Elder Dempster Shipping Line

The flagship of the fleet; MV Aureol seen here in Liverpool in the early 1960s

Elder Dempster Lines was a British shipping company which operated from 1932 to 2000, although it origins can be traced back to the mid 19th century.


Elder Dempster and Company started trading as the African Steamship Company in 1852. Elder Dempster Shipping Ltd was formed in 1899 and in 1932 this company, together with the African Steamship Company, and the British & African Steam Navigation Company became Elder Dempster Lines.


The company operated from British ports, mainly Liverpool, where it was based, to West African destinations. It operated three liners, the flagship MV Aureol, together with sister ships; MV Apapa and MV Accra to Ghana and Nigeria.

I travelled on the Aureol and also the Apapa before air travel became more economical than two weeks by sea!

House colours

The house colours of the Elder Dempster line were a familiar sight along the west African coast. All the ships had a distinctive yellow/sand coloured funnel, white hulls with a sand coloured dividing line. Other ships included the fleets of blue funnel and the palm line.

MV Apapa