Ship Details


Aircraft Carrier/Passenger Liner



Built In


13,317g 7,706n


492' x 69'8" x 24'


Moore-McCormack Line (United States). 1941: Completed for U.S.military as an aircraft carrier. 1949:"Sitmar" Soc., reg. Panama. 1955: Chartered by the Australian Government for emigrant service. 1958: reg., Rome. 1968: reg. Panama.1969 Jan.24: Disabled by fire in the engine room 900 miles west of Panama. 1969 Aug.6: Arrived at La Spezia to be broken up.



I was a passenger on this ship in 1967 arriving in Wellington on 28th August 1967. I had recently turned 12 on the voyage but while I was 11 I won a 'men's table tennis' competition! When the prize-giving ceremony for all the competitions held on the ship was held I was in bed. My mother was present and couldn't it when my name was called out. She had to rush down to the cabin and brought me to a large room filled with adults. Everyone laughed and clapped when they saw how small I was. The prize was a cigarette lighter - which I still have - but have never used as I have never taken up smoking!

All the photos posted on this page are NOT of the original MS Fairsea (1949-1969) from the Sitmar Line. It also makes it hard to search site when Fairsea is erroneously put as two words. The photos here are of the Fairsea (not the 2nd, although it was the second ship with that name) - could say Fairsea (2) 1971-1988. The ships are easy to tell apart. The latter has a taller funnel with vents. It also has two extra decks on the superstructure.

Hi Kevin, I was on that exact same voyage. Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington, Papeete, Balboa, Cristobal, Curacao, Lisbon and Southampton. I was aged just 7 years old. Unfortunately, I can't quite recall your table tennis win. But I do remember the never ending games of Monopoly we played on board. It was a fantastic adventure with many great memories. Swimming with local kids in Tahiti being just one.

Left Southhampton September 1968. Arrived Freemantle then on to Outer Harbour. Have found the passenger list Incomplete.

I too sailed on the Fairsea in 1965.To Australia we emergrated £ 10 poms. A very exciting time, and three years later we came back, still the Sitma line but on the Fairsky. I would not of missed for the world. At a time when only the rich travelled, here we were swimmig off the coast of Tahiti. Sailing past cook island, and heading through the panama canal. Great days.

Interested to read Kevin’s table- tennis story. I too came out with 3 sisters and mum and dad in 1967 on the fairsea as 10 pound poms arriving in Sydney in August as a 15 year old . I also won the table-tennis Comp - looks like it was the same voyage so wondering if Kevin won his between Sydney and Wellington? Eric Burton

I came from England Wales to leave on the Fairsea Tilbury 6th August 1958 as a 3month baby to Sydney australia

My Grandparents, My Dad ( Kenneth Adshead), two uncles & two aunties migrated from England to Australia on the Fairsea. My Dad actually had his 21st birthday onboard in March 1967.

Me and my mate bill we sail out of Brisbane I think it was February definitely 1964 to Singapore ship continued on 2 Great Britain anybody on that ship

My first husband and I with our two sons 7 and 3, left Southampton in NOVEMBER 1968 on the FAIRSEA. We drifted in the Bay of Biscay for 5 hours due to engine trouble. Went via South Africa as Suez closed. Trouble again in the Indian Ocean. Refrigeration gone. Bad storms, no fresh vegetables. Paper plates and cups etc. arrived Freemantle then onto Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney finally arriving in Brisbane JANUARY 5TH 1969. We heard that there was more trouble with the ship travelling back to the UK and of course it never made it. We were told that the ship was previously an aircraft carrier. The Officers were Italian and the part of the crew were Scillian.

I was a passenger on the Fairsea in 1967. I believe she sailed from Southampton on the 11th May or thereabout. We were probably one of the last ships to go through the Suez Canal before the 6 day war in June. We could not dock in Aden so docked in Djibouti instead. Had a terrible nose bleed!!! Just wish we had voyages today , they were great times.

