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Page Four


Manila Hotel


M/S Philippines

Previous names: MS Asian Princess, President, Philippines, Ocean King, Great Sea, Augustus

Please Note: Except where, marked otherwise, interior photographs of the M/s Philippines on this page were taken by and are ? Copyright by my good friend Mr. Peter Knego. If you wish to see more of the many fine classic and vintage ships of the past, Peter has recorded many on his Video/CD collection entitled “The World’s Passenger Fleet” and the dramatic” “On the Road to Alang”. You can read about these and order them by Entering this Link.

Also it is with great regret that I announce that one of the last ex classic liners in an original state and still afloat, the, ex Italia Line MS Augustus, currently the M/S Philippines was recently sold and departed Manila in September 2011 under tow. Full details are further down the page.


As we know if you read the MS Augustus history page (see her link at the bottom of page) she is the identical sister to the MS Giulio Cesare and both ships were built for the “Italia Line.” Although the MS Giulio Cesare was the first to be built and completed in October 1951 and she was became famed for being the very first large Trans-Atlantic liner to be built in Italy after World War II. The MS Augustus followed just seven months later in 1952.

Their design were revolutionary for their time, although they were still three class liners, yet amazingly each class had their own swimming pool and the Augustus was famed for having some of the finest passenger facilities at sea. It was said that Tourist Class, which was in fact the ships third class, was as good as most Cabin Class (second class) on most Trans-Atlantic liners of the day, if not as good as some First Class on certain ships!

An Italia Line postcard of the MS Augustus

From the author’s private collection

Italia Line had employed some of the finest and best known architects and designers to create an ambience that was not just elegant, but offering not only that typical Italian style on board, but also those delightful touches of Scandinavian influences on board that could be found in her stylish furnishings and other features, All this provided an atmosphere that was a sheer delight to the senses in every possible way! It was agreed by the public that the MS Augustus was beyond beautiful and she offered the ultimate voyage and she sailed with Italia line for twenty four years before she was ultimately sold to an Asian based Company.

Hong Kong and Philippines duties.

After the Augustus was sold to Hong Kong, she had some five named placed on her bow and stern, one name twice M/S Philippines, which also happened to be her final name.

Not long after her layup she was sold to “Great Shipping Investments Ltd,” of Hong Kong who renamed her MS Great Sea and she was registered in Port Victoria Seychelles. She was taken to Hong Kong where she receive a refit and an external repaint, which saw her funnel painted all red, the green ribbon of her hull was removed, thus she now had an all white hull and the green boot topping became red.

MS Great Sea

Great Sea Investments postcard – Author’s personal collection

In July 1977 she was sent to Keelung for yet another refit and was under the new management of the “Great Shipping Company,” Panama. But upon arrival in Hong Kong on October 17 she was laid up.

However, she finally returned to sea as a fully operating passenger ship although it was for just a very short time. On July 3, 1978, she departed for her first voyage to Kaohsiung and Keelung and return voyages until she returned for her last voyage back to Hong Kong on August 21 when she was once again laid up. She was sold in 1980 to “Ocean King Navigation Company,” of Manila, who renamed her Ocean King, but sadly I have no information if they ever did any real work with her although they did have intentions to refit her as a cruise ship, but again she remained in layup both in Hong Kong and in due course moved her to Manila.

MS Ocean King is seen during her time sailing to Kaohsiung and Keelung

Unknown photographer - *See photo notes at bottom of page.

Then the Ocean King Nav Company renamed her once again, this time she became the MS Philippines and her duties was to be a floating hotel in Manila, but soon this operation was closed. The poor ex Augustus simply seemed to rebel no matter what they tried do9 do with her in Asia, she was in the wrong part of the world and she would never again be a success like she was in Europe! Let’s face it Asians simply did not appreciate her sheer beauty and elegance and treated her miserably!

In 1985 she was transferred to “Philippines President Lines Inc” and she was renamed President, but was again laid up in Hong Kong. Her next mane was Asian Princess and she languished being laid up in various ports doing nothing, but apparently she was reasonably well maintained.

Then in 1997 she was finally moved to Subic Bay, where she was converted to become a cruise ship, but this venture failed to make money. Thus she was placed at anchorage just off Manila. She was dry-docked at Subic Bay in 1998, and in February 1999 she headed for Manila where she was ready to be used as a floating hotel and restaurant as was originally planned years ago. Her owners berthed the ship at Pier 15 in South Harbour Manila on October 2, 1999, having been acquired by the “Manila Hotel.” On the October 12 1999 in a gala ceremony attended by President Estrada, the ship was officially renamed M/S Philippines. She was opened to the public, then early in 2000, M/S Philippines was opened as a hotel but due to the political disruption, the hotel was again closed, but was later used as an “overflow hotel” for the owner’s main hotel.

Seen in her last guise as the overflow hotel; ship M/S Philippines

Unknown photographer - *See photo notes at bottom of page.

Sadly over the past 5 years, the author has had the MS Augustus - Philippines on his books as being for sale, and there have been some excellent bids to buy the ship. However, her owner has proven to be the world’s greediest and most difficult human being to deal with. He demanded a price that was just beyond reason, like US$19 to 20 million and yet, he has now sold her for what we would call pennies, or a pittance to the breakers. The purchasers who wished to buy this ship whished to preserve her and this included the Italian Preservation Group who intended taking her back home, but this money hungry individual would rather see this ship destroyed than see her give the youth of the future an insight of what shipping used to be line. Frankly I hope that he rots in hell for as far as I am concerned that man is as evil as they come! Yet this person, like all her previous owners never appreciated the magnificence of this ship or her maritime significance in the world. Thus he, nor any of them cared less about her future and was happy to see her scrapped, rather than preserved, considering that she is one of the very last ships left in the world that was never rebuilt or changed in any ways whatsoever, and thus a real gem that should have become a fine hotel, let say in her home Italy, but what would that Pilipino care, greed is his middle name!

