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South America’s Chilean Line from New York to Chile via the Panama Canal

South America’s Chilean Line from New York to Chile via the Panama Canal

  • Operating passenger service between Chile and New York, the Chilean Line offered First and Tourist Class passenger service from the West Coast of South America and New York during the 1930s.
  • Chilean Line competed with Grace Line with passengers service from New York to Chile and return.

  • In the mid-1930s trade started to recover from the Great Depression, so in June 1936 CSAV ordered three new diesel-powered cargo passenger- liners from Nakskov Skibsværft in Denmark.
  • Each was just over 7,200 GRT, had a speed of 17 knots (31 km/h), and refrigerated holds for the export of fruit to Europe.
  • The ships had berths for 164 passengers: 32 in first class and 132 in tourist class.
  • In March 1938 the first of the trio, MV Copiapó, started CSAV’s trade with Europe.
  • Nakskov completed her sister ships MV Aconcagua in April and MV Imperial in June.
  • In October the ships on return runs from Europe started to call at New York to load cargo and embark passengers to Chile.
  • The service was halted because of World War 2 and passenger service ended on CSAV.


  • Pictured here is the MV Copiapo.
  • The MV Aconcagua, MV Copiapo or MV Imperial (7,237, 7,279 and 7,279 grt, 440 ft. long).
  • These Chilean Line vessels were built in 1937-38, but taken over by the U.S. as troopships in 1943.


Accommodations aboard the new small liners.

  • Their vessels operated between Valparaiso, Chanaral, Antofagasta, Iquique, Arica, Mollendo, Pisco, Salaverry, Callao, Paita, Cristobal, Havana and New York.
  • The return voyages: New York, Cristobal, Callao, Mollendo, Arica, Iquique, Tocopilla, Antofagasta, Chanaral, Valparaiso.
  • After the war, the recently built Chilean vessels, were bought by Turkish Maritime Lines in 1949 and renamed MV Giresun, MV Ordu and MV Trabzon respectively.
  • The company still operates as a major cargo carrier and after WW 2 operated 12 passenger freighter services until the mid-fifties.

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