Oceanic (ex-S.S. Independence)
This review is written by Amy Blume.

On Saturday May 19th, 2007 I took the opportunity of being in the Bay Area of San Franciso to go see Oceanic, ex-Independence.  Independence (as I shall call her even though they have changed the name on her bows to Oceanic) was built S.S. Independence for the American Export Lines.  The 23,719grt ship was launched in June 1950 with her maiden voyage in February 1951, she was one of many liners, along with her sister Constitution who's maiden was a few months after her, who would have had great success were it not for the flagging Atlantic market.  Her career faired better than that of her sister who ended up sinking en route to the breakers in 1997.  A year after the tonnage of Independence was reduced to 20,251, the passenger agency Fugazi made her the very first 'Fun ship'.  She became one class with interior and exterior given 'pop-art' decor.  It wasn't to last and she had her first lay up in March 1969 where she remained for five years until C.Y. Tung (he of Queen Elizabeth) bought her giving her the name Oceanic Independence for his Atlantic Far East Line.  That didn't last long either.  By January 1976 she was laid up again, reportedly sold to Shannon SA, Panama and renamed Sea Luck 1 but it was false hope.  In 1979 C.Y. Tung repaired and reconstructed her for cruises operated by his American Hawaii Cruise Inc. subsidiary and she began seven day trips from June 1980, her tonnage slightly
down again at 20,220
grt.  She was transferred to American Global Line Inc. after a takeover of American Hawaii Cruise Inc in 1982 and renamed Independence, still doing Hawaiian cruises over the next 19 years until American Global Line Inc. went bankrupt.  She remained in San Francisco Bay in her Hawaiian 'lei' livery awaiting a buyer until finally one came along - Norwegian Cruise Line in 2003, with promised of her and the United States sailing again under the American flag at the same time they wouldn't repair the boilers of Norway after an explosion killed eight people and ended her career saying it was too expensive.  After three years of promises she and United States would sail for their NCL America subsidiary, it was announced the condition of Independence was too poor and it was unlikely she would sail again.  This led some people to start to believe they had only bought them to get the American flag for NCLA and there was no intention of ever refitting them.  Her name was changed to Oceanic which led to speculation she was about to be scrapped.  They let her get into a shocking state of disrepair.  If she was that bad all along why did they buy her?  Sadly there is little hope they will do anything to restore her or the United States to working order.

The following were taken around noon at her current location just south of the Bay Bridge.  The dry dock next to her had been raised unfortunately, blocking us from the clear view we had hoped to get of one of the last great American liners.

Sadly I was never able to go back to San Francisco and try and take better photos of this grand old lady because she was towed out on February 8th, 2008.  It was a foggy day when the deep sea tug Pacific Hickory attached to her bow while Delta linda and Delta Deanna attached aft.  The destination for Pacific Hickory was Singapore on March 19th.  Slowly the sun broke through the cloud as she made her final departure under the Golden Gate bridge to her doom.  To date she is anchored near Alang, another facing an uncertain fate due to asbestos, the bow taking on water.

Back to Index

© Amy Blume 19th May 2007
Not to be reproduced without permission
2nd April 2010