scrap metal - the worlds last great ocean liners

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I was reading the armillary sphere posting, and thought I'd start a new but related thread pertaining to the skyhigh metal prices these days. In the past year we have lost almost all of the worlds beloved vintage ocean liners to the scrapyards. For all you preservationists out there, you will be heartbroken by this site:

<a href="http://www.maritimematters.com/mall_alang_pk.html" target="_blank">http://www.maritimematters.com/mall_alang_pk.html</a>

This guy went to India to photograph wonderful old liners being ripped apart. The latest news is that the legendary SS Norway, formerly the France (built 1960) is en route as I write this to the breakers. She will be sorely missed by all. Also in imminent peril are the final few remaining vintage liners. The Queen Mary, The SS United States (an engineering marvel), The SS Independence, and the Oceanic. I believe these are all that remain of several dozen beloved liners that were around just three or four years ago. Very sad. Anybody know who I can talk to about docking the Independence permanently in Boston Harbor?? Long Beach has the Mary, I'd like a liner in my neighborhood.

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I've heard about that beach. Those are some sad shots of liners meeting their fates indeed. I understand the pollution in that area is incredible, hence the ban on visitors and photographers. This guy seemed to get around it. He lives very near to where I work - I wonder if he opens the doors to show off this stuff. Thanks for the link.

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NCL, the now former owner of the S.S. Norway had originally planned to keep the ship in service (after a couple of flip-flops). The event that sealed her fate was a boiler explosion in May 2003 (killed eight crewman). New cruise ships are engined with marine diesels, not steam turbines. Diesels provide greater economy and flexibility, especially when high speed is nolonger required. NCL didn't feel that it made any sense to invest large sums to repair an obsolete propulsion system, and considering the ships age (forty-one at the time of the blast), they didn't want to take on the cost of conversion. As a side note, the R.M.S. Queen Elizabether II, engined with steam turbines (1969), was converted to diesel in Germany in 1987. The cost at that time was much more then the ship's original construction in Scotland.

An update on the maritime site dated the 20th reported rumors that the sale to the scrappers has been canceled over environmental issues. Still, its just a matter of time before she's broken up.

Another interesting item: NCL bought the S.S. United States (docked in Philiadelphia) and the S.S. Independance (docked on the west coast) in 2003 for possible revival. At this time, nearly three years after the purchase, both ships remain rotting at their berths. The Big U is now a rusting shell - her interiors have been completely stripped along with her lifeboats and davits. It's believed that she holds the record of being retained after active service longer then any liner (36 years). Other liners, such as the Queen Mary, have been maintained, but only for static purposes - often with their machinery stripped out.

A final side note: In the past year I've acquired two small sofas that were in the Cabin Class lounge of the Big U. On occasion, as I'm sitting on one (they are very comfortable, and extremely well made), I think of what it would be like when they were in the lounge - the gentle roll, the hum of her powerful turbines down below.

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Mark, Since you have brought up the US and Independence, I would like to propose this idea... bring the Independence back to Boston as a waterfront tourist attraction.... hotel, disco, decktop dining, cinema etc. A) She is the last liner in existence that was built here, and the last American liner still operable. Her sister was named the Constitution, which sank. C) Boston has another notable "Constitution" near which Independence, appropriately named could be berthed. How poetic??

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I have a variety of items from the SS United States, the best being a blanket. I went to a preview of an auction of the contents of the ship and they were selling the blankets, along with a small box of goodies like a room key, ash tray, baggage tags, etc. My dad was in the shipping business so I grabbed some stuff for both of us. Great that you got some couches, but sad the ship sits empty and rusting. I was hoping to see some progress when NCL bought them but nothing much seems to be happening.

Here are some shots from a happier time - 1959 to be exact. In the 3rd shot the United States is being swung out into the river as she leaves on a cruise.

ss-united-states-1.jpg

ss-united-states-2.jpg

ss-united-states-3.jpg

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Man, that last photo is fandangtastic! Too bad it's so hazy.

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Is that the entrance to a tunnel (running left to right) behind the twin water towers in the lower left of the photo? Sure is a dandy shot of older Manhattan.

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Hi All,

Who else in here is interested in liners? Any Lusitania/Mauretania collectors here?

