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With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer & Author

Cogedar Line

MS Aurelia

Other names: Huascaran, Beaverbrae, Aurelia, Romanza, Romantica

A fine photograph of the MS Aurelia

Author’s private collection

Launched as the 9,951 GRT (Gross Registered Tons) passenger cargo ship MS Huascaran on December 15, 1938 was she was delivered her owners on April 27, 1939. As built she had accommodations for just 39 first class passengers in her relatively luxuriously appointed mid ships section. She departed for her maiden voyage on April 29, 1939 from Hamburg to Genoa. Upon her return she commenced the service she was built for, the Hamburg to the West Coast of South America service and continued on this service until 1940.

A waterline model of the MS Huascaran seen as built in 1939

Provided by www.shipmodels.co.uk

In 1940 she was taken over by the German Navy and converted into a submarine depot and repair ship operating in northern waters and served and remarkably survived the war. However, after the war she was seized by the British Government who handed her over to the Canadians on November 14, 1945, after an refit back to a passenger cargo ship she was managed by the Park Steamship Co until September 2, 1947, when she was sold to Canadian Pacific and refitted at Sorel, Quebec.

Canadian Pacific MS Beaverbrae

Author’s private collection

Her refit saw her accommodations increase up to 775 passengers. Externally she looked much the same, except for the additional lifeboats on Boat Deck and those double tiered far aft. When completed her tonnage was listed as 9,034 GRT. On February 7, 1948 she was officially renamed Beaverbrae and become an emigrant ship between Germany and Canada. She departed from St Louis on her maiden voyage for Canadian Pacific on February 8, 1948 and sailed for Bremerhaven, a service she continued until 1951, when she turned around in Bremen.

One of the more unusual features of this ship was, she carried passengers from Germany to Canada, but returned to Germany only as a full fledged cargo ship. In fact, one of the converted holds was transformed for the westbound voyage into a number of dormitories and then this was removed and used as a hold eastward.

First Cogedar post card of MS Aurelia

Author’s private collection

As the migrant trade slowed she was sold on November 1, 1954 to the well known Italian shipping Company, Cia, Genovese do Armamento, or as many better know it - Cogedar Line. Having taken delivery they renamed her Aurelia and they took her to Monfalcone (Trieste) in order to extensively rebuild her as a major passenger liner to be operated mostly on the profitable Italy to New Zealand and Australian service.

Second Cogedar post card of MS Aurelia

Author’s private collection

Her superstructure was stretched forward and aft making her an attractive ship for the day. On Promenade Deck (Upper Deck having an open, but a glass enclosed promenade/sports deck) the after half contained the large Dinning Room. The deck above, Lido Deck, had six contemporary style public rooms, which extended from below the Bridge to as far as the Lido Deck with its swimming pool. She had 238 cabins accommodating 1,124 passengers. Accommodations raged from 2 to 8 berth cabins. 13 cabins on Lido Deck had a toilet, with either their own, or a shared shower. Air-Conditioning had been installed throughout the ship. Her new tonnage was now listed as 10,022 GRT.

Aurelia seen after her refit

Author’s private collection

On May 13, 1955 Aurelia departed Trieste for Sydney for her first voyage, However her home port would soon become Genoa, and she departed from there on her first Genoa to Australia and New Zealand voyage on November 15.

During the European winter months of 1958/59 new Man Diesels were fitted during another major refit, which saw her profile further enhanced. She was now listed as 10,480 GRT.  Having been transferred to Bremerhaven and northern European ports, she departed Bremerhaven on June 12, 1959 for Sydney. Aurelia was chartered by Council on Student Travel for one round trip from Bremen to New York, arriving June 27, 1960. This experiment was repeated in 1961 twice in 1962 and 1963.

In 1964 she also made a number of voyages from Rotterdam, also calling at Bremerhaven, or visa versa, to Australia. On December 9 1964, Aurelia departed from Rotterdam on her first of three round the world voyage sailing via the Panama to New Zealand and Australia returning via the Suez Canal. Thereafter she returned to her return voyages via the Suez. In addition throughout her years she would be chartered to operate Trans-Atlantic student voyages from Channel ports to New York.

 SS Flavia, Aurelia’s modern running mate

Author’s private collection)

During the later stages, SS Aurelia operated on the Australian route with her newer more modern mate the SS Flavia, which was built as the Cunard Lines SS Media. However after the closure of the Suez Canal in 1967 and the rapid decline of the migrant trader and passenger numbers the end of the end of the Cogedar line-service was sadly insight. Although having operated cruises with moderate success the end was in sight.

Aurelia departed Rotterdam bound for Australia on September 23, 1968 and she would sail via Cape Town in both directions. Sadly for many, the Aurelia departed Sydney for the final time on October 29, 1968. Upon her return she was extensively refitted to become a full time cruise ship. Her accommodations were reduced to just 470 passengers and she departed Southampton on February 5 on her first cruise to Madeira, but due to lengthy delays during the refit, her first three cruises had been cancelled, and her cruises either did not prove popular or the public had lost trust in the company operating them. The series was cancelled in May.

