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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Maritime Lecturer

Please Note: All ssMaritime and my other related ssMaritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any cruise or shipping companies or travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960 and is now semi-retired, but continues and I hope that the well over 600 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers ships I have written on will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts and continue a great deal of information and pleasure!

 “N.V. Vereenigde Nederlandsche Scheepvaartmaatschappij

Or the … “United Netherlands Navigation Company Ltd


S.S. Abbekerk

The ship was one of the countless traditional C3 Class ships built during as well as after WW2 in the United States, and in 1945 there were a good number of ships ordered to replace European wartime losses. And considering the previous Abbekerk was a victim of the war, a new ship was ordered by the British War Office, on behalf of the Dutch Government, mid 1945 and her keel was laid down by Sun Shipbuilding in Pennsylvania USA on September 27, 1945. When her hull was completed and her superstructure sufficiently completed she was ready to be fitted out and completed alongside a berth, thus she was launched and officially named “Friesland” on March 3, 1946.

Here see the SS Friesland launched in March 1946

Upon completion she undertook her deep sea trails and she attained an excellent 17 knots, thus she headed for the Netherlands and she was delivered to her owners; “VNS,” or “N.V. Vereenigde Nederlandsche Scheepvaartmaatschappij” The Hague, who added her to their extensive fleet on September 17, 1946. As I already indicated, she was part of the “War Reparations Deal” as so many Dutch ships had lost during a long and tragic World War 2!

The Friesland commenced sailing mostly on the Rotterdam to Australia service via the Suez Canal and return. However, at times she also operated from Rotterdam to East Asia, or to East Africa, the occasional voyage to the Persian Gulf, India & Pakistan or to South America. Thus this ship over all her years had a varied career. Not to forget her voyages via South Africa.

It was in March 1947 that VNS officially rechristened her “Abbekerk” and she continued to sail successfully for the company on the Australian/New Zealand service and the other destinations as mentioned for the next twenty-four years.

A fine view of the just renamed SS Abbekerk


A VSN brochure, but named, Holland America Line – The ship shown is the MS Zaankerk

Although the SS Abbekerk was essentially a cargo ship, yet she offered three decks of passenger facilities in her amidships superstructure. She had accommodations for 12 passengers in considerable comfort in twin bedded cabins with private facilities as well several single cabins all having portholes.

A typical twin bedded cabin

Located far forward and directly below the Bridge was the pleasant Lounge complete with a Bar that had traditional bar stools, which was seldom seen on a Passenger-Cargo ship with just 12 passengers. The venue was well furnished in a traditional late 1940 style, as the furnishings had floral upholstery that matched the curtain on the windows. The lower walls were lined with fine walnut as were much of the furnishings, but the bar and the entrance were made out of what I believe was teak. The room offered fine views forward and to the side of the ship considering the venue had good-sized windows.

The ships pleasant lounge

The Dining room offered square and round tables and had comfortable seating. Although the room was in general quite plain, but with the use of a large mirror, a well placed clock and the dark, what seem to be brown velvet chairs does give the room a pleasant and a warm look. However, the only light that entered the room was through the portholes.

The Dining Room

Far aft on Boat Deck, being the same deck as the Lounge located far forward was the passengers Veranda. This area was covered and on each side there were a small number of floor to ceiling windows that provided some wind protection on windy days. There were ample sun lounges as well as space to play various games, etc! However, further below, the staff would erect a canvas swimming pool when the ship reached the warmer climes and it was very well used!

Note the Verandah and the tall protective windows


A view of the Verandah


Fun at the Canvas Pool


A delightful postcard that was released of the Abbekerk


Rotterdam, Le Havre, Marseilles, Genoa, Port Said, Suez, Aden, Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and Auckland. Although there are no actual details of her port for her return leg, but obviously during the Suez crisis when the Canal was closed, she sailed via various ports in South Africa.


The SS Abbekerk continued sailing for VSN until July 1970 when she was sold to Royal NedLloyd of Rotterdam, however just a year later the ship was sold to a Taiwanese Company “Zui Fat Steel & Iron Company., Ltd.” Not long later she departed and sailed for Asia, and she arrived at Kaohsiung Taiwan on January 4, 1972 and was broken up in due course.

Specifications - SS Abbekerk (3):

Built by:……………….Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Company, Inc, Chester-Pennsylvania USA.

Yard:………….…………555 in 1946.



Call Name:……………PCBJ.

Launched:…………….March 3, 1946.

Delivered:…………….September 17, 1946.

Tonnage:……………..8,336 GRT & 12,056 DWT.

Length:………………..150.6m - 494.1ft.

Breadth:………………21.25m - 69.8ft.

Draught:……………..8.89m - 29.1ft.

Propulsion:………….2 Westinghouse Steam Turbines, 8500 BHP.


Speed:………………..17.5 to 17 Knots.

Passenger Decks:.3.



Sistter Ships:……..SS Rondo, Rotti, Roepat, Radja, Limburg, Overijsel, Zeeland, Utrecht & Andijk.

Two fine Memories of the Abbekerk!


Abbekerk seen arriving in Sydney Australia early in the morning


In conclusion SS Abbekerk is seen at Sea going at full speed ahead



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