius, Singapore, Manila (optional), Hong Kong, Kobe and back to Yokohama.

The delightful B&W photograph of the MS Ruys in her RIL livery during her final days

In August 1968 MS Ruys was sold to “Messrs Tung Ho” of Taiwan as the ship was unloaded of all her last ever cargo and they removed any of the valuable Company objects from the ship, she departed with a skeleton crew board bound for Kaohsiung breakers yard where she arrived on September 13, and here this fine 30-year-old liner was duly broken up.

Please Note: Specifications for these three fine Combination Liners can be found on Part One, whilst A Deck Plan and some Brochures are on Part Three. See the INDEX below!

Here we see the MS Boissevain in Hong Kong in June 1968, being her very last al commercial visit there



Part One … MS Boissevain, MS Tegelberg & MS Ruys; 1937/38 to 1942.


Part Two … Their trooping years and their commercial years - 1942 to 1968.


Part Three … Deck Plan, Brochures & Schedules, and Memorabilia.


MS Tjiwangi & Tjiluwah Royal Interocean Lines’ Elegant Yachts.


MS Straat Banka … A luxurious KPM/RIL 50 passenger-cargo liner, and her 2 sisters.


SS Nieuw Holland & Nieuw Zeeland ... Two Grand Old Dames of the Sea.



“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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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 only be found on, in order that due credit may be given.


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