1931 - 1962

The Java-China-Japan Lijn (JCJL) was founded September 15th 1902, amalgamated in to the Java-China-Paketvaart Lijnen NV, a consequence of the amalgamation of the ocean going services of the NV Koninklijke Paketvaart-Maatschappij and the JCJL. The prefix Koninklijke (Royal) was added later to the name following a Royal proclamation dated December 10th 1947 , with the trade name Royal Interocean Lines adopted.

Royal Interocean Lines (RIL) served Japan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaya, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, East, West & South Africa and South America.

The company's first two motor vessels were ordered in 1929, being the Tjinegara & Tjisadane, about the time of their order the global depression led to over-tonnage within the company leading to the scrapping of two steamers, the Tjibodas & Tjikini in 1931 followed by four other steamers in 1931/32.

Original item specifications for some of the furnishings and other items included: front bed frames to be made of teak wood with JCJL monogram, WC pans of glazed porcelain with bronze hinges and teakwood lid, two teak chicken houses and two pigsties, six whjeel barrows for loading.

1931 - 1939

The Tjisadane was built as a cargo-passenger vessel by N.V. Nederlandse Scheepsbouw Maatschappij, Amsterdam for the N.V. Java China Japan Lijn, Amsterdam. The keel was laid down on March 28th 1930, launched December 20th 1930 and delivered to the owners on June 27th 1931. In addition to the derricks the vessel was equipped with eight electrical cranes for loading and discharging.

The maiden voyage of the Tjisadane commenced on July 4th 1931 from Amsterdam to Batavia in 31 days, arriving August 3rd/4th. The Tjisadane was then used used in the service between Java, China and Japan. The ship was named after a river in Indonesia (Tji = water or river).

A Royal Packet Navigation Company illustrated booklet, 'The New Three,' from 1931 provides a brief description of the service provided by the three new motor vessels Tjinegara, Tjisadane and Tjibadak, which maintain a fortnightly service from Batavia (Java) to Hongkong and Shanghai, via Amoy, returning from Shanghai via Amoy, Hongkong, Manila, Macassar and Bali to Sourabaya (Java). These luxuriously equipped liners are a worthy addition to the fleet of the Java-China-Japan Line, and no doubt will further stimulate passenger traffic to the Far East. With the K.P.M. de luxe steamers Nieuw Holland and Nieuw Zeeland from Australia, connecting in Java with the liners of the Java-China-Japan Line, this fascinating route to Hongkong and Shanghai, for which special reduced through fares are quoted, may well bo named 'The Route Where Comfort is Supreme'.

1937 February 1st: Approximately 20 ships carrying pilgrims to Manila arrived up to February 3rd, seven of which remained in the bay during the Thirty Third International Eucharistic Congress to serve as floating hotels for the visitors. All these ships could not be accommodated at the Government piers at a time. There were more than a dozen other ships coming during the same period which required berthing space at the Government piers to load and unload cargo. The ships conveying delegations to the Eucharistic Congress were the Victoria from Europe, the Empress of Japan from Vancouver, the Tanda and Changto from Australia, the Stuttgart from Europe, the Conte Rosso from Europe, the Tjisalak from Dutch East Indies, the Empress of Russia and Tatsuta Maru from the United States, and the Tjisadane from China.

1938 December: An article published by the Liverpool Journal of Commerce recently, gives some interesting information on the development of the passenger-cargo liner. To illustrate his points, the author showed the development in three ships of the Java-China-Japan Line, built in 1929, 1931 and 1938 respectively, and all being employed on similar duties.

The three vessels, the Tjibsidak, the Tjisadane and the Tjitjalengka, are specialised passenger-cargo liners with ample cargo and refrigerated space and accommodation for a moderate number of passengers. Covering as they do a great number of ports, there is a large variety of cargo.

