french Messageries Maritimes (MM, Compagnie des) SS Commissaire Ramel (+1940)
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nationality french
purpose transport
type ocean liner
propulsion steam
date built 1920
weight (tons) 10061  grt
dimensions 152.5 x 18 x 10.2 m
engine 3 cyl triple expansion engine & L.P. turbine, later 2 steam turbines, oil fired
power 5000  i.h.p.
speed 12.5  knots
about the loss
cause lost gunfire - shelled
date lost 09/09/1940  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.3rank: 666
about people
Messageries Maritimes, La Ciotat
Messageries Maritimes (MM, Compagnie des), Paris
no. of passengers 552
about the wreck
depth (m.)
war grave
entered by Allen Tony
entered 18/01/2008
last update Lettens Jan
last update 10/03/2011
Vleggeert Nico03/07/2009
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Allen Tony18/01/2008Commissaire Ramel SS was a French passenger ship sunk during the Second World War. She was built in 1920 at La Ciotat in France where the 8,308 ton ship was used to transport goods to Australia.

She continued in this role until 1940, when she was seized by the Australian authorities in harbour following the fall of France. Loaded with cargo, mainly wool, she left Fremantle, Western Australia between 1 and 3 September 1939 and on 9 September 1940 she was sunk by the German raider Atlantis.

When she tried to signal her position, the Germans opened fire and three men onboard died in the resulting fire ; the ship was then evacuated and sunk. Survivors of the attack boarded the ship Durmitor, and some died in difficult, overly hot conditions.

A survivor of the Ramel alleges that there was a German sailor on board who had helped to guide the Atlantis to the Ramel; the German may have used torches and lights to signal to the German vessel during the night.

Before the beginning of the attack, he was said to have begun unfindable on board the Ramel, with suspicion being that he somehow fled the ship.

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About Owners
Messageries Maritimes (MM, Compagnie des), Paris

The shipping side of the government-owned 'Messageries Nationales' was split in 1852 under the name 'Compagnie des Services Maritimes des Messageries Nationales' and by 1857 it owned 57 ships.

In 1871, the company became 'Compagnie des Messageries Maritimes'. In 1904 the fleets of Compagnie Francaise de l'Est Asiatique and Compagnie Nationale de Navigation were taken over.

After WWII, only 21 ships were left. However the fleet was rebuilt, but the independence of French colonies caused the whole passenger fleet to be disposed of.

In 1977 MM and CGT (French Line) were amalgamated under the name Compagnie Generale Maritime.

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SS Commissaire Ramel (+1940)
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