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Manager: Knut Knutsen O. A. S., Haugesund
Delivered in Sept.-1921 from Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw Mij., Amsterdam as Geisha to Den norske Russlandslinje A/S (Winge & Co.) Kristiania. Tonnages as above, 375.8' x 51.4' x 30.7', 2 x 6 cyl. 4 tev Werkspoor, 2300 ihp, 11 knots, 2 props. Purchased by Knut Knutsen O.A.S. (Skibs-A/S Pacific) in April 1929, along with Tosca, Indra and Poljana (see alphabet index at the end of this page for more on these ships).
Captain: ? Fjørtoft.
Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.
(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).
Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.
Errors may exist, and several voyages are missing.
In "Sjøfolk i krig" by Leif M. Bjørkelund, there's a chapter related to this ship (this book is largely based on interviews with Norwegian seamen 50 years after the war, as well as diaries and ships' logs). She departed Tocopilla on March 22-1940 via Panama for Norfolk, Virginia for further orders and arrived Hampton Roads on Apr. 9, the day of the German invasion of Norway - see also Page 1 of the archive documents. As mentioned on my page about Nortraship the situation was rather chaotic in the beginning, with the result that the ships had to wait for long periods of time in allied and neutral ports all over the world, before the insurance question was cleared up and communications with Norway re-established. Several Norwegian ships are said to have been in Norfolk at this time, among them the Haugesund ships D/S Facto (but it'll be noticed that this does not match up with Facto's voyages for this period) and the whale factory Suderøy, the latter on her way home from the Antarctic with a full load of whale oil.
This waiting, combined with the general worry for loved ones at home often caused great problems for the crew, as described in a personal story told by Johan Byrkja in this book (used here with permission of the book's author). Byrkja says that when the news of the invasion reached them, the initial reaction of the crew was to pay off and go home as soon as possible to fight for Norway. I've seen this mentioned very often, but in each case the majority of the seamen soon realized that the best way to serve their country would be to stay on their ships and uphold the lifeline for the Allies. The captain at this time was named Fjørtoft, and was rather unpopular on board, because the men had not been paid. This was another common problem occurring in those early days, which often caused suspicion among the crew; some even went on strike, thereby further complicating matters for the captains.
No one was allowed ashore while in Norfolk except for the captain and the radio operator. Captain Fjørtoft was able to get a hold of the Norwegian General Consul in New York, who in turn visited the ship and managed to convince the crew that by going home they would only end up in German hands. After his visit Geisha took on board a cargo of coal which the captain wanted to take to Rio de Janeiro, and only because he had a personal bank account in the US (used as lateral) was the ship cleared for departure by the American authorities. Geisha arrived Curaçao on Apr. 27 for bunkers, then continued to Trinidad 2 days later, arriving May. 1. When she anchored up in Port of Spain, she was surrounded by British naval forces and boarded by several men who suspected she was German (due to her rather non-Norwegian sounding name). Johan Byrkja says they swarmed all over the ship and searched her from bow to stem; the captain and the radio operator were arrested and taken ashore with a gun to their backs. When they returned they still had an armed escort. After a few days Geisha was finally cleared and could continue her journey. Going back to the archive document mentioned above, we see that she left Trinidad on May 3 and arrived Rio on May 25. (Johan Byrkja was later on board Thorshavet when that ship was sunk).
With a cargo of lumber and acetone for Liverpool, Geisha was scheduled for the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 99 on Dec. 24-1940, but instead joined the next convoy on Dec. 30, (B)HX 100. Her destination is now given as Manchester, and according to Page 1 of the archive documents, she arrived there, via misc. other ports, on Jan. 27-1941. The escort's report on the passage of the Bermuda convoy is also available. The following month, she joined Convoy OB 289, which departed Liverpool on Febr. 20 and dispersed on the 24th, Geisha arriving Cristobal March 17, proceeding to Los Angeles the next day. G. C. Brøvig (torpedoed and damaged - follow the link for details), Idefjord and Sveve (put back) are also named in this convoy - ref. link provided in the Voyage Record above. On May 25 that year, she joined Convoy BHX 129 from Bermuda, which joined up with the main convoy on May 31, but she returned to port, arriving Halifax on June 1. She's crossed out on the A 1 form for this convoy, which makes it look like she didn't even sail in the Bermuda portion, but she did (her voyages in this period are shown on Page 2). From Halifax, she later got away in Convoy HX 131 on June 6, bound for Liverpool with a general cargo in station 92.