The first-built vessel, the Tjibsidak, is a geared turbine steamer of 7803 tons gross. She is 433.2 ft long by 56.2 ft. breadth and with a draft of 28 ft. 1 in. The single screw is driven by an engine of 3600 s.h.p., developing a speed of 12 knots. The second vessel, the Tjisadane, built in 1931, is bigger, being 440.6 ft. in length, 62.2 ft. wide and with a draft of 29 ft. Of 9228 tons gross, the Tjisadane is equipped with oil engines of 5350 s.h.p., giving a speed of 15 knots. Last of the trio, the Tjitjalengka, was only launched this year. This ship is larger and more powerful still than her predecessor. Her length and waterline is 9.4 ft more and the beam is 2.3 ft., greater, whilst the depth is a little more than 4 ft. more than in both the older vessels; she is also more powerful as her engines develop about 6000 s.h.p.

Contrast in Machinery. The machinery of these vessels offers an interesting contrast, for, whereas the latest vessel is propelled by a double-acting two cycle airless-injection engine of Stork type, driving a scavenge pump from a forward extension of the crankshaft and rated at 6000 s.h.p. at 11.5 revolutions, the Tjisadane has an eight-cylinder single-acting two-cycle Sulzer engine. This engine is rated at 5350 s.h.p. at 110 revs. It has a greater length than the double acting engine and drives its screw at a slightly lower number of revolutions for full rated output. This is borne out by the large propeller aperture of the older ship which, at the time of her completion, was one of the most powerful single-screw motorships of her size. Comparing the Tjisadane and the steamer, a noticeahle feature is that in the motor vessel, developing 1750 morehorsepower than the steamer, the oil engines can be put in only two more frame spaces length and can give the ship, which is 7.4 ft. longer, about 11 knots more service speed. Machinery progress in the Tjitjalengka reduces the fore and aft length of the engine space to a somewhat greater extent, in spite of the fact that her double-acting two-cycle engine has an attachment to the scavenge pump at the forward end. It was not altogether compactness of machinery space alone which influenced her owners to install oil engines in the Tjisadane. More probably it was on account of fuel economy and the smaller bulk of fuel to be carried. The steamer has a reserve bunker forward of the boiler room owing to the fact that her oil-burning boilers use, in proportion, more fuel than the internal combustion engine.

Accommodation Improvements. One of the outstanding features of the later vessels is the improvement in passenger accommodation. In the Tjitjalengka there is an extra deck in the centre structure. The decks on this ship are known as the bridge, boat, promenade, awning and main deck respectively, and in addition she has an aft bridge deck on the poop house above the cruiser stern. The Tjisadane has only a bridge, promenade, upper and main deck whilst the steamer has a promenade and upper deck only. The new motorship also offers, besides a large dining saloon which is on the main deck, in contrast to the awning deck of the older ship, the luxury of a permanent swimming pool, even though the ship is little more than an overgrown cargo-liner. Accommodation for the crew has also improved: in the Tjitjalengka all the officers and engineers are housed on the boat deck forward, whilst the earlier vessel berths them on the port and starboard side of the awning deck. The vessels also differ in design. The older ships have straight bar sterns and counter sterns, with particularly large screw apertures; the Tjitjalengka has a raking fashion plate stem with bow anchor and a full cruiser stern. The raked funnel of this vessel also enhances her appearance.

It is not often that three ships such as these, owned by the same company and employed on similar duties, are available for comparison, but it may safely be said that the same improvements have been effected in this type of ship the world over during recent years. These vessels only serve as an example to show the evolution of the modern vessel. They show the change from geared turbines to single-acting two-cycle and double-acting two-cycle oil engines; they show how the development of the motorship has given increased space for cargo and more power to the ship. Synonymous with the increase in the number of passengers carried, we see an all-round improvement in passenger accommodation and comfort; accommodation for the crew has also improved as their quarters are now not only better situated, but also are fitted out better.

1939 - 1945 World War Two

The invasion of the Netherlands by Germany during May 1940 and the outbreak of war with Japan in 1941 led to a considerable change of duties for the Tjisadane. Towards the end of 1941 the Tjisadane under command of Captain WFH Burger sailed unarmed to China to evacuate European women and children from Shanghai, Amoy and Hong Kong (departing December 4th) for Surabaya. From here a voyage was made to the Oosthaven (east coast Java) to load rubber for Surabaya.

