S.S. Argentina

Launched March 12, 1958  /  Delivered December 9, 1958

Photo courtesy of Capt. Tom Ellsworth Copyright 2003-2004 - All rights reserved. Do not reproduce. If anyone wants copies, please email Tom at tbells@cox.net.


Official No.               277850

Hull No.                          468

Net Tonnage:             6026

Gross Tonnage:      15257



Deadweight:     5696

LOA:                  617'6"

LBP:                  570'0"

Beam:                    84'



Draft:           27'3"

Dwt.:           5958

SHP:         35000



Net:                   6026

Displ.:             22590

Speed:         23 KTS.

Passengers:      557



September 10, 1955

The United States Federal Maritime Board decided that the Federal Government should contribute about $20,000,000 toward the cost of building two new passenger liners for Moore-McCormack Lines.  The best bid came from a United States yard, Ingalls, at $24,444,181 per ship.

1956 - 1958

Two new sister ships, the S.S. Argentina and the S.S. Brasil, were built at Ingalls Shipyards, Pascagoula, Mississippi, for Moore-McCormack Lines  to replace the ships built in 1928. They were built as luxury ocean liners, later becoming cruise ships and were the last passenger ships built in the U.S.  To date she is the last American-built passenger luxury ocean liner, having been built from parts of all of the 48 states of the United States.

March 12, 1958

The S.S. Argentina was launched at the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, Pascagoula, Mississippi.  The launching was viewed by 500 guests and 1,500 workers of the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation.  The principal speakers were Thomas E. Stakem, member of the Federal Maritime Board, and Fernando J. Taurel, Argentine diplomat.  Mr. Stakem said the new vessel provided tangible evidence of the intention of the Americas to continue the pursuit of trade vital to the economy of the Western Hemisphere.

Other speakers included Mr. Moore, James Q. du Pont, an officer of E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., and Monro B. Lanier, Vice Chairman of the Board of the shipyard.

After Mrs. William T. Moore (wife of the President) christened the ship, and the ship was launched, the S.S. Argentina was towed to an outfitting basin.

November 20, 1958

Commodore Thomas N. Simmons leaves the S.S. Brasil to take command of the S.S. Argentina.

December 9, 1958

After leaving Way No. 8 at Ingalls Shipyards and sailing on a combined sea trial and delivery trip, the S.S. Argentina was delivered to Moore-McCormack Lines at Todd Shipyard in New York on December 9, 1958.  Three days later she sailed on her first trip to South America.

December 12, 1958

S.S. Argentina left from New York on her maiden voyage to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with Commodore Thomas N. Simmons at the helm.  Purser Robert Melsopp transferred over from the old S.S. Argentina to the new S.S. Argentina

December 31, 1958

0100 hrs.

Heading north from Buenos Aires, the S.S. Argentina had a slight collision with the 17,652 deadweight ton tanker, Atlantic Viscountess, in the La Plata River.  The ship was owned by Ocean Tankers, Ltd., of Monrovia, Liberia, one of the shipping enterprises of the Livanos family of Greece.  No injuries occurred, but Jack Otte, Bellman aboard the S.S. Argentina, told us that a woman had a wall come down on her while she was sleeping in her stateroom. 

September 15, 1961

Among the S.S. Argentina's passengers on a short cruise that only went down to Santos (instead of going all the way down to Buenos Aires) were actors Tony Curtis and his wife, Janet Leigh, and daughters, Kelly Lee and Jamie Lee.  On September 27, they disembarked at Santos and then continued on to Argentina to film "Taras Bulba."

April 17, 1963

Standing straight, the 68-year-old 6'1" mariner took his last salute on the gangway of the luxury liner, S.S. Argentina, which he brought into Pier 97 after a 63-day cruise.  Most of the officers and crew on deck to see him leave looked down at their shoes or turned their heads, as though they were looking at something far off.

Commodore Simmons sailed over 6 million miles at sea that began in 1911, three years after he left his birthplace island of Saba in the West Indies.  He sailed as a deck boy on ships trading out of New York, Boston and the Gulf and Caribbean ports, making second mate on sailing ships in 1914.

