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The Fleets

Compagnie de Navigation Fraissinet, Marseilles

Compagnie Fraissinet was founded in January 1836 in Marseilles The paddle ship, SS Marseillais, inaugurated the line between Marseilles and Agde. The ship sank off Agde on 30 March 1837. The shipowner Théron absorbed the company and appointed Fraissinet as the director of his company. In 1837, two new ships were built, SS Rhône and SS Hérault. In 1841, Fraissinet bought the company and extended the line to Nice. In 1846, Fraissinet appointed his son Adolphe as deputy-director and extended the lines of the company to Spain, Gibraltar and Portugal.
In 1853, the company was renamed Compagnie Marseillaise de Navigation à Vapeur. SS Isabelle inaugurated in 1854 the first line Marseilles-Algiers-Spain-Portugal-Le Havre, which was the first scheduled line between Algeria and Le Havre. SS Isabelle was the first screw-propelled vessel owned by Fraissinet. The Algiers-Le Havre line was abandoned after the collision of SS Normandie with a Dutch ship in 1857.
In 1860, the company owned ten vessels but had to face an increased competition on the Italian market. Fraissinet extended his lines to Naples and Levant, increased the capital of the company and purchased six new ships in 1865. Scheduled lines with Corsica and Leghorn were opened in 1868. On 8 January 1870, SS Asie was the first merchant vessel to transit the Suez Canal to India. In 1870, Fraissinet owned 20 vessels and operated scheduled lines to Bombay, Malta, Port-Said, Constantinople, Italy, Corsica and Languedoc. Due to the Franco-Prussian war, the service to India was suppressed, the service to Corsica was postponed and several ships were sold.

PosterThe company resurfaced in 1874 as Nouvelle Société Maritime de Navigation à Vapeur (Compagnie Fraissinet). The company was granted the postal service to Corsica by the French government. In 1878, a line was opened between Sète and Genoa, and the existing Levant lines extended to Palestine and Odessa. On 18 December 1878, the Byzantin sunk off Gallipoli, causing the death of c. 150 of the 250 passengers of the ship. In 1889, Fraissinet was granted the postal service to western Africa and Congo. Fraissinet absorbed the Corsican company Morelli and its five ships in 1892.
At the end of the XIXth century, Fraissinet served lines to Languedoc, Corsica (postal service), Sardinia, Italy, the French and Italian Rivieras, Constantinople, the Black Sea and the mouth of Danube, Oran, Dakar and Libreville (postal service).
On 7 June 1903, SS Liban collided with SS Insulaire a few miles off the port of Marseilles, causing the death of c. 100. The accident deeply affected the city of Marseilles and a violent press campaign broke out against Fraissinet, which lost the postal service to Corsica in 1904. However, Compagnie Française de Navigation et de Construction Navale could not fulfill the contract, which was returned to Fraissinet in 1905.

The Fraissinet fleet was severely damaged during the First World War. SS Balkan (August 1918), Suzette-Fraissinet (May 1918), Marc-Fraissinet (October 1917), Esterel (April 1917), Golo (August 1917) and Italia (May 1917) were sunk by German or Austrian U-boats.
When the war ended, only ten ships had survived. Alfred Fraissinet reorganized his company and favoured the Corsican and Algerian lines. In 1927, the postal contract to Corsica was extended for 20 years, and a new series of modern ships were built (SS Cap-Corse, Ville-d'Ajaccio, Cyrnos, Ile-de-Beauté, Pascal-Paoli). In 1930, Fraissinet set up an alliance with Fabre and Chargeurs Réunis for a joint service to western Africa. The service to the Black Sea, suffering from the Italian competition, was cancelled in 1931 after 50 years of uninterrupted service (including during wartime).
In 1935, the company was renamed Compagnie de Navigation Fraissinet. The Fraissinet-Fabre-Chargeurs alliance dissolved and Fraissinet took over control of Fabre, abandoning Chargeurs Réunis. In 1938, Fraissinet attempted to set up joint services with Paquet. The company then owned 14 ships. The Second World War caused great damage to the company. One of the few ships left by the Germans to the French merchant navy, MS Général-Bonaparte, was sunk by a British submarine on 19 May 1943 off Corsica.

