The MV CAP SAN DIEGO was constructed by the Deutsche Werft, Hamburg, contract No. 785. The vessel is from bow to stern a Hamburg ship and was designed by the well known Hamburg marine architect Cäsar Pinnau. She was delivered on March 27th, 1962 to the fleet of the "Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrtsgesellschaft". She is the youngest of 6 sister ships, named "Cap San Antonio", "Cap San Augustin", "Cap San Lorenzo", "Cap San Marco" and "Cap San Nicolas".
With their sleek hulls and massive sterns, these ships resembled elegant yachts rather than freighters with a loading capacity of 10,300 tons.
Her measurements are: Length 159.40 m, Breadth 21.47 m, Volume 9,998 GRT (Gross Register Tons)/5,728 NRT (Net Register Tons) as a full scantling ship and 7,626 GRT / 4,116 NRT as a shelter-decker. Fully loaden she displaces 17,470 tons at a draft of 8.46 m. The ship’s deadweight is 6,700 tons at a draft of 5.40 m.The CAP SAN DIEGO is propelled by a two-stroke MAN diesel engine with 9 cylinders and 11,600 horsepower. On her trial run she reached a maximum speed of 20.3 knots at 118 revolutions per minute. Four auxiliary KHD-engines (500 hp) with generators supply the ship with electricity (440V/115 ac).
On March 29, 1962, the CAP SAN DIEGO sailed off to her maiden voyage. During the following 20 years, she completed more than 120 round trips between Hamburg and South America. In those days, every single week a Cap-San ship was leaving from Hamburg, heading for the east coast of South America.
However, even on this route, the inexorable rise of the standardized shipping container left less and less room for conventional cargo freighters. The Hamburg-Süd shipping company, too, was using more and more container ships, so that in 1981, the CAP SAN DIEGO was sold to the Spanish shipping company "Ybarra". She sailed for this company up to early 1986 when the ravages of time finally visibly caught up with the erstwhile "White Swan of the South Atlantic". She was now the last remaining vessel of the Cap-San class. Once more, the ship was sold. Under the name of "Sangria" she left for her very last voyage, to be dismantled and to end in a junk furnace.
In the nick of time the fate of the ship was turned. The Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg bought the CAP SAN DIEGO, to preserve her as a maritime monument. On October 31, 1986 she returned to her port of registry and was handed over to the foundation "Hamburger Admiralität" in 1987.