For the Latin word for the ocean see Oceanus
Launched: 12 July 1952
Tonnage: 14,000 gross tons
Speed: Max:18.5 Cruise:16 knots
Complement: 550 passengers, 250 crew
MTS Oceanos was a Greek owned cruise ship which sunk off the South African east coast. The Oceanos started its life as the Jean Laborde. The Jean Laborde was the last of 4 sister ships built for Messageries Maritimes in Bordeaux, France.
The class, a twin screw design, were designed for use on the Marseilles - Madagascar - Mauritius service. The Jean Laborde went through many different owners and name changes (Jean Laborde, Mykinai, Ancona, Eastern Princess, Oceanos) until she was acquired by Epirotiki Lines of Greece in 1976.
The Epirotiki Lines put her to good use for many years in the Mediterranean and in 1988; they sent the Oceanos to South Africa where she successfully completed her first cruise season but only to returned in 1991.
On Saturday 3 August 1991, the Oceanos set sail from East London with 571 passengers and crew en-route to Durban. While trying to make up time due to a delayed start because of a bomb threat, the ship encounted rough seas. Earlier repairs to the waste disposal system had not been completed which meant that a vital ventilation pipe which runs through the watertight aft bulkhead and the non-return values were not replaced.
Passengers reported that about 09.30 pm, a muffled explosion was heard and the ship lost power. The Oceanos started taking in water rapidly flooding the engine room and cutting power. By the next morning rescuers found the Oceanos listing badly to one side and adrift just off Coffee Bay.
The South African Air Force helicopters started a 7 hour rescue mission taking people off the Oceanos and out of the water. The crew had abandoned the passengers, but all passengers and crew made it off safely.
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