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Anastasis

Anastasis as seen berthed in Amsterdam at the 1th of october 2001. The ship was the last sailing survivor of the so-called Blue Water liners, that were combination-liners for the colonial trades. 

When the Italian company Lloyd Triestino Societa di Navigazione launched this four-ship class of combination passenger-freight liners for their long services to South Africa and Asia, they were immidiately known as the best ships ever to sail these route's. The first ship to be launched in the class was called Africa at the 24th of january 1951, followed by Victoria at the 18th of september 1951. Two more ships were launched during october of that same year, the Europa at the 18th and the Asia at the 28th. They followed in the wake of a highly succesfull trio of ships, sometimes seen as part of the same class but with a little different exteriour. These ships were called Australia, Oceania and Neptunia and these were all placed at the Australian service. These ships were the post-war follow-ups of the highly popular Duilio and Giulio Cesare. 

Of the new four liners, the Asia and Victoria were placed at the service from Genoa and Napels to Hong-Kong via Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, India, Ceylon and Singapore. As you can see in the name, Africa was placed at the African service to South Africa via the Red Sea and Africa's eastcoast. Also Europa sailed this route.

The later Anastasis had been built as the Victoria, the second ship that got this name in the fleet of Lloyd Triestino. As said, she was launched at the 18th of september 1951 and she had been built as yardnumber 1765 at the Cantieri Navali dell Adriatico at Triest. In fact, Victoria was the last passengership to be built at this yard. The ship measured 11.659 tons and had accomodations for 286 passengers in first class, as well as 181 passengers in tourist class. Her lenght was 159,09 meters and she was 20,78 meters wide. Her normal cruising speed was with 19,5 knots very moderate, but speed was not that essential anymore on these long haules. 

The ship had been designed by the well-known Gustavo Pulitzer-Finale and was very modern for her time. Her staircase had been marvellous, three deck high with balustrades where-in Murano chrystal was fitted, a forward-facing lounge with lots of burled-woods paneling and heavy brass and acid-etched glass doors throughout the ship. Also, there was a plenty of arteluce lighting, special artworks like painted murals and bronze sculptures and of course a lot of wood paneling throughout. Also the tourist class rooms did recieve wood panels and they also were very comfortable, almost the same as first-class before the war. The modern touch came with a full air-conditioning system, that was still not seen on evey ship in that time, as well as large pools and sundeck space available to her passengers. It was especially this feature that probably lenghtened her life in contrast to former and later ships of the same type. On the outside, the ship sported a very smart Italian look, with a curved superstructure and well-terraced aft decks where the pools and lido-decks were housed. Her funnel was very well-proportioned and steamlined, and we now call it a true classic funnel.

Like all liner-companies, also Lloyd Triestino felt the competition from the upcoming airlines, and they withdrew from liner-services steadily throughout the beginning of the 1970's. In the meantime, Victoria had not only served her original route, but also served the trade between Triest and Hong Kong during 1965 and the service from Triest to Cape Town and Karachi from 1966 onwards. In october 1974, the ship was transferred to the less-demanding service of Adriatica di Navigazione between Triest and the Lebanese port of Beirut. For this, the ship had her first class and tourist class combined, only sailing this service as a tourist-class ship for 430 passengers. She was able to sail this route for three years, finally taken out of service at the 14th of june 1977 when she as laid-up. Her sister Asia was also out of service now and rebuilt into a lifestock carrier, but luckily, Victoria was the perfect candidate for  converion by the Christian organisation Youth With A Mission. This organisation was looking for a ship that could be rebuilt into an aid-ship in regions that needed extra help. For this, she could act as a floating church, hospitalship or for educational purposes. 

YWAM was formed in 1960 by Loren Cunningham, who had a vision of a living world-map four years earlier during a stay at Nasau, the Bahamas. In his vision, waves crashed on the shores and turned into young people that told the world about Jesus Christ. This gave him the idea of starting the organisation. During the 1970's, the organisation founded schools and were widely becoming active during the Olympic Games with volunteer work. In 1978, they bought the Victoria and renamed her Anastasis, the Greek word for 'resurrection' and for this they founded a new company named YWAM Shipping Company. The company was founded by the missionairies Don and Deylon Stephens and would become one of the most distinctive ministries of YWAM, also because they were truly visible in all ports of call. After 25 years, the YWAM Mercy Ships, as it was called later, would seperate from the YWAM organisation, although the bonds between them would still stay vividly alive.

In this view from astern, you can clearly spot the elegant and classic terraced aft-decks of the ship.

The ship was rebuilt extensively for her new purpose, and finally started her duties from 1979 onwards. Her interiours had of course been completely rebuilt, but her outer appearance luckily was staying unaltered. Because of this, YWAM Shipping Company gave us shiplovers the opportunity to see a working classic-looking combination-liner operating into the 21st century, being the very last of a class that was so important to the liner-shipping world. 

As Anastasis, the ship served her new owners well, sailing into ports around the world to bring awareness of the church and faith, as well as much needed help, medical supplies andn hospital space in the poorest parts of the world. In all ports of call, tours were held aboard the ship to really show what the organisation was doing, I am still puzzled why I did not took this opportunity. Although the ship was totally rebuilt from her former days, it would give a good indication about the YWAM organisation and of course the ship itself in her new role. She was laid-up for a while during 1979, but after that she again was back in her service and was brought under the Maltese flag with her homeport of Valetta from 1982 onwards. In 2004, the ship had a small mishap when she collided with a pier at Benin on the African westcoast, with damage done to her bow and forward watertank. During 2006, it was clear that the old ship, now spanning a lifeline of 55 years, was going to retire. She was based at Tehua, Ghana for her last mission as a local hospital before being de-commissioned at the 4th of june 2006. The ship was originally planned to be replaced by the Caribbean Mercy, but due to the long rebuilding time, her life had been lenghtened for a while. She was finally replaced by the Africa Mercy in 2006 and stayed at Tehua for a while to complete her service. One year later, she was finally sold to a shipbreaking yard at Alang, India where she arrived some time later. Demolishing her started at the 30th of october 2007 and so the final Blue Water liner was put to rest. 

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