MS GULLFOSS - Eimskipafelag Islands

Thorsten
27th May 2006, 17:42
Hello everybody
I have put some photos of the IcelandicSteamship Company's (Eimskipafelag Islands - now only Eimskip) old flagship MS Gullfoss out in my Gallery. There will come some more photos of the ship.

MS GULLFOSS

The ship was number 702 from Burmeister and Wain Shipyard in Copenhagen.
Delivered to Eimskipafelag Islands in 1950.
Dimensions: 108,2 m x 14,55m x 5,40m
Brt/Dwt: 3858/1850
Machinery: 12 cyl, B&W diesel, 4025 hp
Speed: 15,5 knob
Passengers: 209
Rebuilt 1973 for 1100 pilgrims

In 1939 Eimskip had plans for building a new ship to take over the old Gullfoss, but the start of World War 2 came in between and the plans were cancelled.

Some years after the World War the new Gullfoss was a reality, and the 8th of December 1949 the launching took place in Copenhagen. Some days after, and before Christmas, the ship was hit by an corkdust-explosion and 4 B&W-workers were killed and 2 were serious wounded.

On the 14th of May 1950 Gullfoss had her maiden voyage from Copenhagen with 164 passengers. The ship arrived in Reykjavik on saturday the 20th of May 1950.
It was a big day for the Company and the icelandic people. The MS Gullfoss was received be Flugfelag Islands (Icelandair) DC4 "Gullfaxi" in the early morning and the plane circeled very near around the ship - so near that everybody on the ship could see the pilots and the passengers on the plane. In the harbour the ship was welcomed by ministers and a lot of people. During the very first day the ship was kept open to the public. Everybody wanted to see the nations new flagship and pride.

During the next decades the MS Gullfoss ploughed through the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean in regular service. 14 days interval during the summertime, Copenhagen-Edinburgh/Leith-Reykjavik and back again. 3 weeks interval during the wintertime where Hamburg was on the timetable on the route from Iceland.

During the winter 1950-51 the ship was chartered to Compagnie Generale transatlantique (CGT) and cruised from Bordeaux to Casablanca.

In 1953 the MS Gullfoss cruises in the Mediterranean and in 1967 There was a cruise from Iceland to the Azores, Madeira, Casablanca and Lisboa.
Smaller cruises went to Amsterdam and London end every year about christmastime the ship went a trip all around Iceland.

In March 1963 Gullfoss was in the dock at B&W in Copenhagen for a regular check. Back in Reykjavik during the morning on the 19th of March the old captain Jn Sigurdsson woke up after having a strange dream. Jon had been the ship's captain from 1951-1958. "Something is happenig with Gullfoss now" and he went down to the mainoffice just to hear that the ship was burning in dock in Copenhagen. On the 13th of June Gullfoss came back to Reykjavik after renovation and rebuilding.

In the beginning of the 1970'es Gullfoss only sailed during the summertime and in 1972 the regular service stopped. In January 1973 the volcano Helgafell on Westmanna Islands erupted and Gullfoss was used for evacuation of the residents.

Flying over the North Atlantic Ocean became more frequent and cheaper and in November 1973 the ship was sold to Fouad A. Khayat & Co - Orri Navigation Lines in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Gullfoss was converted to transport 1100 pilgrims in the Middle East.
Gullfoss was registered for Fahed Maritime Co Ltd., Limassol, Cyprus and was renamed "MECCA".
In January 1974 the ship arrives in Jeddah.
In January 1976 the ship was put into the route Jeddah-Hodeidah-Port Sudan.

On the 19th of December 1976 a fire broke out. All passengers and crew were evacuated and the ship drifted on a reef.

On the 20th of December 1976 the ship capsized and was described as total loss.

That is the history of a bautifully designed, glorious flagship that was Icelands pride and a sign of freedom and indepndence in the postwar period.

My father was the ship's chiefcook in the period from 1958 to 1969 and before it was my uncle who was the chief.
I have been on this trip a lot of times and have a lot of memories from sailing with Gullfoss during the 50'es an 60'es.

Does anybody have some pictures of Gullfoss after it was renamed "MECCA"?