Sadly, the M/S Philippines departed Manila under tow bound for Alang India around 19 September 2011, however, it turns out that the tug broke down and the ship is at an undisclosed port awaiting another tug to continue her journey. However, whilst she was still in Manila her Pilipino owner I have been told has stripped her interiors.

Peter Knego’s Visit the M/S Philippines:

My my long time friend and well known American maritime identity visited the M/S Philippines a number of years ago and he gave me permission to use some his excellent photographs on this feature and they have been online for a few years and I am happy to retain them. However on the next page you will discover further images, which I have received from a broker and these are just a few that I have from a big list of photographs that are used to sell the ship. But as we all know her owners was asking a ridiculous price between US$19 and 20 million, and thus she was unsalable, and no one was stupid enough to pay that amount for her, considering that a very similar ship, the PeaceBoat SS Topaz, built as the Canadian Pacific Lines TSS Empress of Britain was sold to the breakers for just US$6 million in 2008, thus no one was going to pay this enormous amount considering the Topaz was fully operational, and the Philippines’ engines are totally dead and non operational!

Photo Album

A stern view of the MS Philippines, showing the enclosed section of her aft deck

Photograph by “Leylander” December 2006


The Barrio Fiesta Lounge

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


 The forward vestibule on Promenade Deck

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


Card Room

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


Cinema / Auditorium

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


The Rajah Bar

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


Seaview Bar

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


 The Luzon Restaurant

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


The Visayas Restaurant

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


Promenade Deck – Starboard looking to aft

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


 A Double cabin

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


 Pool deck seen at night

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


 The Engine Room

Photograph ? Copyright Peter Knego


MS Philippines seen from the car park

Unknown photographer - *See photo notes at bottom of page.

Final Updates:

1 … Sept 18, 2011: It is with great sadness that I announce that the M/S Philippines, ex MS Augustus has been sold for scrap and last week she departed Manila for Alang India, even though there bis a current party interested in buying her?

2 … Update Sept 29: I have been advised that the tug that was towing the M/S Philippines on behalf of a cash buyer, a in between company obviously and not an Indian breaker as yet, broke down and she is currently awaiting another tug to tow her to Alang. Only when she arrives at Alang will the breakers bid for her. However, we do have several interested parties at hand, but like always, unless they have a solid and a viable preservation plan as well as a big bank account and guaranteed financial backing, but more importantly a berth, for withy the poor condition of her engines and her general poor state of heath, she will most likely never sail again, without a berth, there is no hope! Thus, any last minute reprieves must have a very strong case for us to do something and achieve her salvation, but you know how tough it is at this stage, it usually ends up in disaster, for I have to be honest here! My greatest regret is that the “Italian Group” has been writing me for years and they have been procrastinating on and off, even though they did have a good plan nothing has come from it. Today I again received yet another email and I replied rather strongly, for they should have acted long ago as this ship should be in her home country as I have always believed, but they just mess around and all I get is talk and no action! Now she is all too close to being broken up! For me it sounds very much like one of Verdi’s Italian Operas slowly playing itself out!

3 … September 30: Apparently she has just passed Colombo and is about eight days away from Alang India. Her current owner is happy to sell her and is asking around US$10 million for her. This is our last chance. However, we need to understand that her ex owner in Manila has greatly stripped the ship of her art and furnishings, according to what I have heard from certain reliable source, and this should be kept in mind.

M/S Philippines seen in 2010

Unknown photographer - *See photo notes at bottom of page.


Names and all her owners:

1 …????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 1952 - 1976: Augustus – Italia Line.

2 …????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 1976 - 1980: Great Sea – Various HKG based Companies.

3 …????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 1980 - 1983: Ocean King.

4 …????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 1983 - 1985: Philippines.

5 …????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 1985 - 1987: President.

6 …????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 1987 - 1999: Asian Princess.

7 …????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 1999 - 2011: M/S Philippines - Manila based Hotel Company.

8 …????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? 2011:??? ????? Sold to an undisclosed buyer & bound for the Indian Breakers at Alang India.


This is how we should always remember this beautiful ex Italian liner - the MS Augustus!


 Farewell our Grand Italian Dame, you certainly have served all who have sailed on you so well!


MS Augustus & Giulio Cesare INDEX:

MS Augustus & Giulio Cesare INDEX:

Page One …????????????? MS Augustus

Page Two …????????????? MS Giulio Cesare

Page Three ?????????? MS Giulio Cesare & Augustus - Photo Album

Page Four ???????????? M/S Philippines

Page Five ????????????? M/S Philippines Photographs taken whilst for sale

Also Visit …?????????????? SS Michelangelo & Raffaello Feature



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Who is the Author of ssMaritime?

Commenced in the passenger Shipping Industry in May 1960 &

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


Also visit my …

Save The Classic Liners Campaign& Classic Ocean Voyages pages


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 only), in order that due credit may be given. I know what it is like, I have seen a multitude of my own photographs on other sites, yet these individuals either refuse to provide credit or remove them when asked, knowing full well that there is no legal comeback when it comes to the net. However, let us show these charlatans up and do the right thing at all times and give credit where credit is due!


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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