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Name: Georges Phillipar
Owner: Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes
Port of registry: France Marseilles
Builder: Société des Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire, St Nazaire
Launched: 6 November 1930
Completed: January 1932
Out of service: 15 May 1932
Identification: Code Letters ORVA[1]
ICS Oscar.svgICS Romeo.svgICS Victor.svgICS Alpha.svg
Fate: Sank
General characteristics
Tonnage: 16,990 GRT
Length: 542 feet 7 inches (165.38 m)
Beam: 68 feet 2 inches (20.78 m)
Depth: 46 feet 9 inches (14.25 m)
Installed power: Two 10-cylinder 2SCSA diesel engines 3,300 horsepower (2,500 kW)
Propulsion: Two screws
Speed: 18½ knots (34 km/h)
Crew: 347

Georges Philippar was a 16,990 GRT ocean liner which was built in 1930. She caught fire and sank on her maiden voyage in 1932 with the loss of 54 lives.



Georges Philippar was built by Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire, Saint-Nazaire. She was launched on 6 November 1930 and completed in January 1932.[2] Georges Philippar was built for Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes to replace Paul Lacat, which had been destroyed by fire in December 1928.[3] Her port of registry was Marseilles.[1] Prior to the commencement of her maiden voyage, the French police warned her owners that threats had been made on 26 February 1932 to destroy the ship. The outward voyage took Georges Philippar to Yokohama, Japan, without incident and she started the homeward voyage, calling at Shanghai and Colombo. Georges Philippar departed Columbo with 347 crew and 518 passengers on board. On two occasions, a fire alarm went off in a store room where bullion was being stored, but no fire was found.[3]



On 16 May while Georges Philippar was 145 nautical miles (269 km) off Cape Guardafui, Italian Somaliland,[4] a fire broke out in one of the cabins. There was a delay in reporting the fire, which had spread by the time Captain Veig was made aware of it. Veig decided to try and beach the ship at Aden and increased the ship's speed, which only made the fire burn more fiercely. The order to abandon ship was given and a distress call made.[3] This was answered by three ships; the Russian tanker Sovietskaïa Neft rescued 420 people, who were transferred to the French passenger ship Andre Lebon and landed at Djibouti. They returned to France on the French passenger ship General Voyron. A further 129 were rescued by the T & J Harrison's cargo ship Contractor and 149 people were rescued by the Brocklebank Line's cargo ship Mahsud. These two ships landed their survivors at Aden. Mahsud also took the corpses of the 54 dead, which included journalist Albert Londres.[4] On 19 May, Georges Philippar sank in the Gulf of Aden.[3] Her position was 14°20′N 50°25′E / 14.333°N 50.417°E / 14.333; 50.417.[2] Two survivors of the fire, Mr. & Mrs. Alfred Isaak Lang-Willar, were killed on 25 May when the aircraft which was flying them from Brindisi, Italy to Marseilles crashed 70 miles (110 km) south east of Rome.[5] The November 1932 edition of La Science et la Vie carried an artist's impression of the burning ship on its front cover.[6]


Georges Philippar was a 16,990 GRT ocean liner. She was 542 feet 7 inches (165.38 m) long, with a beam of 68 feet 2 inches (20.78 m) and a depth of 46 feet 9 inches (14.25 m). She was propelled by two 2-stroke, Single Cycle Single Action diesel engines which had 10 cylinders of 28¾ inches (730 mm) bore by 17¼ inches (438 mm) stroke. The engines were made by Sulzer Brothers, Winterthur, Switzerland. They developed 3,300 horsepower (2,500 kW).[1] Georges Philippar could make 18½ knots (34 km/h).[2]


  1. ^ a b c "LLOYD'S REGISTER, NAVIRES A VAPEUR ET A MOTEURS". Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 4 November 2009.  
  2. ^ a b c "Search results for "5607591"" (Click on link for ship data). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. Retrieved 4 November 2009.  
  3. ^ a b c d Eastlake, Keith (1998). Sea Disasters, the truth behind the tragedies. London N7: Greenwich Editions. pp. p20. ISBN 0-86288-149-8.  
  4. ^ a b "paquebot GEORGES PHILLIPAR" (in French). French Lines. Retrieved 4 November 2009.  
  5. ^ "Flight, 8 June 1932". Flight Global. Retrieved 4 November 2009.  
  6. ^ La Science et la Vie, November 1932 photo of cover


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