1941 September 12th: article in Daily Commercial News & Shipping List (Sydney)
Dutch Far Eastern Liners: Speculation on Present Activities.
News of motor ships whose names were familiar in time of peace is relatively scarce these days. Seldom are familiar ships mentioned by name, but occasionally an inkling is given of the duties they may be performing. With those words, a special correspondent of 'Lloyd's List' introduces the following article on the probable activities of Dutch liners in the Far East. I have examined with some interest the statement credited by Reuter to Chinese sources in Shanghai that three Dutch liners on Far Eastern service between the Dutch East Indies and Japan, via Manila and Hongkong, are said to have been taken over by the British naval authorities. Obviously it must be well known in the Far East exactly what these vessels are, so there seems to be no harm in speculating on their names in this article, assuming that in the first place the most modern type of ship would have been taken over, and in the second that oil-engined vessels would be used if possible, if only for the reason that their endurance is greater than that of steam-driven ships.

If this guess and it is frankly a guess is correct, then there are two groups of three which might possibly be considered. The first group is found in the fleet of the Java-China-Japan Line, and the second in that of the Koninklijke Paketvaart Maats, or K.P.M., as it is usually called. Both companies have this in common, that the principal shipowners in Amsterdam have a financial interest in them. Both have their biggest and best tonnage built in Europe, and frequently in Amsterdam, and the ships of both companies having left their home ports in Holland do not return to them except for a very major repair or to be broken up.

Of the two groups of three mentioned, that which fits least exactly into the Reuter-quoted Shanghai description is the K.P.M. trio Boissevain, Ruys and Tegelberg. These fine ships, which had the distinction of being the first triple-screw motor ships in the world, were originally designed to develop the route (and developed it undoubtedly would have been in happier times, to a tremendous extent) between Java and South Africa, via many ports of call in the islands of the Indian Ocean. It is believed however that, although originally constructed for this work, their duties in recent years have taken them on other services of a similar nature. We may recall then that the three vessels, the first of which was built in a German yard, were each of just over 14,000 tons gross. The length between perpendiculars was 537.3 ft., the beam 72.2 ft., and the depth 36.3 ft. Draught when fully loaded (and the deadweight in this condition was 11,800 tons) was 30 ft. 1 in. The machinery developed a total of 10,800 h.p. on the three screws, and gave a service speed of some 16 knots on 38 tons of diesel oil per day. The Boissevain and her two sister ships have eight cylinders per shaft on three lines, and it was pointed out at the time that she would have needed 12 cylinders per shaft on two lines, in addition to the attached scavenge pump, had a twin-screw design been decided upon. Each engine is of Sulzer type, built at that firm's works at Wintertur, Switzerland, and each has eight cylinders of 25.56 in. diameter' and 47.25 in. stroke. For full rated power the starboard engine develops its output at 108 r.p.m.; the centre shaft at 112 and the port shaft at 163, this difference having been made especially to avoid the possibility of vibration. The main engines and principal auxiliaries occupy 28 frame spaces from the entrance to the shaft tunnel. There are two casings, one being concerned with the main auxiliary exhaust piping, the other being accessible from the navigating bridge level with portable deck spaces for the removal of heavy parts in the event of major machinery trouble. These three ships were the first in which such a plan had been adopted.

One of the advantages of the triple-screw design, which was afterwards adopted in other important passenger-carrying ships, was the low overall height, and the upper deck was really the main engine-room roof, the space underneath having an extensive crane installation suitable for the removal of cylinder heads and the withdrawal of pistons and liners. The normal height of the cylinder tops was just about the lower 'tween deck level, while the scavenge pump and air intakes at the forward end were just above the upper 'tween deck level and immediately under a trunkway with communications direct to louvres at the after end of the pear shaped funnel. An auxiliary engine-room containing four machines coupled to generators and developing a total of 2100 b.h.p. at 325 r.p.m. was situated forward of the main engine-room.

These ships were intended to and in fact did develop an entirely new service between Hongkong and Capetown. Whatever their duties and whatever their ultimate fate in the present hostilities they will remain as examples of ships of outstanding characteristics reflecting the perspicacity of their owners.

