Santa Maria on the River Tees c1927

t15372 t15373I’ve recently been given this postcard of The Santa Maria, I was intrigued as to why it had been produced as a postcard, I did some research and found that it, and it’s sister ship Santa Barbara, were the first motor driven cruise liners built to sail under the American flag, all previous liners were steam powered, it had twin Diesel engines.

It was built by The Furness Shipbuilding Company of Haverton Hill for The Grace Shipping Line of New York City, it was launched in 1927 and went into service in 1928, it’s route was from New York to Valparaiso in South America, calling in to a number of other ports along the Western coast of South America.

During the Second World War the US navy used it as a support vessel and it figured in the rescue of American sailors from the USS Lexington in the Pacific, after the war it was used to transport immigrants from America to Australia then later it was sold to an Italian shipping line and used to transport Italian Immigrants to America, it was finally scrapped in 1966. A long, diverse and interesting career of a locally built ship.

The poster advertising the inaugural sailing of the Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, isn’t directly connected with Stockton but it’s interesting none the less.

Photograph courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

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