Billy

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I giess the picture proves Los Angeles didn't have a monopoly on smog. Actually, I recall it being pretty bad in NYC when I worked there in the early 70s.

I believe the road complex is one of the tunnels to NJ but won't embarrass myself by trying to guess the name this moment.

Yes, Billy, I'm a liner fan. I think the board room at Pinewood Studios used wood from the Mauretania - I remember it being one of the old British liners - and I was pretty impressed they had saved it. I have a number of shots of liners visiting NYC in the 50s and 60s. Sure is hard to look at the empty river where all of those ships and piers once were and realize we'll never see anything like that again.

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The picture is from the Hotel New Yorker, and I believe that's the Holland Tunnel entrance.

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Here's another shot of the SS United States. That's the Bremen on the left. I worked for AT&T in that tall white building on the left without windows. It was called "New York 7" and was a major switching center. We used to walk to the piers at lunch, and they allowed visitors on the ships before they sailed. I think they charged a dollar or so for the Longshoreman's Retirement Fund. We would casually stroll into a going away party and eat and drink to our heart's content. If anyone came up and asked who we were we would say "Isn't this the Smith party? It's not? Oh, terribly sorry!", leave and go find another party. Sure couldn't get near a ship like that today.

ss-united-states-4.jpg

1969

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Ok. Bill's 3rd photo shows the ramps from the Lincoln Tunnel to the west-side bus terminal.

That cut, or culvert, running north-south in the mid-foreground is the famed west-side freight line, New York Central. The round gas tank was between 45th and 46th, and 11th and 12th. It sits between Piers 84 and 86.

Bill's 4th photo shows the United States on the north side of Pier 86. North German Lloyd (Bremen) used the south side of Pier 88, French Line (SS France) used the north side. Italian Line (Leonardo Di Vinci) used Pier 84, just out of the picture to the south.

The street you're looking "down", far right, would be 45th.

Apparently, United States moved to 86 from 58-62, early 60's?

I didn't know AT&T has a switching center up there. Bill, did a cable from Jersey come over in that area, or something?

And isn't there a massive old switching center just north of the WTC site? Long Lines, maybe?

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Yeah, I'm a liner fan for sure.... in fact, I started this post because I was obsessing over all the liners lost over the past year. Here is one that we lost last year to Alang... Cunard's 1955 Ivernia, here as the Franconia in 1964.... This is a personal photo from the infamous Berson slide scanning project. Yeah, the ship really was GREEN. I also have some beautiful photos of other ships from family trips... ALL but one (Oceanic) of which have either been scrapped, burned and/or sank: the Leonardo Da Vinci, Oceanic, The Italia, Jerusalem, Oslofjord, Bahama Star, Queen Elizabeth, The America, The Venezuela, etc. I was on the QE2, but dont have slides, just prints... and no scanner for prints unfortunately. If anybody is interested, I will share some of my scans. I am still working on the Da Vinci collection, but have some good ones already....

If anybody wants to help me start a campaign to bring the Independence back to Boston (to save its life), let me know. I need to create a think-tank for this....

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For those former NYC residents.../cruise ships do, once again, leave from Manhattan though I'm not sure from what pier

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Maverick,

Although I've never beenon a REAL cruise ship, I do find this fascinating. I'm into all kinds of preservation, so count me in! My experience has been mostly with buildings, but I hate to see anything lost forever.

My only cruise trips have been on the Viking Line between Sweden and Finland back in the late 70's. They are basically fancy overgrown car ferries, but the crossings are about 20 hrs. And I do spend a LOT of time on the steamships going back and forth to Nantucket (OK, that doesn't really count...)

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Maverick,

Although I've never beenon a REAL cruise ship, I do find this fascinating. I'm into all kinds of preservation, so count me in! My experience has been mostly with buildings, but I hate to see anything lost forever.

My only cruise trips have been on the Viking Line between Sweden and Finland back in the late 70's. They are basically fancy overgrown car ferries, but the crossings are about 20 hrs. And I do spend a LOT of time on the steamships going back and forth to Nantucket (OK, that doesn't really count...)

