The ocean liner articles for the S.S. Argentina, S.S. Brazil and S.S. Uruguay contained herein were published by and for Mooremack Employees Ashore and Afloat.

 

Passenger Service

("The Mooremack News," December 1947)

(Courtesy of Vincent Fiorenza)

Early in July the maritime and travel press, forty strong, gathered at the Downtown Athletic Club, to hear a bit of interesting information about old friends—the Good Neighbor liners Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.  The word was that the Argentina would sail from New York on July 25, reviving the passenger service which had suspended with the coming of the war.

The response to the news was tremendous; old friends of the ships and hundreds who wanted to become friends, flocked to Moore-McCormack offices and to travel agents for space.  Then suddenly the plans were changed.  Shipyard workers, unable to reach an agreement with their employers on demands, went out on strike.  For twenty weeks the ships sat, patiently, while negotiations proceeded, now with rumors of the strike’s impending end, then with rumors that the opposing sides were too widely separated to hope for settlement.

The only bright aspect of the picture was the fact that the Uruguay had been moved to the Todd yard in Brooklyn for some work, though the main contract was to be carried out by the Federal yard in Kearny. N. J.  This work was carried out at the Todd yard.

Eventually the rumors of settlement grew stronger.  First the Atlantic Basin yard settled and work was resumed on the Brazil.  Finally came official word that the entire strike was ended.  Immediately the Uruguay was moved from Todd’s to Federal and then the men flocked back to the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company yard in Brooklyn to get to work on the Argentina.

S.S. Argentina at Bethlehem Company yard, Brooklyn

The end of the strike brought again the flood of requests for passenger space, and on the third floor at No. 11 Broadway and in the Moore-McCormack passenger offices throughout the country the telephones jangled and excited voices asked, persistently.   "When can I sail to South America?"

Early this month, while workmen were still hammering away in the rebuilt passenger office at 5 Broadway, the  company for the second time in the year announced the resumption of the passenger service.  The Argentina, said tile announcement, will sail from Pier  32, North River, on January 15, to be followed February 12 by the Uruguay.  The Brazil should be ready in March.

Leo E. Archer, general passenger traffic manager, found applications for first class quarters exceeded the available space, but offered hope to applicants for tourist accommodations.  He recommended that travelers think more seriously of the Spring and Summer seasons.  Demands for space were not the only result of the strike’s ending, however.  Fashion magazines asked permission to use the ships' public rooms as background for photographs of their models; writers on subjects allied to interior decoration demanded information about the furniture, decorations and art works that enter into the ships' new designs.  One motion picture company asked to fit the ships into their promotional plans for a new movie.  A thousand and one details of operation cropped up, and as the News prepared to go to press another thousand were on their way.

Not the least important detail was that of staffing the ships.  Captain Thomas Simmons, who has been acting as port captain in New York since his ship entered drydock, will return to the bridge of the Argentina as her master, it was announced.  He was in command when the Argentina returned to New York on December 27, 1941, completing her last pre-war trip in the South American trade.  He was in command when she sailed from New York on January 23, 1942, for Australia, on her first wartime trip as a troopship.  He stayed with her when she was assigned to the Atlantic and remained through her last wartime voyage which ended on August 31, 1946.  During her wartime career the Argentina steamed approximately 335,906 miles and carried about 200,000 passengers.

Included in Captain Simmons’s staff will be Harold G. Glynn, who has been the ship’s purser since her entry into the Good Neighbor Fleet service in the Fall of 1938; William A. Quinn, whose record as chief steward of the ship is equally long, and Charles Hafliger, chief engineer, who since April, 1932, has filled positions aboard the Argentina all the way from sixth assistant engineer to chief.

      

Carnival Cruises

("The Mooremack News," October 1948)

(Courtesy of Vincent Fiorenza)

The most ambitious travel program to be made public in preparation for the coming Winter season was announced recently by Moore-McCormack, in a schedule that calls for the assignment of two of the company’s Good Neighbor liners — the S.S. Argentina and the S.S. Brazil—to special cruises to South America in January and February.  It is planned to have both ships present in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the duration of the annual world famous Rio Carnival.

The two ships which during the Fall months will sail to South America’s East Coast from Pier 32. North River, New York, on 38-day cruises in a fortnightly service with their sister ship, the S.S. Uruguay, will make two special 45-day cruises, with two ports of call added plus the extended stay at Rio de Janeiro, and longer stays in other regularly scheduled ports.

In projecting this program Moore-McCormack Lines will revive a program which was tremendously successful in February of 1941.  At that time, two of the company's ships were tied up at Rio during the Carnival, and hundreds of travelers who were present or who heard of it have since inquired whether the innovation would again be attempted.

The liner Argentina, the fCelebrating Cariocasirst of the two to sail, will leave New York, Friday, January 28, proceeding first to Hamilton, Bermuda, then to Bridgetown, Barbados, and to Bahia, Brazil, before arrival at Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, February 12.  After this visit to Rio, the ship will proceed on her regular schedule to Santos, Brazil; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Buenos Aires, Argentina, stopping again northbound at Montevideo and Santos and arriving at Rio de Janeiro on February 26, where she will remain the duration of the carnival, sailing March 2 for New York, with a stop en route at Trinidad. She will arrive in New York, Monday, March 14.

