Home | History | Ships | Miscellanea | Search
Builder: Harland & Wolff, Belfast, yard number 614
Launched January 10, 1924; delivered April 24, 1924; maiden voyage May 3, 1924; broken up 1934
Hull: length 600'; beam 80'; 21,998 tons; 5 continuous steel decks; 17,000 tons cargo capacity
Power: triple screws; 4 single reduction geared Brown Curtiss steam turbine engines of 15,000 h.p.
12 boilers, 60 burners for fuel oil; steam pressure 220 lbs.; 16 knots
Registered in Belfast; official number 145438
The Minnetonka (II) was the second of four super-Minne type ships planned for the post-war recovery of the Atlantic Transport Line's premiere London to New York passenger cargo business. Each of the new ships was to be named after its illustrious predecessor sunk during the war. In the event however, only two of the ships were actually built because post-war traffic never reached let alone surpassed pre-war levels. Although built to the same dimensions as her sister, the Minnewaska (IV) had a slightly greater tonnage; she reportedly cost £1,175,000 to build.
The ships were ordered in 1919 but their construction was delayed. They were similar in length to the pre-war Minnes but they had a much broader beam which made them even more stable and increased their cargo capacity and passenger accommodation. They were the largest cargo vessels in the world when launched. As well as carrying more passengers the ships offered additional facilities for them including a lounge and a reception room the full width of the ship designed for dancing. Another improvement was the glazing of the fore portion of the promenade deck to provide a measure of shelter. The glazing on the side of the Minnetonka (II)'s promenade deck was carried slightly further aft, and this is the best way of distinguishing between the sisters in photographs.
The U.S. Shipping Board did not authorize a resumption of the Atlantic Transport Line's London to New York service until the new Minnes were nearing completion. The Minnetonka (II) sailed under the command of the veteran captain Thomas F. Gates and is recorded in the Morton Allan Directory of European Passenger Steamship Arrivals making 83 voyages to New York for the Atlantic Transport Line between May 1924 and December 1930.
The depression of 1931 ended any hope the International Mercantile Marine Company had of selling off its foreign-flagged lines and the Atlantic Transport Line was closed down. Alternative work was sought for Minnetonka (II) and her sister, and it was reported in the New York Times that they were to be converted for the New Zeeland frozen meat trade and would be sailing out via the Cape of Good Hope and home via Cape Horn, a round trip of 30,000 miles! In the event the both Minnes were transferred to the Red Star Line's transatlantic tourist third service to enable a weekly sailing schedule to be maintained.
The Minnetonka (II) started on the Antwerp to New York route for the Red Star Line in May 1932 as a tourist class ship carrying 413 passengers. The fare was $98 one way or $172 for the round trip (half the former rate), and was marketed as "the most sensational travel value ever offered," but it did not prove to be a successful venture. She made just twelve round trips for the Red Star Line before her service was terminated in September of the following year. It was announced in May 1934 that both of the Minnes would be laid up in Antwerp but both ships were soon sold to Douglas & Ramsey for scrap. The sale "was accepted yesterday in shipping circles as marking the end of the Atlantic Transport Line" according to the New York Times.
The post-war Minnes were scrapped after remarkably short careers. A factor in the decision to scrap rather than sell the sisters was evidently that the International Mercantile Marine Company did not want then falling into the hands of a competitor. Identifying another issue Time magazine noted when their sale for scrap was announced that "Minnetonka and Minnewaska, built for comfort in an age of speed, took eight days from New York to London" and "because they were slow International Mercantile Marine sold them to the 'knackers' last week for 4¢ on the dollar-$12,000,000 worth of steel & iron & wood for less than $500,000." The Minnetonka (II)'s final voyage to the yard of McLellan Ltd. of Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth for breaking ended on the evening of December 9, 1934, with her "proudly grounding at full speed under her own power" with every light blazing. "A huge wave broke along the waterfront as she went ashore" according to the New York Times, and police had to hold back the crowds that had come to watch.
Sources: The Atlantic Transport Line, 1881-1931; The Ships List; Merchant Fleets in Profile 2; the Ships of the Cunard, American, Red Star, Inman, Leyland, Dominion, Atlantic Transport and White Star Lines, Duncan Haws, 1979; A Century of Atlantic Travel: 1830-1930, Frank Charles Bowen, 1930; The Red Star Line and the International Mercantile Marine Company, Vernon E.W. Finch, Antwerp, 1988; Atlantic Transport Line brochure, dated May 2, 1923 (Kinghorn); Atlantic Transport Line brochure of c.1924 (Kinghorn); The New York Times, August 14, 1922; March 26, 1929; October 27, 1929; December 22, 1931; April 6, 1932; May 5, 1932; May 22, 1932; May 27; 1934, December 10, 1934
For more information ...
Home | History | Ships | Miscellanea | Search
© 2005 - 2014, Jonathan Kinghorn, all rights reserved
This Site and all its Contents are intended solely for non-commercial use. You may download or copy the Contents and other downloadable materials displayed on the Site for your personal use only. No right, title or interest in any downloaded materials or software is transferred to you as a result of any such downloading or copying. You may not reproduce (except as noted above), publish, transmit, distribute, display, modify, create derivative works from, sell or participate in any sale of or exploit in any way, in whole or in part, any of the Contents, the Site or any related software.