The same might be said to a great extent of the other three vessels which I have suggested may have been those referred to in the Reuter report. There is one difference. Whereas the Bossevain and her sister ships reflected the modern pioneering outlook of Dutch shipowners in 1939, the Java-China-Japan Line vessels I shall now describe were rather developments from previous well designed ships. The latter had built up an important service, and the owners had taken such advantage from time to time of modern technical developments as economic and other conditions allowed. It was also interesting as an indication of their owners future policy that at the time Holland was over run another vessel of similar type to the Tjitjalengka (as the newest of the trio was called) was on the stocks at the yard of the Netherlands Shipbuilding Company at Amsterdam, which produced the Tjitjalengka in 1939, and her predecessors, the Tjisadane and the Tjinegara in 1931. The two latter vessels were the first motor driven ships for the JavaChina Japan Line and indeed, the first new construction which they had taken delivery of since the Tjibadak in 1929.

At that time the diesel engine for large ships of cargo-carrying type, with ample passenger accommodation and special facilities for the Far Eastern trade was not in the advanced position it had reached even as soon as two years later. Nevertheless, it is interesting to contrast the ships built in 1931 with those built in 1938. The 1931 class had a deadweight capacity of 9000 tons and a gross tonnage of the same amount, dimensions being 440.6 ft. by 62.2 ft. by 34.4 ft., with a draught of 29 ft. Oil engine propulsion on a single screw gave a speed in fully loaded condition of some 14 knots when using 26 tons of oil per 24 hours. Propulsion was by a Werkspoor-built Sulzer engine having eight cylinders and attached scavenge pump at the forward end. The cylinder diameter was 29.92 in. and the stroke 62.76 in.

Eight years later we find the Tjitjalengka with a similar dead weight capacity and a gross tonnage of 10,972. Her dimensions, too, are much the same, 450 ft. by 64.5 ft., by 38.5 ft., with a draught slightly less. The power has gone up to 6000 and the speed has increased in proportion. Whereas, too, the 1931 vessel had accommodation for 28 first-class passengers, 42 in the second and 94 in the third-class, inclusive of deck passengers, the newer ship had 64 first-class passengers, 55 second class and 100 third-class.

The outbreak of war with Japan led to the Dutch East India Government electing to move the 146 pro German Dutch nationals (NSB), previously detained locally, to Suriname, South America, with the Tjisadane set to handle this task. A jail was constructed on the deck to house the prisoners, who embarked January 21st 1942 guarded by 30 sailors, and travelling with regular passengers and cargo. Despite several changes to the journey Cape Town was reached on February 10th 1942 and Paramaribo on March 1st, where the prisoners disembarked. The Tjisadane then sailed for New York.

The Tjisadane was then chartered by the U.S. War Shipping Administration and during 1942 moved to San Francisco to be refitted as a troop-transport operated by the U.S. Army Transportation Corps, but with a Dutch crew. The ship is now equipped with 20mm and 4 inch armaments. The Tjisadane would be one of at least twenty Dutch passenger ships chartered by the U.S. War Shipping Administration. The first sailing after refit commenced on November 3rd 1942 with transports Mormacsea, Cape Flattery, Pennant & Klippfontein with light cruiser Honolulu and destroyer Crosby and later joined enroute by other vessels from San Diego to the South Pacific. The ship crosses the equator shortly after midday on November 12th, two days later the ship begins zig-zagging. On November 15th one of the ships fell behind, assistance was provided by the destroyer, much time was spent idling. Shortly after midday on November 17th the convoy broke up, four transports, the cruiser and aircraft carrier headed westwards towards New Caledonia and Australia, two ships headed south-westwards towards New Zealand, leaving the Tjisadane alone. On the afternoon of November 22nd 1942 the Tjisadane docks at Auckland, New Zealand. The ship arrived at Brisbane on December 1st 1942.

1943 January 1st: sailed from California (?) to Noumea, arriving February 4th.

1943 May 11th: at Massacre Bay, Attu (?) from San Francisco, unloading troops and materials.

As part of the recapture of the Aleutian Islands, on June 23rd 1943 the Tjisadane sailed from San Francisco with 1,800 men and war material for Attu & Kiska. After the occupation of the islands the Tjisadane continued in the Aleution theatre for several months to transport supplies and troops. Following this the ship was used for the transport of troops and war material between USA West Coast ports to the western Pacific.