The Brazil will sail from New York February 11, and also stop at Hamilton, Bridgetown and Bahia southbound, reaching Rio de Janeiro the same day as her sister ship, February 26.  She will tie up and remain in Rio until March 1, proceeding upon conclusion of the carnival to Santos, Montevideo and Buenos Aires, with the same stops northbound, a second stop at Rio de Janeiro, and a stop at Trinidad.  She will arrive back in New York on Friday, March 25.

The ships will serve as hotels for their passengers at all stops, except Buenos Aires, as is the practice with the regular 38-day cruise service.  At Buenos Aires the passeRio Carnivalngers will occupy a hotel ashore, this being included in the over-all fare.

The Mardi Gras at Rio de Janeiro is an outstanding festival in many ways.  In the four days that precede the start of the Lenten season, virtually all of this, the world’s most beautiful city, ceases commercial activity and the entire population, augmented by thousands of Brazilians from outside the city, devote the days and nights to parades and parties, featuring magnificent costumes and floats, music and dancing.  Many of the most popular Brazilian songs that have come to the United States and been heard by millions of people on the radio were written especially for the Mardi Gras. The songwriters and poets of Brazil make this the occasion for the production of their finest works. The carnival brings out the spirit of joy that is so striking in the national character; at no time is it so clearly reflected as in their carnival.

       

Tenth Anniversary

("The Mooremack News," October 1948)

(Courtesy of Vincent Fiorenza)

Emmet McCormack, Captain Sadler and Albert Moore, as the Brasil prepares to sail.

With the sailing of the liner Brazil from Pier 32, North River, New York City, on Friday afternoon (Oct. 8) the eleventh year of the operation of the Good Neighbor Fleet by Moore-McCormack Lines, to the East Coast of South America, started.

The Brazil sailed October 8, 1938, with Captain Harry N. Sadler in command.  Captain Sadler was again on the bridge when she sailed after ten years of operation.  The ship is scheduled to arrive at her various ports along the South American coast—Rio de Janeiro and Santos, Brazil; Montevideo, Uruguay; Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Trinidad, in the British West Indies — exactly ten years after the original arrivals.

Only one interruption, that of war, has been permitted to interfere with the continuous operation of the Brazil and her sister ships, the Uruguay and the Argentina, during this ten-year period as units of the American Republics Line.  When the Japs struck at Pearl Harbor, all three of the ships were made ready for wartime service, and during the course of the war years carried nearly half a million troops and thousands of tons of equipment across the Atlantic and the Pacific, and around the world.  They participated in the invasion of North Africa, moving in line one after the other into Oran, Algeria, one dark November night in 1942.  The Argentina was the first ship of the merchant marine to transport war brides to the United States and all three ships operated as carriers of troops homeward- bound upon the conclusion of the war.

The Good Neighbor Fleet service was launched in 1938 as the direct result of a visit of the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt to an Inter-American Conference at Buenos Aires, in 1936.  He returned from that meeting with the conviction that the American merchant marine was not adequately represented in the trade along South America’s East Coast.  He therefore instructed the Maritime Commission to start a service which would provide good passenger-cargo vessels to Rio de Janeiro, held by many travelers to be the most beautiful port in the world; to Buenos Aires, third largest city in the Americas, smaller only than New York and Chicago; to Santos, through which move the largest shipments of coffee to the United States; to Montevideo, a distinguished city of homes and seat of a rich culture.

Acting on the President’s orders the Maritime Commission assigned the Brazil, the Uruguay and the Argentina to the service with Captain Sadler, Captain Thomas Simmons and Captain William B. Oakley in command.  The first two masters are still in command of those ships, and were in command throughout the war. Captain Albert P. Spaulding is master of the Uruguay, a post he also held throughout the war.

In the first complete year of operation of the service, the three ships carried more than 15,000 passengers.  This total completely upset the predictions of observers who had said a regular passenger service to South America’s East Coast could not succeed because of the length of the trip.  (The run between New York and Buenos Aires, respectively the northern and southern terminals of the service, is 6,280 miles.)

The popularity of the service continued, however, with the ships sailing on alternate Fridays, returning 38 days later, on the Monday morning following the passing of five weeks.  In the second year the passenger totals exceeded 18,000 and in 1941, despite the coming of the war, the total went beyond 20,000.

When the war ended and the ships returned to New York to prepare for resumption of passenger service, some 15,000,000 was expended in rebuilding them, in the installation of new equipment, in making the ships in every detail the most modern ships possible. The post-war resumption of the service was launched on January 15, 1948, when the Argentina again sailed.  The Uruguay followed her on February 12 and the Brazil completed the return of the fleet when she sailed June 4.

The ships now sail Fridays at 5 P.M. instead of midnight.

     

 

 

 

 

 

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