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NAME

MV. WILLEM RUYS (ACHILLE LAURO)

CLASS

LINER

LAUNCHED

JULY 1st 1946

BUILT

DE SCHELDE SHIPBUILDING / VLISSINGEN / HOLLAND

WEIGHT

21,119 TONS

LENGTH

631 FEET

WIDTH

82 FEET

SPEED

22 KNOTS - DIESEL ENGINES - TWO PROPELLERS


The largest shipping company in Holland at this time was the Holland America Line that operated their ships on the North American run with their flagship being the 36,287-ton Nieuw Amsterdam. The two smaller Dutch companies, Nederlandsche Sb Mij Line and Rotterdamshe Lloyd Line, mainly operated their ships between Holland and the Dutch East Indies. Willem Ruys was built for the Rotterdamshe Lloyd Line to compete against the Nederlandsche Sb Mij Lines 20,565-ton liner Oranje that entered service in 1939. Willem Ruys set out on her maiden voyage from Rotterdam - East Indies via the Suez Canal December 2nd 1947. After the Dutch East Indies gained independence in 1949 and become known as Indonesia, trade between Holland and Indonesia began to decline. From 1958, Willem Ruys was operated on crossings between Holland and New York, Holland and Canada, then later, Holland and New Zealand via the Suez Canal.

Willem Ruys

The Naples based Lauro Line acquired Willem Ruys in January 1965 to be operated under the name Achille Lauro. After being modernized, her first voyage for the new company was from Genoa - Sydney and Wellington/Australia. The Lauro Line operated her as a full time cruise ship after the completion of repairs for fire damage in 1972. Three years after the fire, Achille Lauro’s misfortune continued when she collided with and sunk the livestock carrier Yousset in April 1975. Financial difficulties in 1985 forced the Lauro Line into a merger with the Greek owned Chandris Line. On a ten-day cruise to Egypt in October of that year, Palestinian terrorists high jacked Achille Lauro and murdered a disabled American passenger before throwing him overboard. Achille Lauro was lost to fire December 2nd 1994. As the fire broke out in her lower decks while cruising the seas off Somalia, her 1,090 passengers and crew had to be evacuated before she became engulfed in flames and sank later that day.

Achille Lauro
Below, Achille Lauro on fire off Somalia
Achile Lauro on fire

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