I was on the last voyage of the Fairsea when it caught fire 1969. The crossing of the Equator ceremony was due to take place the following day but obviously it did not happen. Those who requested it were given the certificates to prove they had crossed the the line. No one was allowed below decks for a number of days until it was certain the fire was out, lot's of things happened as one can imagine. a couple of ships in te location came to our assistance, one British ship and an American ship The Louise Lykes from the Lykes Line. This ship eventually towed the Fairsea into Panama after waiting several days for a tug to reach us from Panama which kept breaking down, the Sitmar line I expect, were trying to avoid salvage fees. We along with tug sent to tow us in were towed to Panama the Louise Lykes towing the Fairsea and the Fairsea towing the tug. I only looked online today because I knew it was the anniversary of the event just wasn't sure which day it was. I still have my original Sitmar issued voyage ticket . Good luck to all those that sailed on the Fairsea.

in reply to: Ann Brown (not verified) on Sat, 2018-12-15 08:59 Ann, many thanks for contributing. This is the first online published account I've found stating that MV Fairsea suffered mechanical problems much earlier on the Nov 1968 sailing from Southampton, which abruptly ended with the serious engine-room fire between Tahiti and Panama 50 years ago this week. Other sites suggest Sydney was Fairsea's last Australian port of call later in Jan 1969, so thanks also for clarifying that Fairsea finally called at Brisbane on 5 Jan 1969. Re: Fairsea's earlier service with the US Navy (as the escort carrier USS Charger) here is a link to an excellent article by the grandson of a former member of Charger's wartime crew: My research shows that from December 1955, Fairsea was engaged in SITMAR Line's successive contracts to carry British migrants to Australia under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme, usually achieving around 4 voyages annually. As Fairsea had also regularly called at Australian ports while on charter to various refugee organisations since 1949, information held by Melbourne's Immigration Museum state the vessel made a total 81 voyages from Europe to Australia 1949-69, apparently making Fairsea the record-holder in this regard (Chandris Lines' ship Patris made 91 sailings to Australia, but only 75 of those originated in Europe). I was a passenger emigrating from UK with my family in MV Fairsea ex-Southampton 17 Jan 1964 (voyage 77SB). In Jan 1969 I made what became a final visit to a ship I loved at Sydney; most unusually Fairsea was then relegated to a cargo wharf at the land side east of Woolloomooloo Bay (now a naval berth). This wharf being without passenger facilities, those boarding the ship having to negotiate a tower of steps, enabling access to the deck. You might recall this spectacle? Fairsea brought a number of embryonic (but later famous) musicians to Australia, not least those of the Gibb family - the Bee Gees - also Redmond Symons (later of the music group Skyhooks). Other passengers also became famous names in the music industry and elsewhere, but suffice to say that Fairsea once featured importantly in thousands of migrant families' lives and - to me - is well overdue for recognition of her role in helping make Australia a new home to so many.

Hi Des. Thanks for your input here. Please can you confirm that what became MV Fairsea's final sailing from Australia January 1969 was designated Voyage Number 101NB? As I've remarked earlier, Melbourne's Immigration Museum has a document stating Fairsea made 81 voyages into that port, however I seem to recall that 101 was the voyage no. used as above. This suggests that SITMAR's numbering system understandably commenced at her first sailing under their colours in 1949, not all of which were subsequently to Australia. Our family sailed in voyage 77SB Jan/Feb 1964, so 5 years later at c. 4/5 trips per year would also then bring the number to around 100. Grateful for any light you can shed!

My voyage on the MSFaisea predates all of the above. With my parents I “sailed” from Bremerhaven ,west Germany ,late in October 1951 to Canada. All passengers were German immigrants to Canada. We were to go to Halifax but the then Princess Elizabeth was leaving home from there and the Canadian govt thought it was better not to expose poor immigrants to royalty and the Faisea wento Quebec City instead, arriving on nov 7, 1951. Since then I have embraced the dream of a wonderful life in Canada starting with the MSFairsea!

