Castle 1950-59 sold to become the Chandris Lines - RHMS Patris 1958-1980
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Terra for breakers delivery voyage
Union Castle Line released postcard of the RMS
Please Note: Postcards & photographs from the author’s private maritime
collection, unless mentioned otherwise
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 to Rotterdam,
Island, St. Helena, and Walvis Bay concluding in Cape
She returned via Port Elizabeth,
East London, Durban,
and Beira,after which she undertook a series of
sailings and cruises, but never successfully.
we see the RMS Bloemfontein Castle returning to London from her maiden voyage to Africa on June 10, 1950
Photograph provided by a ssmaritime
supporter, but photographer is unknown …
Please 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 &
Tonnage: 18,400 GRT
(Gross Registered Tons)
Beam: 76ft - 23.1m
Draught: 29ft –
Propulsion: Two Burmeister
& Wain Diesels – 20,000 BHP
Speed: 18 knots.
Passengers: 730 one class
seen in Cape Town
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.
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 Canal
to Fremantle, Melbourne, and Sydney,
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.
photograph of the Patris in Sydney ready for a cruise
seen during her Australian cruise duties
Due to the closure of the Suez Canal between
1967 and 1972, she sailed to Australia
via Cape Town,
the Panama 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.
Patris is seen departing Sydney
for another cruise
Like most shipping companies of the day,
Patris suffered low loadings, thus alternative routes were sought. Chandris
decided on a new idea on a Fremantle to Singapore
service, as a cruise ship, and due to the cheap airfares available from Singapore,
Patris would operate an inexpensive Fly/Cruise operation to and from the UK
Sadly the popularity of this venture soon declined and two years later in 1974
she was laid up in Singapore
for a short time, but Chandris decided to try again and gave her another refit
and recommenced their Fremantle, Singapore
services. Then cyclone Tracy
hit and mostly destroyed the Australian Northern Territory city of Darwin
on Christmas day 1974. Chandris offered to charter the Patris to the Australian
Government for her to be used as a floating hostel, for the many that lost
their homes. She arrived in Darwin
on February 14,
1975 and concluded her hostel duties in November 1975. After departing
in November, Patris said goodbye to Australia
as she never returned to our shores.
A nice view of a well built
ship at sea
for RHMS Patris
Tonnage: 16,259 GRT
Passengers: 36 First &
1000 Tourist, then 1,550 One Class
Mediterranean Star 750
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.
very attractive in her new livery as the Karageorgis
Lines Mediterranean Star
Photographer unknown – Please see the Photo Note at bottom of
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.
1a RHMS Patris Deck Plan and interior & exterior photographs
RHMS Patris Page Two
Robert Mills’ 14 night Cruise to Melbourne & New Zealand - December
Also Online …
…S.S. America & Australis INDEX:
Page One …………..
….S.S. America History Page 1940 to 1967.
Page Three …………….1940 Deck
Page from 1964 to her sad end in 1994.
Page Five ……………….Brochure
& Photo & Page One.
Page Six ………………….Brochure
& Photo Page Two.
Seven ………….Deck Plans.
..Other Chandris Ships
Patris …………………Ex Union Castle
Ellinis ………………..Ex Matson
Lines liner SS
Britanis ……………..Ex Matson
Lines SS Monterey, but renamed Lurline & Matsonia.
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sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”
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