In 1948, the service to Corsica was granted to Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, which incorporated Fraissinet's Corsican fleet. Fraissinet redirected its activity to the western coat of Africa, purchasing banana boats and liners.
In 1955, Fraissinet and Fabre merged into Compagnie de Navigation Fraissinet et Cyprien Fabre, but the two companies kept sailing in their respective domains, western Africa for Fraissinet and America for Fabre. In 1959, they founded Compagnie Ivoirienne de Consignation Maritime and placed two ships under the flag of Côte-d'Ivoire. A succession of incorporations and mergings with Société Générale des Transports Maritimes, Fabre and Chargeurs Réunis could not avoid the lowering of the flag by Fraissinet in 1968, the tanker Alfred-Fraissinet being the last ship of the company, which eventually withdrew from shipping activity in 1974.

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.

White with black top.


Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Alfred Fraissinet 1959 tanker, 1968 sold to Liberia renamed Elektra, 1972 renamed Norfolk, 1979 scrapped. 22,068
Amerique 1879 1904 sunk in collision with s/s Solferino in Strait of Messina. 2,036
Antoine Fraissinet 1903 1903 wrecked Cape Palmas. 2,034
Asie 1865 no further info 1,164
Balkan 1882 1918 torpedoed and sunk by UB.48 off Ile Rousse. 1,778
Bambara 1958 built for Fraissinet & Fabre Lines, 1961 transferred to Compagnie Ivoirienne, Ivory Coast, 1973 sold to Saudi Arabia renamed Al Qaseem, 1986 sold United Arab Emirates renamed Romeo, 1986 scrapped. 4,410
Barracuda 1960 built for Fraissinet & Fabre Lines, 1964 transferred to SGTM, 1977 sold Greece renamed Golden Star, 1978 renamed Khalij Star, 1980 scrapped. 4,797
Benty 1938 1942 seized by Germans, 1943 bombed and sunk at Naples, 1948 raised and scrapped. 2,983
Braila 1881 1902 sold to E. Caillol-Duvillard, Marseille renamed Algerien, 1913 sold to Cie de Nav.. Mixte, Marseille, 1915 shelled and sunk by U.33 off Sardinia. 1,746
Bucarest 1881 1882 wrecked Black Sea. 1,725
Byzantin 1854 1878 sank off Gallipolli ; loss of 150 lives. 906
Cap Corse 1929 1944 scuttled at Marseille and scrapped in situ. 2,444
Cap des Palmes 1935 1939 requisitioned by French Navy, 1942 MOWT, Hamilton, Bermuda, 1945 returned to owners, 1957 sold to Cie de Nav. Fruitiere, Nantes renamed Banora, 1963 sold to Morocco, 1965 sank near Cabo Villano. 2,983
Cavally 1905 built as Wartburg for Hansa Line, Bremen, 1919 war reparations to Britain, 1921 sold to Glover Bros, London renamed Berkut, 1926 purchased by Fraissinet renamed Cavally, 1933 scrapped. 4,295
Comoe 1957 built for Fraissinet & Fabre Lines, 1964 sold to SGTM, 1975 sold to Saudi Arabia renamed Naseem 1980 scrapped. 4,370
Corsica 1904 1907 purchased from Cie Mediterraneenne de Nav., Marseille, 1930 scrapped. 1,284
Corte 1906 1910 sold to Spain renamed Rey Jaime II, 1963 scrapped. 1,380
Corte II 1911 1936 sold to Handris SS Co., Malta renamed Patris, 1941 burnt out at Piraeus after German air attack. 1,706
Cyrnos (1) 1890 1910 sold to Spain renamed Mallorca, 1913 wrecked near Ibiza. 1,027
