Wednesday, April 13, 2011

the Dutch liner MS Johan van Oldenbarnevelt

The Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (often referred to as the JVO) seen at Fremantle, Australia, in 1963, her final year. She was built in Amsterdam at the Nederlandse Scheepsbouw Maatschappij and launched on 3 August 1929 with construction completed on 13 March 1930. She was powered by two propellers and two Sulzer diesel engines giving a maximum speed of 19 knots (35 km/h). The ship was 609 feet (186 metres) long and was 19,040 gross register tons.

The Johan van Oldenbarnevelt could originally accommodate 770 passengers: 366 in first class, 280 in second, 64 in third and 60 in fourth class. She could also carry as many as 360 crewmen. The ship had seven passenger decks and could carry 9,000 tons of additional cargo. The ship was built as a luxury liner and famous artist Carel Adolph Lion Cachet and sculptor Lambertus Zijl designed the ship’s teak and marble interior, as well as her many statues, mosaics, tapestries and chandeliers.

At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the Johan van Oldenbarnevelt was chartered by the Holland America Line and re-registered in Batavia, Indonesia. She was used as a cargo ship on the Batavia to New York City route. On 20 January 1941, she was registered as an allied troop ship and was converted for duty at the famous Harland and Wolff shipyard. Managed by the Orient Line, she could carry a maximum of 4,000 troops. Her port of registration was Willemstad, Curacao. After servicing India, Singapore and Penang, she finally returned to her home port of Amsterdam on 13 February 1946.

Bought by the General Steam Navigation Company of Greece on 8 March 1963 and renamed Lakonia, she caught fire at sea on 22 December that year and sank while under tow a week later. (pic: Fremantle Ports)

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