Regards
Thorsten

file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Thorsten%20Rasmussen/Dokumenter/8%20Billeder/Gullfoss/File0158%20resize.jpg

rparsons
21st January 2013, 16:33
Hello Thorsten. I was most interested to read your piece on MS Gullfoss from 2006. I made the Leith to Reykjavik and return voyage in 1969 and 1972, and a memorable experience it was both times. I was sorry when the decision was taken to sell her in 1973, as I would certainly have wanted to make further trips. Sadder still when I learned of her fate. You mention pictures, but I am not sure how to use the link above - or indeed if it is working. I would be most interested to see some. Best wishes. Roger

stein
21st January 2013, 17:23
Hello Thorsten. I was most interested to read your piece on MS Gullfoss from 2006. I made the Leith to Reykjavik and return voyage in 1969 and 1972, and a memorable experience it was both times. I was sorry when the decision was taken to sell her in 1973, as I would certainly have wanted to make further trips. Sadder still when I learned of her fate. You mention pictures, but I am not sure how to use the link above - or indeed if it is working. I would be most interested to see some. Best wishes. Roger

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/search.php?searchid=1341204

rparsons
21st January 2013, 17:29
Many thanks, Stein. I shall look at those with great interest. Roger

Thorsten
22nd January 2013, 17:12
Hello Thorsten. I was most interested to read your piece on MS Gullfoss from 2006. I made the Leith to Reykjavik and return voyage in 1969 and 1972, and a memorable experience it was both times. I was sorry when the decision was taken to sell her in 1973, as I would certainly have wanted to make further trips. Sadder still when I learned of her fate. You mention pictures, but I am not sure how to use the link above - or indeed if it is working. I would be most interested to see some. Best wishes. Roger

Hello Roger
You will find my pictures in the GALLERY - and search for MS GULLFOSS
Regards Thorsten

rparsons
22nd January 2013, 17:52
Thank you very much indeed, Thorsten.
akka r krlega fyrir. Roger.

Thorsten
22nd January 2013, 18:12
Thank you very much indeed, Thorsten.
akka r krlega fyrir. Roger.

Hi Roger
Look at site where I have written something about Gullfoss and a little bit of what I remember about Leith - maybe you know the persons?
http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/1_edin/1_edinburgh_history_-_recollections_sailing_to_leith.htm
Thorsten

rparsons
22nd January 2013, 20:08
No I don't recognise any names - but it was interesting nevertheless, Thorsten. I have located and admired your Gullfoss photos. Thanks again. Roger

John Lawson
27th September 2013, 12:53
I've created an MV Gullfoss Wikipedia page using some of my photos and the limited information I can find about the ship. I hope this is a useful start to learning more about MV Gullfoss.

Thorsten
28th September 2013, 12:19
Hello John
It is great that you have made the Wikipedia about Gullfoss - I just think that you should write MS GULLFOSS instead of MV GULLFOSS. That was the real name MS for MotorShip. All the informations are correct but look at the dates - maybe you could put these informations out too.
The Last Sailing to Rejkavik
"The last summer trip between Rejkavik and Copenhagen was to Reykjavik on 8 October 1973.

On 15 November 1973, 'Gullfoss' was sold to Fouad A. Khayat & Co. - Orri Navigation Lines, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia."

Conversion at Hamburg
The last departure from Reykjavik went to Hamburg where the ship was brought into the shipyard and converted to sail with 1,100 pilgrims in the Middle East.

'She was registered for Fahed Maritime Co. Ltd., Limassol, Cyprus, and renamed 'Mecca'."'

Sailing from Jeddah
"On 20 January 1974 the ship arrived at Jeddah.

On 31 January 1976 she was deployed on the Jeddah - Hodeidah - Port Sudan route."

Loss of the Ship
"On 19 December 1976, while sailing from Jeddah to Port Sudan, a fire broke out on board.

All passengers and crew were evacuated and the ship hit a reef.

The following day, the ship capsized and was designated a total loss."


I was glad to see the pictures from Leith as I have none from there. It was quite as I remember with King Arthurs Seat in the background.
What is your relation to MS Gullfoss?

Greetings
Thorsten

John Lawson
28th September 2013, 23:03
Dear Thorsten

Thank you for the extra information. Glad you like the photos. I think I've uploaded another 3 here, though I can't yet see them.

The only 3 references I can find to MS and MV say that they're used interchangeably. For example, in Wikipedia, all the current P&O ships are prefixed MV, but all the current Cunarders are MS. My recollection is that, on the ship, 'Gullfoss' was used without any prefix. However, I only travelled on her twice and it was a long time ago.

