The freighter JULIA was built after the delivery of the two Swiss vessels ALLOBROGIA and BASILEA under hull No. 537 for SGS, Société Générale de Surveillance S.A., Geneva by the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, Flensburg, FRG, Federal Republic of Germany. With approximately same dimensions the JULIA had a larger draft and therefore also about 2000 metric tons more deadweight. Therefore she was not sister ship of the previously built two ships. The keel was laid on 10.12.1951, the launching of the JULIA was on 27.08.1952 and on 22.11.1952 the freighter was delivered to her owners (registered owner: Compañia de Navegación Rio Grande S.A., Panama, call sign: HOIG, GRT: 8’606, NRT: 5’196, DWT: 11'522 metric tons).
The freighter had 5 hatches and 5 cargo holds with tween decks. The cargo gear consisted of one heavy lift derrick ("jumbo") of 25 mt SWL on the fore mast, serving hatch No. 2 and 12 Derricks of 3-6 mt SWL, served by 12 electric cargo winches. Propulsion was by one slow speed, double acting 6-cylinder crosshead diesel engine, made by MAN, Augsburg, type: 6Z70/120 developing 3500 BHP at 120 RPM.
After 15 years of service the JULIA was sold in September 1967 to the Greek company Marbienes Compañia Naviera S.A., Panama (Management: Good Hope Shipping Ltd. (J.D. Criticos), London), Piraeus for a reported price of 350'000.- GBP. She was renamed DEMOCRITOS and sailed under the Greek flag (official No: 3048, call sign: SZVN, GRT: 8’790, NRT: 3’671, DWT: 12'396 mt).
In October 1973 the ship was purchased by MSC, Mediterranean Shipping Co., Geneva (proprietor Gianluigi Aponte, from Sorrento, Italy). The ship was renamed ALEXA (named after his daughter) and was one of the first vessels of the still young shipping company MSC. Initially the ship was managed by Mediterranean Shipping Co., Brussels, Belgium and was registered under the flag of Panama (registered owner: Transoceanica Armadora S.A., Panama, official No: 5952-L, call sign: 3EAC, GRT: 8’790, NRT: 5’119, DWT: 12'396 mt).
In the course of time MSC changed the ownership conditions two times:
- In 1976 sold to Aponte Shipping Co. Ltd., Panama, same name und same flag.
- In 1977 transferred to Neptunia Transoceanica Armadora S.A. and the management was taken-over by MSC, Mediterranean Shipping Co., Geneva, same name and same flag.
On 14.07.1979, when in the port of St. Malo, France, a serious fire devastated the crew accommodations on the poop deck and two crew members lost their life. The technical equipment (like steering gear) did not suffer any damage and the ship sailed with her own power to Antwerp, where apparently the repairs were carried out and the ship continued her service.
On 23.08.1979 the ALEXA ran aground on Eliza Shoal 35 miles northwest of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (position: 21° 39' N / 38° 49' E). However, after two days the vessel became free by her own power and continued her voyage to the port of Jeddah. No serious hull damages were reported.
On 28.01.1981 the ship was sold by MSC to Astro Oriental Armadora S.A., Panama and the management was taken over by Eimbcke Trading & Shipping GmbH, & Co. K.G., Hamburg. The name changed to ALEXA IV, however the Panama flag was retained (official No: 9981-PEXT1, call sign: 3EAC).
In 1982 the freighter was sold to Al Shamsi Trading Co. Ltd., Dubai and renamed HUDAIBAH. The ship remained under the Panama flag (official No.: 9981-PEXT1, call sign: 3EAC, GRT: 8’578, NRT: 4’992, DWT: 12'200 mt).
On 09.07.1983 the ship was laid-up in Jebel Ali and sold for demolition in 1984 to S.S. International in Karachi, Pakistan. The HUDAIBAH arrived in Gadani Beach (west of Karachi) on 23.05.1984 and scrapping began on the following day.
SwissShips-MB-HPS, Oktober 2012