The ShipWatcher Blog

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Primexpress / Karina

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A postcrossing post card from Judit in Belgium

The ship in the picture is “Carina” (you might be able to see the name КАРИНА in cyrillic on her bow).

Length: 122m, 7600GRT, 328 passengers.

She is currently known as “Rochale One” and operates as a static ship for student accommodation in Amsterdam.

She was built in Nantes, France in 1977 for the then Soviet government and named “Aywasowski”. She operated cruises out of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

She was renamed Carina after she was bought by German company Phoenix Reisen in 1997. She changed hands again in 2000 and was renamed “Primexpress Island”, operating out of Cyprus.

The ship was impounded in the port of Limassol (Cyprus) because of unpaid bills.

She was eventually purchased by a consortium of three Dutch housing companies acquired the vessel, towed it to Amsterdam and configured it for use as hotel accommodation for students.

Her engines are kept in working order, so she is capable of sailing as and when needed.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Regal Princess in Vladivostok

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A postcrossing postcard from Alla who lives in Vladivostok and actually studies at the University of Southern Qld.

Vladivostok is Russia’s largest pacific sea port, and home to the Russian Pacific Fleet. It is located near to the Russian border with China and North Korea.

Among the numerous naval vessels, you can see two cruise ships. The one on the left is Regal Princess, which was renamed Pacific Dawn in 2007. I am not able to name the cruise ship on the right.  My friend Geoff from Oz Cruise Club tells me the ship on the right is Norwegian Wind (now Superstar Aquarius), which cruises the Asia Pacific region most of the year.

Thanks for the postcard, Alla!

HINT: Click on the image if you’d like to see a larger version

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

RMS Baltic

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A Postcard from Miry.

RMS Baltic is the twin funnelled ship whose stern is visibile in the picture.

At the time she was built in 1903, RMS Baltic was the largest ship in the world, with a GRT of 23,876 and a length of over 222 metres.

She was the third of a set of four ships dubbed “The Big Four”, abd built for the famous White Star line by Harland and Wolff in Belfast – the same yard that made RMS Titanic.

Her maiden voyage was from Liverpool (the port seen in the picture) to New York in 1904. Her Captain, Edward J Smith was later to be the captain of RMS Titanic in 1912.

In 1909 she rescued survivors of the collision between another White Star Liner, RMS Republic, and SS Florida off the coast of Newfoundland.

In 1912 she transmitted ice warnings to RMS Titanic before that ship’s fateful collision with an iceberg.

In 1929 she rescured passengers of the sinking ship, Northern Light.

She was scrapped in Osaka in 1933.

This postcard was mailed in 1928 from Liverpool to France (see reverse side for details).

So much history in one postcard. How wonderful!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

SS Orford

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A postcard from Grant in South Australia.

Built for Orient Lines in 1928, SS Orford was loaned to France during WW2 as a troop carrier. She ran aground in Marseilles while evacuating troops in 1940. It took seven years for her to be refloated, after which she was scrapped.

She made many journeys between Australia and England in the 1930’s. In 1934 she carried Don Bradman’s cricket team “The Invincibles” from Australia to England along with the Australian Davis Cup tennis team.

RMS Orion / SS Orion

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23,300 GRT, and 203m in length.

A postcard from Grant in South Australia.

Built as RMS Orion by Vickers Armstrong in 1934, she was the first single-funnelled ship to be built for the Orient Line since the turn of the century. She was also the first ship to be painted in the Orient Line’s corn-colored livery, sporting a pale yellow hull.

She was the first British ship to ever have air-conditioning. In fact her entire interior design was ground-breaking in that she departed from the formal english styles found in wealthy British homes of the time, and adapted a more open-air and spacious layout that was better suited to tropical cruising. Wide promenade decks, slideing glass doors, removable walls, and chromium / bakelite fittings made her feel roomier and breezier, which was a welcome relief in the hot ahd humid tropics.

She was launched by the Duke of Gloucester. But, unusually, he was in Brisbane at the time, and the ship was in Lancashire, UK. He launched the ship by pressing a button in Brisbane, which transmitted a radio signal to the dockyards untimatley causing the ship to slide down the slipway into the water – quite revolutionary for the 1930’s.

She served as a troopship during the second world war, and was involved in a damaging collision with Battleship HMS Revenge when Revenge’s steering gear jammed.

She had an extensive fit-out after the WW2, and voyaged to Australia and the USA.

The National Archives of Australia record that she brought many immigrants to Australia during the late 1940’s, and the 1950’s, eventually being broken up fopr scrap in 1963.

What a fascinating history.