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Maritime Historian, CruisenShip Reviewer, Author & Lecturer
50-Years in the Passenger Shipping Industry
Companhia Colonial De Navegacao, Lisbon
TS Santa Maria - TS Vera Cruz
This is one of two superb original postcards issued by the company of their two new ships. This is the TN Vera Cruz
Photographs are either from the authors private collection or those that have been provided to the author by ssMaritime supporters, although the owners are not known. Please read the photo notes at the bottom of this page.
This Portuguese shipping Company already had
three fine passenger-cargo liners in service, being the 1947
They would be built in
very Cruz is seen here in construction at the J. Cockerill
The second of the pair to be built was number
This is one of two superb original postcards issued by the company of their two new ships. This is the TN Santa Maria
These two sisters did vary slightly, although
not many ship lovers and observers are aware of this fact,
however one needs to look closely at the forward superstructure
where there is a dramatic difference between the two ships. Vera
Cruz has four sets of lounge windows along the side and then it
wraps around to the front, whereas the
Their first class accommodations were particularly luxurious, having a fine range of lounges and excellent staterooms. A Deck (directly under Boat deck) was devoted to public rooms, five First Class venues forward and further Cabin Class aft. First and Cabin Class accommodations were located on the next two decks. First Class offered four magnificent deluxe suites, as well as single bedded cabins, twins and three berth cabins, all having private facilities. Cabin Class offered Twin and four berth Cabins, some with private facilities, but most having shared facilities. Some of the cabins between First and Cabin Class were interchangeable. Each class had their own swimming pool. In addition to the aforementioned accommodations; these ships also has a Tourist Class section aft of the ship offering budget accommodations for migrants as well as dormitories for troops or special student voyages.
we see the
TN Santa Maria Photo Gallery
THANK YOU! Second Mate, Carlos Russo Belo who
served on the
Carlos took the first four interior images from a brochure, which is followed by one photograph taken at a fancy dress party and an undated Programme of Events. Then there are two fine black and white studies, which were taken by Carlos from high up on the radar mast atop of the ships Bridge, whilst standing in the Crows Nest. These two photographs overlook the ship both forward and aft. Thank you Carlos for your excellent efforts and your wonderful site that keeps Portuguese ships alive!
First Class Main Lounge
First Class Dining Room
Tourist Class Lounge and Ballroom
The ships Chapel
Fancy Dress in the First Class Lounge
A fine photograph taken over the bow
Photograph taken by and © Copyright - Carlos Russo Belo
Looking back over the ship and her stylish funnel
Photograph taken by and © Copyright - Carlos Russo Belo
Above are two Issues of a 1958 Schedule for the Santa Maria & Vera Cruz
well as a 1968 Fare & Sailing Schedule, but only for the
Schedules are with thanks to: http://www.timetableimages.com/maritime/index.htm
This is a menu from
J. Cockerill Ship-building Ltd,
Built for: Companhia Colonial De Navegacao.
Launched: Vera Cruz: June 2, 1951.
Completed: Vera Cruz: February 1952.
Tonnage: Vera Cruz: 21,765 GRT (gross registered tons).
Length: 185.9 m / 610 ft.
Width: 23.1 m / 75.8 ft.
Draught: 26.4 ft.
Propulsion: Parsons Steam Turbines from the builders.
Service speed: 20 knots.
Passengers: 1,296 passengers as built.
First Class: 150 - Second Class: 250 Third Class 232.
Tourist class: 664 passengers.
Livery: Grey hull, white superstructure, yellow, green and white bands on funnels.
Green boot topping.
This is the way we like to remember these two remarkable luxury Portuguese liners - Vera Cruz looking simply superb!