Left Southampton for Melbourne 19th March 1963 arriving 31st March. Met up with lovely families on the "Ten Pound Immigration Scheme" Hoping to make contact? Had a wonderful and exciting time. Am now in Florida USA but am still enamoured with the sound of magpies

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October 6, 1951 my father was also on the ship leaving West Germany Port of Entry Quebac City. I have his reguee immigrant documentation arriving Quebac Port October 17, 1951.

In 1957 I was part of the Boy Scout group that road the Fair Sea from Quabec Canada to Plymoth England to go to the Scout World Jamboree and we returned on the same ship from LeHarve France to New York . It was a great experience and the entire ship was all Boy Scouts

My mother and her two brother come over to the USA on the fairsea ship when my mom was 3. I believe it was in 1954. They were from Germany. Does anyone know how I can find the passenger list for that time or any info?

My paternal grandfather was on the same voyage to Canada in 1951, from Bremerhaven Germany. The ship then was listed as the "S.S. FairSea", "Canada Mig. 8" on the "passenger lists of displaced persons" found on Ancestry. My grandmother, mom (age 16 at the time) and her 4 younger siblings sailed 5 years later on the Arosa Sun to join him in Canada. Thank you to those who shared their immigration stories on here as well!

My parents and siblings came out on the Fairsea in 1966. Leaving Southampton 15th September 1966 arriving Outer Harbour 16th October 1966. I cannot find the passenger list for 1966 on here. There are 1965 and 1967. Can anyone point me in the right direction to find 1966 Faisea passenger list? My parents, John and Netta Martin- June John and Joan.

My parents and I sailed on the Fairsea in 1957 and 1964. I was aged 14 and 21 on those trips with both departing from Melbourne for travel via the Suez Canal to Southampton. We had emigrated from England in 1950 and lived in Geelong. The 1957 voyage departed 13th May and arrived Southampton June 15th. After a rough crossing of the Australian Bight and lots of sea sick passengers the ship had a calm crossing of the Indian Ocean until the ship had engine problems before reaching Aden. At one stage the ship seemed to be merely drifting in the ocean and we were therefore delayed in reaching port. The Suez Canal had only been re-opened in April 1957 after being closed in late 1956 following nationalisation by Egypt when ships were blown up to block passage through the canal. We saw some of the debris from damaged ships on the side of the canal as well as a strong military presence by the Egyptian national forces. We arrived in Port Said quite late in the evening and as we arrived the town seemed to come alive with all the lights being turned on around the commercial area. We were warned about not straying from the main commercial streets as went ashore. My father bought a few watches at the Simon Artz store a couple of blocks from the ship and we trod warily back to the Fairsea. We travelled on to Southampton where we had a very emotional reunion with family at the docks before a bigger celebration at my mothers childhood home in Islington, London.

At the age of nineteen, I left Bremerhaven, Germany on October 6, 1951 on the SS Fairsea as an immigrant to Canada and disembarked on October 17, 1951 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. I'm about to publish a book with the title "Otto takes Chances: As an Immigrant in Canada."

I traveled with my parents and sister on the oct 6 trip from Bremerhaven to Quebec City. I was at that time 41/2 years old. From my memory it was an enjoyable trip. Spent much of the trip in the ships bakery where the Greek baker befriended me. If anyone knows where I could get plans of the Fairsea for modeling purposes

I travelled on the Fairsea starting 28th Feb 1963 to Freemantle, had my sixth birthday on board, mum dad one brother and one sister, cant remember much, we ended up in Homesglen near Melbourne came back three years later, dad was too homesick

My family and I sailed on the Fairsea in February 1965 as Ten Pound Poms, from Southampton to Fremantle ,final destination Port Adelaide. I was 4 years old. My brother John 18. As far as I am aware we had a great adventure. We were housed at Finsbury Park Hostel in a tin nissan hut and things certainly weren't as rosy as promised by the glossy adverts. We returned to England, Sheffield, in 1970. Being only 4 when I arrived I have only childhood memories. I had a great carefree time in Australia but my brother being a young teenager had a hard time and returned home to fend for himself with family. We came back on the Fairsky and I have some great memories of the journey.I was caught dangling my little legs over the side of the hand rail into the ocean below which got my dad into trouble as he shouldn't have let me roam all over the ship! I loved the Jungle Room on the Fairsea where I got as much banana milk shake as I wanted. Happy days!

