of the Ship
Originally built as a British Naval Corvette;
A Swedish company purchased three such ships and
converted them into cargo ships;
Refugees begin search for a ship and collect funds
under name "Lennuk" [plane, but probably meaning
10th of September, 1948, an organization is formed
in Göteborg to purchase a ship - Compania Maritima Walnut S/A;
With proceeds from the sale of shares and passage
monies collected, Walnut is purchased from Swedish firm Stem Olson
Purchase price is 225,000
Refitting takes place in
Purchase of necessary lifeboats costs and additional
Ship is moved to the small port of
boarder of Norway, in order to avoid public interest.
Views From Aboard
off the ship.
View assorted ship's
Sailing report prepared by Compania
Maritima Walnut S.A. Executive
1st meeting of Compania Maritima Walnut S.A.
A Thank you booklet
was made for an Immigrant Official. At left, the cover. At
right, the inscription.
All passengers signed the booklet as a
An original coal
purchase docket from Sligo, Ireland.
English translations of the following portions of the Co-operative Minute Book are not a verbatim exact
duplication of the Estonian text, but
rather a very close English version of the original. Translated by Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec
Some names are identified only with initials to protect their
If the individuals involved, or their families, wish full names shown or
please contact the webmaster.
Eduard Roiser was the Secretary for the "Compania
Maritima Walnut S.A." executive and kept the Minute Book. It
is currently in the possession of family Roiser.
Left: The co-operative's
Ship co-operative "Compania Maritima Walnut
formation meeting minutes.
"The meeting was held at
Samla Kvibergskola rooms, Artollerigatan 8 in Göteborg on October 27th,
1948. The meeting commenced at 18:30.
The meeting was opened by Mr.
Suursööt. Mr. Suursööt was unanimously elected to chair the
meeting. The meeting agenda was presented as:
1. Meeting opening;
2. Information reporting;
3. Compania Maritima Walnut S/A Statutes;
5. New business.
The agenda was
approved as presented.
The Chairman presented an overview
concerning the purchase of a ship. He advised that a voyage under the flag of
Sweden was not possible and that it was necessary to acquire for the ship a
different flag as well as an official co-operative since our ship is not
appropriately appointed for passengers according to the rules of Sweden.
The ship is now registered under Panama and can
operate world-wide. Since
time was of the essence, the previous "Lennuk" executive appointed a temporary executive to continue matters until a general
meeting, since in the interim it was not possible to stop work since the winter
is approaching. Mr. Suursööt expanded on difficulties faced since it is
prohibited for fugitives to purchase decent ships. Only old inappropriate
ships are available for purchase, and others only with the approval of the
king. To stop working on the acquisition of a ship may have taken over a
year. This route was not possible.
An accounting was next given indicating that a ship had been
purchased and most of the renovations had been completed and paid for.
There is a balance of 60 000 kroons which should be sufficient for the purchase
coal, food and other minor expenditures. 45% of shares have been paid in
full, 55% are in reserve. Mr. Remmel advised that the invoices have
been checked in general and agree with the bookkeeping records. Due to a
shortage of time, it was not possible to review every aspect in great
The general meeting
took note of the accounting report and continued with the meeting.
The statutes/bylaws of the Compania Maritima Walnut S/A were
read allowed by Mr. Kalbus..."
[There are 10 Sections with 33 paragraphs under the headings
(I) Intent, activity and location/Eesmärk, tegevus
(V) General Meeting/Peakoosolek;
(VII) Audit Committee/Revisjonikomisjon;
(IX) Member Rights and Responsibilities/ Liikmete õigused ja
(X) Liquidation/Tegevuse likviteerimine.]
The aim of the co-operative is as follows: The "A/S
Walnut" is established for all kinds of shipping, passenger transport and
fishing purposes under the location of Panama, under which delegates may operate
all over the world for a period of 99 years.
The Minutes of the first meeting also included discussions
concerning to whom to sell shares with some of the opinion not to sell to anyone
not traveling on the ship while others encouraging the sale to anyone.
A new Executive was elected:
The audit committee included Reginald Remmel, Mr. V and Mr. K.
Excerpts indicate that more renovations to the ship were
necessary than previously anticipated. The Captain explained that Swedish
officials had surveyed the ship and were demanding extra lifeboats. He
further stated that barring anything unforeseen, passengers may soon be called
"The meeting ended at 22:30."
