--Table of Contents--
The Andrea Doria Disaster
The Sinking of the R.M.S Titanic
The M.V. St. Louis returns to Europe
The Steamer General Slocum Tragedy
World Trade Center 9/11 Disaster Struck
The Andrea Doria and the M.S. Stockholm
There was heavy fog on the North Atlantic on the evening of the 25th of July 1956.
And the pride of the Italian Line, the 29,000 ton Andrea Doria was heading Westbound for New York, on her last night at sea.
At the same time, the 12,000 ton Stockholm, Swedish Amerika line was heading Eastbound, having left New York harbor earlier at about the same time as the French liner the Ile de France, a ship that would later play a major role in the tragedy.
Both ships were monitoring their radars and following the applicable rules of the road.
All guidance necessary to avoid a collision was available for the situation that was about to unfold.
The Andrea Doria was steaming in fog on track to pass the Nantucket lightship and shaped her course for New York.
The lightship reported visibility at 50 yards. The Andrea Doria only reduced her speed from 23 knots to 21 knots.
Captain Calamai was on the bridge. The radar was being observed. Shortly after passing the Nantucket lightship, an echo sounded that proved to be the Stockholm on a head on situation.
From his visual observation of the radar scope, Captain Calamai determined that an apparent starboard to starboard passing was developing.
He adjusted course a few degrees to port to open up the distance.
On the bridge of the Stockholm, 3rd Mate Carstens-Johannsen detected the echo of the Andrea Doria. He determined a running fix on his plotter that a port to port passing was developing. He turned the Stockholm 4 degrees to starboard and from the upcoming radar beeps, he felt assured there was no need to summon Captain Nordenson to the bridge.
He had the situation under control.
Both ships were sounding fog horns in the thick fog with lookouts on their watch.
Each bridge was developing opposing strategy for passing on radar readings. Each bridge viewed masthead lights and running lights.
The Stockholm turned hard to starboard. Captain Calamai ordered, "Full Left Rudder with no decrease in speed."
He would attempt to outrun the oncoming Stockholm.
The rest is history.
At 23:10 hours, these two great ships collided with a steel grinding spark-filled disastrous shudder and tangle of steel.
46 passengers were killed on the Andrea Doria and 6 crew members died on the Stockholm.
The immediate distress signals were sent out.
"SOS. Need immediate assistance." SOS at 0320GMT at the position of Lat 40-30N/69-53W."
The radioman on the Ile de France also received the distress signal call and relayed it to Captain Rauol de Beaudean and the captain turned the Ile de France aroundand headed toward the disaster on a rescue mission.
With in minutes of the collision, the Andrea Doria had listed 25 degrees to starboard. The list rendered the portside life boats unusable with over 1,600 passengers and crew to evacuate, creating a huge problem.
And the engine room crew were working frantically to control the flooding and maintain power but the flooding proved too much.
They were losing the battle.
The abandon ship order was given.
On board the Stockholm, Captain Nordersen was assured of his ship's stability. He lowered his own lifeboats to the rescue and took on passengers from the Andrea Doria to the Stockholm's lifeboats.
Several other ships had arrived to join in the rescue. The Ile de France received the most passengers and crew--750.
The Stockholm was badly damaged at her bow. Her two anchors had deployed to the ocean floor.
The Stockholm took the initial passengers on board--542 safely aboard.
In all, 1,660 passengers and crew had been rescued from the Andrea Doria as new day was dawning.
The Andrea Doria was doomed, continuing to list to her starboard side.
At 1009 hours, she rolled over and finally listed, disappearing beneath the wave,
with all the ships' whistles blowing in salute of the death of this great liner.
The Stockholm safely made it back to the port of New York.
Story by Ian O. Robertson
On the 10th of April 1912, the RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton on its Maiden Voyage--the greatest liner of its time--with stops at Cherbourg and Queenstown--on its way to New York.
On the night of the 14th of April at 11:40pm, the liner struck an iceberg.
After 20 minutes, Captain E.J.Smith was aware the ship was going to sink.
He issued the abandon ship order.
The ship sank at 2:20am on the 15th of April.
868 were rescued by the R.M.S. Carpathia and taken to New York City.
1,250 Souls went down with the ship.
R.M.S. Carpathia docked in New York Harbor
Story by Ian O. Robertson
Hamburg Amerika Line H.A.P.A.G.
In May 1939, the German liner M.S. ST LOUIS sailed from Hamburg with 937 Jewish refugees, fleeing Nazi Persecution. Their destination--Havana, Cuba.
Upon arriving in Havana, the Cuban Government rejected their visas,
refusing them entry.
The ship was ordered to leave port.
Captain Gustav Schroder headed for the eastern coast of the United States.
Yet here, they were also denied entry at any US port.
With no other options available, the ship was forced to return back to Europe.
This would prove to be a death sentence for many of these refugees who would eventually end up in the Nazi concentration camps.
This became known as The Voyage Of The Damned.
Story by Ian O. Robertson
Captain Gustav Schroder
It was a sunny Sunday morning, the 15th of June, 1904.
The Slocum was chartered for the day by the St. Mark's Lutheran Church for 350 dollars and loading the passengers, mainly European settlers, for what was to be a fun-filled day and picnic at Eaton's Neck, Long Island.
Over 1,400 men, women and children had boarded at the Lower Eastside Pier.
The ship got underway at 9:30am and headed northbound on the East River towards Long Island.
At 10:00am, as it was passing East 96th Street at Hell's gate, a fire broke out
in the lamp room on the forward part of the ship, possibly caused by a discarded cigarette or match, fueled by oil, rags, straw, paint and other flammable liquids.
Captain Van Schaick was not notified until 10 minutes after the fire started.
The ship's crew had never had a fire drill.
This was a disaster waiting to happen.
The Captain decided to stay on course, while trying to extinguish the fire,
but the head winds only fanned the flames.
The ship turned into a raging inferno.
Passengers were jumping into the river and drowning, their heavy clothing dragging them under.
Mothers were jumping
with babies in their arms.
Many also died
when the Main Deck collapsed
from the weight of the passengers.
As others jumped
over the side of the ship,
they were battered
by the still turning paddles.
If the proper safety regulations
had been in place,
this tragedy could have been avoided.
The Slocum sank is shallow water, just off Brother Island,
on the Bronx shoreline.
A Burned Out Shell.
An estimated 1021 souls
burned to death or drowned.
There were 321 survivors.
Many acts of heroism were performed by passenger and crew.
Many people from the shoreline joined in the rescue efforts,
forming a human chain pulling victims from the water.
The East River was strewn with bodies along the shoreline.
A tragic day for
this family neighborhood.
the Knickerbocker Steamship Company,
were sighted for unsafe conditions.
This disaster motivated
Federal and State regulators
to improve emergency procedures
and to properly maintain onboard emergency equipment.
There is a marble memorial fountain
at Tomkins Square Park
in New York City
honoring all who perished.
Story by Ian O. Robertson
R.M.S. Queen Elizabeth II passing the World Trade Center
Eastbound for Southampton
"Eternal Father Strong To Save
Whose Arm Has Calmed The Restless Wave
Who Bids the Mighty Ocean Deep
Its Own Appointed Limits Keep
Oh Hear Us Cry To Thee
For Those In Peril
On Land and Sea."
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