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SS Dwarka
Career (UK)
Name: SS Dwarka
Namesake: Dwarka
Owner: British India Steam Navigation Company
Builder: Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne
In service: 1947
Out of service: 1982
Fate: Scrapped, 1982
General characteristics
Class & type: D-class passenger/cargo ship
Tonnage: 4,851 
Length: 399 ft (122 m)
Beam: 55 ft (17 m)
Propulsion: Doxford diesel engine, single screw
Speed: 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h; 15.5 mph)
  • 1,104 passengers:
  • 13 first class
  • 41 second class
  • 1,050 deck class
Crew: 122

SS Dwarka was the second of four "modern D Class" passenger/cargo sister ships of the British India Steam Navigation Company (BI). The only one of the quartet to be built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson at Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne,[1] Dwarka entered service in 1947 on her owners' Persian Gulf local trades. She was named after Dwarka, an ancient city of religious significance in the state of Gujarat, on India's northwest coast.

Of 4,851 gross tons, 399 feet in length and 55 feet wide, the vessel was powered by William Doxford & Sons diesel engines geared to a single screw, giving a service speed of 13.5 knots. Original maximum passenger capacity was 1,104 (13 first class, 41 second class and 1,050 deck class), with 122 crew. The quartet were described as "... ships of transport, cargo plus passengers - comfortable but not luxurious, dependable but not speedy - appropriately functional for their time".[2]

Dwarka was the final British-India vessel to operate traditional "liner" trades. However the last passenger ship wearing BI livery was SS Uganda, withdrawn in 1985, having previously transferred to the cruise ship operations of parent company Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.

Twice, very close to the end of the vessel's career, Dwarka featured on film. In 1979 the BBC made a television documentary stressing the ship's unique historic status, which reportedly prompted renewed interest in her from around the world. In 1981, Dwarka was used for several location shoots (portraying much earlier BI vessels) in Richard Attenborough's 1982 film Gandhi, about the life of Mahatma Gandhi.

After a very long and successful career, SS Dwarka was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, in 1982.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Ship names (D)". Tyne-built Ships List. 2013. http://www.tynebuiltships.co.uk/ShipsD.html. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  2. Miller, William H. (1986). The Last Blue Water Liners. London: Conway Maritime Press. pp. 145–146. ISBN 0-85177-400-8. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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