Sailed on the Fairsea from Greenock Scotland and arrived in Montreal in 1957. Looking for a passenger list. My mother and sister were with me. Can anyone help.

The Fairsea had engine trouble a lot earlier than previously mentioned. I boarded the ship in December 1965, at age 22, bound for Southampton via Papeete, Balboa, Cristobal, Curacao, and Lisbon. We drifted in the Pacific while a mechanical problem was being fixed. I remember seeing the captain passing the time fishing off the side of the boat. As a result of the lost time, passengers weren't allowed off the ship at Papeete, which was a big disappointment.

I traveled on the Fairsea from Southampton to Melbourne Australia arriving in Melbourne in Feb 1963. I along with my 3 brothers and 4 sisters. I was was 9 at the time. I remember our cabins where located at the stern of the ship and at night could hear the propeller operating. The cruise went well. I remember the Gully gully people at Aden as my father bought a radio from them at a cost of 10 pound. I remember the great time as kids we had demurring the voyage.

I too was on the final sailing of the Fairsea. After the fire the Captain committed suicide as it was the second calamity on the ship. We drifted for a few days eating left over turkey sandwiches prepared for the Equator crossing and conditions weren't very good. No toilets. Snome man caught a shark and pulled it up onto the deck where it thrashed around till it died. Never forgot it. Seemed so sad. A tugboat came out to tow us and we saw boxes of beer and spirits being handed over and after a few hours of drinking on the tugboat it took off so quickly it broke down. Eventually after another day or so an American troop ship towed us and the tugboat into Panama. Being young 22 and single we were the last group to leave and after 3 days were flown out to the UK.

I am trying to find a passenger for the Fairsea departing from Brenerhaven 16 July 1950 to Melbourne, Australia arriving 18 August, 1950. The passenger I am interested to find is Michael NYZNYK born 1922. Thank you. Jan

I travelled on the MS Fairsea with my mum and dad between New Zealand and the UK in 1967 age 2. I have some fabulous ‘official ‘ photos of me dancing with my mum in a hula girl outfit as well as accepting a present from the captain . I’d be fascinated by any stories about the ship particularly if you were on that particular voyage. I’ve found my shipping records for the journey to NZ on the Fairstar 1966 but still can’t find this one.s Thank you Nicola Locke

I sailed on the Fairsea from Southampton in 1956. I was nine years old and with my mum and dad and also my younger brother. We were the last boat through the Suez and I can remember seeing boats sunk. Also soldiers coming on board with guns. We arrived in Melbourne two days before the Olympics.

left southamton 6th september 1959,arrived melbourne 8th october 1959 buit can't find any record of it

Departed Southampton 17th August 1962 on the Fairsea for Sydney via Suez canal. I was 8 and my brother 10 with our parents as £10 poms. I remember going through the Suez canal expecting to see tanks on either side but, of course, I didn't. I remember the small children in the ocean at the side of the ship at Port Said and Aden who duck-dived for coins and fruit which were thrown down to them. I also remember the countless table tennis balls my brother and I lost overboard!! Coming from a lower middle class situation in England the experience on the Fairsea was definitely upmarket for our family!