In 1969 the Aurelia operated a series of Trans-Atlantic sailings under charter; by “Council on International Educational Exchange” and her charter schedule was as follows:

Southampton (June 1), Le Havre (June 1), New York (June 10) - New York (June 11), Southampton (June 19), Le Havre. (June 20).
Le Havre. (June 21), Southampton (June 21), New York (June 30) - New York (June 30), Southampton (July 8), Le Havre. July 9).
Le Havre. (July 21),
Southampton (July 21), New York (July 30).
Rotterdam. (Aug 9), Le Havre. (Aug 10), Southampton (Aug 10) New York (Aug 19) - New York (Aug 20), Southampton (Aug 28), Le Havre. (Aug 29).
Le Havre. (Aug 30), Southampton (Aug 30), New York (Sept 8) - New York (Sept 9), Le Havre. (Sept 18),
Southampton (Sept 18).

I wish to thank Mr. Charles Addington for providing the schedule.

MS Aurelia had made a total 34 Trans-Atlantic voyages during her career, but upon her return return voyage from New York on September 18, 1969, she returned to operating cruises out of Southampton, however this proved to be an unsuccessful move and Aurelia was finally placed on the market.

 Chandris Cruises Romanza

Chandris Lines/Cruises purchased her in September 1970, and renamed her Romanza. She was extensively refitted at Piraeus to become a full time cruise ship. Under Chandris she was listed as being 8,891 GRT. She commenced cruising in 1971, and proved to be a huge success in the Mediterranean. However, in her later career she did have a number of mishaps. Her first mishap occurred in October 1979, when she was grounded on Dhenousa Island during an Aegean cruise. As she suffered hull damage, passengers were transferred to another Chandris cruise ship, The Victoria. Romanza was taken under tow back to Piraeus for repairs. In 1983 chartered to Lloyd Brasileiro after which she accommodated 707 passengers.

In 1991, she was sold to New Ambassador Cruises of Cyprus and renamed Romantica to operate on the Egypt and Israelcruise program from Limassol. There cruises were quite successful, but completion from Louis Cruise Line ended her service. New Ambassador Cruises went bankrupt in 1995 and Romantica was laid up at Piraeus. In 1997, she was bought by Cyprus-based Paradise Cruises and received yet another refurbishment. She operated short Mediterranean 3enjoying reasonable success.

Romantica on fire

Then on October 4 1997, whilst on a cruise she caught fire off Limassol. Sadly, the fire totally gutted the ship. Her old fleet mate, now a Louis Cruise ship, the Princesa Victoria (previously her Chandris running mate) came to her aid once again and safely took onboard all passengers and crew. A scorched Romantica was towed to an anchorage just outside the harbour at Limassol. In April 1998 she was towed to Alexandria, Egypt to be broken up.

 

 

Above & Below: A tragic sight of the fire ravaged MS Romantica

 

 

Specifications

Built:                                         Blohm & Voss Hamburg

Yard #:                                     518

Launched:                                 December 15, 1938

Hamburg-America Line:             April 27, 1939

Tonnage:                                  10,480 GRT - Aurelia

Length:                                     148.7m - 487 feet

Width:                                       18.4m - 60 feet

Draft:                                        6.7m – 21 feet

Engine:                                      Diesel-electric (3 MAN type diesels)

Screw:                                      Single

Speed:                                      17 knots

Passengers:                              32 First Class

Passengers:                              1,124

Crew Aurelia:                             28

                                                 Fully air-conditioned

 

Three photographs of Aurelia & Romanza in her better days

 

 Aurelia in her heyday

 

A fine aerial photograph of the Chandris cruise ship Romanza

 

Romanza passing through the Corinth Canal

 

MS Aurelia & Cogedar Line INDEX:

 

Page One:               MS Aurelia – history page

 

Page Two:                  The Bulthuis Family Story

 

Page Three:             MS Aurelia - Photo Page (From a brochure)

 

Page Four:              Jacoba Ris-Török Story

 

Also read:               Other Cogedar Line ships

 

                                    MS Flaminia – (The old Cogedar liner)

 

                                    RMS Media / SS Flavia – (The last of the Cogedar ships)

 

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PLEASE NOTE: Regarding my EMAIL, as I have now officially retired I am very sorry, but I am unable to answer any further emails regarding any of the ships online.” For this reason, I have removed my email links from my site, and although there may still be some on certain pages, they will be removed when my health permits, but please do not expect an answer, as I am no longer able!

Thank you for your consideration.

Reuben Goossens.

 

Who is the Author of ssMaritime?

Commenced in the passenger Shipping Industry in May 1960  

ssMaritime.com & ssMaritime.net

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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the author’s 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 , 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!

 

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