SS Orontes

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SS Orontes.jpg
SS Orontes in Tilbury Docks, circa 1957, about to sail for Sydney on a single-class voyage with (mainly) migrant passengers on the Ten Pound Poms scheme.
United Kingdom
NameSS Orontes
OwnerOrient Line (P & O)
Port of registryUnited Kingdom Tilbury, Essex, United Kingdom
  • England - Australia (1929-1940)
  • England - Australia (1948-1962)
BuilderVickers Armstrong Ltd. at Barrow-in-Furness, England
Launched26 February 1929
Maiden voyageJune 1929
  • Code Letters and radio callsign GBXM
  • ICS Golf.svgICS Bravo.svgICS X-ray.svgICS Mike.svg
FateScrapped at Valencia, Spain in 1962
General characteristics
Tonnage20,097 grt
Length664 ft (202 m)
Beam75 ft 2 in (22.91 m)
Draft29 ft 8 in (9.04 m)
Installed power2 steam turbines, 20,000 shaft horsepower (15,000 kW)
Propulsion2 screws
Speed20 knots (37 km/h)
  • 1st: 500 passengers
  • 3rd: 1,112 passengers
  • Total: 1,612 passengers
StateLibQld 1 141643 Orontes (ship).jpg

SS Orontes was a passenger ship owned by Orient Line.

The ship was built in 1929 by Vickers Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness, England.

Its sister ships were Orama (II), Orford, Oronsay, and Otranto (II). Orontes was the last of the "Orama" Class and great effort was taken to make the public rooms of Orontes the best of this class. The name had previously belonged to the RMS Orontes, an earlier ship owned by the Orient Line.[1]


Orontes maiden voyage was a Mediterranean Cruise in June 1929. From 1929 to 1940, it served on the England to Australia route. It carried the England cricket team on the way to the Bodyline tour in 1932.[2]

During World War II, Orontes became a troopship, serving that role from 1940 to 1947. In 1947 Orontes transported World War II prisoners of war from Melbourne to Cuxhaven, West Germany.[1]

The ship served on the England to Australia route from 1948 to 1962 (the ship was refitted as a single class passenger ship at Thornycroft in 1953). In August 1958, Orontes was involved in a collision with SS Empire Baltic, a landing ship used as a ferry on the River Thames. The Orontes was scrapped at Valencia, Spain in 1962.[1][3][4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Builder's model of SS Orontes". Sydney, New South Wales: Australian National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  2. McKinstry, Leo (14 September 2007), "When cynicism eclipsed chivalry in sport", Daily Telegraph, London[dead link]
  3. "Orontes (1146027)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  4. ORONTES (1929) (PDF), P&O Line, archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2007, retrieved 5 March 2009

Further reading

  • Geddes, FL (24 June 1948), "The Reconditioned "Orontes"", Shipbuilding and Shipping Record: 774 - article about the post-war refit
  • McCart, Neil (1987), Passenger Ships of the Orient Line, P. Stephens, ISBN 978-0-85059-891-9