SS Athos

SS Athos was a French cargo-passenger ship of the Messageries Maritimes, launched in 1915, that was sunk in the Mediterranean by the German submarine SM U-65 during World War I.

Name: SS Athos
Namesake: Athos
Owner: Messageries Maritimes
Builder: Ateliers et Chantiers de France, Dunkirk
Laid down: 25 July 1914
In service: 28 November 1915
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk, 17 February 1917
General characteristics [1]
Type: Cargo-passenger ship
Displacement: 18,570 metric tons 
Length: 161.7 m (530 ft 6 in)
Beam: 18.83 m (61 ft 9 in)
  • 2 × triple-expansion steam engines, 9,000 hp (6,711 kW)
  • 9 × coal-fired boilers
  • 2 shafts
Speed: 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h; 20.1 mph)
  • Passengers:
  • 112 first-class
  • 96 second-class
  • 90 third-class
  • 390–1000 in steerage

Ship history

Construction of the ship started on 25 July 1914 in Dunkirk, but was halted when the city was bombed during the First Battle of Ypres. The ship was towed to Saint Nazaire, where it was completed as a troopship and not, as intended, as a passenger ship. Measuring 12,644 gross register tons, the ship was 156.48 metres (513 ft 5 in) long, with a beam of 18.84 metres (61 ft 10 in).[1] Her speed was 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h; 20.1 mph).[1]

Her first voyage was to China, leaving on 28 November 1915. Her second was between 29 October and 26 December 1916 from Marseille to Yokohama and back.

At 12:27 on 17 February 1917, during her third voyage, Athos was torpedoed by the German submarine SM U-65 commanded by Hermann von Fischel, while 180 nautical miles (330 km; 210 mi) east by south of Malta. Aboard Athos were 1,950 people, including the crew, Chinese labourers, a large continent of Senegalese soldiers, and civilian passengers, including women and children. The ship sank in 14 minutes taking with her 754 people, including the captain and 11 crewmembers. The survivors were picked up by the escort ships Enseigne Henry and Mameluck, as well as the gunboat Moqueuse and the torpedo-boat Baliste.


  1. Philippe, Ramona (2012). "Le paquebot Athos des Messageries Maritimes". Retrieved 24 August 2014.

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