The longest time he had at sea was in 1914.  He spent 119 days aboard a four-masted schooner sailing from the Gulf port of Mississippi to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a cargo of lumber.  In 1917 he was third officer on the ship Munrio of the Munson Line.  Three years later he assumed his first command with Munson and during 43 years since then he has been captain of seven ships.

He shifted to Moore-McCormack Lines in 1938, taking command of the old S.S. Argentina on her first voyage to South America.  He stayed with her through the war years and until she was replaced by her namesake in 1958, of which he has been the only captain.

Commodore Simmons was quoted as saying, "Don't talk about the demise of ships in favor of jet planes and rocket travel.  There will always be ships on the ocean.  As far as pleasure and relaxation are concerned, we will always have ship travelers."

Within the next few weeks, he and his wife, May, will move from their home in Manhasset, Long Island, to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where they are building a house not too far from deep-sea fishing docks that he knows well.

September 14, 1963

The S.S. Argentina arrives in New York after a South American cruise.  This is her last trip before going through a conversion.

September 21 -December 8, 1963

A $6,000,000 expansion took place for both the S.S. Argentina and S.S. Brasil at Bethlehem Steel Company's Fort McHenry and Key Highway shipyards.  Two new cruise decks were added, the Sun and the Navigation, which comprised of 63 staterooms for 163 passengers.  Also new public rooms were added and the other public areas were enlarged to handle the additional cruisegoers. 

December 18, 1963

The S.S. Argentina's first cruise with her new upper decks left today for a 15-day Christmas and New Year's cruise to Barbados.  Captain Paul B. Scott was at the helm.

June 11, 1966

Captain Paul B. Scott, master of the S.S. Argentina was appointed Commodore of Moore-McCormack's 42-ship fleet.  Commodore Scott is the second commodore in the company's 53-year history.  He succeeds Commodore Thomas N. Simmons who retired in 1963.  Commodore Scott joined Moore-McCormack in 1946 as chief officer on the Seton Hall Victory.  He became master of the Mormaclark in 1956, and in 1960 he was appointed staff captain of the S.S. Brasil.  He assumed command of the S.S. Argentina in 1962.

Mrs. Moore presented the Commodore's flag to Captain Scott, in ceremonies aboard the S.S. Argentina, which is the flagship of the company's fleet.

October 30, 1968

Captain Charles G. Reid, 42 years old, commanding the S.S. Argentina on a 17-day cruise with mostly Shriners from Long Beach, California on board, was "lost at sea."  Captain Reid was born in Flint Hill, Virginia, and graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1947.  Captain Reid served on several Moore-McCormack cargo liners, commanding the Mormacoak and the Mormaccove, prior to becoming master of the new S.S. Brasil in 1965, and subsequently the new S.S. Argentina.

Captain Reid disappeared 26 miles east of Cuba in the Windward Passage, on a calm, sunny day, some time after the Argentina left Kingston, Jamaica, on the way to Hamilton, Bermuda.  The ship circled for hours after a lifeboat was launched.  A Coast Guard helicopter from the U.S. base at Guantanamo, Cuba, aided in the search but found no trace of Captain Reid.  Captain Reid is survived by his widow, Rachael.

Staff Captain Edward Newman of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, took over command for the rest of the voyage.

Early 1969

Moore-McCormack sought permission to lay up the S.S. Argentina and the S.S. Brasil, but was turned down by the Federal ship agency.  The ships were losing $2.7 million despite annual subsidies.

September 3, 1969

S.S. Argentina and the S.S. Brasil were laid up in Baltimore, Maryland, "temporarily" for repairs.  Length of lay-up was unknown.  William T. Moore stated the ships were unprofitable noting the crew outnumbered the passengers, 3 to 2.   This was an initial move to get rid of "two white elephants."  One solution was the proposal of a creation of a jointly owned company with American Export Isbrandtsen Lines and United States Lines to acquire the passenger ships.  All three companies would jointly own the S.S. Argentina and the S.S. Brasil


Purser Robert Melsopp transferred over to a Mooremack cargo liner, Mormacvega. 

