Military Wiki
Ocean ship
Class overview
Builders: various
Operators: Ministry of War Transport
Built: October 1941 - November 42
In service: 1941 - 1985[1]
Completed: 57
Lost: 18 (to enemy action)
8 (accidents)
Scrapped: 33 (including two ships lost to enemy action and subsequently salvaged)
General characteristics
Type: Cargo ship
Tonnage: 7,174 GRT
Length: 416 ft (127 m)
Beam: 57 ft (17 m)
Installed power: Triple expansion steam engine
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h)

The Ocean ships were a class of 57 cargo ships built in the Second World War for the British Ministry of War Transport. Sixteen were lost to enemy action, and the survivors were sold into merchant service postwar.


The Oceans were of steel construction with a welded hull. They were all nominally 7,174 GRT with a length of 416 ft (127 m) and a beam of 57 ft (17 m). They were built by a variety of shipbuilders in the United States.[2]


The Oceans were originally built for the Ministry of War Transport. Five of them were transferred to foreign governments during the war.[2]

Country Ship
 Belgium Ocean Veteran
 Netherlands Ocean Athlete
Ocean Merchant
Ocean Victory
 Poland Ocean Hope

Eighteen ships were lost to enemy action during the war, although two were later salvaged and returned to service.

Ship Details
Ocean Courage Torpedoed on 15 January 1943 and sunk by U-182 at 10°52′N 23°28′W / 10.867°N 23.467°W / 10.867; -23.467 (Ocean Courage).[3]
Ocean Crusader Torpedoed on 26 November 1942 and sunk by U-262 at 50°30′N 45°30′W / 50.5°N 45.5°W / 50.5; -45.5 (Ocean Crusader) with the loss of all hands.[3]
Ocean Freedom Bombed on 13 March 1943 by the Luftwaffe and sunk at Murmansk. Refloated on 1 June 1943 and beached in the Kola Inlet where she was scrapped.[3]
Ocean Honour Torpedoed and sunk by I-29 on 16 September 1942 at 12°48′N 50°50′E / 12.8°N 50.833°E / 12.8; 50.833 (Ocean Honour)[3]
Ocean Justice Torpedoed and sunk by U-505 on 6 November 1942 at 10°06′N 60°00′W / 10.1°N 60°W / 10.1; -60 (Ocean Justice).[3]
Ocean Hunter Torpedoed and sunk by Luftwaffe aircraft on 10 January 1944 at 36°07′N 00°11′W / 36.117°N 0.183°W / 36.117; -0.183 (Ocean Hunter).[3]
Ocean Might Torpedoed and sunk by U-109 on 2 September 1942 at 00°57′N 04°11′W / 0.95°N 4.183°W / 0.95; -4.183 (Ocean Might).[3]
Ocean Peace Bombed and sunk by aircraft on 12 July 1943 off Sicily at 36°55′N 15°13′E / 36.917°N 15.217°E / 36.917; 15.217 (Ocean Peace).[3]
Ocean Seaman Torpedoed on 15 March 1943 by U-380 at 36°55′N 01°59′E / 36.917°N 1.983°E / 36.917; 1.983 (Ocean Seaman). Beached at Algiers, Algeria but declared a total loss.[3]
Ocean Vagabond Torpedoed and sunk by U-186 at 57°17′N 20°11′W / 57.283°N 20.183°W / 57.283; -20.183 (Ocean Vagabond) on 10 January 1943.[4]
Ocean Vanguard Torpedoed on 17 September 1942 and sunk by U-515 at 10°43′N 60°11′W / 10.717°N 60.183°W / 10.717; -60.183 (Ocean Vanguard).[4]
Ocean Venture Torpedoed on 8 February 1942 and sunk by U-108 at 37°05′N 74°46′W / 37.083°N 74.767°W / 37.083; -74.767 (Ocean Venture).[4]
Ocean Venus Torpedoed and sunk by U-564 on 3 May 1942 at 28°23′N 80°21′W / 28.383°N 80.35°W / 28.383; -80.35 (Ocean Venus).[4]
Ocean Viking Struck a mine on 11 October 1943 at 40°19′N 16°59′E / 40.317°N 16.983°E / 40.317; 16.983 (Ocean Viking) and badly damaged. Scuttled as a breakwater at Bari, Italy in January 1944. Salvaged in 1947, repaired and returned to service.[4]
Ocean Vintage Torpedoed by I-27 on 22 October 1943 sinking at 21°37′N 60°06′E / 21.617°N 60.1°E / 21.617; 60.1 (Ocean Vintage).[4]
Ocean Virtue Bombed by the Luftwaffe off Augusta, Sicily, 21 July 1943, caught fire and sank. Salvaged later that year and later rebuilt as a cargo liner.[4]
Ocean Voice Torpedoed on 22 September 1942 and sunk by German submarine U-435 at 71°23′N 11°01′W / 71.383°N 11.017°W / 71.383; -11.017 (Ocean Voice).[4]
Ocean Voyager Bombed by the Luftwaffe on 19 March 1943 off Tripoli, Libya. This ship was sunk in the first mass attack by the Luftwaffe using Motobomba circular torpedo's. 72 of the circling torpedo's were dropped by parachute at medium altitude from Junkers Ju 88's into the Tripoli Harbor. Captain Duncan MacKellar was killed outright along with six others, and 12 were seriously injured prior to the massive explosion the next day which sank her. Several awards for bravery resulted from the heroic actions of crew following the initial attack and fire.[4]

Eight ships were lost in accidents postwar.

Ship Details
Ocean Liberty On 14 May 1966, Newgrove ran aground at Puerto Padre, Cuba. The wreck was abandoned to the Cuban Government.[3]
Ocean Pride In 1966, Susana K L suffered a fire in her boiler room, and was subsequently scrapped.[3]
Ocean Traveller In 1959, Cape Corso was involved in a collision and grounding. She was subsequently scrapped.[3]
Ocean Verity On 5 November 1961, Clan Keith sank after hitting rocks off Cap Bon, Tunisia.[4]
Ocean Viceroy On 13 November 1966, cargo onboard Omonia II caught fire when the ship was berthed at Amsterdam, Netherlands. The ship was subsequently scrapped.[4]
Ocean Vigil On 3 December 1963, Roumeli was grounded after leaving drydock at Gijón, Spain. She was subsequently beached and scrapped.[4]
Ocean Wanderer On 2 November 1962, Santa Irene was wrecked on the Los Cabezos Shoal, off Tarifa, Spain.[4]
Ocean Wayfarer In 1953, Clan Macquarrie grounded off Troon, Scotland in a storm and was subsequently scrapped.[4]

The Oceans served until the mid-1980s, with Ocean Athlete being scrapped in 1985. Ocean Merchant was on Chinese shipping registers as Zhan Dou 26 until 1992.[3]


  1. Last confirmed scrapping, two ships may have been in service until the 1990s
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The 'Oceans'". Mariners. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 "OCEAN A - T". Mariners. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 "OCEAN V - W". Mariners. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 

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