SS Santa Rosa (1932)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
SS Santa Rosa (1932).jpg
SS Santa Rosa in Grace Line livery at Curaçao, c. 1930s.
Name: SS Santa Rosa
Operator: Grace Line (1932–41, 1947–58)
Port of registry: New York
Route: New York - Havana - Cristobal - the Panama Canal - Balboa - Puntarenas - La Libertad - San Jose de Guatemala - Mazatlan - Los Angeles - San Francisco - Victoria - Seattle.
Ordered: 1930
Builder: Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company
Maiden voyage: 26 November 1932
Out of service: 1958
Fate: Sold in 1961
Name: Santa Rosa
Operator: War Shipping Administration (1942–47)
Port of registry: New York
Name: SS Athinai
Operator: Aegean Steam Navigation Co (Typaldos Line)
Acquired: 1961
In service: 1961
Out of service: 1966
Homeport: Piraeus, Greece
Fate: Scrapped 1989, Aliaga, Izmir-Turkey
General characteristics
Type: Passenger/Cargo Liner
Tonnage: 9,135
Length: 508 ft (155 m)
Beam: 72 ft (22 m)
Propulsion: 2 steam turbines, double reduction geared to twin screws
Speed: 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)
Capacity: 209 First Class, 50 Tourist Class (as built)

SS Santa Rosa (later SS Athinai) was a passenger and cargo ocean liner built for the Grace Line. She was one of four sister ships (the others being Santa Elena, Santa Lucia and Santa Paula) ordered in 1930 from the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company of Kearny, NJ. Her regular route included inter-coastal service between the east coast and the west coast of the USA via the Caribbean and the Panama Canal. She was the second of ultimately three vessels to bear the name Santa Rosa for the Grace Line.[1] (The first Santa Rosa was a 1917-built ship that was sold in 1925.)[2]

Design and construction[edit]

Designed by Gibbs & Cox, Santa Rosa bore some resemblance to their later ships, the SS America and SS United States.[3] such as his signature winged funnel. The public rooms were all on the promenade deck. The dining room was located on this deck between the two funnels and had an atrium stretching up two and a half decks. Unique for its day was a retractable roof which allowed the passenger to dine under the tropical sky. The Grace Line also employed female waitresses instead of male stewards. All first class cabins were outside twin beds and private baths.[4][dead link]

Prewar Grace Line service[edit]

The Santa Rosa sailed on her maiden voyage on 26 November 1932. Her East-West coast route of New York-Seattle was 20 days and included a one-day call in Los Angeles and two days in San Francisco. The ship's service speed of 20 knots and her superior accommodation made her very popular compared to that offered by Pacific Coast shipping. In 1936 however the intercoastal service ended and Santa Rosa and her sisters transferred to service to the Caribbean.[4]

World War II service[edit]

SS Santa Rosa wartime gray.
Santa Rosa in wartime gray livery.

Santa Rosa was requisitioned by the US War Shipping Administration on 3 January 1942 with Grace Line operating the ship as agents and allocated to Army for troop service.[5][6] Even in wartime gray, the ship retained her elegant oceanliner lines:

"..Further down and across the dock, the Grace Line passenger ship SS Santa Rosa, also lay waiting. She was painted wartime gray but she still flaunted her nubile twin funnels, sweeping bow and long, beautiful lines; She exuded an aura of speed, luxury, and moonlight tropical nights. The SS Santa Rosa was sexier than Rita Hayworth in a travel poster..."[7]

Santa Rosa made 21 voyages from the east coast of the US from 1942-1945: one to Europe, one to Australia, one to India, and three to Africa.[8]

Her wartime voyages included:

  • January 1942 - New York to Melbourne and Nouméa via the Panama Canal
  • April 1942 - Suez, Massaua, Adan, Durban
  • November 1942 - to the Clyde
  • November 1942 - to Casablanca
  • January 1943 - to Casablanca
  • February 1943 - Bermuda and Casablanca
  • April 1943 - Casablanca, Gibraltar, the Clyde, Algiers, and Phillippeville
  • August 1943 - Oran in Algeria
  • October 1943 - Boston to Swansea, the Clyde, Palermo, Newport UK
  • December 1943 - via Boston to Bristol and Newport
  • February 1944 - Belfast
  • March 1944 - from Boston to Avonmouth and Cardiff
  • May 1944 - via Norfolk to Naples and Gibraltar
  • July 1944 - via Norfolk to Oran, Naples, and Cape Henry
  • October 1944 - Marseilles, Oran, and Gibraltar
  • December 1944 - from Boston to Swansea and retuen to Boston
  • January 1945 - Le Havre and Southampton
  • February 1945 - to La Harve and Plymouth
  • March 1945 - to The Solent, Le Havre, Southampton
  • June 1945 - Southampton
  • July 1945 - Le Havre and Cherbourg with return to Hampton Roads, to Plymouth and Le Havre
  • August 1945 - Le Havre and Cherbourg with return to Hampton Roads, to Plymouth and Le Havre
  • September 1945 - Marseilles
  • October 1945 - from New York via Port Said to Karachi
  • December 1945 - from New York via Port Said to Karachi with return to New York in January 1946

The vessel was returned to Grace Line on 3 February 1947.[5]

Postwar Grace Line service[edit]

After her war service she underwent repair and refit at the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company prior to redelivery to her owners.[8] Santa Rosa returned to Grace Line and resumed the Caribbean service on 7 February 1947. In 1958, after 26 years of service, Santa Rosa was replaced by a larger liner of the same name. In June 1958 Santa Rosa was renamed Santa Paula.[5] The older ship was laid up at Hoboken, NJ until 1961 when she was sold to Greek owners.[4]

Typaldos Lines service[edit]

SS Athanai and other vessels in the port of Piraeus, Greece
SS Athinai in the port of Piraeus in the 1963 film The Bullfighter Advances

Santa Rosa was renamed Athinai and began a new career as a cruise ship for Typaldos Lines. A refit increased her accommodation and converted her to carry three classes of passengers. She entered service for her new owners for voyages in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Adriatic.[4] Athinai in her Typaldos Line livery appears briefly in a scene of the port of Piraeus, Greece, in the 1963 film The Bullfighter Advances.[9] In 1968 the Typaldos Lines owners were arrested and the company disbanded after the Greek government investigation of the SS Heraklion incident found them guilty of manslaughter and negligence. The company's ships were taken over and sold except for two, including SS Athinai, who attracted no buyers and were subsequently laid up at Phaleron Bay.


Santa Rosa/Athinai never returned to active service. In 1978 she was towed out of layup for use as a film set for Raise the Titanic. After a decade of neglect, and with fittings that did not appear to be out of place on a 1912 built ship, Athinai needed very little conversion work for filming the Titanic’s interiors.[10] Her bows were painted to resemble Titanic and she was sprayed with concrete to simulate 68 years on the ocean floor.[11] After the filming she was returned to Phaleron Bay. She remained for another ten years until 1989, when she was towed for scrapping at Aliağa, Turkey[12] in a purge of derelict shipping.


  1. ^ "Grace Line Fleet 1882-1969". Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Santa Rosa (1917)". Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Gibbs & Cox – The Early Years". SS United States Conservancy. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Santa Rosa (1932)- History". The AJN Transport Britain Collection 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Maritime Administration. "Santa Rosa". Ship History Database Vessel Status Card. U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Troop Ships". American Merchant Marine at War. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Summer of '42". Fugawee Corporation. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Charles, Roland W. (1947). Troopships of World War II (PDF). Washington: The Army Transportation Association. p. 253. LCCN 47004779. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Bullfighter Advances (Ο Ταυρομάχος Προχωρεί).". Digital Repository of the Greek Film Archive and the Museum of Cinematography. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "The Forgotten Titanic". Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "Raise the Titanic: Behind the Scenes No. 4 – SS Athinai". Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  12. ^ Knego, Peter. "San Of Aliaga". Retrieved 7 September 2013.