Flag

Messageries Maritime

History

The French Government's Administration des Postes established a steamship service from Marseilles to the Levant in 1835. The ships were armed and operated by the French Navy. By 1851 the organisation had a fleet of 18 ships operating to various Mediterranean destinations. The French Government decided to transfer the service to the ailing national stage coach service, Messageries Nationales, to provide it with an on-going business in the railway age. After an evaluation of the existing situation it was decided to establish a separate division named Compagnie des Services Maritimes des Messageries Nationales and to replace the naval vessels with more economical civilian steamers.

In 1853 Napoléon III converted his presidency into a monarchy and as a result the company’s name was changed to Compagnie des Services Maritimes des Messageries Imperiales. Following the disastrous Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Napoléon III was deposed and the Third French Republic established, so the company’s name was changed again to Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes.

The fleet grew rapidly to meet French Government mail route requirements, especially after the opening of the Suez Canal. Many of the company’s ships were also fitted with troop accommodation. Services were established from France to South America, India, Indo-China, Hong Kong, Japan, the Pacific (including New Zealand and Australia) and the Indian Ocean. By 1900 the fleet consisted of 44 ships engaged on Government routes and a further 14 vessels operated commercially.

In 1912 the French Government re-organised its mail services, awarding the South American routes to the new Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique. Messageries Maritimes retained its remaining routes.

During WW1 many of the company’s ships were used as troopships or hospital ships. In 1914 the fleet stood at 58 vessels, during the end of the war it lost 23 ships, but replacements enabled the company to end the war with 54. Many of these were worn out, however and were replaced by war reparations. In 1919 the company started a new service to the French Pacific islands via Panama and its 'El Cantara', was the first French ship to go through the Panama Canal. Further luxury ships were added to the fleet in the 1920s.

In WW2 the company lost half of its ships. After recovering and adding a number of new ships during the post-war period, the company merged with Compagnie Générale Transatlantique in 1977 and the merged company was called Compagnie Générale Maritime.

Ships

Godavery

Godavery
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Cie des Messageries Maritimes
Country First Registered France
Shipbuilder Provence
Shipyard Port de Bouc
Country where built France
Yard Number 279
Official Number 5132705
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 6,936
Deadweight (DWT) 8953
Net Tonnage N/K
Length N/K
Overall Length 148.9 Metres
Breadth or Beam 18.8 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 16

Career Highlights

Date Event
18 December 1954 Launched
July 1955 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of name to Liliane and owner to Jasmine Maritime Inc 1977, change of name to Rubini F. and owner to Papilio Sg Co SA 1980. Taken to Bombay February 1982 for breaking by City Steel Corp.

Le Natal

Le Natal
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Cie des Messageries Maritimes
Country First Registered France
Shipbuilder La Ciotat CN
Shipyard La Ciotat
Country where built France
Yard Number 177
Official Number 5204792
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 7,051
Deadweight (DWT) 8953
Net Tonnage N/K
Length N/K
Overall Length 148.9 Metres
Breadth or Beam 18.8 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 16

Career Highlights

Date Event
23 July 1955 Launched
February 1956 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of name to Trapi and owner to Valenciennes Nav Corp 1976, change of name to Badile and owner to Astrolabe Nav Corp 1977. Taken to Kaohsiung 27 April 1979 for breaking by Kuo Dar Steel & Iron Enterprise

Malais

Malais
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Cie des Messageries Maritimes
Country First Registered France
Shipbuilder La Ciotat CN
Shipyard La Ciotat
Country where built France
Yard Number 195
Official Number 5218121
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 7,475
Deadweight (DWT) 9259
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 145.9 Metres
Overall Length 156.6 Metres
Breadth or Beam 19.7 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 18

Career Highlights

Date Event
21 March 1959 Launched
August 1959 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of owner to Cie Generale Maritime 1977, change of name to Brunella and owner to Cia Naviera Brunella SA 1978. Taken to Alang 1 February 1984 for breaking by Chowdhary Industries

Maori

Maori
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Cie des Messageries Maritimes
Country First Registered France
Shipbuilder N/K
Shipyard N/K
Country where built France
Yard Number 193
Official Number 5220007
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 7,474
Deadweight (DWT) 9259
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 145.9 Metres
Overall Length 156.6 Metres
Breadth or Beam 19.7 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 19.5

Career Highlights

Date Event
29 June 1958 Launched
December 1958 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Sunk/foundered (Peacetime)
Service History Information The vessel sank in the North Atlantic about 500 miles West of Bordeaux at approximate position 46° 16' N, 12° 17' W on 9 November 1971. She had been en route from Noumea (New Caledonia) to Le Havre with a cargo of 8,000 tons of nickel ingots. She had run into heavy weather which caused her cargo to break loose resulting in a 45° list and an explosion. Of the 39 on board there was just one survivor - an engine room officer - who was picked up by German motorship Vegesack.

Marquisien

Marquisien
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Cie des Messageries Maritimes
Country First Registered France
Shipbuilder La Ciotat CN
Shipyard La Ciotat
Country where built France
Yard Number 194
Official Number 5226336
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 7,475
Deadweight (DWT) 9259
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 145.7 Metres
Overall Length 156.6 Metres
Breadth or Beam 19.7 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 18

Career Highlights

Date Event
6 December 1958 Launched
June 1959 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of owner to Cie Generale Maritime 1977, change of name to Patricia S. and owner to Cia Naviera Patricia SA 1978. Taken to Gadani Beach 2 April 1983 for breaking by Fazil Corp.

Martiniquais

Martiniquais
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Cie Generale Maritime
Country First Registered France
Shipbuilder La Ciotat CN
Shipyard La Ciotat
Country where built France
Yard Number 197
Official Number 5227134
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 7,475
Deadweight (DWT) 9251
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 145.9 Metres
Overall Length 156.6 Metres
Breadth or Beam 19.7 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 18

Career Highlights

Date Event
19 December 1959 Launched
June 1960 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of owner to Cie Generale Maritime 1977, change of name to Rafaela and owner to Cia Naviera Giraf SA 1978. The vessel arrived at Mombasa from Antwerp to drop off cargo whilst en route to Maputo with a cargo of cars, textiles, chemicals and general goods. A major fire broke out in hatches 4 and 5 on 19 November 1981 and continued to burn for seven days. The vessel was declared a constructive total loss and eventually scrapped at Mombasa in April 1983 by Southern Engineering Co.


Website designed and coded by Brian Watson using HTML & CSS.
I can be contacted via Feedback