Cyrnos (2) 1929 Cyrnos 1929 2,406 tons, 1940 requisitioned by French Navy, 1943 seized by Germans, 1948 French Government, 1966 scrapped. 2,406
Djoliba 1948 1955 transferred to Fraissinet & Fabre Line, 1961 sold East Germany renamed John Brinckmann, 1973 sold Panama renamed Fair Fruit, 1974 scrapped. 4,895
Douala 1957 built as Guatemala for Nicaraguan owners, 1960 purchased by Fraissinet & Fabre Lines renamed Douala, 1963 sank off Newfoundland. 3,419
Dubreka 1948 built for Fabre Line, 1955 transferred to Fraissinet & Fabre Line, 1962 sold East Germany renamed Fritz Reuter, 1973 sold Panama renamed Early Fruit, 1974 scrapped. 4,895
Duquesne 1955 built for Fabre Line, 1955 transferred to Fraissinet & Fabre Line, 1956 sold to Chargeurs Reunis renamed Manga, 1962 sold to China Nav. Co. renamed Tsingtao, 1968 renamed Island Chief, 1970 renamed Tsingtao, 1972 renamed Tauloto, 1973 sold Somalia renamed Soochow, 1977 renamed Wenchow, 1980 scrapped. 5,588
Esterel 1904 1917 torpedoed and sunk by U.52 off Port Vendres. 2,574
Europe 1873 ex- Tartar, 1878 purchased from New York, London & China SS Co., London, 1880 renamed Europe, 1894 scrapped. 2,254
Faraman 1899 ex- Fremington, 1902 purchased from Liverpool and North Devon SS Co. renamed Faraman, 1910 sold to Soc. Anon. des Transports Cotiers, Marseille, 1929 sold Morocco renamed Caid Aziz, 1933 sold Spain renamed Jose Trujillo, 1941 renamed Crespi, 1943 sold Germany renamed Simferopol, 1944 renamed Celsius, 1944 scuttled at Piraeus. 344
Felix Fraissinet (1) 1894 ex- Dionee, 1900 purchased from A.Le Quellec, Algiers renamed Felix Fraissinet, 1914 sold to Biriaco, Catania renamed Roma, 1916 shelled and sunk by U.35 off Minorca. 2,471
Felix Fraissinet (2) 1919 1933 sold to Bulgaria renamed Knyaguinya Maria Louisa, 1941 bombed and sunk by British aircraft at Piraeus. 3,807
Foch 1951 1955 transferred to Fraissinet & Fabre Line, 1965 transferred to Novelle Cie de Paquetbots, 1967 sold to China Ocean Shipping Co renamed Jian Hua, 1985 scrapped. 8,250
Frontenec 1955 built for Fabre Line, 1955 transferred to Fraissinet & Fabre Line, 1956 sold to Chargeurs Reunis renamed Maroua, 1961 sold to China Nav. Co. renamed Tientsin, 1969 renamed Six Stars,1971 sold to Nilnmore Ltd., London renamed Tientsin, 1973 transferred to Somalia, 1975 scrapped. 5,588
Galatz 1881 1900 wrecked near Almeria. 1,750
General Bonaparte 1923 19th May 1943 torpedoed and sunk by HMS Sportsman off Nice. 2,796
General Mangin 1953 1955 transferred to Fraissinet & Fabre Line, 1965 transferred to Nouvelle Cie de Paquetbots, 1969 sold Philippines renamed President, 1972 sold Panama renamed Eastern Queen, 1977 sold Bangladesh renamed Hizbul Bahr, 1981 renamed Shaheed Salahuddin, 1985 scrapped. 12,457
General Paoli 1874 1881 wrecked in fog near Ile de Levant. 548
Golconde 1882 1884 sold to La Veloce, Genoa renamed Matteo Bruzzo, 1900 renamed Citta di Genova, 1907 scrapped. 3,919
Golo 1906 1914 requisitioned by French Navy renamed Golo II., 1917 torpedoed and sunk by UC.22 off Corfu. 1,380
Henry Fraissinet 1903 1928 renamed Huveaune, 1933 scrapped. 2,642
