Belem started out as a cargo ship transporting sugar from the West Indies. She also carried some cocoa and coffee from Brazil and Guyana, which were delivered to Nantes, France.
However, she was purchased in 1951 by the Venetian count Vittorio Cini. In addition, they named her the Giorgio Cini after his son.
On August 31, 1949, he died in a plane crash near Cannes. Until 1965, the Belem was rigged to a barkentine. Most importantly, used as a sail training ship.
She was also considered too old at times. Therefore , moored at Venice’s San Giorgio Maggiore Island.
Nonetheless, Belem narrowly avoided the Mount Pelée eruption in Saint-Pierre. Martinique, on May 8, 1902.