1950-59 sold to become the Chandris Lines - RHMS Patris 1958-1980
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enjoyment and pleasure to ship enthusiasts past passengers and crew
Terra for breakers delivery voyage
A Union Castle Line released
postcard of the RMS
Please Note: Postcards
& photographs from the author’s private maritime collection, unless
Part One - RMS
Castle the first of an identical quartet, and was built by
Harland & Wolff at Belfast.
Her duties were to take emigrants from England
However, due to the cancellation of assisted passages, it was decided to
complete her, but changed her design.
25, 1949, Bloemfontein
was launched by Mrs
being the wife of the High Commissioner for the Union of South Africa in London.
She was completed in March
25, 1950. Although based on pre war Union Castle Liners having
identical hulls and similar superstructures, such as the Dunnottar
there were differences between her and past Union Castle Liners, one being that
she was the first one class liner to be built for Union
Also, her original design had two masts, which was changed to a single mast
located directly aft of the bridge, in additions she was given a flush foredeck.
She had five hatches,
two forward and three aft, served by six 10 ton and four 5 ton derricks. Her
cargo spaces were insulated to transport fruit, and general cargo. However,
other compartments were refrigerated for frozen produce.
photograph of the RMS
Her main public rooms were located on
promenade deck. The Main Lounge was located forward and occupied the full width
of the ship, making it a particularly spacious room. Next was the library and
writing room, which was connected by a gallery to a large smoking room. The
Dining Room was located on Upper deck, with seating for 386 passengers, thus
requiring two seating’s to accommodate her complement of 730 passengers.
It was considered that her standard appointments were better than first class
on many of her pre war sisters, and she became a popular ship I her early days.
Castle departed London
on April 6, 1950
for her maiden voyage from London
Ascension Island, St. Helena, and Walvis Bay concluding in Cape
She returned via Port Elizabeth,
East London, Durban,
after which she
undertook a series of sailings and cruises, but never successfully.
Here we see the RMS
returning to London
from her maiden voyage to Africa
on June 10, 1950
provided by a ssmaritime supporter, but photographer
is unknown …
see my Photo Notes at the bottom of this page
uneventful service with Union
would be remembered for just one incident. On January
8, 1955 she received a distress call from the Dutch liner Klipfontein, which was located off Mozambique.
She rescued her 116 passengers and 118 crew.
In 1959, due
to the ever declining loadings, Union
decided having a number of smaller ships, to consolidate their operations and
decided to place several ships including the Bloemfontein
up for sale. She was soon purchased and she returned to Southampton
on November 9, and she was handed over to her new owners.
Builder: Harland &
Burmeister & Wain Diesels – 20,000 BHP
seen in Cape
Part Two - RHMS Patris
early Chandris postcard of the all white RHMS Patris
The Greek Chandris Lines (England) purchased her for their Australian service. Chandris renamed her
Patris (Mother Country or Homeland in Greek); she was taken to North Shields
where she was given a three week refit, for her new role sailing from Greece
Cabins were built and others were extensively remodelled, now able to
accommodate some 1000 Tourist Class and 36 First Class passengers. In order to
accomplish this, extra cabins were built down on D (Doric) Deck. In addition a
second dinning room was built. She received a new all white livery with red
boot topping. Her funnel was blue with a black top and a large white X, being
the company’s insignia. X is ‘Ch’ in the Greek alphabet and
obviously stood for ‘Chandris.’
Upon completion, her ownership was changed to
the National Greek Australia Line and she headed for Piraeus.
Her decks were now named from the top, Aegean,
Ionian, Corinthic, Cretan and Doric.
Here we see another postcard of
the Patris but with a blue ribbon added
She departed Piraeus
on December 14,
1959 for her maiden voyage to Australia,
sailing via the Suez
to Fremantle, Melbourne,
where she arrived on January
9, 1960. After several voyages, later that year, Patris ran aground
in the Suez
but was soon pulled off the sand bank and she continued on her voyage.
A superb photograph of the Patris
ready for a cruise
Patris seen during her Australian
Due to the closure of the Suez Canal between
1967 and 1972, she sailed to Australia
returning via the
Canal. During the late sixties and early seventies, Patris
operated a number of cruises out of Sydney,
as well as Trans
voyages. RHMS Patris made a total of 91 voyages to Australia
between 1959 and 1975, bringing countless thousands of Greek Migrants to Australia
to start a new life Down Under.
The Patris is seen berthed at the
Passenger Terminal Circular Quay in Sydney
by & © Neil Bernard restored with permission by the author of ssmaritime
Dutch Evacuees in 1962 from West New Gunea:
In 1962 Geoffrey
Luck was an ABC's News Editor in Port
responsible for its Papua
services. After the Indonesian confrontation and threatened invasion of Western
New Guinea (WNG), the Bunker Plan that was forced on the
Netherland’s by the Kennedy
administration, led to the handover, via a temporary United Nations
administration, to Indonesia.