Further entries in the Minute Book
describe the following events:
October 28, 1948 onboard the Walnut - It was decided that all passengers need to
bring their own bedding. A doctor would be taken on board under the
following conditions: Free passage including a free share.
November 22, 1948 - Another entry into the journal was made while
onboard the ship in Ireland. In attendance were the Executive and Audit
Committee. On the agenda was final ship investments --
"Due to ship inspections resulting in further
expenditures, (ca. 10,000 kr.), the two-week delay in beginning the journey
(ca. 10,000) and the unexpected necessity for more coal, the co-operative
has had larger than budgeted expenses."
To cover the extra expenses it was decided to sell the remaining shares below
face value for $40 each. This mentioned sale is for current shareholders
The bulk of the Minute Book deals with the payment of crew and the
disposition of the ship. In order to acquire assets, it was decided to
sell the ship as quickly as possible. They were looking to sell the ship
for $30,000. There is some mention of an offer for $28,000 that seems to
have fallen through and another offer of $20,000 with a buyer that needed a week
to gather funds. Another offer of $10,000 was received which was further
reduced to $7,500. As reported in Halifax newspapers, in December of 1950,
the ship was vandalized, stripped of her brass fittings and the sea cocks
opened. She sank in 20 feet of water on the Dartmouth side of Halifax
At some point an undated summary of events was prepared -- written in English
-- assumedly prepared by the Executive? The following are
"The Compania Maritima Walnut S.A. was founded in the interest of a group
of people (refugees) who had seen the red terror in their homeland and now
wished to get further away from it choosing the free Canada as their
destination. In accordance with Swedish regulations these people got
organized whose aim was to cross the Atlantic in a vessel purchased by a
common effort. So a company was founded, the statue of which was
registered in the Register of Panama. It was understood that the
company was not to aim for any financial gains and that this common
enterprise was to be liquidated as soon as the vessel got sold on reaching
Canada, as everybody knows, the company has not possessed any other funds
besides the vessel.
The management (Board of Directors) has never received any pay for
their duties and since arriving in Canada has not been hiring any extra help to
whom one could have given the job of informing the shareholders...In
connection with our bookkeeping we possess documents in four languages
(English, Swedish, Spanish and Estonian).... If we had to have these
documents translated copies made of and sent to .....the expense would
be considerable and the majority of the shareholders do not find it
On arriving in Canada everybody on the vessel was detained in a detention
camp for medical and political screening. This lack of freedom to move
outside the camp hindered the company's next step -- selling of the
vessel. Later when more freedom to move outside the camp was given the
Management started busy activities in trying to sell the vessel. The
sale offer was advertised in newspapers, shipbrokers were consulted
etc. After a time we received the permit from the Canadian authorities
to remain in this country and the members of our organization left the camp
for various destinations all over Canada. The vessel had been docked
in the French Cable Wharf, Halifax and according to the CNR regulations it was necessary to arrange a watch on her. As the company did not possess
any funds it was agreed with the watch that as soon as the vessel was sold
the watch would get his pay. The long and busy activities in trying to
sell the vessel did not give any results. The Management of the
company was very anxious to get the vessel sold because they are holding the
biggest number of shares. It was also understood that any of the
shareholders was welcome to have a try at selling the boat. Several
shareholders tried, but unfortunately without any success. Then the
CNR needed the wharf and the vessel was moved by them to another place where
the expenses for watch duties properly carried out would have been
considerably greater, and at the shareholders meeting it was decided against
raising any funds for a more adequate watch. Also the suggestion to
bring the vessel to Montreal or Toronto where the watch could have been
arranged more cheaply was turned down. Some shareholders even
commented that let the boat sink rather than that they should finance her
any further. When the sinking really happened it came as a blow to
everybody. The Canadian authorities believe that the cause of sinking
was hooliganism. Some time later, the vessel was sold by Canadian
authorities in view to pay the watch who was asking for the pay due to
Records indicate that as at 1949, total income for the
co-operative was $7,714.85. Expenditures totalled $7,045.97. After
the Walnut was salvaged and sold, the Courts paid out
$3,439.85. From these monies attorney fees and various claims
Pier 21 records indicate that the ship was sold at auction in 1951, rebuilt
by Borromee Verreault of Mechins, QC, renamed KETA and traveled on the St. Lawrence
and in the Arctic until it broke up in 1975.
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