Lauro Lines MS Surriento 1948 to 1966
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With Reuben Goossens
Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer
Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed around 680 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure! Reuben Goossens.
Lauro Lines very First genuine Passenger Liner
The MS Surriento
The 1928 built Grace Liner MS Santa Maria was obtained in 1940 by the US Marines and was converted into an Attack Transport ship and renamed USS Barnett. During WWII she served bravely during countless dangerous situations, including being damaged and sadly troops onboard were killed and injured during an attack during her services. At the end of the war USS Barnett was awarded the “Seven Battle Stars” for her and her crew’s amazing bravery!
Like so many ships that were used during the
war, she was laid up and remained idle for several years, until finally in 1948
the US Government sold her at auction and the highly decorated USS Barnett, ex
MS Santa Maria was officially purchased by the well known Italian Multi
Millionaire ship owner Mr. Achille Lauro on April 13, 1948. Soon she headed for
Thus, the MS Barnett commenced her voyage
across the Atlantic bound for
An advanced release Lauro Lines postcard with an artist impression of their new liner MS Surriento
Externally she became a more modern style looking ship with her newly designed raked bow giving her an additional three meters in length; in addition her superstructure was enlarged with some of her decks stretched forward and aft. with her passenger capacity being increased she required additional lifeboats and therefore looking at the starboard side, up on Boat Deck her original four lifeboats, remained, however now they were double stacked, whilst just aft on Shelter (B) Deck there were two further sets of double stacked lifeboats and a single lifeboat but atop of the two level small far aft superstructure. In addition there was just one more lifeboat up on the aft small superstructure deck, thus considering the two sides of the ship making a total of 26 lifeboats on the newly refitted liner! Over the years, lifeboat numbers kept changing somewhat!
Thankfully, her two funnels were restored, but
they were much shorter than the original funnels on the
Her new livery saw her with an all white hull, superstructure and masts, blue funnels with the traditional Flotta Lauro white star logo in the centre with black tops. Her hull featured a blue ribbon and her boot topping was also blue.
The ships interiors were completely stripped bare and new and spacious public venues, dining rooms and other new facilities were installed. In addition new accommodations were installed for 1,055 Passengers in two classes; 187 in First Class and 868 in Tourist Class. All First Class cabins were twin bedded with some having an additional bed/sofa for a third person, but all cabins had private facilities with a full bath or a shower. Tourist Class cabins offered from two, four, six to eight berth cabins as well as some dormitories. The vast majority of Tourist Class cabins had shared facilities. To make space for the additional new accommodations, hold number three had been removed providing for additional internal space, as well as external forward deck space forward of Promenade Deck and internal space on Shelter (B) Deck as can be clearly seen on the photograph below.
The completed MS Surriento is seen ready for
The massive refit was finally completed in May 1949, it was only then when the Lauro family officially named their new Passenger Liner, the “Surriento” and she was officially listed as being; 10,699 GRT and was registered in Genoa, Italy.
The delightful all white MS Surriento was
ready to depart
Finally MS Surriento departed Genoa on May 22, 1949 and sailing via Naples, Marseilles, Port Said, Suez, Colombo to Fremantle (Perth) in Western Australia.
MS Surriento arrives in
As we can see, she the
She then continued to Melbourne (
Here we see the completed all new MS Surriento, although she is seen
arriving well over a year later in
Photograph property & © State Library of
Her ports of call were usually as follows; Genoa, Naples, Marseilles, Port Said, Suez, Colombo then Fremantle, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, then heading north to Singapore (also at times to Djakarta) and return via the same ports back from Colombo back to Genoa.
Her second voyage from
The Surriento is seen here in
As two new ships had just joined the Flotta
Lauro fleet and they had been placed on the Australian service, being the
delightful SS Sydney and SS Roma, The company now better known as “Flotta
Lauro Lines” decided to place the Surriento on the Central American
service once again. Their new schedules were based on ports as follows; From
It was late in 1952 that the Surriento was given another refit, which saw a change in accommodations of 119 First Class and 994 in Tourist Class. At this stage I an aware that the First Class cabins offered twin beds and all having excellent private facilities, whilst Tourist Class had shared facilities and accommodations were still from two, four, six and eight berth cabins, as well as the dormitories. Upon completion she returned to her Central American duties.
Thankfully she soon enough returned to the
lucrative Australian service on March 19, 1953 and she continued on this service
for three years, until 1956, she departed
The Surriento seen in
Having returned to
Flotta Lauro Lines Modernisation Plans:
Then in 1959/1960 the ship was given a massive refit, where her superstructure was again enlarged, externally the most obvious change was the removal of her forward dummy funnel, whilst her other funnel was heightened and beautifully modernised.