Ahhhh, another Massh**e Just kidding... yeah, I finally decided to just go to the Vinyard from now on because the trip is so much less intense, although I love Nantucket. I have lots of scans of Nantucket circa 1959 if you are interested. Incidentally, one of my favorite shipwrecks of all time is near Nantucket, the Andrea Doria. She was replaced by the Leonardo Da Vinci, (burned and sank). and the Michealangelo and Rafaello (both scrapped). Like buildings, no two liners are alike, or have the same personality. So each one lost is a very sad matter. There are almost none left. The United States is only a shell at this point. Stripped of all her decor. Do you think the Independence in Boston sounds like a good fit?? My sister knows someone who gave me a (major) contact at the Boston Harbor redevelopment board. He did the Aquarium project, but the only problem is I am very intimidated to call him and propose this idea, having as little experience as I do in this type of endeavor. I also emailed one of the worlds most prominent maritime historians/ship buffs who responded that he can possibly help me find investors to get this project going. The main obstactle, obviously would be where to put an ocean liner in Boston!!! Buying the vessel should be (relatively) cheap, especially if it is bound for the breakers... which there are strong indications will be happening soon.

This should pique your interest:

<a href="http://www.ssmaritime.com/ss-independence-constitution.htm" target="_blank">http://www.ssmaritime.com/ss-independence-constitution.htm</a>

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Great pictures. I believe Mike is right about that ramp from the Lincoln Tunnel to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Cars used to be able to park at Port Authority but they closed it after the 1st WTC attack.

I took the NY Waterway Ferry to NYC for my office Christmas party and I think the United States Line pier is still there.

I saw the QM2 when it came on its maiden voyage it berthed up by the Intrepid (which is at Pier 86 near 46th or 47th Street) an amazing sight.

The Normandie met its demise in NY harbor. I heard that a church in Brooklyn has the grand entry doors from the Normandie installed at its entrance.

I have always been interested in the Titantic since I read "A night to Remember" as a kid. The Cameron movie blew interest in the ship to a ridiculous level. Why are ships so interesting?

I would love to take a trip to see them work on the United States. It is close to the Battleship New Jersey as well. Maybe a road trip is in order.

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NY7 was the major Long Lines center that connected NY Telco to New England for long distance calls. There were other connections to the rest of the AT&T network, but the odds were that if you were calling anywhere in New England it was going through that building. It's funny, though, now that I think of it, that most of what I worked on were transcontinental circuits. Basically, if people were complaining about noise on a call to say San Francisco, I would call a tech there and we would then pick a city in the middle of that particular circuit. Let's say St. Louis. We would then have the St. Louis tech break the connection and see if the noise was NYC-St. Louis or St. Louis-SF. If it was the former I would thank the SF tech then find a city between NYC and St. Louis and start the process again. Time consuming but it helped pay for college.

I remember one day when a construction site in New Jersey took out the primary AND backup circuits to New England, which ran through two concrete encased conduits (so yes, we did have cables over to NJ). The place lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree. It wasn't long, though, before we had routed traffic all over the place, so a call from NYC to Boston was probably going NYC-Chicago-Toronto-Boston. Much of this had to be done manually but they had well defined procedures that were well understood. Good old Ma Bell.

There were other centers in NYC as well, and I remember a friend working at an ancient NY Telco one around 50th street? It was unreal, still had step-by-step switches that were very old and VERY noisy. AT&T did have something big in the Canal Street area but I never had anything to do with that.

One memory of my time there was accidentally causing a strike that shut down the union operations for the Northeast for 3 days. Have to detail that incident some time!

Thanks for the correction on the tunnel - a peril of too late at night after too hard a day.