Herault 1837 no further info n/a
Hoggar 1924 1954 scrapped. 5,146
Huveaune 1902 see Henry Fraissinet. 2,642
Iberia 1904 1907 purchased from Cie Mediterraneenne de Nav, Marseille, 1930 scrapped. 1,284
Ile de Beaute 1930 1943 seized by Germans renamed Kreta, 21st Sep.1943 torpedoed and sunk by HMS Unseen in Gulf of Genoa. 2,600
Iles de Los 1934 1935 wrecked near Casablanca. 2,778
Ingo   see Oueme.  
Insulaire 1892 ex- Victoria, 1899 purchased from G. Lawson & Sons, Hull renamed Insulaire, 1910 sold to Greece renamed Eperoki, 1933 renamed Zakynthos, 1941 bombed and sunk in air attack. 688
Isabelle 1853 no further info n/a
Italia 1904 1907 purchased from Cie. Mediterranéenne de Nav., Marseille, 1914 requisitioned by French Navy, 1917 torpedoed and sunk by U.4 off Santa Maria de Leuca. 1,284
Jacques Fraissinet 1915 1929 wrecked Cape Kuratan. 3,953
Jean Mermoz 1957 built for Fraissinet & Fabre Lines, 1965 transferred to Nouvelle Cie de Paquetbots, 1970 renamed Mermoz, 1984 transferred to Bahamas registry, 1999 sold Cyprus renamed Serenade, 2008 renamed Serena, 2008 scrapped. 12,460
Joliette 1953 built for Fabre Line, 1955 transferred to Fraissinet & Fabre Line, 1964 transferred to SGTM, 1972 sold Cyprus renamed Sophie, 1999 deleted from registers. 1,590
Liamone 1906 1933 sold to Cie Generale Aero-Postale, Dakar renamed Aero-Postale V, 1934 renamed Air France V, 1937 scrapped. 1,380
Liban 1882 1903 sank in collision off Marseilles with s/s Insulaire ; loss of 100 lives. 2,308
Louis Fraissinet 1914 1934 sold to Bulgaria renamed Balkan, 1943 torpedoed and sunk by HMS Sportsman off Lemnos. 3,823
Marc Fraissinet 1902 1917 torpedoed and sunk by UB.50 off Cape Bengut. 3,060
Marquette 1953 built for Fabre Line, 1955 transferred to Fraissinet & Fabre Line, 1964 caught fire in Atlantic and scrapped. 1,838
Marseilles 1836 no further info n/a
Niger 1901 ex- Nigeria, built for Elder Dempster & Co., 1918 The Shipping Controller, London, 1921 purchased by Fraissinet renamed Niger, 1931 scrapped. 3,755
Normandie 1855 1859 sold Konink Nederlandsche Stoom Mij., Amsterdam renamed Willem de Derde, 1870 wrecked. 582
Numidia 1904 1907 purchased from Cie Mediterraneenne de Nav, Marseille,1931 sold to Greece renamed Kimon, 1937 renamed Leonia, 1937 renamed Aristone, 1938 renamed Sokratis, 1941 sunk by air attack. 1,284
Oueme 1912 built as Ingo for Hamburg Bremer Afrika Line, 1919 war reparations to France, 1921 purchased by Fraissinet, 1923 renamed Oueme, 1936 sold to Chandris, Piraeus renamed Mimis Chandris, 1938 sold Finland renamed Ahtari, 1939 renamed Martti-Ragnar, 1940 seized by Germany renamed Herrenwyk, 1942 mined and sunk. 3,682
Pascal Paoli 1932 1939-1940 French Navy, 1943 seized by Germans, handed to Italy and renamed Altamura, 1944 sunk at La Spezia by air attack. 3,200
Pelion 1883 1923 sold to Iran renamed Teheran, 1924 sold Turkey renamed Millet, 1938 sunk in collision with s/s Nicolaos Nomicos near Eregli. 1,794
Planier 1890 ex- Mechelin, 1898 purchased from E. Doriga, Santander renamed Planier, 1905 sunk in collision with s/s La Marsa off Cette. 334