The timing was that the Dutch handed over to UNTEA on October 1, 1962, and in
turn they handed over WNG to the Indonesians on May 1, 1963. When this
“settlement” was announced, all but about 700 of the 2,500 Dutch
administration staff opted to leave, and they did so as quickly as possible.
They knew there was no future for them in WNG and feared Indonesian reprisals.
Most left by air, boarding DC3’s to fly to Biak
from where KLM repatriated them home to the
Netherland’s. The last Dutch
departed on a DC3 on September 28, 1963.
At some time or other the Patris must have
been arranged at short notice to have her available in Hollandia
at the end of September 1962, as she sailed before October 1, although Mt Luck
did not retain the actual date of the departure.
It is obvious, that the Netherland’s
seems to wish to keep that time as a blank in their history as they really
wanted to forget all about the sad episode of WNG and the humiliation that was
forced on the Dutch by the U.S.
as part of its geopolitical struggle against the USSR.
There is so much more to this tragic political mess, but that is not for me to
tell! In this feature, as it is all about the MS Patris’ involvement.
It seems that this voyage of the Paris’
evacuation of the Dutch evacuees from Hollandia is
recorded anywhere, not in any of the Chandris literature, or any other history
books. Thus it seems it has been written out of history as part of the shame of
the forced WNG surrender.
On that September day in 1962, Geoffrey
was quay side as the Patris departed from Hollandia, West
New Guinea with 600 Dutch families being
evacuated, and he took three photographs as she slowly left her berth and these
are seen below.
The Photograph above and the two
below were taken by & © Geoffrey Luck
Like most shipping companies of the day,
Patris started to suffer low loadings, thus alternative routes were sought out
and Chandris decided on a new idea and the Patris commenced a Fremantle to Singapore
service, as a cruise ship. With cheap airfares available from Singapore,
Patris commenced to operate an inexpensive Fly/Cruise operation to and from the
Although at first it seemed to go well, but sadly the popularity of this
venture rapidly declined, for cheap airfares became available from Australia.
Sadly two years later in 1974 the Patris was
laid up in Singapore
for a short time, but Chandris decided to try again and gave her another refit
and recommenced a Fremantle to Singapore
service. However on Christmas day 1974 cyclone Tracy
hit and almost destroyed the Australian Northern Territory City of Darwin.
Chandris offered to charter the Patris to the Australian Government for her to
be used as a floating hotel in Darwin,
for the countless people that had lost their homes. She arrived in Darwin
on February 14,
1975 and continued her hostel duties there until November 1975.
After departing Darwin
in November, the Patris said goodbye
and this once much loved ship would never return to our shores again.
nice view of a well built ship at sea
specifications for RHMS Patris:
First & 1000 Tourist, then 1,550 One Class
Patris the Passenger Car Ferry:
After her time in Darwin,
Patris was in a poor state, thus Chandris sent her to Greece
and refitted her to become a passenger car ferry. She could carry 260 cars in
garage space in what was Doric deck, which had all her cabins and service areas
ripped out. Cars were loaded through large side-loading doors cut into her
hull. Patris commenced her new service early 1977, under the joint operation of
Chandris & Karageorgis Lines on the Venice,
to Patras service. She operated some
cruises, but these were not successful.
Looking very attractive in her
new livery as the Karageorgis Lines Mediterranean Star
unknown – Please see the Photo Note at bottom of page
Two years later, in 1980, Chandris Lines sold
her outright to Karageorgis Line who renamed her Mediterranean
In 1981 Karageorgis changed her name to Mediterranean Star and placed her on
the Piraeus-Alexandria run. Although still under the ownership of Karageorgis
Line, she was registered under the Star Navigation Corp banner and later she
transferred within the Karageorgis group of companies, Consolidated Ocean
Transports. In 1982 she suffered a major fire in her engine room fire, causing
all passengers and most of her crew to abandon ship. With a reduced crew, she
was sent to Perama for repairs, yet she remained laid up.
Above and below: We see her still as the Mediterranean Star but her days were
coming to an end!
unknown – Please see the Photo Note at bottom of page
Finally in 1987, this once proud Union
and Chandris liner was sold was sold to a St Vincent
owner for breaking up. They renamed re-named her “Terra” for
her voyage to Karachi
where she was duly broken up.
RHMS Patris Page Two
14 night Cruise to Melbourne & New Zealand - December 1970
Also Online …
…S.S. America & Australis INDEX:
Page One …………..
Page 1940 to 1967.
Page Two ………….…….Photo
Three …………….1940 Deck
………………………………….S.S. Australis INDEX:
Page from 1964 to her sad end in 1994.
Page Five ……………….Brochure
& Photo & Page One.
& Photo Page Two.
Page Seven ………….Deck
..Other Chandris Ships
MS Patris …………………Ex Union
SS Ellinis ………………..Ex Matson
Lines liner SS
SS Britanis ……………..Ex Matson
Lines SS Monterey, but renamed Lurline & Matsonia.
Note: Not all pages
have been updated and completed as yet.
“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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The Autor has been in Passenger Shipping and the
Cruise Industry for 60 years
Where you will discover over 1,350 Classic Liners
& the 1914 built MV Doulos Story
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