Fruit ship

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A fruit ship is used to transport insensitive fruit.

Definition difference fruit ship / reefer ship

Reefer ships

Refrigerated ships are defined in the Claviez Maritime Dictionary as “a ship whose entire hold consists of insulated refrigerated spaces”.

This excludes all ships that can transport insensitive fruit with very powerful ventilation systems in the hold, or that have some isolated cold rooms and corresponding refrigeration machines . The latter has long been a general cargo ships of the line drive common, which were used in north-south services. This refers in particular to the Australia Service, the South and Central America Services and the Africa Services. Some British shipping companies had general cargo liner ships in service in Australia around 1960, the refrigerated rooms of which had a larger capacity than the largest German refrigerated ships of the time. However, according to the above and international definition, they were not refrigerated vessels.

Fruit ships

Fruit ships are very often equated with refrigerated ships, since they transport fruit like refrigerated ships. However, it is usually insensitive fruit, short distances, or both. The citrus fruits that were loaded in Mediterranean ports for ports in north-western Europe are among the most insensitive fruits . For a long time, lines to the Canary Islands that transported bananas and tomatoes in fruit ships were considered examples of short distances and sensitive fruits . Another example of typical sailing areas with short distances is the Caribbean . Before 1900 whole squadrons of small fruit ships, also known as “mosquito fleets”, supplied North America with fruit from the Caribbean islands.

Meat transport in freezer ships before 1900

Transition from fruit ships to fruit refrigerated ships (1896/1897)

Before 1900, attempts were even made to transport bananas from Jamaica to England on fruit ships. Since most of the fruit spoiled, bananas fetched extremely high prices in London ( Covent Garden ), this was the beginning of the fruit refrigerated shipping industry. The technology was adopted from the deep-freeze ships that had successfully carried meat for 20 years. After several unsuccessful attempts, including with bananas transported at minus temperatures, it was found that green bananas cannot tolerate temperatures below 12 ° C, because the subsequent ripening resulted in unsightly fruits that lacked the bright yellow.


  • Wofram Claviez: Sailor's Dictionary , 1994, Bielefeld.
  • Kludas, A .; Ralf Witthohn: The German reefer ships. 260 photos, hardcover, 124 pages, Koehlers Verlagsgeschaft, Herford 1981, ISBN 3-7822-0248-1 .
  • Karl-Heinz Hochhaus: Deutsche Kühlschiffahrt (1902-1995) , Hausschild Verlag, 1996, ISBN 3931785114