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During the last days I have put some photos of the IcelandicSteamship Company's (Eimskipafelag Islands - now only Eimskip) old flagship MS Gullfoss out in the Gallery. There will come some more photos of the ship.
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
Machinery: 12 cyl, B&W diesel, 4025 hp
Speed: 15,5 knob
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 Jón 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"?
Last edited by Thorsten; 30th April 2006 at 21:02..
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