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Orient Line

History

The London shipbroking firm of James Thompson & Co was founded in 1797. The firm went on to be shipowners, mainly operating sailing ships to Australia, which from 1866 it marketed as the Orient Line of Packets. James Anderson and his nephew James G K Anderson became partners in 1863 and the firm became Anderson, Anderson & Co when the last of the Thompsons retired in 1869. Other members of the Anderson family joined in 1870.

The firm decided to test the market by chartering a steamship in 1874 from Frederick Green & Co., whose main shipping operations were to India. The first steam voyage to Port Phillip, via the Cape was successful and the two firms decided to jointly establish a regular steamship service on the route. Fortunately for them, Pacific Steam Navigation Co had over expanded during the period 1869/74 establishing a weekly service on their Liverpool – Valparaiso, service then discovering that there was only trade for fortnightly sailings. As a result PSNCo had 11 passenger ships laid-up in Liverpool. In 1877 the two partners entered into a profit sharing agreement with PSNCo, with a purchase option, covering 4 passenger ships that had been built in 1871. The new service was a success and in 1878 and Orient Steam Navigation Co was formed to buy the PSNCo ships. The major shareholders in Orient were the Andersons, Green and PSNCo.

The new company service was outbound via the Cape and homeward via Suez. P &O was also operating an Australia service, but only as a branch connection from their Indian service. This enabled Orient to operate their monthly direct service profitably, despite the lack of a mail subsidy. P & O responded towards the end of 1879 by announcing the introduction of a fortnightly service. Orient had just taken delivery of their first new ship “Orient” (the largest passenger ship in service in the world at that time) and it was decided to match P & O by transferring a further 4 PSNCo ships, with the result that the Orient fortnightly service was operational before the P & O service. In 1883 the first New South Wales Mail Contract was received. This required all sailings to be via Suez. To avoid disputes at the P & O coaling facility in Aden, Orient established its own coaling station on Diego Garcia. In 1888 a new joint Orient – P & O Mail Contract was awarded, which called for complete co-operation between the two companies. The joint Mail Contract was renewed in 1898.

In 1906, PSNCo was taken over by Royal Mail Steam Packet Co, which was already under control of the highly ambitious Owen Crosby Philipps, who later became Lord Kylsant and was subsequently imprisoned for fraud. Royal Mail sought to control Orient and when this was resisted, served notice to withdraw its 4 ships from the joint service in 1909. Royal Mail thought that Orient would not survive and submitted a bid in its name for the 1908 Mail Contract renewal. Royal Mail was utterly defeated. The Mail Contract was again renewed jointly with Orient and P & O, enabling Orient to finance the construction of 6 splendid 12,000 grt liners that even eclipsed the famous P & O M class.

In 1914 the Orient fleet stood at 9 liners. During WW2 four ships were lost and by 1918 one was considered to be too unfit to return to service. Three surrendered German ships were acquired as a temporary expedient. More significantly P & O acquired 51% of Orient's shares in 1919 and the two companies developed together, although Orient remained under its own independent management. During the 1920s Orient built five 20,000 grt liners and although profits fell, the British Commonwealth Trade Preference Scheme kept the company going during the Great Depression.

At the outbreak of WW2 Orient was operating 8 liners including the ground breaking “Orion” of 1935 and “Orcades” of 1937 with their corn-coloured hull and elegant profile. Four of the fleet became war losses. Three 28,000 grt replacement ships were delivered between 1948 and 1954 and the company’s finest and final liner, the 42,000 grt Oriana was delivered in 1960. The company also acquired one tanker in 1959 and one gas carrier in 1977.

In 1960 P & O – Orient Lines (Passenger Services) Ltd was formed to manage the combined fleet. The corn-coloured hulls became P & O white in 1964. The 49% privately owned shares were bought by P & O in 1965 and the remaining Orient ships transferred to P & O ownership. In 1966 Orient Lines was dropped from the name of the management company.

Ships

Orama

Orama
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo/Passenger Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Orient SN Co Ltd
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Vickers Ltd
Shipyard Barrow in Furness
Country where built UK
Yard Number 598
Official Number 146024
Call Sign GFRQ
Classification Society Lloyd's
Gross Tonnage 19,840
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 11,754
Length 632 Ft.
Overall Length 658.3 Ft.
Breadth or Beam 75.2 Ft.
Depth 32.9 Ft.
Draught N/K
Engine Type Steam Turbine
Engine Details 6 steam turbines SR geared to 2 shafts
Engine Builder Vickers ltd
Engine Builder Works Barrow
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 6 double-ended and 4 single-ended boilers operating at 215 psi
Propulsion Type Twin Screw
Power 3,856 NHP
Maximum Speed 18