A pre release Flotta Lauro Lines
artist impression postcard of their modernised MS Surriento
A pre release Flotta Lauro Lines artist impression postcard of their modernised MS Surriento
But there were other external changes,
atop, but just aft of her Bridge was a brand new tall Tripod mast with a
lookout high above and gone were her tall masts, the forward Mast and her aft
Mainmast! The ship now just had her two forward holds, which were serviced by
two new modern Kingposts with four derricks. Externally, when the ship was
completed, the MS Surriento looked very much like a modern ship, if not a brand
But there were other external changes, atop, but just aft of her Bridge was a brand new tall Tripod mast with a lookout high above and gone were her tall masts, the forward Mast and her aft Mainmast! The ship now just had her two forward holds, which were serviced by two new modern Kingposts with four derricks. Externally, when the ship was completed, the MS Surriento looked very much like a modern ship, if not a brand new one!
However, the biggest changes onboard were internal, for during this massive refit this previously Two-Class liner, she had become a One-Class ship as she now accommodated 1,080 Tourist Class passengers, being 33 passengers less than previously, however the it was said that many of the cabins were more spacious. All Staterooms and cabins were refurbished and they were now available with beds or berths for; single, twin, three, four or six, gone were the old eight berth cabins, gone also were the previous dormitories.
The other advancement onboard was that full air-conditioning was installed throughout the ship with individual temperature controls located in every cabin. Her public venues were refreshed and with new upholstery and other refinements, whilst certain deck spaces were not forgotten either, as a bar was installed and or upgraded by the pools, as she had two Swimming Pools.
When the refit was finally completed in 1960 the MS Surriento was a ship that certainly looked like a brand new and a far more modern liner and she soon returned to her Central American service.
MS Surriento looking at her very best after her complete refit and external alteration
The wonderful new MS Surriento now registered as being 10,928 GRT returned to her Central American duties to Venezuela with a slightly changed service sailing from: Naples via Genoa, Barcelona (Spain), Funchal (Spain), Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain), La Guairá (Venezuela), Bridgetown (Barbados), Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Barcelona and Genoa to Naples. She continued on this service for a further five years and she remained a relatively popular ship and presented the company with very few problems for a ship of her age,
The all-new Surriento seen just at
Photographer is unknown - Please see the Photo Notes at the bottom of the page
The Final Year for the Amazing
In 1965 Flotta Lauro Lines decided to withdraw
this the Surriento from service, but she was chartered to the Israeli Zim
Lines, for whom she operated voyages from Haifa to Marseilles and return,
however when the charter agreement concluded in June 1966, and no further work
was available, or could be found for the Surriento, she was laid and was soon
sold to an Italian ship breaker. She sailed under her own power and arrived at
The Surriento had certainly been a much loved and a popular ship liner, and she presented Flotta Lauro Lines with little to no problems for a ship aged 39 years when she was finally sold to the ship breakers in 1966.
The 1928 to 1940 MS Santa Maria, and the 1940 to 1948 brave Attack Troop Ship, USS Barnett and the delightful 1948 to 1966 MS or as the Italis would have it, M/N Surriento - gave a grand total of 38 excellent and brave service, and almost a year under charter with Zim lines. She brought countless thousands of people from all over Europe to their new homes, be it to South America or to Australia, there is no doubt that the Surriento is a ship that will not be easily be forgotten by many, especially not by Maritime History in general!!
Specifications for the MS Surriento:
Rebuilt: Genoa Italy - 1948/49.
Tonnage: 10,699 GRT - 1949.
. 10,928 GRT - 1960.
Length: 151.8m - 498ft.
Width: 19.5m - 64ft.
Draft: 7.62m – 25.1ft.
Engines: Two 8-cylinders, 2 Cycle Sulzer Diesel Engines
. of 4,000 BHP each, a total of 8,000 BHP.
Service speed: 17 knots, top speed of 18.5 knots.
Passengers: 1949 - 187 First Class and 868 in Tourist Class.
. 1952 - 119 First Class and 994 in Tourist Class.
. 1960 – 1080 One-Class.
. Blue line on the upper hull and blue boot topping.
Other: Fully air-conditioned as from 1960.
Remembering the MS
Remembering the MS Surriento
She gave Many Years of Faithful Service to both South America & Australia
Return to: Page One: Grace Lines MS
Other Flotta Lauro Ships:
C3 class as a cargo ships rebuilt into Passengers liners & commenced service in 1951
Ex Dutch liners MS Willem Ruys (1947) & MS Oranje (1939)
“Blue Water Liners sailing to the
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”
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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are either by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images and photographs that have been provided by Shipping Companies or private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors, however, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer or owner concerned. Therefore, I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address can be found at the bottom of the page on www.ssmaritime.com), in order that due credit may be given.
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