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stepping stones of maritime history



The SS Madrid was built as SS Sierra Nevada for the Northdeutscher Lloyd, Bremen. In 1934 the ship was chartered (and then in 1937 bought) by the Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschiffart Gesellschaft and renamed SS Madrid. When the Second World War broke out she was near the Canary Islands. Captain Brand decided to go to neutral Las Palmas to avoid capture by the allied forces.

A year later the Madrid was ordered to go to Europe, first to Saint Nazaire, the German submarine base in France, where she arrived at 28 December 1940. She was used as a targeting/practice ship for the German U-boat flottilla. After repairs and adjustments at the Wilton Feijenoord yard in Rotterdam she was sent to Hamburg in February 1941.

The convoy of eight ships she formed part of was attacked by the RAF 25 kilometers southwest of the Dutch port of Den Helder. The Madrid was hit by four bombs and drifted towards the shore. She ran aground on a sandbank called the Keizersbult. Several ships tried to get near the burning ship but all failed. Twelve people died. In 1942 the ship sunk.

hit by the RAF (picture RAF)

Public domain

Hit by the RAF (picture: RAF).


Steamer, passenger ship. 
Yard: Vulcan Ag. in Hamburg and Stettin, Germany. 
Original name: SS Sierra Nevada changed in SS Madrid in 1937.
Propulsion: 2 triple expansion engines.
Crew: 83.
Passenger accomodation: 221 1st class, 209 2nd class and 302 steerage. 
SS Madrid

Public domain

SS Madrid.

Power4400 hp
Speed13 knots ~ 15 mph (24 km/h)
Length439.6 feet (134 m)
Width55.8 feet (17 m)
Draft37.7 feet (11.5 m)
Tonnage8000 ton


Partly preserved. The ship was researched by the Dutch amateur dive team North Sea Divers.

multibeam of SS Madrid mapped by Coen Onstwedder

North Sea Divers/Coen Onstwedder

Multibeam image of the SS Madrid created by Coen Onstwedder.

Kwadrant roeras

North Sea Divers

Photo of the steering system of the SS Madrid.


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