As many of my readers will well know that it
was the TN Santa Maria what made this pair of Portuguese
passenger liners famous, for it was the
But it would be on Monday, January 22, 1961, at
01.30 in the morning when the biggest ever shipboard hijack
occurred as the Santa Maria was taken hostage by a 66 year old
Captain Henrique Galvao, who was a passenger on board
and an ex Portuguese military (Navy) officer and political foe of
Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar and the head of
the Estado Novo regime. He had a team of 24 Portuguese
and Spanish rebels who were operating from a base in
Later it became obvious that most of captain Galvaos
conspirators had come aboard in La Guairá
Henrique Galvao and his terrorists seized the ship in the early morning, and ensured that they ceased all communications. During the fight they killed one officer, being the 3rd Mate, Mr. Nascimento Costa and wounded several others in the process of taking complete command over this luxury liner. The rebels forced crew members, along with Captain Mario Simoes Maia to take the ship on a new course.
After the seizure of the
At the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia, those who
had been injured during the battle during the seizure of the ship
were place into a lifeboat, which was manned by six sailors and a
Soon enough Henrique Galvao commenced to send his radio messages being his official communiqués against the Salazar, and Franco Governments in Portugal and Spain and he did this all in a rather flowery and beautiful Portuguese language as he was known to be a poet and he addressed it to the: Democratic newspapers and radio stations of the free World. In the meantime the whereabouts of the ship was unknown, but a massive sea and air search commenced.
A British frigate did see the
Then, 10 days later it would be an old Danish steamer (thank God for the Danes!) that was slowly sailing along a normal shipping lane, reported that they had just met the Portuguese Liner, Santa Maria and had exchanged greetings with her and Captain Galvao. Finally the liner had been found again. Apparently she was off the coast Recife, Brazil and soon enough a Rear Admiral on board the USS Gearing would be negotiating with Henrique Galvao out at sea.
As this was a major world news story, news
personnel from around the world had very quickly converged on
Upon arrival USS Gearing stopped a few miles
off shore and some 500 yards starboard from the
Here we see a
newspaper clipping of the USS Gearing moving around the
However, another interesting event took place that day, it goes like this: A fool from the French magazine Paris Match, rented the equivalent of a Piper Cub after missing the Gearing's departure, and parachuted into the shark infested waters between both ships with the even more foolish intent of trying to land on the liner's forecastle. Well, his idiotic effort was presumed to scoop the mob of reporters who were already on scene, but instead he made himself the biggest fool of all! He was retrieved from the water safely while Marines were assigned to control the exuberant, pushing and rubber-necking concerned-citizens-of-the-world reporters who were getting a little too close to the Gearing's life-lines.
USS Gearings motor
launch approached the
In order to solve the situation the Brazilian
government who for a long time had opposed Antonio Salazar in
Captain Henrique Galvao may have been a
colourful and in some ways an interesting person. In addition he
had been a brave Navy man, a politician, poet, playwright,
pamphleteer and a writer with a considerable amount of work
published mainly on African themes. For 20 years Galvao had
served as an Inspector General in the Portuguese colony of
In jail, Henrique Galvao continued to write and
smuggle pamphlets out. This caused his jail sentence to be added
an extra 12 years. However, by feigning illness in jail, he was
admitted to a
The ship was returned to her owners in
Thereafter, she herself sailed empty,
with a token crew to
The Vera Cruz story is far less remarkable
mostly due to the fact that she was not hijacked, and thus the
In 1960 the Vera Cruz was placed on the
Vera Cruz is seen here at anchor
As it will be noted from the two schedules
above that Companhia Colonial De Navegacao tended to
place the TN Santa Maria before of the TN Vera Cruz. This was
mostly due to her being considered the newer ship of the two but
also as the better looking ship with her superior forward
superstructure and pleasant interiors, etc. In addition, with the
Portuguese being very much a Roman Catholic nation, how could you
possibly place the name
The Vera Cruz is seen here on one of her last voyages
However this superb Portuguese liner, the Vera
Cruz continued sailing until times became uneconomical and she
was finally sold to the breakers in early 1973. She headed for
we see both the Vera Cruz and the
Let us always remember sheer Maritime Beauty and this was Portuguese shipping at its very best!
This is a fine
colour photograph of the Vera Cruz berthed in
Also read: TS Infante Dom Henrique & SS Funchal
View a wonderful presentation on YouTube on these two fine ships
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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the authors 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 www.ssmaritime.com 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!
and associate pages are owned and © Copyright by Reuben Goossens
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