SS Antilles

Built for the French Line, Antilles was a near-sister to SS Flandre of 1952. Her construction was completed and her maiden voyage made in 1953. She differed from her sister mainly because she was painted white. She was placed on West Indies cruise service in the 1960s.[1]

This article is about the French cruise ship launched in 1953. For the United States Army Transport sunk by a U-boat in 1917, see SS Antilles (1907).
SS Antilles
SS Flandre, the sister ship of SS Antilles.
Name: SS Antilles
Owner: Compagnie Générale Transatlantique
Route: Caribbean Sea
Ordered: 1952
Christened: 1953
Completed: 1953
Maiden voyage: 1953
Out of service: 1971
Fate: Grounded and burned 8 January 1971
General characteristics
Type: Passenger ship
Tonnage: 19,828 GRT
Length: 182.53 m (598.9 ft)
Beam: 24.4 m (80 ft)
Draft: 8 m (26 ft)
Installed power: Diesel
Speed: 23.8 knots (44.1 km/h; 27.4 mph)

Her career was much shorter than her sister's. On 8 January 1971, she struck a reef near the island of Mustique in the Grenadines while attempting to navigate Lansecoy Bay, a shallow and reef-filled bay on the northern side of Mustique. Why Antillescaptain decided to sail into the narrow, shallow strait is still not known. But on hitting the rocks the impact ruptured a fuel tank and she caught fire. All of her passengers and crew evacuated the ship safely to the island of Mustique and they were rescued by the Cunard Line′s Queen Elizabeth 2.[2]

The burnt-out hulk could not be freed from the reef, so the ship lay there for several months, eventually breaking in half. Many years later she would be partially scrapped on the spot and moved just a few hundred yards to her final resting place in the channel off Lansecoy Bay.

The wreck site is submerged off Mustique and is barely visible on Google Earth at 12°54′04″N 061°10′44″W; the mast protrudes from the water during low tide. Although the ship wrecked on a reef, reaching the site is dangerous because of the rip tides that form in the area.

Either Flandre or Antilles appeared in stock footage in the 1964 Perry Mason television episode "Nautical Knot", set near Acapulco, Mexico. The scenes on board were filmed on a studio set. P&O Line's equally popular SS Arcadia also appears in the episode.


  1. Ocean Liners; by Olivier LeGoff and Claude Molteni De Villermont.
  2. Middleton, Ned. "The Antilles, Malta". Simply Scuba. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
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