RMS Empress of Britain (1955)

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SS The Topaz at Kobe, Japan in 2006
Career
Name: 1955-1965: RMS Empress of Britain
1965-1975: SS Queen Anna Maria
1975-1993: SS Carnivale
1993-1994: SS Fiesta Marina
1995-1997: SS Olympic
1997-2008: SS The Topaz
Owner: 1956-1963: Canadian Pacific Steamships
1964-1975: Greek Line
1975-1994: Carnival Corporation & plc
1995-1997: Epirotiki Line
1997-2003: TUI Travel PLC
2003-2008: Topaz International
Operator: 1956-1965: Canadian Pacific Steamships
1965-1975: Greek Line
1975-1993: Carnival Cruise Lines
1993-1994: Fiesta Marina Cruises
1995-1996: Epirotiki Line
1996-1997: Royal Olympic Cruises
1998-2003: Thomson Cruises
2003-2008: Peace Boat
Port of registry: 1956-1965: London, UK
1965-1975: Piraeus, Greece
1975-1994: Panama, Panama
1995-1997:Piraeus, Greece
1998-2008: Limassol,  Cyprus
Route: Liverpool-Greenock-Quebec-Montreal (1965, Haifa-Piraeus-New York, Cruising)
Builder: Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering, Govan, Scotland
Yard number: 731
Launched: June 22, 1955 by Queen Elizabeth II
Completed: 1956
Maiden voyage: April 20, 1956
In service: 1955-2008
Out of service: April 2008
Fate: Sold for scrap in 2008.
Status: Scrapped at Alang, India
General characteristics
Class & type: Ocean liner
Tonnage: 25,516 GRT (1965, 21,716 GRT)
Length: 640 ft.
Beam: 85.2 ft.
Draught: 29 ft.
Installed power: 30,000shp
Propulsion: Geared turbines, Twin screw
Speed: 20 knots
Capacity: As built, 160 1st-class & 894 tourist-class passengers (1965, 168 1st class, 1,145 tourist. 741 one class when cruising)
Crew: 464

RMS Empress of Britain was a transatlantic ocean liner built by Fairfield Shipbuilding at Govan on the Clyde in Scotland in 1955-1956[1] for Canadian Pacific Steamship (CP). This ship—the third of three CP vessels to be named Empress of Britain[2] -- regularly traversed the trans-Atlantic route between Canada and Europe until 1964, completing 123 voyages under the Canadian Pacific flag.

History[edit]

Empress of Britain[edit]

Empress of Britain was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding in Govan near Glasgow, Scotland.[3] She was launched on June 22, 1955 by HM Queen Elizabeth II.[4] This was nearly fifty years after the first CP Empress of Britain was launched from Govan in November 1905. Eleven months later, she set out on a maiden voyage from Liverpool to Montreal, leaving Liverpool on April 20, 1956.[5]

The 25,516 ton vessel had a length of 640 feet, and her beam was 85.2 feet. The ship had one funnel, one mast, twin propellers and an average speed of 20 knots. The ocean liner provided accommodation for 160 first class passengers and for 984 tourist class passengers.[5]

Queen Anna Maria[edit]

In November 1964, the former CP Empress was sold to the Greek Line; and the ship was renamed SS Queen Anna Maria. This Queen was rebuilt with a new lido area at the stern and remeasured under Greek rules to 21,716 gross tons, implying a significant reduction in size! In fact her genuine tonnage had been increased by superstucture extension at the stern and the measurement was an attempt to reduce dock dues. With accommodation for 168 first-class passengers and for 1,145 tourist-class passengers, she sailed on the Piraeus to Naples to New York route. Later, she provided service on the Haifa to New York route. In due course, these liner services were replaced by full time, one class, cruising. In 1975, she was laid up at Piraeus for a time.[5]

Carnivale[edit]

In 1976, the former Greek Queen was sold to Carnival Cruise Lines; and the ship was renamed yet again — this time as the SS Carnivale. As Carnival's market expanded and the company was able to afford buying new ships, the ship transferred into a Latin market subsidiary cruise line.[5]

Fiesta Marina[edit]

In 1993, Carnival Cruise Lines transferred registration of the Carnivale to a subsidiary cruise line, Fiesta Marina Cruises; and the ship was renamed SS Fiesta Marina. She became something of a test ship in a cruise line expansion venture which proved ultimately to be unsuccessful.[5]

Olympic[edit]

In 1994, Fiesta Marine sold ex-FiestaMarina to Epirotiki; and the ship was re named Olympic. In 1996, she was transferred to Royal Olympic Cruises, operating under the same name.[5]

Topaz[edit]

In 1997, the former Olympic was sold to Cyprus-based Thomson Holidays; and the ship was re named Topaz.[5]

In 2003, the vessel was chartered, and then later sold to Topaz International to sail for Peace Boat operating under the name Peace Boat - she was repainted white with a blue funnel and her name painted in large letters across both sides of the hull. In October 2005, Topaz was inspected and found to be in immaculate condition, the steam turbines engines operating flawlessly. Topaz International were looking for a buyer for Topaz and they had maintained the ship in excellent condition. It was hoped that a buyer could be found as Topaz offered any potential buyer the opportunity of a ready to work ship. Unfortunately rising oil prices combined with inefficient 50 year old engines proved too much for any potential buyer. In April 2008, Topaz was retired from the Peace Boat organization.[citation needed]

After Retirement[edit]

After Topaz was retired in April, she was laid up. On June 15, while she was anchored, she was struck by the tanker Champion Brali. The collision severed off part of her bow.[6] During her lay up, she was sold to the breakers. In the late summer of 2008, Topaz was beached in Alang, India to be scrapped. She was placed not too far away from where the remains of the SS France / SS Norway are located.[7] The ship began demolition a few months after being beached. As of November 2009, most of the ship had been scrapped.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The disambiguation date used in this article's title is the year in which the hull is launched, not the year of the vessel's sea trial or maiden voyage.
  2. ^ The second of three ships named SS Empress of Britain (1931) was built for CP; and the first SS Empress of Britain (1906) was also built for CP some years earlier.
  3. ^ Johnston, Ian. "Govan Shipyard" in Ships Monthly. June 1985.
  4. ^ "Canada: Economical Empress," Time (New York). July 4, 1955.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Ship List: Description of Empress of Britain
  6. ^ Cruise ship news, shipping reports at MARITIME MATTERS
  7. ^ http://www.finnjetweb.com/alang/Outside/slides/CIMG3339.html
  8. ^ http://www.midshipcentury.com/

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]