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Hi All,

I did not know there were so many liner collectors here. Here are some links to a small bit of my Mauretania collection posted online - have a look

http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discu...html?1102396724

http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/cgi-b...6937&page=93337

http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discu...html?1127535537

Best,

magikbilly

Here is an image from my collection; it is posted at one of the links above but there are limitations there so I can post it larger here:

mid1907panorama.jpg

Mauretania being completed in the Swan Fitting Out Basin, taken from a General Tyne Ferry. The Covered Launch Shed, Covered Building Berths, Platers and Joiners are to the right of Mauretania. Wallsend, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Original panoramic photograph, mid 1907 © EL Image Collection

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Bill, in that third picture of the United States outbound from NYC, it looks like the Independence or Constitution (American Export Lines) is docked on the other side of the pier from where the US was berthed. The Independence and the United States, the two ships in this picture are ironically the only two US ocean liners left in the world today as far as I know. (Like I said before, the Independence, affectionately called the "Indy" is the only one still operable). The ship heading inbound to the left of the picture, if I didnt know this was '59 I would say is Italian Line's Leonardo Da Vinci, (Burned/sank/scrapped 1980). Although I am pretty sure that the Da Vinci was put into service in 1960, having been built as a replacement for the lost Andrea Doria. Hmmmm.....

Great pix, thanks for sharing!!

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magikbilly: Thanks for those great pictures. The Mauretania looks very similar to the Titanic. Triple screw and 4 stacks. When I was a member of the Titanic Historical Society years ago, a member died and bequeathed a copy of a research book he did to all members. It detailed the recovery and burial of the victims. I misplaced it for a while and found it again last year. A strange topic but very interesting.

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Question from a landlubber:

Modern marine diesel ocean liner engines run on diesel fuel, right?

Originally steam engines on ships ran on coal, and a few on wood, although the latter probably didn't last long.

But those steam turbines that originally outfitted the QE2 and other ships of the 50's and 60's-

what kind of fuel did they run on? The same diesel fuel that marine diesel engines consume?

"Is that purple smoke comin' out of the funnels? What are they smokin' down there anyway?"

ss-united-states-4.jpg

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From cruisecritic.com:

"In 1987, QE2 was re-engined. Her trouble-prone, bulk oil guzzling steam turbines were removed and replaced with diesels. The improvements in fuel efficiency and reliability ensured the ship's survival."

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Fastest speed (from the 'net)

The Blue Riband of the North Atlantic is the most prestigious steaming record in the world and 1998 marks the 160th anniversary of the 8.03 knot, 18 days, 14 hours, 22 minute record set by SIRIUS in April 1838. This crossing, together with the successful record breaking arrival in New York one day later by GREAT WESTERN (8.66 knots), created great public interest in shipping and a quest, by operators, for transatlantic supremacy. By gentleman's agreement, a number of shipping magnates decided that the passenger vessel logging the fastest transatlantic crossing would be honored with the privilege of flying a blue ribbon from her mast.

Over the next 100 years numerous attempts were made to gain the honor of being the holder of the Blue Riband. To encourage innovation in passenger transport and formalize Blue Riband arrangements, English Parliamentarian, Harold Hales, commissioned and donated a four foot high priceless trophy, known as the Hales Trophy, in 1934. The Trophy is presented to the "Ship which shall for the time being have crossed the Atlantic Ocean at the highest average speed".

halescup4.jpg

Great liners such as REX, NORMANDIE, QUEEN MARY and SS UNITED STATES have all held the Hales Trophy since its inception. The SS UNITED STATES won the Blue Riband on its maiden voyage in 1952, averaging 35.59 knots. That record was broken in 1990 by the Incat Australia built HOVERSPEED GREAT BRITAIN, establishing the record at 36.65 knots.

hoverspeed.gif

Hoverspeed Great Britain

In June 1998, the CATALONIA raised the speed to 38.85 knots. Each of its four Caterpillar 3618 diesel engines drives a transom mounted waterjet.

cateng.gif

catalonia6s.jpg

In July 1998, the CAT-LINK V set a new record speed of 39.897 knots. The last three record holders were built by Incat Australia. While Cat-Link V utilizies Russian diesel engines, the basic large catemeran diesel/waterjet technology is the same as the previous two record holders, with continual development of hull design. All three of these are motor vehicle-carrying ferries.

cat-linkv.jpg

Cat-Link V

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I believe the post-coal steam turbine liners ran on "bunker oil", a cruder form of diesel.

OT, in 1950, my parents on their honeymoon to Europe, went via Queen Mary over, Queen Elizabeth back.

Yep, everyone is gaga over the Titanic tragedy, but they forget the three greatest semi-civilian naval tragedies in history. All in the same year, and the same sea.

Quiz:

Can you name them?

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