Above it says, "and in 1972 the regular service stopped". Was the, "The last summer trip between Rejkavik and Copenhagen was to Reykjavik on 8 October 1973." a one-off, or did the regular service not stop in 1972? Did it arrive or leave on 8 October?

I can't find any other internet references to Fouad A. Khayat & Co. Do you know anything about them?

What did she do between arriving in Jeddah in 1974 and serving Port Sudan in 1976?

Was she run onto the reef, or did she drift onto it?

Thanks
John.

Thorsten
2nd October 2013, 17:41
Hello John
I am still not convinced about the "MV" - I have never seen or heard it about the ships from Eimskip - I am also thinking about the visibility of the Wikipedia, because if you just type "Gullfoss", the waterfall will appear as the first thing.
I have been searching a little bit in my books and the icelandic newspapers from the summer and the harvest 1973 and found out that Gullfoss stopped regular service when the summertimetable stopped. I can see that she left Copenhagen on the 12th September 1973 and came to Reykjavik on the 20th. She probably stayed there until she left Reykjavik for the last time in the evening on the 31st. october, heading to Hamburg. The new owner took over in Hamburg.
Actually I don't find anything about the date 8th ctober in the newspapers.
I only know that the renamed and repainted ship sailed with pilgrims between Jeddah and Port Sudan.

In this icelandic internetpage you can see how the ship looked after repainting:
http://fragtskip.123.is/blog/yearmonth/2012/10/3/

Greetings
Thorsten

ben27
5th October 2013, 01:11
good day Thorsten.m.3erd.oct.2013.02:41.#12.ms gullfoss.thank you for posting a most informative link.i could not reed the language,but the pictures tell a thousand words,i take it they refloated the container vessel!well done,regards ben27

Le Glau
21st November 2013, 08:54
Concerning the Gullfoss, it is not correct to say that its service between Copenhagen - Leith - Reykjavik finished in 1972. I myself took this ship between Leith and Reykjavik in August 1973 (and the way back). When xe arrived near Vestmann islands, all the islandic crew was very excited, because it was the first time inhabitants of that island came back to their home, after the volcano eruption. I think the regular service of the Gullfoss finished in autumn of the year 1973.

Thorsten
21st November 2013, 13:18
Concerning the Gullfoss, it is not correct to say that its service between Copenhagen - Leith - Reykjavik finished in 1972. I myself took this ship between Leith and Reykjavik in August 1973 (and the way back). When xe arrived near Vestmann islands, all the islandic crew was very excited, because it was the first time inhabitants of that island came back to their home, after the volcano eruption. I think the regular service of the Gullfoss finished in autumn of the year 1973.

Hello Le Glau. If you look in the thread below from the 2. October, I have written the dates for the last trip with Gullfoss. During the harvest 1972 Gullfoss had been laid and in a period from january 1973 Gullfoss went to the harbour of the Westmann Islands and used to give the rescue teams a temporary accomodation during the volcano eruption. In May 1973 Gullfoss started the last regular sailings between Reykjavik - Leith - Copenhagen.

John Bentley49
24th January 2014, 13:32
I was fascinated to read about MS Gullfoss and sorry to hear about her fate in the Red Sea. I sailed from Leith to Reykjavik on her in March 1967 (Friday, 17th March to be precise) and returned in June of the same year. I went to Iceland to work with two friends. We arrived from Wolverhampton in the early morning and I regret to say that I spent most of the morning in a pub near the docks and was the worse for wear by the time we arrived at the landing stage. The passage up the east coast of Scotland was calm but overnight the full force of an Atlantic storm in March hit us. The ship was hove to (is that the correct term?) and the voyage, which should have taken 48 hours was delayed by at least 24 hours. When we disembarked in Reykjavik I was "walking up and down" unseen slopes for several hours. Most of the voyage was spent in my cabin as I am not a good sailor although I did try to go to the restaurant on one occasion. The smell of diesel in the corridor leading to the restaurant put me off trying to eat anything. I sailed back to Leith on her in June and I recall that the sea was much calmer. I have always remembered the ship with affection and this brought back a lot of memories. I will continue to visit the Forum as, whilst I am not specifically a shipping enthusiast, I am interested in all forms of transport and I am sure I will find things of interest.