RMS Saxonia (1954)

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RMS Saxonia.jpg
Postcard of RMS Saxonia
Name: 1954–1962: RMS Saxonia
1962–1973: RMS Carmania
1973–1999: SS Leonid Sobinov1
Owner: 1954–1973: Cunard Line
1973–1990: Black Sea Shipping Company
1990–1999: Transorient Overseas1
Operator: 1954–1971: Cunard Line
1973–1995: Black Sea Shipping Company1
Port of registry: 1954–1973: Liverpool,  United Kingdom
1973–1990: Odessa,  Soviet Union
1990–1999: Valletta,  Malta12
Builder: John Brown and Company of Clydebank, Scotland
Yard number: 6921
Launched: 17 February 19541
Acquired: August 19541
Maiden voyage: 2 September 19541
Out of service: 6 October 19951
Identification: Call sign: 9HDU3
IMO number: 5064324
MMSI number: -5064324
Fate: Scrapped in Alang, India in 1999.1
General characteristics (as built, 1954)2
Class & type: Saxonia class ocean liner
Tonnage: 21,637 GRT
8,836 DWT1
Length: 608 ft (185 m)
Beam: 80 ft (24 m)
Draught: 28 ft (8.5 m)1
Installed power:

4 × John Brown geared steam turbines1

Propulsion: twin propellers
Speed: 19.5 knots (36.11 km/h; 22.44 mph)
Capacity: 925 passengers (125 first class, 800 tourist class)
Crew: 600 crew memberscitation needed
General characteristics (as rebuilt, 1963)1
Class & type: Ocean liner/cruise ship
Tonnage: 21,370 GRT
Capacity: 881 passengers
Notes: Otherwise the same as built

The second RMS Saxonia was a 21,637 gross-ton passenger ship of the Cunard Line launched on 17 February 1954 by Lady Churchill.3 She served with Cunard until 1962 when she was refitted and renamed RMS Carmania. She continued transatlantic crossings and various cruise routes until she was laid up in 1971. In August 1973 she was bought by the Soviet Union-based Black Sea Shipping Company and renamed SS Leonid Sobinov.


Among the last of the vessels built for transatlantic passenger traffic in the early 1950s, Saxonia was launched in 1954 and revived a name previously used for the Cunard liner RMS Saxonia, which had been launched in 1899 and scrapped in 1925. She was the first of three ships ordered to operate the service from the United Kingdom to Montreal, Canada.3 She operated her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Montreal on 2 September 1954.4

The ship was refitted in 1962 and given another Cunard name from earlier in the century, Carmania. As Carmania, the vessel continued service on the Rotterdam - Le Havre - Southampton - Canada route for several years, and cruised in the Caribbean and Mediterranean in the winters.

During 1968, difficulties with US fire regulations resulted in cancellation of a winter cruise from Port Everglades. Cunard made some minor modifications to the ship before the next sailing in January 1969. On a later cruise the vessel ran aground on a sandbank off San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. Three months after returning to service the ship collided with the 3,900-ton Soviet tanker Frunze,5 but damage to both vessels was apparently minor.

She was laid up at Southampton in 1971. In August 1973 she was bought by the Soviet Union-based Black Sea Shipping Company and renamed after Leonid Sobinov.

In January 1979, as the ship lay in Sydney Harbour, an 18 year old crew member, Liliana Gasinskaya, slipped out of a porthole wearing only a red bikini, and swam across the harbour to claim political asylum. She rapidly achieved fame as the Red Bikini Girl, and, amongst other things, was the first nude centerfold in Australia's edition of Penthouse Magazine.6


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Asklander, Micke. "S/S Saxonia (1954)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 21 November 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Miller, William H. Jr. (1995). The Pictorial Encyclopedia of Ocean Liners, 1860-1994. Mineola: Dover Publications. p. 116. ISBN 0-486-28137-X. 
  3. ^ a b "New Cunarder Launched - Naming By Lady Churchill, Link With Canada" (News). The Times (London). Thursday, 18 February 1954. (52859), col C, p. 4.
  4. ^ "News in Brief" (News in Brief). The Times (London). Friday, 3 September 1954. (53027), col G, p. 2.
  5. ^ The Glasgow Herald - May 13, 1969 Liner in collision with Soviet ship
  6. ^ Edwards, Lorna (1 January 2010). "Bikini girl who made a splash". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 

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