March 27, 1970

Commodore Thomas N. Simmons, first Commodore of Moore-McCormack Lines' fleet, died today at the age of 74 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  Commodore Simmons joined Mooremack in 1938 to take command of the old Argentina on her first voyage to South America.  During WWII, he continued to command his ship while she was in military garb as a troop carrier.  After the war, he and the Argentina went back into the South American cruise trade until the Argentina was retired in August of 1958.  When the new luxury liner Brasil made her maiden voyage in 1958, Commodore Simmons was on the bridge.  He retired in 1963.  Commodore Simmons was decorated by the Government of Brasil with the National Order of the Southern Cross in 1963.  He is survived by his wife, Enid May, 6 children, and 18 grandchildren.


S.S. Argentina was purchased and then operated by Holland America Lines, refurbished in Bremerhaven, Germany, at Lloyd-Waft Shipyard and renamed Veendam.


Refurbished in Hampton Roads, Virginia.


Purchased by a Rio de Janeiro based charter company, renamed her Brasil.


Laid up in Virginia.


Purchased by Monarch Cruise Lines, renamed her Monarch Star.


Holland America noticed that Monarch Cruise Lines was making money with the Monarch Star, so it purchased Monarch Cruise Lines and renamed her Veendam again.


Purchased by Bermuda Cruise Line, renamed her Bermuda Star.


Bermuda Star suffered a major fire that damaged 22 cabins while the ship was undergoing shipyard repairs.

June 10, 1990

While on the second day of an 8-day cruise from New York to Montreal, Bermuda Star ran aground in shallow waters in Buzzards Bay near the entrance of Cape Code Canal spilling about 7,500 gallons of heavy oil.  No one was hurt. 

1990 - 1994

Bermuda Star Line, Inc. consolidated with Commodore Cruise Lines and renamed the ship Enchanted Isle, cruising out of New Orleans.

1994 - 1995

Commodore Cruise Lines then moved the Enchanted Isle to St. Petersburg, Russia, to be used as Hotel Commodore.



1995 - 2000

Azure Investments, Inc., purchased the Hotel Commodore, renamed her Enchanted Isle.  Azure Investments, Inc., chartered the ship to New Commodore Cruise Lines, Ltd., a Bermuda corporation, which operated as Commodore Cruise Lines.

October 1997


Spring 2000

Commodore Cruise Lines got itself in financial trouble when they refurbished the Enchanted Sun to offer gambling day cruises from California to Mexico.

December 27, 2000

Commodore Holdings, Ltd., filed for protection under Chapter 11.

December 30, 2000

After the passengers disembarked in New Orleans, Louisiana, Enchanted Isle docked at Violet Port Dock in Violet (down the Mississippi River from New Orleans), leaving her crew stranded with no pay.  The crew took what they could carry from the ship and sold the items in order to fund their passage home.

November 2002

Purchased by World Explorer Cruises.  Planned to refurbish the Enchanted Isle and rename her Universe Ambassador for year-round, worldwide cruises beginning in 2004.

December 5, 2002

World Explorer Cruises decided not to go forward with the idea of refurbishing the Enchanted Isle.  She was sold at auction for $2.6 million to Effjohn, the mortgage holder.

July 25, 2003

Bill and Ginger visit the Enchanted Isle in Violet, Louisiana, in order to obtain information and photographs of the ship for the Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro ("EA") Mooremack page.  Deciding there is just too much information for the EA site, the idea for this web site was born. 

August 25, 2003

Still laid up in Violet, Louisiana, being purchased by a company unknown to the public.  The company's representative stated she will be heading shortly towards South Africa for the breakers.  ALTHOUGH, according to David Collins of Sea Containers Chartering, she is not guaranteed for scrap, but might make another comeback.

August 28, 2003

David Collins of Sea Containers Chartering (the broker), stated the Enchanted Isle was sold from Effjohn International Cruise Holdings, Inc. to Kanika Marine Limited at 16:00 hrs. London time (10:00 hrs. local time New Orleans).  Captain Pavlos has left the ship. 

September 2, 2003

Before the closing last week, there was the possibility of two other companies wanting to purchase her and sail her once again, but they did not come through.  We understand at this time the ship is going to the breakers in South Africa.

