SS Oronsay


SS Oronsay was built for the Orient Line and was named after an island off the West coast of Scotland.

Oronsay was officially delivered on the 3rd of May, 1951 at Tilbury, Essex and on the same day just 15 miles away, I was born in Oldchurch Hospital, Romford.

23 years later I signed on for a 6 month voyage but only discovered the connection many years later with the advent of the internet. By then Orient Line had become the P&O Line (Penninsular & Orient Line).

On May 16th 1951 she set sail from Tilbury on her maiden voyage to Australia via the Suez Canal, arriving Sydney on 18th June.



Built by Vickers Armstrong in Barrow in Furness at a gross tonnage of 28,000 tons, her keel was laid down in 1949 and she was launched on Friday 30th of June, 1950.



On the 28th of October during fitting out, a fire broke out in the cork insulation of Number 2 hold. Due to fire fighting efforts, the ship developed a 20 degrees list and was in danger of capsiing and so a decision was made to cut a hole in the hull to let the water flow out. 

It took fire fighters 3 days to extinguish the fire.

Her completion was only setback by eight weeks and on April 29th & 30th 1951, she undertook her speed trials in the Clyde reaching a creditable 23.23 knots



Oronsay was 708 feet long, had a beam of 94 feet and a draught of 31 feet. Her twin screws were powered by two Parsons marine steam turbines producing a total 42,500 horsepower.



Oronsay originally carried 668 First Class passengers, 883 Tourist Class passengers.

In 1972 she was converted to take 1,400 one class passengers.

Oronsay carried 622 crew.



After 24 years service, Oronsay was sold to the Nan Feng Steel Enterprise Company of Taiwan where she arrived on 7th October 1975 and was broken up soon after.


For more information on SS Oronsay, take a look at


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