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Har Zion

Har  Zion

 

No. of registry:

S. S. 114941    

Port of registry:

Famagusta

Date of registry:

4.1935 

Call Sign:

VQSF

Previous Names:

Risveglio, ex Nickerie, ex St. Jan

Year Built:

1907

Built By:

Akt.  Burmeister. & Wain - Copenhagen

Type:

G. C. / Passeng.

GRT:

2508

NRT:

1539

DWT:

5400

LOA: (M)

102.3

Breadth: (M)

12.4

Draft: (M)

6.63

Eng.:

Triple expansion eng. 3 cylinders. BHP 1370

Built by:

Akt.  Burmeister. & Wain - Copenhagen

Speed: (Knots)

13

Owners:

Palestine Maritime Lloyd Ltd.

Deleted from Israeli registry:

-

Sank by German U Boat:

8.1940

 

 

Few businessmen connected to shipping had established the "Palestine Maritime Lloyd" shipping company in 1934. Among them was Eng. Emanuel Tuvim from Haifa, Lazar Berkovitch- a shipping businessman from Romania, Nissim Meshulam - a shipping agent from Haifa, Moshe Shlush, Adv. Preberstein from Tel Aviv and Ignazzio Messina, an Italian - Jewish ship owner from Genoa. The company's ships supposed to maintain a service between Constantza and Haifa with occasional calls at Cyprus, Tripoli, Beirut and Istanbul. The new company purchased two ships from Ignazzio Messina. The "Risveglio" and "Progresso", two mixed cargo/passenger ships. "Risveglio" arrived Haifa first and was renamed "Har Zion"  (Mount Zion).

 

At that time, there was not a recognized flag of Palestine. The ship sailed, without any flag to Famagusta in Cyprus and registered there under the British flag. "Progresso" arrived Haifa on the 8th of May 1935 and she was renamed "Har Carmel" (Mount Carmel), and in the meantime a Palestinian flag has been established, she was registered in Haifa as ship No.2. (Registration No. 1 was esigned, under similar circumstances, to "Tel Aviv"). In addition to general cargo, the two ships could carry 110 passengers. Despite a strong competition from foreign shipping companies, "Palestine Maritime Lloyd" succeeded to establish itself on the market.

 

It was to operate on the following principles:

1)  Management according to business and professional basis.

2)  Company to involve itself in the process of the building of the country

3)  Company must be owned by Jewish interests

4)  Ships will be under "Hebrew" flag

5)  Crews will be Jewish

6) Ships will be supplied by local products

 

The company did not always stand up to her principles, particularly in regard to Jewish crew. On this and, as usual, on the level of wages, there were many disputes with the Haifa Labor Commission. Despite the disputes, the Company could show good achievements in regard to the crew.  She made every effort to mobilize Jewish seamen. Its advertisements, which were published in the European press, were answered by many Jewish officers from Germany and Hungary and they were soon engaged on the ships. From 1938 a Hebrew teacher sailed constantly on both ships.

 

The Company was also the first one who employed Jewish -Salonikan stevedores. In June 1937, the first Council of the "Israel Maritime League" was held on board the  "Har Zion".  With the outbreak of the WW II, the British Navy mobilized "Har Zion". On 31st August 1940 on a voyage from Liverpool to Halifax, Nova Scotia, (Master John N. Beighton) she was sunk by German U boat in the Atlantic Ocean in position 56 20 N; 010 00 W. 36 crewmembers, 17 of them Jews, lost their lives.  One crewmember, a Cypriot fireman, was rescued by Polish destroyer "Blyskawica" ("Lightning").

 

It is interesting to mention, that during six months, on board this ship, a Scottish woman engineer, named Victoria Drumond, served in capacity of second engineer. She was the first woman in Britain to achieve a Chief Engineer's Ticket, and "Palestine Maritime Lloyd" was the first Company who dared to employ her.

 
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