View Full Version : By German ship South to Rio and Beyond

Brian Probetts (Site Admin)
21st March 2016, 10:27 PM

Captain Klaus Schacht was employed aboard the 28-bed passenger-cargo ships of Hamburg-Sud in the 1950s & '60s. “These ships were exceptional for their time and were designed by Professor Pinnau, a noted interior architect, who had worked for the Nazis in the 1930s. He had designed many buildings in the post-war port of Hamburg,” remembered Captain Schacht. “One passenger cabin onboard the Santa Catarina was equal to the captain’s cabin, but was especially for use by the German ambassador. These ships had Chippendale interiors and great libraries. There was a doctor onboard and 2 ladies ran the laundry. There were 5 cooks and as many stewards to look after the 28 passengers. The walls were adorned with old maps. The ships were slow by today’s standards, making only 14 knots at top speed, but could reach Rio from Hamburg in three weeks. They called at Antwerp and then the Canary Islands and at Bahia on their way to Rio, Santos, Montevideo and finally Buenos Aires. I do remember that most of the stewards and cooks were also great smugglers of goods to and from South America. All of them made small fortunes back in the 1950s.” Outmoded by the ‘60s, the Hamburg-built ships were sold off, mostly to become pure cargo ships. These days, Hamburg-Sud is a hugely successful container cargo ship operator, still sailing to South America, but without passengers.

John Arton
22nd March 2016, 10:03 AM
Often used to be in the locks at Antwerp with a Columbus line ship and they nearly always had around 10-20 passengers on board, very popular little earner for them.
In the 80's they were building new ships and they reduced the container capacity (deck cargo) in order to gain some extra passenger accommodation as the earnings from that were better than that obtained from freight.