The steam cargo ship was launched in 1928 in Howden on Tyne at the shipyard Northumberland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. (yard number 404) and was delivered in January 1929 to the Greek Owner Company Kassos Steam Navigation in Syra. The Pnevmatikos, Rethymnis, Yannaghas company in London took over her management. With the registration under Greek flag the HADIOTIS received the callsign SVFF and the official number 220. She was equipped with a triple expansion steam engine (462 NHP) built by Richardson, Westgarth & Co. Ltd. of Hartlepool and her boilers were coal-fired. Cargo gear consisted of 10 steam winches and 10 derricks.
In order to secure the supply of Switzerland, the federal War Transport Office (WTO) chartered on 22.12.1939 this Greek cargo ship for the government under Bareboat-Charter and handed over her management to the Honegger & Ascott Company in London. During a heavy storm the s/s HADIOTIS stranded on 15.02.1941 near the Portuguese port of Leixões, after a collision with the Brazilian s/s CUYABA. The ship suffered heavy damage. On 25.04.1941 the ship was refloated and towed to Lisbon, where she was declared as a constructive total loss.
Meanwhile the WTO bought the wreck on 15.09.1941 for the Swiss government and repaired her in Lisbon during three months to become a seaworthy ship again. On 30.12.1941 the WTO put the cargo ship as EIGER under Swiss flag (Official No.: 8 ) into commission of the economic supply of the country. With the registration she received the call sign HBDL (new capacity: GRT: 4386, NRT: 2639, DWT: 8137). The Honegger & Ascott Company in London, which managed all the ships of the Swiss government, took over also her management. On 31.12.1941 the formal christening of the ship took place and already on 10.01.1942 the steamer sailed to Genoa under the command of the Portuguese master Joâo Quirinha. As from November 1943 until about summer 1947 the Swiss captain Fritz Gerber was in command, probably with some interruptions for vacation, other masters were also on board, for example captain Elyseu.
On a voyage to the USA the EIGER suffered a broken propeller shaft on 13.12.1944 and subsequently the ship was towed for repairs to the island of Bermuda, about 300 miles.
On 09.10.1946 the EIGER collided during shifting in the port of Santos with the Brazilian flagged freighter CLAUDIA M and subsequently was repaired in a dry dock in Rio de Janeiro (see also report below).
After the war, as the Swiss government sold all its maritime ships, this cargo ship went for 2 million Swiss francs to the Swiss Shipping Co. Ltd., Basle on 10.04.1947. She was renamed CRISTALLINA and her first voyage under the command of the Swiss Captain Fritz Gerber commenced on 12.04.1947 from Genoa to Houston in order to load a cargo of sulphur for Rotterdam.
On 07.01.1949 the ship was sold to the Compañia Victoria de Vapores S.A. at Panama and renamed NICKY. Call sign: n/a. In March 1949 the ship was converted from a coal- to an oil-burner.
In 1951 she was sold to Kawasaki Kisen K.K. at Kobe and renamed FUJIKAWA MARU, GRT: 4361, NRT: 2551, DWT: 8107, call sign JFEF. Official No.: 67142.
In 1957 sold to Hakuyo Kisen K.K. at Tokyo and renamed TENSHO MARU GRT: 4361, NRT: 2547, DWT: 8107.
In August 1963 the ship was scrapped in Osaka.
Additional Informationen and Stories
Collision of EIGER in the port of Santos, Brazil, October 9, 1946
In the evening of 09.10.1946 the EIGER was shifting with two harbour tugs and without engine power upriver to shed 26. She was under the command of Capt. Fritz Gerber and pilot Paulo Ribeiro Torres. At 17:20 the Brazilian freighter CLAUDIO M under Capt. Marcos Oto and pilot Aquiles Facao left shed 2 to in the direction of the open sea.
When the CLAUDIA M rounded Paquetá corner (location of all the great seamen's bars, remark of the translator), the EIGER was first observed, being towed stern first towards her new berth. At 17:43 the CLAUDIA M collided in the vicinity of shed 25 with her portside with the stern of the EIGER, first her fore ship, then her mid ship was hit.
The EIGER was caught by the outflowing current and pushed across the navigation channel. The CLAUDIA M tried to turn to starboard, but the space was very narrow and limited from the wreck of the BRITT MARIE. Moreover the British vessel MONTEVIDEO was laying at the pier, she was also lightly touched. Although the tug NEPTUNO pulled the EIGER with full power and CLAUDIA M turned her propeller full astern, the collision could not be avoided. According the interrogated eye witnesses, the CLAUDIO M was steaming at about 8 to 10 knots and with her bow wave clearly visible. An interesting detail, in the engine log book of the CLAUDIA M no manoeuvre entries were found during the entire time of the collision…
Due to the heavy blow suffered and to evaluate the damages, the command of the CLAUDIA M decided to anchor near Pau Grande. A few drums with acid had to be re-lashed and the bilges were dipped, but found dry. At 18:15 she left this temporary anchorage to shift to the anchorage. Again the bilges were sounded and in hold No. 1 starboard 1,066 meter of water was discovered.
The late Albert Vogel was on board the EIGER as 3rd. officer and in this capacity on the bridge during the incident. In his recollections he has confirmed above story and we refrain from translating this German text. The EIGER shifted later also to the anchorage, which was crowded with ships. At anchor the ship had light contact on the stern with the American Liberty-ship HUBERT HOWE BANCROFT and with the Norwegian freighter TROUBADOUR. The EIGER had her rudder jammed and her stern indented.
The EIGER was towed to Rio de Janeiro and entered the graving dock in Niteroi, opposite of Rio de Janeiro in the bay of Guanabara, where all her damages were repaired.
The first investigations were made by the Capitania Sao Paulo (port authorities) under captain-lieutenant Haroldo Gonçalves Pereira, then the case was presented to the high marine court at Rio de Janeiro. The court presided by judge Gustavo Goulart, vice-admiral concluded on 25.11.1947, that the heavy current caused the collision and the captains and pilots were not guilty. It was declared a case of "FORÇA MAIOR" (force majeure). However a small, indirect blame was apportioned to the captain and the pilot of the CLAUDIA M. Then the file was closed.
SwissShips - HPS, MB, W. Freitag, B. Pfiffner, D. Bücheler, C. Dufriche, November 2013