The following month, we find her, together with Bello, Belita, Havprins, James Hawson, Marit, Salamis, Selvik, Solsten, Tanafjord, Vigsnes and Ørnefjell, in Convoy OB 345 (link in table above), which departed Liverpool on July 11 and arrived Halifax on the 26th; Geisha, however, had detached from the convoy on July 20, and arrived Cristobal on Aug. 4, again proceeding to Los Angeles the next day. She did not head back to the U.K. again until Oct. 17, when she joined Convoy SC 50* from Sydney, C.B., arriving Liverpool Nov. 4. Atlantic, Bur, Fjordaas, Lysaker V, Marianne and Rio Novo are also listed in this convoy. Geisha had a cargo of acetone and general and also carried 13 passengers on this voyage, sailing in station 84. She subsequently joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 38*. Atlantic, Fjordaas, Hada County, Marit II, O. A. Knudsen, Sandanger, Skaraas, Stiklestad and Troubadour also took part in this convoy, which left Liverpool on Nov. 19 and dispersed on the 30th; Geisha (station 13) had already straggled by then (Nov. 26), but arrived Bermuda safely on Dec. 11, continuing to Cristobal that same day, with arrival Dec. 19, then on to Los Angeles the next day, arriving there on Jan. 2-1942.
In March-1942, she sailed in the slow Halifax-U.K. Convoy SC 76, general cargo and timber for Manchester, station 71. She arrived Manchester on Apr. 14/15, according to Page 2, later joining the westbound Convoy ON 91*, departing Liverpool May 1, dispersed May 15, Geisha arriving New York May 16. She had again been in the company of several other Norwegian ships, namely Bello, Heranger, Kronprinsen, Laurits Swenson, Salamis, Skaraas and Rio Novo.
Skipping now to Oct. 24-1942, when she's listed in station 31 of Convoy SC 107* from New York, serving as Vice Commodore. Carrier, Granfoss, Pollux (to Argentia only) and Vest are also included (this convoy was attacked and lost 15 ships - see the external link at the end of this page). Along with Atlantic, Brasil, Brimanger, Gefion, Kaia Knudsen, Molda, Skandinavia, Stigstad and Thorshov, Geisha returned across the Atlantic with Convoy ON 151*, which left Liverpool on Dec. 3 and arrived New York on the 23rd. In fact, this time she served as Commodore Vessel. Page 3 of the archive documents indicates she joined from Belfast Lough.
With Daghild (returned), Petter II (returned), Rena, Sevilla (to St. John's only), Solstad and Sommerstad (put back), she's now listed in Convoy SC 117* from New York on Jan. 12-1943, again serving as Commodore Vessel, arriving Liverpool Febr. 3, later proceeding to Manchester, with arrival Febr. 6. Later that month, she acted as the Commodore's ship for the westbound Convoy ON 169, arriving New York on March 21, returning to the U.K. with the slow Convoy SC 127 from Halifax on Apr. 16. Going back to the archive document mentioned above, we see that she now appears to have spent quite a long time in Liverpool, from arrival there on May 8, to leaving on July 14 in order to return to New York. For this voyage, A. Hague has her as Commodore Vessel for Convoy ONS 13*, which arrived Halifax on the 29th; Geisha, however, arrived New York on July 31, having meanwhile transferred to Convoy ON 193* on July 29 (this convoy had started out from Liverpool on July 16). Both these convoys also had other Norwegian ships, namely Astrid, Harpefjell, Hiram, Maud, Norlom, Para, Rena and Sandviken in ONS 13, while Bralanta, Chr. Th. Boe, Fagerfjell, Fernwood, Harpefjell, Herbrand, Hiram, Idefjord, Maud, Meline, Norlom, O. B. Sørensen, Para, Samuel Bakke, Sandviken, Santos, Skaraas, Skjelbred, Stiklestad, Thorhild, Thorshov and Tungsha, as well as the Panamanian Norlys (Norwegian managers) are listed in in ON 193.
It now looks like she had a further extended stay in New York; she did not leave again until Nov. 1, when she sailed to Boston, then on to Halifax, and from there, she joined Convoy SC 146 on Nov. 6 (Commodore in Rena), general cargo for Glasgow, where she arrived Nov. 23 (Page 3). She had time for one more Trans-Atlantic voyage before that year was over, and this was made in Convoy ON 214*, which originated in Liverpool on Dec. 2 and arrived New York on the 20th and also had Kristianiafjord, Montevideo, Morgenen, Sørvard and Thorhild in its ranks.
In Jan.-1944, she's listed in Convoy SC 151 from Halifax, general cargo for Liverpool, station 83 (Commodore in Para). Eglantine and Rose are named among the escorts - see SC convoy escorts. The following month, she served as Commodore Vessel for the westbound Convoy ONS 29*, which departed Liverpool on Febr. 12 and arrived Halifax on the 29th, but Geisha was bound for New York and arrived there on March 1 - see Page 4. Eglantine and Rose are again named among the escorts, as is Acanthus, and Atlantic, Heimgar, Iron Baron, Nordanger, Norfalk, Ruth I, Suderøy, Tercero and Vav are also included. Geisha subsequently returned to Liverpool with a general cargo at the end of that month in Convoy SC 156 from Halifax, in which the Norwegian Ruth I and South America were sunk, follow the links for details.