September 5, 2003

The Enchanted Isle was sold for $2.08 million (less than 1/10th than what it cost to build her).  According to some sources, the ship will be leaving this month to head for the breakers in India. 

September 6, 2003

Renamed New Orleans.

September 20, 2003

The engines were being repaired so the ship will be able to travel to Alang, India, under her own power.

October 6, 2003

The Enchanted Isle is still sitting in Violet waiting for parts in order to repair her engines.  Unless we can all change her course, she is headed towards Alang. 

October 17, 2003

Cruise Ship Condos presents an offer to purchase the ship.

October 24, 2003

S.S. Argentina, n/k/a New Orleans, will be getting under way from Violet, Louisiana, tomorrow morning between 10 and 11 a.m.  Also, Cruise Ship Condos' first offer was rejected and they made a second offer.

October 25, 2003

1220 hours

Bret and Sherrie Bowen and Ginger and Bill honored the New Orleans, f/k/a Enchanted Isle, f/k/a S.S. Argentina, by saying their final goodbyes and saluting her as she began her journey towards Alang, India.  With her bow held high and a crew of 22,  we watched her leave the country of her birth for the last time with Captain Costica Dimitrescu at the helm.

October 30, 2003

The brokers informed our source that the New Orleans, f/k/a Enchanted Isle, f/k/a S.S. Argentina, is headed towards Cape Town, South Africa, where her new owners will take possession.  The new owners are remaining anonymous, but our source was told that they are NOT SCRAPPERS!  When our beloved ship is turned over in Cape Town we will be given further information.  This is still not definite, so let's not all get excited.  But we can say that it's more than just a rumor right now.  If this information is correct, the ship may have changed course at the last minute or the Captain and crew were not allowed to say anything to us. 

November 19, 2003

We have been contacted by a Romanian journalist, Carol Harsan, who is writing a story on the Captain explaining "that a captain leading a ship on the ocean is a symbol of a dreamed freedom," and will also write "about our passion for the ship." 

November 21, 2003

THE LOVELY LADY is now owned by Global Marketing Systems, Inc. who sent a representative to India today to close the scrapping deal on her.  She passed Yemen today and will arrive in India on November 28 or 29.  They are open to selling her for other than scrap (approx. $4M) but would need something firm by Monday, the 24th.  The market is up and they want it closed now.  At this time she is in the same condition as when she left Violet but her liquor has been removed. 

December 4, 2003

The ship arrived in Alang, India.

December 8, 2003

Today begins the high tides in Alang for ships to be beached.  The high tides continue thru the 12th, and then again from the 21st thru the 28th.  The Enchanted Isle may be beached as early as today.


December 9, 1958


December 9, 2003

The last U.S. built ocean passenger luxury liner that had been completed in 1958 and began her life as the S.S. Argentina, was beached today under a full moon at 0030 hrs.  While the Angels of the Sea are holding her in their arms, she will be ripped apart.  


Please keep your memories coming so that we may share them with the world.  As long as there are those of us that are alive and remember her, she will not be forgotten. 

December 26, 2003

Posted on Maritime Matters - New Orleans (Enchanted Isle) has already had her nose sheared off.  Her fittings are being claimed by local trades people.  She is beached near two other ships, far out from shore.

February 22, 2004

Posted on Maritime Matters - New Orleans (Enchanted Isle) is bowless and sternless.  Cutting has claimed part of her forward superstructure and much of her side plating.  Work on her appears to be thirty percent complete as huge chunks of her hull and structure lay alongside awaiting further cutting. 


(See photos of her death on this site.)

March 22, 2004

Posted on Maritime Matters - New Orleans, originally the Argentina, is 50% gone. Work has eliminated her foredecks and cutting of the superstructure underneath her radio mast has begun. Most of her stern is also gone, having been cut all the way forward to her uptakes, leaving her shaft tunnels exposed. In what seems to be a new pattern of dismantling, several large pieces have been gouged out of her sides.

June 22, 2004

Posted on Maritime Matters - New Orleans (ex Argentina, Enchanted Isle) is now down to the final stages of dismantling with only a waterline height segment of her aft quarters remaining.

August 2004

The New Orleans / S.S. Argentina is now only a memory.  Rest in peace, dear lady; you certainly deserve it. 





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