Additional Construction Information

  • 3 decks with 4th deck in foreholds and 3 afterholds and a 5th deck in No 1 hold. Cruiser stern
  • Fitted with refrigeration machinery
  • Fitted with submarine signalling system, radio direction finding and echo sounding equipment
  • Fitted for oil fuel

Career Highlights

Date Event
20 May 1924 Launched
October 1924 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 (Act of War)
Service History Information The vessel was sunk on 8 June 1940 by gunfire from German raider Admiral Hipper at position 67° 45' N, 04° 00' E. She was being used as a troopship to transport the British Expeditionary Force to Norway. Captain Sherburne and 280 others were taken prisoner. There were no troops on board at the time of the attack. Details of the Merchant Seamen that lost their lives can be found on the Benjidog Tower Hill websiteHERE.

Orcades (1937)

Orcades (1937)
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo/Passenger Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Orient SN Co Ltd
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Vickers Armstrongs Ltd
Shipyard Barrow in Furness
Country where built UK
Yard Number 712
Official Number 165501
Call Sign GZSR
Classification Society Lloyd's
Gross Tonnage 23,456
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 14,029
Length 639.3 Ft.
Overall Length 664.5 Ft.
Breadth or Beam 82.2 Ft.
Depth 33.6 Ft.
Draught N/K
Engine Type Steam Turbine
Engine Details 6 steam turbines SR geared to 2 shafts
Engine Builder Vickers Armstrongs Ltd
Engine Builder Works Barrow
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 4 water tube boilers and 2 auxiliary water tube boilers operating at 450 psi
Propulsion Type Twin Screw
Power 4,912 NHP
Maximum Speed 20

Additional Construction Information

  • 2 decks with 3rd deck in holds and cruiser stern
  • Fitted with refrigeration machinery
  • Fitted with radio direction finding and echo sounding equipment
  • Fitted with gyro compass

Career Highlights

Date Event
7 December 1936 Launched
July 1937 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 (Act of War)
Service History Information The vessel was requisitioned as a troop ship during WW2. She was sunk on 10 October 1942 by torpedoes fired by German submarine U-172 at position 31° 51' S, 18° 30' E (about 280 miles North-West of Capetown). At the time of the attack she had over 1,000 passengers and troops on board. They were picked up by the Polish steamship Narwik. Captain Fox was awarded the CBE and Lloyd's medal for bravery at sea. Details of merchant seamen that lost their lives can be found on the Benjidog Tower Hill website HERE. She had been en route from Cape Town to Freetown carrying both passengers and a cargo of copper and oranges.

Orcades (1948)

Orcades (1948)
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo/Passenger Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Orient SN Co Ltd
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd.
Shipyard Barrow in Furness
Country where built UK
Yard Number 950
Official Number 182883
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 28,164
Deadweight (DWT) 11910
Net Tonnage 15,743
Length 708 Ft 8"
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 93 Ft. 6"
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Steam Turbine
Engine Details 6 steam turbines driving 2 shafts
Engine Builder Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd.
Engine Builder Works Barrow
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Twin Screw
Power 42,500 BHP
Maximum Speed 22

Career Highlights

Date Event
14 October 1947 Launched
November 1948 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers When built, the vessel could carry 773 1st and 772 tourist class passengers. This was changed during a refit in 1964 to 1,635 single class passengers.
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of owner to Peninsular & Oriental SN Co ltd 1962. Taken to Kaohsiung 6 February 1973 for breaking by Nan Feng Steel Enterprise Co Ltd

Orion

Orion
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo/Passenger Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Orient SN Co Ltd
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd.
Shipyard Barrow in Furness
Country where built UK
Yard Number 697
Official Number 164493
Call Sign GYKL
Classification Society Lloyd's
Gross Tonnage 23,371
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 14,032
Length 640.3 Ft.
Overall Length 665 Ft.
Breadth or Beam 82.2 Ft.
Depth 33.7 Ft.
Draught N/K
Engine Type Steam Turbine
Engine Details 6 steam turbines SR geared to 2 shafts
Engine Builder Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd.
Engine Builder Works Barrow
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 4 water tube boilers and 2 auxiliary water tube boilers operating at 450 psi
Propulsion Type Twin Screw
Power 4,912 MN
Maximum Speed 19

Additional Construction Information

  • 2 decks with 3rd deck in holds and cruiser stern
  • Fitted with radio direction finding and echo sounding equipment
  • Fitted with gyro compass
  • Fitted for oil fuel

Career Highlights

Date Event
7 December 1934 Launched
August 1935 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 Taken to Tamise 7 October 1963 for breaking by J.Boel et fils - work began 30 November 1963