We now find her, together with Abraham Lincoln, Estrella, Fagerfjell, Fernmoor, Garonne, Kaldfonn, Leiv Eiriksson, Lista, Molda, Petter, Romulus, Samuel Bakke, Skiensfjord, Solfonn, Strinda and Vinland, as well as the Panamanian Norlys, in Convoy ON 234*, departing Liverpool on Apr. 26, arriving New York May 11, then at the beginning of June, she's listed in Convoy HX 294 from New York, acting as the Vice Commodore's ship (Commodore in Abraham Lincoln). Early in July, she joined Convoy ON 243*, along with Grey County, Kaia Knudsen, Mosli, Norden, Noreg, Norse Lady, Reinholt (Commodore Vessel), Rutenfjell, Skaraas, Sommerstad, Sørvard and Velma. This convoy arrived New York July 18, and on Aug. 11, she joined the large New York-U.K. Convoy HX 303 with 16 other Norwegian ships, namely Tanafjord, Dalfonn, Noravind, Atlantic, Sommerstad, Skotaas, Romulus, Thorhild, Petter, Stirlingville, Rena, Para, Titanian, Mui Hock, Fjordaas and Norse Lady. Geisha, general cargo for Liverpool, was the Vice Commodore's ship again, with the Norwegian R. G. Bruusgaard as Vice Commodore.
She headed in the other direction the following month, having joined Convoy ON 252*, again serving as Commodore Vessel. This convoy departed Liverpool Sept. 7 and arrived New York Sept. 22 and also included Atlantic, Dageid, Fernmoor, Kaldfonn, Petter, Skotaas, Spinanger, Troubadour and Vardefjell, while Acanthus, Rose and Tunsberg Castle are named among the escorts (as is Buttercup, which was transferred to the Norwegian flag later that year, after the loss of Tunsberg Castle - see ON convoy escorts). About a month later, we find Geisha in the slow Convoy SC 159 from Halifax, general cargo for Glasgow (Page 4). Her last voyage across the Atlantic that year was made in Convoy ONS 36*, which originated in Liverpool on Nov. 13 and arrived Halifax Dec. 3, but Geisha, serving as Commodore Vessel, was again bound for New York, where she arrived Dec. 5. Evanger, Grey County, Heimgar, Henrik Ibsen, Marie Bakke, Minerva, Snar, Sommerstad, Tropic Star, Velox, Veni and Vinga are also listed.
At the very beginning of Jan.-1945, Geisha joined the slow Halifax-U.K. Convoy SC 164, bound for Liverpool and carrying a general cargo as well as explosives, returning at the end of that month in Convoy ONS 41*, with Atlantic, Evanger, Gausdal, Maud, Sommerstad, Titanian, Veni and Vinland. This convoy left Liverpool on Jan. 29 and arrived Halifax Febr. 20 - Geisha arrived New York on the 23rd. A. Hague now has her as Commodore Vessel for Convoy SC 170* from Halifax on March 17, general cargo and explosives, station 41. He has also included Askepot, Biscaya, Brush, Brønnøy, Chr. Th. Boe, Frontenac, Romulus, Tercero and Titanian. Geisha arrived Cardiff on Apr. 2 (Page 4), and later that month we find her in Convoy ON 297*, together with Abraham Lincoln, Brasil, Brimanger, Emma Bakke (Commodore Vessel), Fernwood, Norsktank and Topdalsfjord. (Convoy left Liverpool Apr. 17, arrived New York May 2). This time, she was bound for Montreal, where she arrived May 2, having detached from the convoy on Apr. 26 (according to A. Hague). Having proceeded to Sydney, C.B., she headed back to the U.K. on May 27 in Convoy SC 177* (originated in Halifax, May 26), which also had Germa, Hardanger, Heimgar, Lago, Orwell, Sir James Clark Ross, Slemmestad, Sommerstad, Strix and Velma among its ranks. Geisha arrived Avonmouth on June 8 - see Page 5. From this document we also learn that she went home to Norway already in Aug.-1945, and again in the spring of 1946.
Geisha was on a voyage from San Antonio via Callao (outside Lima, Peru) to Antwerp with niter and zinc concentrate when an explosion occurred in her cargo in the Atlantic Ocean on April 11-1950, and she was abandoned on fire in position 39 03N 41 37W. 1 man was killed, the others were picked up by the Italian Maria Paolina and taken to Lisbon.
Related external links:
Knutsen OAS Shipping today - with a brief history of the company.
Back to Geisha on the "Ships starting with G" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Våre motorskip", Leif M. Bjørkelund & E. H. Kongshavn, "Sjøfolk i krig", Leif M. Bjørkelund and misc. (ref. My sources).