Sailed On the fairsea from Plymouth to Perth in 1960 greatvoyage

I left Bremerhaven aboard the MS Fairsea December 1952. We docked in Halifax, Canada Jan 1st or second, can’t remember for sure. once there, all of us IRO people were informed that the jobs we had signed up for, were all totally cancelled and we were free to choose which province or city we wished to live in. We didn’t know a thing about this big wintry world we had come to but we were all willing to continue taking a chance for something better than what we had left behind. While I was only 17 1/2 yrs old and travelling alone, and spoke no words of English, I was a bit lonesome. One night there was going to be a dance and music program aboard. A very pretty dark haired girl, German, sat across from me at dinner, with her parents and siblings. I could speak a little German and asked her if she would dance with me. Her father got very angry, Boyd her ears and took them all away. They didn’t sit near me at table anymore but we’re still around. My life was very ‘educational’ in the ways of life, learning and vocations over the next 28 years. Marriage to a lovely Canadian girl, two beautiful children, and a variety of jobs to keep us all fed and housed kept me very ‘changeably challenged’. We move out of the city to. 247 acres of forested land. There were 22 lovely handhewn log buildings for large gatherings and camping for children in summer. We also lived in a log cabin which was quite large enough for a family of four and two dogs. I was the Custodian/Maintenance manager, along with my lovely wife. As our children became able they also assisted and thrived on the wonderful, natural lifestyle. In Alberta, the snow can build up and block all roads, just as it does in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Saskatchewan and British Columbia’s Coquihalla highway. Because our property was a rental facility, people came from all over the province so roads had to be well maintained, Year round. We did not have a snowplough and this storm had been severe. The school bus which picked up our children also had to negotiate the road. I called the County office and requested a setup for constant road maintenance, including the current need. A snowplough appeared, cleared the roads perfectly and my lovely wife invited the driver in for coffee and cake. During our getting to know you, he divulged that his German born wife also came by ship in 1952/53. We were amazed and he said he would ask her the name of her ship. I said that mine was FAIRSEA. In the end of all this story, it turned out that his wife was the lovely dark haired girl across from me at dinner that night on shipboard. Her father had gotten worried that something might ‘happen’ between two teenagers and had removed her from temptation!. After that informational meeting, the ploughman invited us all to his home farm, a few miles away, for Christmas Eve. Once again the two immigrant ‘teens’ smiled at each other in recognition, hugged and told and retold their stories of the years in between. The FAIRSEA had brought more pleasure to the dinner table than would have ever been expected.

Eddie, my husband of twelve weeks and I left Southampton for Fremantle in December 1967. I was so sick en route I fainted on-board and spent a week in the ship's hospital over Christmas. The Doctor was Italian and the two nurses English. I never did get over the sea-sickness though did try to join in activities when I could. I lost over a stone in weight and was SO glad to get off the ship in Cape Town and get a drink of fresh milk! Fremantle looked very flat and uninteresting on arrival in January '68 after a month on board. I was just glad it was over and we could get off! The main impression of the Fremantle coast was the big pine trees; they looked so odd there in 40c heat, brilliant blue sky and a strip of pale yellow sand, red tin roofs and warehouse/sheds where we were coralled until we got our one trunk, found a taxi and began our life in Australia as Ten Pound Poms. Mavis Roberts.

TEN POUND POM (1955) The Fairsea is our ocean castle, She's not in Bristol fashion. Lifeboats are few and so is the crew. From Southhampton, we sail south. We make thru the Bay Biscay By Hook and Cook, we cruise by the Rock. And cross the ancient sea. A seller from the souk in Said, In a white sail dhow, Comes with camels of alabaster, Both large and small. A little boy grabs a camel and runs away, With the seller in pursuit. Shouting: Give me the camel small, Give me the camel small. Happy sailors of the motherland are we, As we sail into the sanguine sea. Of this journey, I know nothing. I am three. Joseph Murphy

I was a 10 Pound Pom we set sail from Southampton on the 22nd December 1967, and have great memories of the ship. Because I was a child we had to attend school while on board, which was great fun. I remember our ports of call Las Palmas, Cape Town, Freemantle, Adelaide, Melbourne, and our destination Sydney. We sailed under the Bridge, and disembarked at the old finger wharfs, where were allocated to a hostel. I was fascinated by our drive through the rocks, at that time not a tourist destination.