Professeur Emile Lagarde 1942 ex- Empire Symbol, built for MOWT, Glasgow, 1945 sold to Fraissinet renamed Professeur Emile Lagarde, 1955 transferred to Fraissinet & Fabre Line, 1956 sold Liberia renamed North Baroness, 1959 sold Turkey renamed Anadolu, 1967 scrapped. 7,027
Rhone 1837 no further info n/a
Sampiero Corso 1936 1940 requisitioned by French Navy, 1943 seized by Germans, handed to Italy renamed Canosa, 1944 torpedoed and sunk by HMS Universal off Cassis, 1945 raised and repaired, 1947 returned to owners renamed Sampiero Corso, 1948 French Government, 1967 sold Panama renamed Fortune Mariner, 1968 scrapped. 3,823
Stamboul 1881 1915 sold to French Line (CGT) renamed La Nievre, 1929 scrapped. 2,297
Suzette Fraissinet 1892 ex- Eleni Millas, 1900 purchased from Vagliano Bros, Piraeus renamed Suzette Fraissinet, 1918 torpedoed andsunk by UB.52 off Cape Spartivento. 2,381
Tabor 1886 ex- Clara, 1890 purchased from G. Tweedy & Co., London renamed Tabor, 1905 sold Italy, 1907 sold Oran renamed Oranie, 1912 renamed Afrique, 1916 sunk by UB.37 in English Channel. 1,868
Tamara 1937 1942 seized by Germans, handed to Italy renamed Saluzzo, 1944 scuttled at Marseille, 1948 raised and returned to owners, 1955 transferred to Fraissinet & Fabre Line, 1960 scrapped. 3,747
Tarpon 1960 built for Fraissinet & Fabre Lines, 1964 transferred to SGTM, 1978 sold Greece renamed Khalij Sky, 1983 transferred to Panama registry, 1984 scrapped. 4,903
Tartar   see Europe.  
Taurus 1882 1909 sold to Cie Nouvelle Mediterraneenne de Nav, Marseille renamed Jeanne d'Arc, 1913 sold to French Line (CGT), 1924 scrapped. 1,797
Taygete 1882 1898 wrecked at Assini,West Africa. 1,798
Tibet 1883 1922 scrapped. 2,755
Tombouctou 1919 built as Ballygally Head for Ulster SS Co. (G. Heyn), Belfast, 1924 sold to West Hartlepool S.N. Co. renamed Kepwickhall, 1930 purchased by Fraissinet renamed Tombouctou, 1940 seized by MOWT, 1946 returned to owners, 1948 solld Panama renamed Ispahan, 1949 sold Germany renamed Monika Wiards, 1959 renamed Rhoda, 1959 scrapped. 5,179
Touareg 1924 1940 seized by MOWT, 1945 returned to owners, 1946 scrapped. 5,135
Ville d'Ajaccio 1929 1939-1940 French Navy, 1948 transferred to CGT, 1960 sold Panama renamed East Wind, 1961 scrapped. 2,444
Volta 1949 1951 transferred to Fabre Line, 1954 sold to Czechoslovakia renamed Julius Fucik, 1965 sold China renamed Foshan, 1992 deleted from registers. 5,082
Vridi 1944 ex- Pascoli, built for Tirrenia S.A. di Nav, Genoa, 1944 scuttled at Marseille, 1946 refloated, 1949 sold to Cie de Nav. Mixte, Marseille renamed Djebel-Nador, 1951 sold to Fraissinet renamed Vridi, 1955 transferred to Fraissinet & Fabre Line, 1962 trransferred to Compagnie Ivoirienne de Consignation Maritime, Ivory Coast, 1965 sold Greece renamed Ventkimolos, 1967 renamed Evridis, 1968 wrecked. 3,200

Source: Paul Bois. Armements Marseillais - Compagnies de navigation et navires à vapeur (1831-1988), published by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Marseille-Provence.

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