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NAME

SS. CANBERRA

CLASS

LINER

LAUNCHED

MARCH 16th 1960

BUILT

HARLAND & WOLFF / BELFAST / IRELAND

WEIGHT

45,270 TONS

LENGTH

818 FEET

WIDTH

102 FEET

SPEED

27.5 KNOTS - TURBINE ELECTRIC ENGINES - TWO PROPELLERS


Harland & Wolff won the contract to build P&Os largest liner to date in 1956. Canberra was intended to provide an alternating service between Southampton and Sydney with the 41,915-ton Oriana. Her maiden voyage from Southampton June 2nd 1961 called at Gibralter, Naples, Colombo, Fremantle, Melbourne and Sydney. She then set off across the Pacific calling at Honolulu, Vancouver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Her return to Southampton took the same route back via Sydney. Immigration to Australia had declined by the end of the 1960s and many of the remaining passengers were traveling by aircraft. This forced P&O to operate Canberra on cruises throughout the Caribbean in an attempt to keep her in service. Due to low bookings on the first of these cruises, plans were made to scrap her at the end of the 1973 season. A sudden increase in Canberra’s bookings during the 1973 season persuaded P&O to keep her in service.

Canberra

After Argentine troops invaded the Falklands in April 1982, Canberra and Cunards QE2 were requisitioned by the British Admiralty to serve as troopships as they were the only large liners operating under the British flag. While unloading troops at San Carlos Bay, Canberra was fortunate to escape undamaged after being attacked by Argentine aircraft. The completion of that mission saw her set out for South Georgia to pick up troops from the QE2. She was then returned to the war zone and successfully landed troops for a second time. Following the Argentine surrender June 14th 1982, Canberra arrived back at Southampton July 11th. P&O ordered a replacement for Canberra in 1991 as she had by then become expensive to maintain. The arrival of modern cruise ships led to Canberra being sold to the ship breakers at Karachi/India in 1997. With this being where the largest oil tankers are normally scrapped, as with the tankers, Canberra was run onto the beach and dismantled where she lay.

Canberra

Canberra

Canberra

Canberra being dismantled at Karachi
Canberra

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