Ormonde

Ormonde
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Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo/Passenger Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Orient SN Co Ltd
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder J. Brown & Co Ltd
Shipyard Clydebank
Country where built UK
Yard Number 425
Official Number 141866
Call Sign GLYC
Classification Society Lloyd's
Gross Tonnage 14,982
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 8,843
Length 580.5 Ft.
Overall Length 598.7 Ft.
Breadth or Beam 66.7 Ft.
Depth 40.5 Ft.
Draught N/K
Engine Type Steam Turbine
Engine Details 4 steam turbines SR geared to 2 shafts
Engine Builder Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd
Engine Builder Works Barrow
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 4 double-ended and 2 single-ended boilers operating at 215 psi
Propulsion Type Twin Screw
Power 2,120 MN
Maximum Speed 18

Additional Construction Information

  • 2 decks and shelter deck
  • Fitted for oil fuel
  • Fitted with radio direction finding equipment
  • Fitted with refrigeration machinery

Career Highlights

Date Event
February 1917 Launched
October 1917 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 Broken up by W.H.Arnott, Young & Co at Dalmuir from 5 December 1952 and Troon 25 May 1953

Orontes

Orontes
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo/Passenger Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Orient SN Co Ltd
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Vickers-Armstrong Ltd
Shipyard Barrow in Furness
Country where built UK
Yard Number 637
Official Number 146027
Call Sign GBXM
Classification Society Lloyd's
Gross Tonnage 20,097
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 12,044
Length 638.2 Ft.
Overall Length 663.7 Ft.
Breadth or Beam 75.3 Ft.
Depth 33.1 Ft.
Draught N/K
Engine Type Steam Turbine
Engine Details 6 steam turbines SR geared to 2 shafts
Engine Builder Vickers-Armstrong Ltd
Engine Builder Works Barrow
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 6 double-ended and 2 single-ended boilers operating at 215 psi
Propulsion Type Twin Screw
Power 3,825 MN
Maximum Speed 18.5

Additional Construction Information

  • 3 decks with 4th deck in foreholds/Nos 5 and 6 holds and 5th deck in No 1 hold. Cruiser stern
  • Fitted for oil fuel
  • Fitted with radio direction finding and echo sounding equipment

Career Highlights

Date Event
26 February 1929 Launched
July 1929 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 Taken to Valencia 5 March 1962 for breaking by Ordaz y Cia

Orsova (1909)

Orsova (1909)
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo/Passenger Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Orient SN Co Ltd
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder J. Brown & Co Ltd
Shipyard Clydebank
Country where built UK
Yard Number 383
Official Number 128278
Call Sign GLYF
Classification Society Lloyd's
Gross Tonnage 12,041
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 6,697
Length 536.2 Ft.
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 63.3 Ft.
Depth 34.3 Ft.
Draught N/K
Engine Type Quadruple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Two engines each with cylinders of bore 28 3/4", 41", 58 1/2", 84" and stroke 60"
Engine Builder J. Brown & Co Ltd
Engine Builder Works Clydebank
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details 4 double-ended and 2 single-ended boilers operating at 215 psi
Propulsion Type Twin Screw
Power 1,987 NHP
Maximum Speed 18

Additional Construction Information

  • 3 decks with 4th (orlop) deck in Nos 1 and 5 holds and shelter deck
  • Fitted with refrigeration machinery
  • Fitted with radio direction finding equipment

Career Highlights

Date Event
7 November 1908 Launched
May 1909 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 Taken to Bo'ness 21 October 1936 for breaking by P.& W.MacLellan

Orsova (1954)

Orsova (1954)
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo/Passenger Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Orient SN Co Ltd
Country First Registered UK
Shipbuilder Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd.
Shipyard Barrow in Furness
Country where built UK
Yard Number 1021
Official Number 186017
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 28,790
Deadweight (DWT) 11940
Net Tonnage 15,900
Length 722 Ft. 10"
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 90 Ft. 7"
Depth 40 Ft.
Draught 30 Ft. 11"
Engine Type Steam Turbine
Engine Details 6 steam turbines driving 2 shafts
Engine Builder Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd.
Engine Builder Works Barrow
Engine Builder Country UK
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Twin Screw
Power 42,500 SHP
Maximum Speed 22

Career Highlights

Date Event
14 Nat 1953 Launched
March 1954 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers Built to carry 681 1st and 813 tourist class passengers
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of owner to Peninsular & Orient SN Co 1965. Taken to Kaohsiung 14 Februart 1974 for breaking by Nan Feng Steel Enterprise Co Ltd - work began 17 December 1974.


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