My first husband and two daughters travelled from Southhampton to Sydney stopping at Fremantle and Melbourne on route. We had our daughters christened on board made friends of Eileen and Frank Barnes who became the girls God parents. They left the ship in Melbourne and sad to say we lost contact with them. The trip was February 28th 1963 arrived in Sydney 3 April . Then were placed on bus to migrant camp near Fairy Meadow . My parents came with us . The men worked at Port Kembla and the American Iron and Steel. The trip on Fairsea we only had one stop and that was at Aden .the crew on board the Fairsea were very friendly and so good with the children before landing we had a get together where all the children on board were given a gift such a lovely thing to do. The sleeping arrangements on board were meant to separate men and women well that never happened ! We had tiny cabin with bunk beds and cot could hardly move but didnt spend a lot of time in there the lovely sunshine beckoned, plus swimming in the pool . We had rough crossing over the Indian Ocean , the pool was emptied chairs tied down lasted about three or so days. Did the crossing the Line ceremony it was a lot of fun.. now living in New Zealand which is such a beautiful place to live nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren all born here so NZ our home, loved UK but not the big cities, been back five times but family getting less and less so the need to go back has gone home is here quite happy.

I arrived in Adelaide, South Australia in early 1956 with my Parents and younger brother after departing Tilbury on the Fairsea late 1955. We had Christmas and New Year on board during the crossing. I remember that we were the last ship allowed through the Suez Canal before it was blocked by sinking ships. I also remember soldiers carrying weapons coming on board and checking cabins. I also remember soldiers on either side of the Canal following. As children aged 8 and 7 we didn't really understand what it was all about. We were originally housed at Finsbury Migrant Hostel for a couple of years before being relocated to Gepps Cross Migrant Hostel living in semi detached nissen huts. We eventually got a Housing Commission home in Salisbury, hear Elizabeth where mostly all of the UK migrants ended up. Went to school firstly at Pennington Primary, Northfield Primary and finally Enfield High School.

70 years ago (Anzac Day 1951) I arrived in Melbourne as a 9 year old on the Fairsea with my Yugoslav mother and Russian father. We boarded at Bremerhaven on the 20 March 1951. We were part of the displaced persons (DP) migration scheme after WW2. Once allowed to disembarked after a month at sea, we were transported to Bonegilla migration centre and a few weeks later ended up in Greta camp. My father worked at BHP and we eventually settled in Newcastle, NSW.

My mom and family travelled on the FairSea from Bremerhaven Germany on April 30th 1953 leaving for Montreal. Anyone have any information?

I have the passenger list for M S Fairsea August / September 1966 leaving Melbourne to Southampton UK

Our family migrated to Australia in 1953 aboard the Fairsea leaving the port of Rotterdam on the 14th of February We had to pay our own way to get passage.My parents had been trying to migrate to Australia for a few years unsuccessfully however when the dykes broke on the31st of January 1953 causing huge losses and hundreds of deaths We were notified on the 4th of February that the migrant ship the Fairsea was leaving Rotterdam on the 14th ten days later and provided we could payfor the voyage we could go to Melbourne Australia I was only seven years old but I have fond memories of our voyage John Vogels

January 13 1962 the Fairsea sailed from Auckland to Southampton. Via the usual stops, Singapore etc. There were a few immigrants returning to the UK or Europe. Otherwise it was partytime, for us young Kiwis and Aussies off on our big OE. On a budget ship on a budget . Pretty entertaining! Anyone else remember that voyage?

My parents and I traveled from Galloway, Scotland, to Southampton to board the Fairsea. I gather they didn't enjoy the journey, but they made fast friends with the Light family. I was too young to be aware of what was going on, but my Mum used to say the Italian crew made a bit of a fuss of the "bambino", while she was being seasick most of the way. When they got to Fremantle they hurried ashore to dry land. found a fish and chip shop. and ordered chips. To my embarrassment, I tipped milk over on the chips/ "Doesn't matter!" Bill Light said, and ate them with gusto, I'm told. We sailed on. At Melbourne, they bought me my first Australian toy, a stuffed koala, with glass eyes, floppy claws made of leather, and the skin was actually from a kangaroo. Still had it until my kids had grown up. We reached our destination, Sydney, in the last week of October 1960. Dad's sister had lined him up a farm job near Moss Vale, NSW. As we came off the boat, a photographer snapped up, Mum holding Dad's arm and him carrying me, just turned 2 a few weeks earlier. They came to Australia for a better life for us and my siblings they had later... and I miss them so much.

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