1943 August 16th: Tjisadane at Scarlet Beach on Kiska Island afternoon of August 16th unloading troops.

1944 October 9th: at Pearl Harbour (135th Seabees embark to build runways for B29 use), then 21 day voyage arriving Tinian on October 24th 1944.

On March 29th 1945 the Tjisadane departed Seattle with troops and supplies for Le Shima, an island north west of North Okinawa, arriving on May 10th. The next day during the morning of May 11th whilst at anchor and discharging supplies the ship was struck by a kamikaze Japanese fighter plane, the plane flying low and level hit cables from one of the raised derricks/booms on the Tjisadane. The plane crashed onto the deck, bursting into flames and killing the pilot. The fire was quickly put out and the wreckage of the plane pushed overboard. The Tjisadane and an LSM alongside suffered only minor damage.

The Tjisadane departed Le Shima on May 19th 1945 headed for San Francisco.

1945 August 26th: Tjisadane departs Manila for the USA. Dutch crew with Hindu & Indian stewards. The ship escorted 6 LSTs and some other small ships all the way to the US, doing 5 or 6 knots at best. Ship contained Army troops, about fifty Army/Navy officers several civilians held prisoner by the Japanese at Santo Tomas. Arrived Terminal Island, San Pedro, California on September 23rd 1945.

1946 - 1962

During 1946 the Dutch Government began returning the ships to their owners. In March 1946 the Tjisadane arrived in Amsterdam with evacuees from Indonesia, the ship is recorded as departing Southampton on May 2nd 1946 for Port Said, Suez, Aden, Colombo, Penang, Singapore & Java, then returning to Amsterdam with more evacuees. After being handed back to JCJL the ship was refitted as a cargo passenger ship by the N.V. Nederlandse Scheepsbouw Maatschappij, Amsterdam. On August 7th 1946 the Tjisadane sailed from Amsterdam for Tandjonk Priok, Dutch East Indies. It would then join the Tjitalengka on the re-introduced China - Indonesia service.

1947 JCJL merger with KPM. The two vessels join the Ruys, Boissevain & Tegelburg on the ASAS service.

1946 June 20th: Tjisadane near Sydney.

1950 January 23rd: More than 600 Japanese war criminals repatriated from Indonesia at the request of the Dutch government to serve out their sentences in Japan were imprisoned in Sugamo prison in Tokyo today after the arrival of the Dutch ship Tjisadane. They included the former Japanese general, Hitoshi Imamura, whom an Australian Court sentenced to 10 years gaol for crimes against Australians in New Britain. Imamura will probably serve the remaining seven years of his sentence on Manus Island.

1950 September 26th: the Tjisadane transported 207 South African Air Force personnel to Yokohama, arriving November 4th, to serve in the conflict in Korea

1951 February 19th: Chinese youths, who are believed to be avoiding Malaya's man-power direction scheme, comprised half of the 400 passengers on board the Dutch steamer Tjisadane which left Singapore on Monday.

1953 May 29th: arrived Sydney from Singapore, Melbourne June 4th - 9th, Port Adelaide June 13th, Fremantle June 26th (for Singapore).

1955 December 4th: whilst enroute from South America to Cape Town the Tjisadane transported an injured English man from Tristan da Cunha (Captain P Algra) to Cape Town. Heavy fog shrouded Tristan but the ship arrived safely early in the morning using radar. Patient reached ship on rowboat which was then hoisted aboard the Tjisadane, departed 11am for Cape Town.

1955 August??: en route South America to Durban, for the Pretoria Zoo, carried two crocodiles, two paccas and two leopards.

1958 March 19th Tjisadane at Naha, Okinawa, her previous voyage had taken emigrants for Bolivia from Okinawa to Santos. Emigrants sponsered by Japanese & Okinawan governments to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay & Bolivia.

