United Fruit Company's Fleet of Ships
These are letters posted on the high seas enroute from Honduras to the US. From 1914 to 1928 the letters were stamped "PAQUEBOT" or "VAPOR" or similar mark. Occasionally, the ship's name was used to cancel the stamps. Below is a New Orleans paquebot cancel from 1916.
After 1928 a distinctive United Fruit Company cancel was applied. A few covers after 1928 contain the aforementioned cancel and an added "paquebot." Here are displayed examples of the letters that received a United Fruit Company stamp with the ship's name as a minimum. This practice occurred from 1928 to 1962 with the majority of the covers were mailed between 1932 and 1937.
SS ATLÁNTIDA- Built by Protestants in Belfast in 1924. Carried 76 first class passengers. Operated out of La Ceiba in a Cuba and Jamaica route to New York. Scrapped in 1960. New York paquebot cancel 1935-37.
SS CARILLO- Built by Protestants in Belfast in 1911. Served with US Navy in WW1. Scrapped in 1948. Alegria Type 2.
SS CASTILLA- Built in Belfast in 1927. Sunk by German UBoat in 1942. Alegría Type 3.
SS CHIRIQUI- Built in Virginia in in 1932. Served in the American Navy in WWII. Scrapped in 1971. New York paquebot cancel 1939. Alegría Type 5.
SS DARIEN- Built in 1924. No military service. Scrapped in 1954.
SS HIBUERAS- Built in 1920. Served in American Navy in WWII. Scrapped in 1949. Favor cancel. Never mailed.
SS IRONIA- Details sought.
SS LA PERLA Built in Liverpool in 1925. Served in American Navy in WWII. Boston paquebot cancel and early Alegría Type 10.
SS LA PLAYA- Built in 1923. Sold and renamed to Arab World in 1964. Scrapped in 1968. Alegria cancel Type 2 used from 1920 to 1941.
SS MUSA- Built in Belfast, Ireland in 1930. Sister ship of the SS Platano. Scrapped in 1969. Alegria cancel type 3 used from 1929 to 1941.
SS PLATANO- Built in Birkenhead, England in 1930. Scrapped in 1966. 6000 tons. 15 knots. 416' long. Alegría type 9 cancel used from 1933-1942. New York paquebot cancel.
SS SAN BENITO- Built in Belfast in 1921. Scrapped in 1953. Used by American Navy in WW2. 3270 tons. 13 knots. 325' long. Panamanian registry. Boston paquebot cancel.
SS SAN BRUNO- Built in Belfast, UK in 1920. Used by American Navy in WW2 and participated in the attack on Okinawa. Alegría type 8 between 1931 and 1941.
SS SANTA MARTA- Built in 1912. Scrapped in Baltimore 1n 1948. 5075 tons. Type 9. New Orleans cancel.
SS SIXAOLA- Built in Belfast in 1911. Sunk by German Uboat in 1942. 4700 tons. 378' long. Alegria type 3 cancel used from 1929-1941. New Orleans paquebot cancel.
SS TELA- Built in Belfast in 1927. Torpedoed in Caribbean in 1942
SS TIVIVES I- Built in Belfast in 1911. Sunk off the coast of Algeria by German aircraft in 1943. 5000 tons. 378' long. Alegria type 7 cancel used from 1935-1941. New Orleans cancel.
SS TOLOA- Built in 1917. Served in WW2. Scrapped in 1947.
SS TURRIALBA- Built in Great Britain in 1909. Scrapped in Baltimore in 1949. 4952 tons. Alegria type 1 cancel used from 1920-1940. Charleston cancel in 1936.
SS ULUA- Built in Belfast in 1917. Scrapped in 1947. Military took over ship in both WW1 and WW2. Used to transport Jewish emmigrants to Haifa in early 1947. Type 6. New Orleans cancel.
SS VERAGUA- Built in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1932 she carried 95 passengers. She was scrapped in 1965. Favor marking only.
SS ZACAPA- built in Belfast in 1909. 5013 tons and 378' long. Scrapped in 1949. Type 3 and New Orleans cancel of 1935. -------------------------------------------
Adam Perkal Collection
Anderson Collection of Classic Honduras.
El Correo Paquebote de la United Fruit Company de Honduras por Edgardo Alegria en Honduras Filatelica December 2014, pps. 4-47.