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The Fleets

Atlantic and Caribbean Steam Navigation Co. / Red "D" Line

Founded in 1881 and was a successor to Boulton, Bliss and Dallett & Co. who operated services to Venezuela. Commonly known as the Red "D" Line as they flew a white houseflag with a large red D in the center. Passenger services operated between New York, San Juan, Curacao, La Guaira and Puerto Cabello and returned to New York via Curacao and San Juan. Another service operated to Mayaguez, La Guaira, Curacao and Maracaibo. The company and it's services were taken over by the Grace Line in 1937.

commentary submitted by Christopher Dallett

I did want to make a correction regarding company name. Atlantic and Caribbean Navigation Company was a successor to Dallett, Boulton and Bliss & Co. The 'D' in house flag reflected the primary partner in the company which was the Dallett family. The Boulton family were the Venezuelan agents to the company; and the Bliss family were partners through marriage to the Dallett family. Prior to that the shipping line was the principal operation of Dallett & Co. of Philadelphia. The shipping line was originally founded by John Dallett with his brother, Thomas in 1820 in Philadelphia. Before that, John Dallett hired boats to ship coffee from Venezuela beginning in 1810. The Red 'D' line is still considered to be the oldest and longest running merchant shipping line in American maritime history. My grandfather, John Dallett IV was the last president of the line. He subsequently went on to create Trident Trawling Co. of New London, Ct. and Brooklyn, NY. He created the largest NE fleet of fishing trawlers during WWII. The trawlers were built of wood by Wilbur Morse, Jr. in Thomaston, Me. Many of the trawlers are still in service in the New Bedford fleet.

Red D Line started shipping operations between Philadelphia and Venezuela under its house flag in 1820. It's founder John Dallett had previously imported coffee and other raw materials on leased vessels beginning in 1802. The formation of the Atlantic and Caribbean Navigation Co. in 1881 occurred when operations formally moved from Philadelphia to New York. My grandfather, John Dallett V was the last President of the Line. He subsequently formed Trident Fishing Co. of Brooklyn, NY, New London, Ct., and S. Thomaston, Me. Many of the trawlers he ran were built by Wilbur Morse, Sr. in S. Thomaston, Me. The Red D Line, I believe, still holds the honour of being the longest running shipping line in U.S. maritime history at a hundred and nineteen years. 1939 was its last year in operation.

C.J. Dallett

Many thanks to Ted Finch for his assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.

Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Carabobo 1923 1937 transferred to Grace Line and sold to Northland Transp. Co. renamed North Coast. 2,916
Caracas (1) 1881 1888 sold to Oregon Pacific Railway Co. renamed Yaquina, wrecked on delivery voyage. 1,500
Caracas (2) 1889 1926 scrapped. 2,856
Caracas (3) 1927 1937 transferred to Grace Line, 1938 sold to Alaska SS Co. renamed Denali. 3,365
Curacao 1895 1898 sold to Pacific Coast SS Co. 1,503
Falcon 1919 ex- Rock Island, 1925 purchased from US Shipping Board renamed Falcon, 1938 transferred to Grace Line, 1948 scrapped. 2,966
Lara 1919 ex- Moline, 1925 purchased from US Shipping Board renamed Lara, 1938 transferred to Grace Line, 1948 scrapped. 2,967
Maracaibo (1) 1873 1879 purchased from HAPAG by H. Boulton, Trinidad, 1887 purchased by Boulton, Bliss & Dallett renamed Bermudez, 1888 sunk in collision in Orinoco River. 252
Maracaibo (2) 1880 1889 renamed Merida, 1911 scrapped. 2,500
Maracaibo (3) 1889 1898 wrecked at Guazare, Venezuela. 2,856
Maracaibo (4) 1899 1930 sold to Cia de Nav. Carenero. 1,775
Philadelphia 1885 1925 scrapped. 2,520
Tachira 1920 ex- Elizabeth R., 1922 purchased from McDougall-Duluth SB Co. renamed Tachira, 1938 transferred to Grace Line, 1942 torpedoed and sunk. 2,325
Trujillo 1918 ex- Lake Ogden, 1925 purchased from US Shipping Board renamed Trujillo, 1938 sold to Mexico renamed Emancipacion. 2,013
Valencia 1882 1898 sold to Pacific Coast SS Co. 1,598
Venezuela 1889 1898 to US Navy as transport Panther. 2,500
Zulia 1901 1925 stranded at Los Roques, 1931 explosion at Ponce, later scrapped. 1,713

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