1958 October 10th en route from Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro (Captain E M Drukker).

1959 February 12th: Tjisadane departs Yokohama, then Kobe 16th.

1960 March 4th: enroute between Rio De Janeiro and Cape Town.

It was announced in the third quarter of 1960 that in order to provide better service on the ASAS Express route (Far East-Africa-South America) all first class accommodation would be fitted with airconditioning. This affected the vessels Boissevain, Ruys, Tegelberg, Tjitalengka & Tjinegara. The first three vessels would also undergo a modernizing facelift at Hong Kong, with three months allotted, commencing February 1961 for each vessel. The Tjisadane would be transferred to the ASAS Express whilst the vessels were rotated through these upgrades.

1960 October: Captain W A Giel became master of the Tjisadane (from the s.s. Tjipondok).

1961 October: The island of Tristan da Cunha 1,500 miles west-south-west of Cape Town became headline news during the second week of October 1961. Earth tremors had first been noted on August 4th, leading up to a violent earthquake on October 8th, followed the next day by a volcanic eruption which precipitated a lava flow. The small community sent a distress call on the early morning of October 9th. Direct communication with the island ceased at about 10.30pm that night, all further communication came via one of the island's two crawfish boats. The population left the village, prefering to spend the night in the fields. The next morning they moved to the beach for evacuation to the normally uninhabited Nightingale Island 18 miles distant using the crawfish boats Tristania & Francis Repetto. By chance the eastbound Tjisadane with Captain W A Giel was in the vicinity, being scheduled to make a rare call at the request of the British Colonial Office to collect six people for Cape Town. The ship then received the request to evacuate everyone, 300 souls from the island.

By 8am on October 11th the Tjisadane is eleven miles west of Tristan and takes a pilot for navigation to Nightingale Island. Embarkation took place between 11am and 1.45pm, a strong wind and heavy swells required the use of a longboats to board the 291 people, the temperature was 50F. The Tjisadane moved to Tristan da Cunha in an attempt to obtain some personal possesions, most islanders only had the clothing they were wearing. The ship arrived at 5.30pm and awaited the crawfish boat Tristania. No landing was attempted because of the worsening volcanic conditions on the island. On October 13th the HMS Leopard retrieved most of the islanders belongings including the church organ which had been presented by Queen Elizabeth II. The Tjisadane resumed its scheduled course to Captain, here the islanders disembarked and travelled to the United Kingdom on the Stirling Castle.

The RIL ship Straat Magelhaen stopped at Tristan shortly after the evacuation to load 4,151 cases of frozen lobster tails from the Tristania, four members of the Tristania also travelled to Cape Town.

1962 March: the two remaining 'Javaline' ships Tjitjalengka (refurbished) & Tjisadane were berthed next to each other at Asano Dock, Yokohama. The continuing introduction of the 'Straat' class ships to the RIL fleet spelt bad news for the older ships within the fleet. It was now the turn of the Tjisadane to be retired, after 31 years in service. The ship was sold for scrap for Dutch Guilders 1,005,310.

1962 May 14th: the Tjisadane arrived at Kure, Japan to be scrapped by Nomura Trading Co. Ltd., work commenced on May 22nd 1962.

1965 February 17th: a set of postage stamps issued by the island of Tristan da Cunha featured two of the RIL ships, the Tjisadane (1/-, one shilling) and the Boissevain (2/6d, two shillings and sixpence) - both vessels would occasionally call at the island and both were involved in the history affecting the islanders and the volcano eruption in October 1961.


Built: N.V. Nederlandse Scheepsbouw Maatschappij, Amsterdam, yard No.206
Laid down: March 28th 1930
Launched: December 20th 1930
Completed: June 27th 1931
Tons: 9,228 gross, 5,780 net, 8,360 dwt
Length: 139.70m
Breadth: 18.90m
Draught: 11.73m
Propulsion: 1 8S76 eight cylinder Werkspoor/Sulzer diesel engine of 5,350bhp at 110 rpm.
Screws: 1
Speed: 13.5 knots
Passengers: 1st Class 44; 2nd Class 28; 3rd Class 90; 1,818 tweendeck passengers.
Crew: 173

National Library of Australia : Trove website of archived Australian Newspapers (
South Pacific Diary, 1942-1943; Mack Morriss
RIL Post house magazine - various (next 1963/1)
google "tjisadane" next page 4
google "troop transport tjisadane" next page 7
trove complete

Page added February 8th 2016.

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