SS Anselm (1905)

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United Kingdom
Name: Anselm
Owner: Booth Line logo.png Booth Steamship Co
Port of registry: Liverpool
Builder: Workman, Clark and Company, Belfast
Yard number: 214
Launched: 10 January 1905
Maiden voyage: 29 March 1905
Fate: 1922 sold to Argentina
  • 1922-1944 Comodoro Rivadavia
  • 1944-1959 Rio Santa Cruz
  • 1922-1937 Argentina Compañia General de Navegación SA, Buenos Aires
  • 1937-1942 Argentina Nueva Compañía General de Navegación SA, Buenos aires
  • 1942-1959 Government of Argentina, Buenos Aires
Operator: 1922-1942 A M Delfino y Compañia, Buenos Aires
Port of registry: Buenos Aires
Fate: scrapped in 1959 after boiler explosion in 1952
General characteristics
Type: cargo and passenger liner
Tonnage: about 5,442 GRT
Length: 400.4 ft (122.0 m)
Beam: 50.1 ft (15.3 m)
Depth: 19.1 ft (5.8 m)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 1 screw

Anselm was a cargo and passenger liner built by Workman, Clark and Company in Belfast for the Booth Line service between Liverpool and the Amazon ports in Brazil. She was sold in 1922 to Argentina and traded as Comodoro Rivadavia and then Rio Santa Cruz until a boiler explosion in 1952. She was scrapped in 1959.

Description and construction[edit]

Anselm was designed as a larger version of the owner's 1903-built Ambrose. She had a length overall of 400.4 ft (122.0 m), a beam of 50.1 ft (15.3 m), and a depth of 19.1 ft (5.8 m), and was initially measured as 5,442 grt and 3,213 nrt.[1] The ship had one propeller powered by a vertical triple-expansion steam engine made by the shipbuilders, rated at 819 - 850 nhp[1][2] or 4,500 ihp (3,400 kW) and supplied by four coal-fired cylindrical boilers, giving her a service speed of 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph).[2][3] Ambrose could carry 149 passengers in first class and 200 in steerage as originally built.[2]

The ship was built by the Belfast shipbuilder Workman, Clark and Company, as yard number 214 for the Booth Steamship Company Ltd of Liverpool for their principle service between Liverpool and the Brazilian Amazon ports of Para (Belém) and Manaus during the Amazon rubber boom.[2][4][a] Anselm (the second of four ships of that name owned by Booth Line) was launched on 10 January 1905, delivered on 20 March and registered at Liverpool with British Official Number 120834 and signal letters HCFR[1][2][3]

Booth Line service[edit]

Considered Booth Line's new flagship, Anselm's maiden voyage, from Liverpool to Manaus, with calls at Le Havre, Lisbon, Funchal and Belém, began on 29 March 1905.[2][4] On a subsequent voyage, inbound to Manaus from Madeira, Anselm collided in the River Amazon with her running mate, Booth Line's Cyril on 5 September 1905.[b] The latter was outbound with a valuable cargo of rubber and due to complete loading at Belém. After the collision, Anselm put back to Belém for repairs to her bow and stem.

On a claim by some owners of Cyril's rubber cargo in the Admiralty Court, it was held that, although both ships had failed to comply with the Collision Regulations, the failure by the Anselm had not caused the collision, and that the Cyril was solely to blame.[8] That judgment was overturned by the Court of Appeal, which held that both vessels were at fault.[9]

Less than three months after the collision, Anselm went aground in the Amazon 50 miles (80 km) above Belém on about 27 November.[10] She was later refloated by the Liverpool Salvage Association's salvage steamer Ranger, which had just completed the successful recovery of most of the Cyril's cargo of rubber.[11]

During the First World War Anselm was chartered for a number of troopship voyages to France in 1914-1915 before returning to her regular liner service. She remained unscathed during the conflict, and in 1918 was transferred to Booth Line's service between New York and the Amazon.[2]. In 1922, with the fleet being reduced following the end of the rubber boom, Anselm was sold to Argentina.[2][4]

Service in Argentina[edit]

The purchaser in 1922 was Argentina Compañía General de Navegación SA (ACGN) of Buenos Aires which renamed her Comodoro Rivadavia, after Patagonia's principal port. This company had been created in 1920 to replace the former Linea Nacional del Sud, an operation of the German shipping line Hamburg Süd serving Argentine domestic routes between Buenos Aires and Patagonia with their own ships under Argentine flag; stronger cabotage restrictions introduced during the First World War made it expedient to establish a more clearly Argentinian-owned company. Hamburg Süd's long-serving and loyal principal agent in Argentina, Antonio M Delfino, and his family provided 45% of the capital for ACGN, the German company provided another 45% through a group led by lawyer Ernesto Aguirre, and the remaining 10% was held by independent shareholders. In addition the management of the fleet was entrusted to Delfino's agency company, A M Delfino y Compañia.[12]

