FerriesPast and PresentRegie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT)

TS Princesse Marie José – Past and Present

ID Number: 5605977

TS Princesse Marie José

ex HMS Baldur, HMS Nemesis, Southern Isles, Princesse Marie José

Arne Pyson Collection

Arne Pyson Collection

Steel twin screw turbine steamer, built and engined by Cockerill’s of Hoboken (Yard No. 579) in 1923 for the Belgian Marine Administration’s Ostend service

Technical Data

  • Length on Deck: 110.61m
  • Breadth of Hull: 12.95m
  • Depth: 7.28m
  • Draught: 3.02m
  • Tonnage: 1821 gross/837 net/1254 deadweight
  • Engines: 4 Parsons/Cockerill single reduction steam turbines in two independent sets each set working one of the twin-screws.
  • Power: 13500 shp
  • Speed: 23 knots (trial speed 24.21 knots)
  • Capacity: 1,200 passengers
  • Call Sign: GQDA, OTIA
  • ID Number: 5605977
  • Registry: Ostend/Belgium 🇧🇪


October 19th 1922: Launched. Her boilers designed for burning either coal or fuel-oil. (The latter used after 1931).

June 16th 1923: Maiden voyage Ostend – Dover.

June 18th 1923: Delivered to Belgian Marine Administration.

1923: Installed between Ostend and Dover.

Arne Pyson Collection Arne Pyson Collection  

Arne Pyson Collection

August 1926: Left Ostend bound for Stockholm, carrying the Belgian Royal family to the wedding between Belgian Prince Leopold and Sweden’s Princessan Astrid in Stockholm.

October 30th 1926 – November 17th 1926: Took the Belgian Royal family to Gothenburg.

March 15th 1931: Two miles off Dover, in thick fog, she was involved in a collision with the small coasting steamer ARTIFICER. Only slight damage was sustained by the Belgian boat. More serious was that suffered by the ARTIFICER, holed in the bows and towed in Dover, in a sinking condition.

1931: Funnel cowls were removed and promenade decks plated in.

Arne Pyson Collection Arne Pyson Collection

Arne Pyson Collection

August 7th 1937: Rammed in fog by the cargo steamer CLAN MACNEIL and holed on the port side just abaft of the bridge.



August 9th 1937: Had to be beached in Dunkirk outer harbour.



August 9th 1937: Temporary repairs completed in order to re-float the vessel.

August 10th 1937: Vessel re-floated.

August 11th 1937: Towed to Antwerp for repairs.

September 10th 1939: Commenced operations between Ostend – Folkestone.

Arne Pyson Collection Arne Pyson Collection Arne Pyson Collection

Arne Pyson Collection

January 7th – January 19th 1940: With the German invasion of Belgium sailed Ostend – Folkestone.

May 18th 1940: Arrived in Southampton.

June 1st 1940: Commenced cross-Channel sailings.

June 1940: Assisted in the evacuation of Le Havre, Cherbourg and St Malo.

June 17th 1940: Sailed to St Malo then returned to Southampton carrying 1,627 troops. She then remained at Southampton.

September 6th 1940: Sailed for Belfast and Gareloch.

October 1940: Required as an Anti-Submarine Training Ship and to be fitted out on the Clyde.

Arne Pyson Collection Arne Pyson Collection  

Arne Pyson Collection

1940 – March 3rd 1941: Rebuilt at Harland & Wolff, as a submarine mother ship. Commissioned as SOUTHERN ISLES.

March 11th 1941: Renamed HMS NEMESIS (equipped with accommodation for 42 officers and 33 ratings) and based at Campbeltown.

© Imperial War Museum

© Imperial War Museum

March 1943: Moved to the Clyde to await further employment, but owing to the bad condition of her engines and boilers this did not materialise. Moored at the buoy off Greenock for 4½ months.

July 1943 – September 1943: Rebuilt at Henderson, Glasgow.

September 25th 1943: Proceeded to Reykjavik with assistance from a tug into Loch Ewe and then in tow of SAUCY.



October 6th 1943: Arrived at her destination.

October 1943: Renamed HMS BALDUR.

June 4th 1945: Renamed NEMESIS.

June 15th 1945: Reached the Clyde under tow of the tug ZWARTE ZEE.

July 12th 1945: Paid off for return to returned to the Belgian navy.

January 15th 1946 – August 1946: She continued as a training ship before becoming floating accommodation in Cockerill, Antwerp. She was renamed PRINCESSE MARIE JOSE.

Arne Pyson Collection

Arne Pyson Collection

June 1947: Sold for scrapping in Belgium.

June 6th 1947: Arrived at Van Heyghen Freres, Bruges to be scrapped

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)


  1. I have a photo of this ship in the background of an image taken by my grandfather from the beach at Oostende in the 1920s. I also have an image of it in the port, taken a little while later on the same day. I can send you the images if you’d like.

  2. The maritime section of the museum MAS in Antwerp, Belgium is in posession of all the plans of the ship as she was build by the Cockerill Yards Hoboken, Antwerpen in the 1920’s. We’re talking of 500 or 600 plans of this ship alone. Presently a few volunteers are checking all the plans, several thousands in total of ships build by Cockerill Yards. We hope to get enough funding to scan all these plans or at least the most important ones. It will take many months before we will finish the job.
    From what we already saw on the plans the ship was very richly decorated (restaurant, fumoir and lady’s boudoir). Had a stock of over 1500 bottles of wine on board. We also found the plan of the bridge with all details of navigational equipment. She had a bow rudder for manoeuvring when entering the port of Ostend stern first.
    Very interesting work we’re doing.

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