Ships 2


Ships 3

Zeppelin In New York

German Liner Dresden Sunk In North Sea

By James Donahue

The German passenger ship Dresden made headlines in 1934 when it struck a rock formation in the North Sea, off the Norway coast, and sank the following day. But the vessel was best remembered as the Zeppelin which steamed under three different flags and served as a troop transport during World War I.

The steamer briefly sailed under the British flag with a third name, Ormuz, before being sold back to the North German Lloyd Line, its original owners.

It was the war that disrupted what should have been a long and routine service of a ship designed for passenger and freight service on the North Atlantic.

Launched just before the war in 1914, the 550-foot-long Zeppelin happened to be in New York harbor at about the time the United States entered the war. As an enemy-owned vessel, the steamer was seized by the U.S. and turned over to the Emergency Fleet Corps for wartime service.

The Navy did not acquire Zeppelin until the spring of 1919, after the war was over. But she was placed in commission as the USS Zeppelin and used as a troop transport, bringing 15,800 American soldiers back from Europe.

She made three voyages under the U.S. flag, but on its third trip remained in England where it was transferred to the British in December, 1919. The vessel was acquired by the Orient Steam Navigation Company in 1920, given the new name Ormuz, the served under that name until 1927 when ownership returned to North German Lloyd Line.

That was when the name became Dresden. She made her first voyage under the final name on Aug. 5, 1927, from Bremen to Southampton, Cherbourg and then New York. She continued this route until September, 1933 and after this was semi-retired and used only for special excursions.

Dresden was hired by the Nazi Party in 1934 and was involved in a public relations cruise in the North Sea when the vessel wrecked on Klepp Bokn Island, near Kopervik. The vessel developed a severe list and the next day heeled over and sank, carrying four sailors to their deaths.