Veendam (II) of 1922
TONNAGE: BRT: 15,450 NRT: 9,202 DWT: 13,503
BUILT AT: Harland & Wolff Limited, Govan, Glasgow, Scotland.
BUILT IN: 1922 YARD NO: 650
ENGINES: Two sets of double reduction geared Brown – Curtiss steam turbines by yard.
ENGINE OUTPUT: 8000 Shaft horse power. PROPS: Two (fixed, diameter 5.56 Meters)
SERVICE SPD: 15 Knots. MAX.SPD: (Said to be 16.5 Knots)
LENGTH OVER ALL: 175.60 Meters.
LENGTH BETWEEN PERPENDICULARS: 167.64 Meters.
BEAM OVER ALL: 20.43 Meters. DEPTH: (Maindeck to Keel) 13.72 Meters.
DRAFT: 28 feet, 2 inches with a displacement in seawater of 26.030 tons.
PASSENGER CAPACITY: Designed for 263 First, 435 Second and 1200 Third Class.
SISTERSHIPS: Volendam (I)
REMARKS: Bunker capacity 3568 tons of oil, with a consumption of 102 tons a day.
Constructed of steel as a passenger ship with four full decks and six hatches. Launched on 18 November 1922 and delivered by the yard on 29 March 1923. By the time the ship was delivered the quota system of the American immigration laws reduced the need for a large third class capacity so the actual figures on delivery were 296 first, 396 second and 292 Third class.
The ss Veendam of 1922, Holland America
She commenced her maiden voyage on 18 April 1923 with a sailing from Rotterdam via Boulogne sur Mer and Plymouth to New York. In May 1926 the name Tourist class was introduced for what used to be the Third Class accommodation. In the same year the ship makes the first Holland America cruise to the Caribbean Sea from New York. She would continue to do this each winter between 1926 and 1930.
On 20 May 1928 the ship finds itself partially sunk while docked at the company’s pier in Hoboken New Jersey. She had left the evening before bound for Europe. At 12.54 the anchor was dropped in the river Hudson near Hoffman Island due to fog. 6 minutes later at 13.00 hrs, the ship is hit on the portside on bridge/engine line under an straight angle by the Castrico. This results in damage above and under the water line causing the engine room to flood. Although all watertight doors were closed, the boiler room and passenger deck number four still flooded. However the ingress of water is not causing a direct danger to the ship and it is decided to return to Hoboken with the aid of tugs. Here the ship docks at 23.21 hrs and disembarkation of the passengers starts. Also the mail is offloaded with both jobs completed at 06.15 am. The next day the holds are emptied of grain and general cargo. On 25th of May the ship left Hoboken with seven tugboats in attendance heading for the Erie Basin where it is dry-docked on the 27th. for repairs. While these repairs were going on the chance is taken to change the layout of the passenger accommodation to 262 First, 430 Second and 480 tourist Class. The ship returned to regular service on 16 June, sailing from New York with passengers and cargo for Rotterdam.
On 26 February 1930 a charter for the Bermuda line (Bermuda & West Indies Steamship Company Ltd. of New York, managers Furness & Withy) is announced, for two summers due to the sinking of their own ship the Fort Victoria. The Veendam departs for it first voyage on 2 July 1930 and spends the whole summer on round-trips between New York and Bermuda. The funnels carry the colors of the Furness Bermuda Line.
In 1932 the layout of the ship is changed again. This time due to the depression which demanded drastic price-cutting and as the fares were class related (regulated by the North Atlantic Conference system) the only way to lower them was to change the naming of the classes. The layout became 263 First, 633 Tourist and 555 Third Class. An unusual occurrence was that the ship had to be laid up on 13 September 1932 at Rotterdam, as the crew went on strike. Reason was the refusal to sail a round-trip on the ship without calling at Rotterdam. After a while the labor dispute is settled and the ship returns to service. In June 1936 First and Third class are omitted and the ship now has Cabin and Tourist Class only.
In September 1939 neutral lettering is added to the ship’s hull, due to the threatening war.
On 17 September 1939 it saves part of the crew of the torpedoed aircraft carrier H.M.S. Courageous.
When the Netherlands are invaded on 10 May 1940 the ship is docked at Rotterdam and sustains damage on the first day. During this invasion the company buildings and ships get in the crossfire between Dutch and German para troops. A falling dock crane hits the ship and causes damage to davits and lifeboats. A small fire starts up but is quickly extinguished. The ship remains laid up at the dock until January 1941. Then the ship is seized by the German occupier and sails on 30 May 1941 to Germany. Here she is handed over on 24 July 1941 to the German Navy for use as an accommodation ship. Workers for the “Organisation Todt” (Volunteer Labor Organization) are living on board in the port of Gothenhafen. The ship is managed by the Hamburg Amerika Linie. From Gotenhafen the ship is transferred on 28 April 1942 to Hamburg and renamed on 1 May in: Marine Stutzpunkt Tolleort. Now she is used as an accommodation ship for submarine crews on leave.
By 1943, the Allied Bombs raids from England can reach past the German border and the big cities become more and more targeted. On 25 July 1943 the ship is hit by four incendiary bombs during one of these air raids. One bomb hits the boat deck and enters the engine room where it explodes. During following air raids on 18 and 23 June, 29 July and 4 November the ship is hit again and some more damage sustained. On 26 December another direct hit sets the ship on fire and severely damages the engine room. This is followed by another direct hit on 31 December 1944 the ship and catches fire. However the fire can be controlled and only the First class smoking room burns out. Shortly after a near miss causes the overboard valves to crack open and the stern sinks to the bottom. As the allied forces keep bombing Hamburg the ship continues to takes hits again and again, most notably on 30 March and 8 April 1945. As a result of these further hits there is damage at hatch I and II, which causes the bow to settle as well.
On 4 May 1945 the ship is boarded by the English when Hamburg is liberated. By that time the ship is partly sunk and burnt out. Some of the accommodation can still be used however and therefore the ship is temporarily used as hotel ship for Dutch crew arriving in the port to collect the various Dutch ships that were seized. Raised in October 1945 and drydock at Blohm and Voss on 14 November 1945 for hull inspection. When made watertight she departs in tow on 7 January 1946 from Hamburg by the Dutch tugs Zwarte Zee and Tyne owned by L. Smit & Co. Sleepdiensten of Rotterdam. Bad weather forces to tow to wait in Elbe estuary until the 14th. On the 16th the two arrives in Amsterdam and the ship is repaired at the Nederlandsche Droogdok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij.
The ss Veendam (II) late in her career. Carrying post war emigrants across the North Atlantic
The passenger accommodation becomes 195 First and 357 Tourist Class and 362 Crew. Commences her first post war sailing on 21 February 1947 from Rotterdam to New York. The ship is extensively used by Dutch emigrants moving to North America in the period 1948 to 1952. On 30th. October 1953 the last voyage is made with 600 passengers and upon arrival in New York the ship is sold for scrap to the Bethlehem Steel Company of Baltimore. The demolition starts in November 1953.