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  • The Bergen Steamship Company, was founded in 1851 to operate a shipping service between the Norwegian ports of Bergen, Stavanger, and Kristiansand and the German port of Hamburg with the paddle steamer Bergen. The company funnel was black with three widely spaced narrow white bands. BDS progressively expanded its routes to provide world wide services. The company operated a regular passenger service from West Norway to the UK from 1895, and took part in the Norwegian coastal service, the Hurtigruten, from 1894 until 1979. Cruise liners were run from 1921 until 1971 when BDS partnered Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskab in setting up the Royal Viking Line. At its height, between about 1920 and 1970, the company had up to 2500 employees and 30 to 40 ships. During World War II several BDS ships were sunk by Allied action on the Norwegian coast, including MS Rigel in which over 2500 lives were lost. According to the newspaper Bergens Tidende the Company profited highly from shipping contracts entered into with the German occupiers of Norway. At the end of the war the Company's records were no longer in existence. The Company's management was investigated by Bergen police for 18 months, but no charges were brought. Wikipedia

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