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Part 2: MS PILSUDSKI and MS BATORY – Poland’s beautiful trans-Atlantic Liners!

Part 2: MS PILSUDSKI and MS BATORY – Poland’s beautiful trans-Atlantic Liners!

After the WW II war, the MS BATORY returned to the Transatlantic trade following a refit in Antwerp in 1947. Beginning in May 1949 and lasting through January 1951, the BATORY of the Polish Ocean Lines was the subject of a series of political incidents relating to the Cold War years (late ’40 and ’50).

The most serious was the accusation of smuggling an atomic bomb to USA (!), and other than an alleged spy had escaped from New York aboard her. The situation climaxed when American port workers and maintenance specialists refused to handle the ship.

The M/S BATORY had to be withdrawn and was rerouted on a new service from Poland to India and Pakistan via the Suez Canal. The ship’s hull was repainted from black to light grey at that time.

She returned to the North Atlantic, sailing to Montreal instead of New York, in 1957, following yet another refit, this time in Bremerhaven (Northern Germany), where the hull was painted black again.

The accommodations were changed to 76 first-class and 740 tourist class. At the end of her service, M/S BATORY was given a very moving farewell, which was organized on Feb 20, 1969, at Tilbury (London, England) with the British participants in the “Australian voyage of evacuee children,” which was mentioned earlier.

Even the British press had to admit that the Polish ship was given a farewell matching the famous British “Queens” had received. During many years of service, M/S BATORY carried out 222 round trips across the oceans, first on the New York run, later the India Line and finally the Canadian Line, carrying over 270,000 passengers altogether.

She also did about 75 cruises, tourist trips, transportation of children to Poland for summer holidays over 30,000 persons took part in these. During her wartime service of over six years, she carried about 120,000 soldiers. She visited about 150 ports in all parts of the globe.

So successful was the BATORY on the Poland-Canada run, that construction of a new liner was considered. However, in the end, used tonnage proved more practical, and POL purchased the 16,000-tons TS/S MAASDAM from HollandAmerica in 1969, renaming her TS STEFAN BATORY.

The old M/S BATORY retired in 1968, served as a floating hotel-restaurant-museum in Gdynia for two years, but showing a deficit in this new role, was sold for $ 570,000 to the Shipbreaker Yard in Hong Kong in 1971. In her last voyage to Hong Kong, M/S BATORY sailed under the command of captain Krzysztof Meissner.

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