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A little piece of History sails past my window....


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I work on the upper floors of the World Financial Center... my desk faces the Hudson River and I have the benefit of seeing a lot of ships passing by... just yesterday, I saw what had to be a very old oceanliner pass by... I did my research... and here's what I found...




Classic International: Athena


Athena was originally the Stockholm (4) of Swedish American Lines.

Stockholm (4) was the first post-WW2 liner built for Swedish American, being delivered from Gothenburg builders in 1948. She was the largest passenger ship built in Sweden at that time. Stockholm (4) is most famous for her collision with the Italia Line flagship Andrea Doria, which sank in 1956 off New York. The Stockholm (4) was sold to East German company VEB Deutsche Seereederei in 1960, becoming the Völkerfreundschaft, for use by the Freier Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (Trades Union). Völkerfreundschaft was sold in 1985 to Neptunus Rex Enterprises, and was laid up in Southampton as the Volker. In 1986 she was renamed Fridtjof Nansen and used as a refugee hostel in Oslo.

Star Lauro acquired the ship in 1989 and intended to have her refurbished as the Surriento. She was laid up in Genoa, and renamed Italia I, until sold on to Nina Cia. di Navigazione who completed the refit, transforming the appearance. She was renamed Italia Prima and cruised in the Mediterranean. In 1995, Italia Prima was chartered to Neckermann Seereisen from 1995 until 1998, and then Air Maritim Seereisen (Valtur Tourist) as Valtur Prima until 2001, when a planned series of cruises from Havana, Cuba ran into problems. Valtur Prima remained laid up in Havana. She was next chartered by Festival Cruises, again from Havana. She was renamed Caribe, but Festival Cruises collapsed and the ship remained unused until moved to Lisbon in 2004 for a 10 year charter with Classic International Cruises. After a refit, she entered service as the Athena.

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Many thanks for the report. I'm very sorry I missed seeing her! My wife works in a building on the Hoboken waterfront, & I often go down there to see particular ships, as I did this past Tuesday when the QE2 was docked in Manhattan.


The website of the World Ship Society--Port of New York branch--maintains a calendar with a list of ships scheduled to be in the port of New York on any given day, but obviously it's not completely accurate. I certainly don't recall seeing the Athena (ex-Stockholm) on the list. Had I but known...


How amazing that the ex-Stockholm is still sailing more than 50 years after she struck (July 25, 1956) and sank the Andrea Doria... All the more ironic, given that so many ships from that period, more distinguished than the Stockholm, have long since gone to the wreckers...

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