Burning Of The Reina
By James Donahue
The Greek cruise ship
Reina Del Mar caught fire and burned to destruction at Ambelaki, Perama on May 28, 1981, thus ending a strange 30-year existence
as a ship of multiple names and multiple owners.
At the time of its burning,
the 561-foot-long, single stack liner was chartered by SUR-Seereisen in Germany, given its final name, and was in the process
of a complete renovation. The company had plans to use the Reina Del Mar for a series of Mediterranean cruises during the
summer of 1881.
Before the work was completed
a fire broke out that gutted the superstructure containing the passenger cabins. The fire caused extensive damage but did
not destroy the ship. But as the damaged liner was being towed from Ambelakia, the tow line parted and the ship floated off
until it went aground on Salamina Island, off the coast of Greece.
Salvagers refloated the
vessel and towed it into Kynosoura, in Parama Bay where it was moored next to another fire-gutted vessel, the Rosa Savag.
On June 1, a second mysterious fire broke out on the Reina del Mar. The ship was scuttled in an attempt to contain the fire.
The burning wreck turned on its side and was declared a total loss.
The vessel was launched
in 1950 as the Ocean Monarch for Furness Withy of England and operated under that name for 15 years. It was then sold to a
Bulgarian company and operated for the next three years under the name Varna.
The liner spent much
of the 1970s in lay-up while ownership apparently passed from various shipping companies. In 1977 the vessel’s name
was changed to Riviera. It took its final name in 1980.
The Reina del Mar was
a modest sized vessel. She carried a crew of 250 and had facilities for up to 414 first class passengers.