SS Elisabethville

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Name: Elisabethville (1921-47)
Empire Bure (1947-50)
Charlton Star (1950-58)
Maristrella (1958-60)
Owner: Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo (1921-30)
Compagnie Maritime Belge (1930-40)
Ministry of War Transport (1940-45)
Ministry of Transport (1945-46)
Compagnie Maritime Belge (1947-47)
Ministry of Transport (1947-50)
Charlton Steamship Co Ltd (1950-58)
A J & D J Chandris (1958-60)
Operator: Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo (1921-30)
Compagnie Maritime Belge (1930-40)
Lamport & Holt Line (1940-46)
Compagnie Maritime Belge (1946-47)
Lamport & Holt Line (1947-49)
Charlton Steamship Co Ltd (1950-57)
A J & D J Chandris (1958-60)
Port of registry: 22x20px Antwerp (1921-47)
United Kingdom United Kingdom (1947-58)
22x20px Liberia (1958-60)
Route: Antwerp - Matadi (1924-40)
Builder: J Cockerill SA, Hoboken
Yard number: 562
Launched: 19 May 1921
Completed: November 1921
Identification: Code Letters MENV (1921-33)
Code Letters OPEA (1934-47)
UK Official Number 181651 (1947-58)
Liberian Official Number 1219 (1958-60)
Fate: Scrapped
General characteristics
Tonnage: 8,851 GRT
4,869 NRT
Length: 439 feet 1 inch (133.83 m)
Beam: 57 feet (17.37 m)
Depth: 34 feet 1 inch (10.39 m)
Propulsion: 2 x quadruple expansion steam engines
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h)
Capacity: 700 passengers in one class

Elisabethville was a 8,851 GRT ocean liner which was built in 1921 for Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo. In 1930 the company became Compagnie Maritime Belge. She was used on the Antwerp - Matadi route.

In 1940, Elisabethville was requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT) for use as a troopship. She briefly returned to merchant service in 1946 before being requisitioned again in 1947 for further troopship duties, this time being renamed Empire Bure.

She was then laid up before being sold in 1950 to Charlton Steamship Co and was renamed Charlton Star. In 1958, she was sold to a Greek company and renamed Maristrella, serving until she was scrapped in 1960.


Elisabethville was built by J Cockerill SA, Hoboken Belgium for Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo.[1] She was yard number 562. Elisabethville was launched on 19 May 1921 and completed in November 1921.[2] She had accommodation for 700 passengers in a single class..[3]

The ship was 439 feet 1 inch (133.83 m) long, with a beam of 57 feet (17.37 m) and a depth of 34 feet 1 inch (10.39 m).[4] She was propelled by two quadruple expansion steam engines,[2] which had cylinders of 23 inches (58 cm), 33 inches (84 cm), 47 inches (120 cm) and 67 inches (170 cm) bore by 48 inches (120 cm) stroke. The engine was built by SA J Cockerill, Seraing, Belgium. She had a GRT of 8,851 and a NRT of 4,869.[4].


Elisabethville was operated by Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo, which in 1930 became Compagnie Maritime Belge (CMB).[3] She was used on the Antwerp - Matadi route.[5] In 1940, she was requisitioned by the MoWT for use as a troopship under the management of Lamport & Holt Line. In 1946, she was returned to CMB but the following year she was again requisitioned and renamed Empire Bure.[6] In 1949, she was laid up in Holy Loch, being sold to Charlton Steamship Co in 1950 and renamed Charlton Star.[1] In 1952, during the Suez Crisis, Charlton Star was used as an accommodation ship at Tobruk.[7] She served until 1957 when she was laid up at La Spezia, Italy. In 1958, Charlton Star was sold to A J & D J Chandris, Greece. She was reflagged to Liberia and renamed Maristrella.[1] She served with Chandris for a couple of years before she was scrapped at Osaka, Japan, arriving for scrapping on 19 January 1960.

Official Numbers and Code Letters

Official Numbers were a forerunner to IMO Numbers. Empire Bure and Charlton Star had the United Kingdom Official Number 181651. Maristrella had the Liberian Official Number 1219.[2]

Elisabethville used the Code Letters MENV until 1933,[4] and OPEA from 1934.[8]

Culture and Media

A painting of Elisabethville on her maiden voyage in May 1921 was made by Belgian artist Eugeen Van Mieghem.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mitchell, W H, and Sawyer, L A (1995). The Empire Ships. London, New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong: Lloyd's of London Press Ltd. ISBN 1-85044-275-4. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 ""1181651"" (subscription required). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Compagnie Belge Maritime du Congo / Compagnie Maritime Belge". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "LLOYD'S REGISTER, NAVIRES A VAPEUR ET A MOTEURS". Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "About this site". Compagnie Maritime Belge. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  6. "EMPIRE - B". Mariners. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  7. ", A Reminiscence by N G Floyd CA 1 HLI 1951-1953". The Royal Highland Fusiliers. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 
  8. "LLOYD'S REGISTER, STEAMERS & MOTORSHIPS". Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 30 December 2009. 

External links