In 1923 Comodoro Rivadavia was put into operation principally on the Buenos Aires-Comodoro Rivadavia route alongside the passenger-cargo liner Buenos Aires (formerly Hamburg Süd's Camarones ex-Taquary), and replacing the same owner's Presidente Mitre ex-Argentina, which was sold to Chile.[13] On 6 May 1931 the ship stranded in the Second Narrows, Straits of Magellan, but was successfully refloated two days later by the Chilean Navy.[2][14][15] During the down-turn in the Patagonian trade in the 1930s the principal passenger route was reduced to a one-ship service, with first the Buenos Aires and then the Comodoro Rivadavia being withdrawn, with maintenance and painting being carried out during lay-up. In 1937, with continuing poor financial results, Hamburg Süd decided to withdraw and the ACGN company was liquidated, selling its assets to the newly-formed Argentina Nueva Compañía General de Navegación SA (ANCGN), which was wholly owned by the Delfino company.[13]

Early in the 2nd World War the Delfino company, with its close involvement with Hamburg Süd, was blacklisted by the Allies, with the danger that its ships could be captured at sea by British naval forces; Comodoro Rivadavia was consequently laid up in Buenos Aires. In 1941, faced by a desperate need to resume sea transport both domestically and internationally, the Government of Argentina established Flota Mercante del Estado ('state merchant fleet'), to operate many ships of the belligerents interned in Argentina, as well as ANCGN's ships, which were transferred in March 1942. In 1944 she was renamed Rio Santa Cruz, and later reduced to cargo-only service[15][16]

Explosion and disposal[edit]

At around 7am on 7 May 1952, en route from Puerto San Julián to Buenos Aires, Rio Santa Cruz suffered a major boiler explosion off Cabo Blanco, between Puerto Deseado and Comodoro Rivadavia, just as a storm was approaching. Six members of the engineering crew were killed when the casing of one boiler split, spreading twelve tons of boiling water in the boiler room and disabling the engine and generators. Nearby ships responded to an SOS call, but connecting a tow-line was difficult in the storm conditions. After three days it was decided that the six deceased crewmen would be buried at sea.[17] The ship was later towed to port and withdrawn from service. In 1957 she was sold for demolition and broken up at Rio de Janeiro in 1959.[2][15]


  1. ^ At the time, the modern port city of Belém was referred to in English as "Para", the same as the name of the Brazilian state, and Manaus was spelled "Manaos"
  2. ^ Sources differ on the location of the collision. Most contemporary reports place the collision near "Carnation" or "Carnaticu" Island, 4 miles (6.4 km) below Curralinho, Marajó, which is about 80 miles (130 km) above Belém;[5][6][7] others say about 30 miles (48 km) below Belém;[2][4]


  1. ^ a b c Mercantile Navy List. 1910. p. 22. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Haws, Duncan (1998). Merchant Fleets: Lamport & Holt and Booth. Uckfield, England: TCL Publications. p. 132. ISBN 0-946378-34-7.
  3. ^ a b "Trial Trip of the Anselm". Belfast Telegraph (XXXV/10765). 21 March 1905. p. 4. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Heaton, P M (1987). Booth Line. Newport, Gwent, Wales: The Starling Press Ltd. pp. 24 & 33. ISBN 0-9507714-8-1.
  5. ^ "Liner sunk in collision". Derby Daily Telegraph (LIII/8043). 7 September 1905. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  6. ^ "A vessel sunk". Northern Whig (30, 291). Belfast. 7 September 1905. p. 7. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Steamer sunk by collision". Daily Telegraph & Courier (15, 711). London. 7 September 1905. p. 9. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Collision in the Amazon Estuary". Shipping & Mercantile Gazette and Lloyd's List (21, 380). London. 29 March 1906. p. 13. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Collision in the Amazon Estuary". Shipping & Mercantile Gazette and Lloyd's List (21, 679). London. 15 March 1907. pp. 4–5. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  10. ^ "The Marine Insurance Market". The Times (37, 876). London. 28 November 1905. p. 14.
  11. ^ "Wrecks and Casualties in 1905". Shipping & Mercantile Gazette and Lloyd's List (21, 307). London. 3 January 1906. p. 8. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  12. ^ Climent, Aurelio González (1991). "1/1853-1922". Antonio M Delfino: Su Vida, su Obra, sus Barcos (Y sus sucesores) (in Spanish). Buenos Aires. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  13. ^ a b Climent, Aurelio González (1991). "2/1922-1939". Antonio M Delfino: Su Vida, su Obra, sus Barcos (Y sus sucesores) (in Spanish). Buenos Aires. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Argentine Steamer Ashore". The Times (45818). London. 9 May 1931. p. 17.
  15. ^ a b c "Comodoro Rivadavia" (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Histarmar Foundation. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  16. ^ Climent, Aurelio González (1991). "3/1939-2010". Antonio M Delfino: Su Vida, su Obra, sus Barcos (Y sus sucesores) (in Spanish). Buenos Aires. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  17. ^ Castrillón, Ernesto G; Casabal, Luis (20 October 2002). "Rio Santa Cruz". La Nación. Buenos Aires. Retrieved 16 May 2018.