GENEROSO

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History

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The 2650 DWT steamer, who received later the name "GENEROSO", was built 1896 at the Norwegian shipyard Nylands Verksted of Christiania as "UTO" and was handed over to her owners Acties Uto, Christiania. Captain Henry Tschudi was cofounder of this company founded in 1883 and his ancestors emigrated from Glarus, a Swiss canton. Many of its ships received Swiss names till the end of World War II. On the smokestack of the ship, the company, which was called Tschudi & Eitzen starting at 1936, painted the flag of Zurich in the honour of Henry Tschudi’s wife, who came from this canton. The ship’s management was handed over to Camillo Eitzen & Co. at Christiania. She was equipped with a triple expansion steam engine (530 HP). Cargo gear: 3 derricks. Call sign: HDTQ.

In 1915 the company A/S Ulrikka, Haugesund (NOR), bought the ship and named her "ULRIKKA". The new owners transferred the management to the shipowner Christian Mathiesen. In 1927 the Norwegian company Chr. Mathiesen & Sønners Rederi A/S acquired the ship. In 1930 they sold her to the Dampskips A/S Ulrikka, which gave her in management to Johan Henriksson.

Already a year after, the ship was sold to the Maritime Transport Co. Ltd. of London, which named her "HORUS". Call sign: n/a.

1932 registered at Malta.

In 1934 the steamer was sold again to the Cypriot shipowner S. Christofidi of Famagusta, who named her "NELSON". Call sign: n/a.

In 1938 the ship changed again her owner to become property of the Mediterranean Steamship C. Ltd., Famagusta, which named the ship "VARKO" in 1939. But already a year later the ship was sold again, this time to the Panamanian Cia. Limitada Caimito de Navegacion. of Panama. In these years the S/S "VARKO" was mainly used for transporting emigrants out of the Black Sea area towards Palestine. Call sign: n/a.

On 25 April 1941 Gottlieb Duttweiler, the founder of Migros, formed together with the soap producer Steinfels, the Bernese carriers Kehrli & Oehler and a certain Marc Bloch the Owner Company Maritime-Suisse S.A., Genève. By acquiring the S/S "VARKO", their aim was to contribute to the supply of the country. Later the Union of Swiss Banks also participated in the venture and in 1943 the Migros parted as owner, and the company office changed to Basel. On 29 May 1941 the Maritime-Suisse S.A., Genève. bought the ship for 867,000 Swiss francs. Along with the inscription into the Swiss ship register, she was given the name of "GENEROSO" (a famous mountain in Ticino) and the callsign HBDU. The ship was chartered by the Swiss Government to transport overseas goods as a shuttle service between Lisbon, Marseilles and Genoa, since these goods were not allowed to be shipped directly into the Mediterranean harbours because of the blockade imposed by the British.

The ship, already advanced in years, was very badly maintained by her previous owners and had many important damages, which could only be insufficiently repaired due to the war situation. By the end the repair costs were much higher than the selling price, without the ship reaching a satisfactory state.

On 19 September 1944 the s/s "GENEROSO" was in the harbour of Marseilles. Together with the s/s "ALBULA", she had to transport some perishable food such as cereals, edible oil and coffee, intended for Switzerland, into the save Barcelona. For the sweeping of German sea mines by the French and American navy, the ship was ordered to move from her base at the Bassin de la Gare Maritime. During this moving the ship rammed at 12:47 a floating mine, which stroke her in the middle and sent her to the bottom of the harbour basin. The strong explosion ejected the Byelorussian master Anatol Gouretzky and the Swiss radio operator Christian Schaaf over board. Whereas the master lost his life, the radio operator fell into water with burning cloths and could be rescued. 1400 tonnes of food went lost with the sinking of the ship.

After the s/s "GENEROSO" was raised, she was scrapped in the spring 1946. The ship was deleted from the Swiss register on the 29th of March 1946.