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Photo Details
Photographer:Chris Howell [View profile]Title:ACHILLE LAUROAdded:Apr 10, 2011
Location:Suez Canal, Egypt
Photo Category: Cruise Ships and Liners built before 1950
own collection print
Photo by a Salen Captain, who I met when he came to Bluff from a Spring class reefer transiting the Suez Canal.
taken between 7 to 9/10/1985.

Achille Lauro was built in 1947 for Royal Rotterdam Lloyd as the Willem Ruys for their Indonesia service. After the Dutch withdrew from Indonesia was converted to a round the world passenger liner which included a New Zealand call.

Together with her sister running mate on the service, Nederland Line's Oranje they were sold to Flotta Lauro Lines and rebuilt and she entered service in 1966 running out to Australasia, later in 1972 being converted to a cruise ship.

30/11/1994 she caught fire off Somalia and was abandoned and she sank 2/12/1994.

The highjacking

On the 7th October 1985 four gunmen seized the ship while she on her way from Alexandria to Port Said. The ship was released two days later and the hijackers given free passage to Tunisia. However when it was discovered that a wheelchair bound elderly jewish man had been murdered and thrown over the side, Ronald Reagan ordered the plane be intercepted by F-14'S from USS Saratoga and it was forced to land in Sicily where the hijackers were arrested and charged, but not before a major standoff at the NATO air station between the Italian police and USN Seals as it was intended to take the hijackers back to the USA for trial. The US acceded to Italians demands and they were imprisoned in italy.

The family of the murdered man sued the PLO and an undisclosed sum was paid by the PLO to his daughters. Recently the leader of this hijacking has apologised for his actions, with my cynical attitude, I add that tongue and cheek.
Vessel Identification
Name:Achille Lauro
Former name(s):
- Willem Ruys (Until 1965)
Technical Data
Vessel type:Passengers Ship
Gross tonnage:23,478 tons
Summer DWT:3,937 tons

Additional Information
Build year:1947
AIS Information
AIS information: N/A
More Of This Ship
Achille Lauro
© garry2a
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Photo Comments (2)

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Robert Smith on Apr 10, 2011 22:47 (7 years ago)
Hi Chris,

Both Oranje and Willem Ruys were employed on the service between Rotterdam resp. Amsterdam and Batavia/Jakarta until 1958. The Indonesians then severed commerical ties with the Dutch following a dispute over Papua New Guinea.
Robert Smith on Apr 10, 2011 22:39 (7 years ago)
Hi Chris.

Actually she was built from 1938 to 1947 due to WW II. That's another curious fact on this former piece of Dutch glory ....
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