SS De Grasse

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SS De Grasse 1 funnel.JPG
SS De Grasse in the 1950s
  • 1924-1953 SS de Grasse
  • 1953-1956 RMS Empress of Australia
  • 1956-1962 SS Venezuela
Port of registry
BuilderCammell Laird, Birkenhead, United Kingdom
Way number886
Laid down23 March 1920
Launched23 February 1924
CompletedAugust 1924
Maiden voyageAugust 21 1924
In service1924
Out of service1962
FateSank after ran aground, before scrap in 1962
General characteristics
Class and typeOcean liner
  • 1924 : 17,759 gross tons
  • 1932 : 18,359 gross tons
  • 1947 : 18,435 gross tons
Length168.3 metres (552 ft)
Beam21.8 metres (72 ft)
Propulsion2 turbine with, two propellers
Speed17 knots

SS De Grasse was an ocean liner built in 1921 by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead, United Kingdom for the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, and launched in February 1924. Sunk in Bordeaux during the German retreat, she was refloated, repaired and put back into service. Over the years and shipowners, she became the Empress of Australia and then Venezuela, she ran aground off Cannes in 1962 and was scrapped in La Spezia, Italy.


CGT Line[edit]

Originally ordered under the name Suffren, it was renamed after Compagnie Générale Transatlantique got the Brazilian ship, SS Leopoldina. Indeed, the ship was renamed it to the De Grasse. The De Grasse was put into service in August 1924 on the Le Havre to New York route. It was modernized in 1931.

At the start of World War II, it continued its crossings, but in a slightly militarized version (blocked portholes, light armament). In the spring of 1940, it was transformed into a troop transport. He was decommissioned in May 1940 in Bordeaux. It was then used as a floating Barracks ship for German soldiers and then as a base ship for Italian submariners (Italy had based more than twenty submarines in Bordeaux to support the Germans during the Battle of the Atlantic). Appearing as too dangerous a target after a first British bombardment on Bordeaux, it surrendered to the Vichy government in May 1942, which used it as a training ship.

The Germans partially sank it during their retreat in August 1944. It was refloated in August 1945 and sent to the Penhoët shipyards to be repaired and modernized (it lost a chimney during these transformations). He was reassigned to the Le Havre to New York route while the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique reconstituted a fleet.

Canadian Pacific[edit]

In 1953, SS De Grasse was sold for the Canadian Pacific Steamships after the ship, RMS Empress of Canada Caught fire and capsized. then the ship was renamed in that same year as the Empress of Australia. However, in 1956 the ship was then sold to the Italian Company 'Sicula Oceanica'. [1]

Sicula Oceanica[edit]

In 1956, the Empress of Australia was sold to Sicula Oceanica, and after refit, the ship was renamed the Venezuela. She had a uneventful career with her new owner. [1] In 1962, the Venezuela was wrecked off Cannes. She was refloated but was broken up at La Spezia, Italy in August the same year.

Notable Passengers[edit]

In 1949, Jacqueline Bouvier travelled aboard the SS De Grasse on a study abroad trip to Paris.[2]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Haworth, R.B. Miramar Ship Index: ID #1185887.
  • Tate, E. Mowbray. (1986). Transpacific Steam: The Story of Steam Navigation from the Pacific Coast of North America to the Far East and the Antipodes, 1867-1941. New York: Cornwall Books. ISBN 978-0-8453-4792-8 (cloth)