T.S.S.Nea Hellas / Nea Ellas
She was originally built after WWI by the British-flag Anchor Line for their North Atlantic routes by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Shipyards at Glasgow Scotland. Christened as the Turbine Steam Ship (T.S.S.) Tuscania, she went into service in 1921. She weighed 16,991 tons, was 597' long and 70' wide. Her 6 steam turbines and twin screws were capable of 16 knots. She was the 'state of the art' of marine engineering at that simpler time, and was to lead a long and diverse sailing career spanning four decades.
Due to the depression, and bad economic times Anchor Line decided to sell their ship to the General Steam Navigation Company of Greece, which was interested in establishing a first rate Trans-Atlantic Service between Greece and the U.S. After a brief refitting, she was appropriately renamed Nea Hellas or 'New Greece' and departed from Piraeus for her first voyage on May 19, 1939. The Nea Hellas became the largest Greek flagged passenger liner, as well as the first major passenger ship to be used in regularly scheduled service between Greece and the United States.
The New York Herald Tribune noted her first arrival in New York for the Greek Line. It reported that during her first stay there, a series of parties and dinners celebrating her arrival were planned for the New York business, social, and diplomatic community. Unfortunately the festivities were short lived. Within months of her maiden crossing WWII broke out in Europe, and she was placed under allied control, and put in service as a troop transport. During the next seven years she was affectionately dubbed the 'Nelly Wallace' by her many soldier passengers. The Nea Hellas was returned to her Greek owner in 1947, and served as Greece's flagship until 1955, when she was replaced by the Greek Line's newly commissioned Olympia as the Line's new carrier for the Piraeus-New York route. She was renamed New York and put into service for the northerly route between Germany, France, Canada, and Boston, and her new namesake New York. By 1959, she had reached the grand age of thirty-seven years.
On November 14, 1959 she returned to her homeport of Piraeus for the last time, twenty years after her first departure as the pride of the Greek nation. The world had changed much in that time. The advent of the Boeing 707 had cut the 14-day voyage to less than 9 hours. The age of passenger ships as a mode of transportation was quickly coming to an end. She was laid up for two years, and sold to Japanese ship breakers. On August 19, 1961 she left Piraeus for Onomichi, Japan where she met her fate in the scrap yards.
The Nea Hellas never attained the 'glamour ship' status of some of her contemporaries, like the Queen Mary, the Mauretania, and the Normandie. Nevertheless, like many great ships long gone, she left an indelible memory for those still living, whose lives she touched. To the many thousands of Greek-Americans who spent fourteen days on a one way journey from their old world to the new one, she became a great symbolic bridge in their lives.
If you are among those few that remember her and that may have, through the marvels of technology, found this page in cyberspace, I hope it has re-kindled some pleasant memories.
The Nea Hellas is among the many passenger ships of the past that brought our ancestors to the United States, where they prospered and contributed. The ship once known as the Nea Hellas will truly pass on to history, only when those still living she touched do.
This site is dedicated to their memory, and to those ever decreasing few that remember her fondly
VIEW A PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE NEA HELLAS
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