White Star Line: SS Belgic
White Star Line Ceric / Belgic IV 1917-1936
An interesting beginning for this (originally) White Star Line vessel to be named Ceric intended to replace Titanic in 1914. However the outbreak of WWI changed all of that. She was built by Harland & Wolff, at Belfast and during the construction, White Star decided to go with the name of Belgic IV. She was launched in January 1914, but not yet completed when World War I began later that year and the work was stopped. Belgic IV was eventually completed in 1917, but as a troop transport and freighter rather than the passenger liner she was designed to be. She entered service as Belgic IV since Red Star had suspended operations when its European base, Antwerp, was overrun by the Germans in 1915.
As Belgic, she was a 24,547 ton ship with two funnels, three masts and no superstructure. After the war she was extensively rebuilt, and emerged in 1923 as Red Star's Belgenland, 27,132 tons with three funnels, two masts and a four deck superstructure and accommodations for 2,500. Belgenland was by far the largest ship ever owned by Red Star, nearly twice the size of the 18,694 ton Lapland.
Belgenland made her first passenger-carrying voyage on 4 April 1923, from Antwerp to New York, with a call at Southampton. Often used for cruising, she made her last commercial Atlantic crossing in March 1933 and was laid up for most of the next two years. In January 1935 she was sold to Atlantic Transport, renamed Columbia and placed on Panama Pacific's New York-California service. This service proved unprofitable, so in April 1936 she crossed the Atlantic for the last time, to be scrapped.
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