Isthmian Lines
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S.S. Susana

(as the S.S. Ensley City)


My brief stint onboard the SS Susana (originally the Ensley City) was from 1955 to 1956. During the lean years in Philippine shipping, the SS Susana was one of the few Philippine registered ships that were engaged in the world wide tramping trade; and, I consider myself lucky enough to serve as a Cadet Officer on board.

The SS Susana, built in 1920 at Alabama, USA, was a sturdy and riveted steel-hulled ship, powered by steam engine propulsion and of almost 10,000 tons deadweight; was, equipped with only the basic navigational and communication equipment such as magnetic compass (gyro compass beyond repair), a couple of sextants, two (2) chronometers, a taffrail log, a deep-sea hand lead line, wireless telegraph transceiver supplemented by navigational charts and nautical publications was always fully loaded with homogenous cargo.

Our cargo onboard consist of bagged sugar, bulk gypsium rocks, iron ore, scrap iron, copra etc. one kind at a time were loaded from any navigable port and destined to any port in the world in all weathers. Oftentimes, the cargo was loaded or unloaded utilizing ship’s gear composed of two (2) cargo booms per hatch with married cargo runners driven by steam deck winches. As it appeared now, the method seems very tedious and tiresome. The crew assist stevedores in the rigging preparations of the deck gear which was in order during those days. With the able guidance of the all-Filipino officers and engineers, the Susana was maintained as a clean and tight ship, and sailed around the world safely. The navigational ability and the standard of real seamanship in practice of the then old timers onboard the old but seaworthy ship, I could say, is amazing and excellent, from where we learned to apply all of the basics in school that formed the solid foundation of our profession. My learning experience and the camaraderie onboard the SS Susana is unforgettable. Needless to say, we reached the peak of our career.

Capt. E.B. Villena, Jr.



SS Susana model, phase 1




SS Susana model, phase 1




SS Susana model, phase 1




SS Susana model, phase 2




SS Susana model, phase 2




SS Susana model, phase 2




SS Susana model, completed




SS Susana model, completed




SS Susana model, completed




SS Susana model, completed
Scale = 1:150 (~33" long)

The information and photos on this page are courtesy of Capt. E.B. Villena, Jr. © 2007. All rights reserved.

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