A Family Remembered..

At our January meeting of the shipping club, one of our senior members, Alan Johnson, whose latter part of his working career was spent as a senior lecturer at the famous South Shields Marine School and who currently in his retirement enjoys the subject of Local History.

Well, he handed me a couple of interesting documents to have a look at  A Passenger List and a Menu

dated February 12th 1930 for the luxury passenger liner RMS “Majestic”, part of the White Star Line. He told me that these are the property of a good friend of his, Ann Robson and the documents had belonged to her father who had come into possession of these documents when he sailed as a passenger from Southampton to New York on this ship in order to join, as far as known, a Furness Withy ship in some American port.

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RMS Majestic

Going back to the beginning of the story A Family Remembered and the two documents from the Majestic, I thought it may be interesting to take a closer look at this ship; since it was at the time the largest ship in the world and before being renamed Majestic, this fine vessel was built by the Germans at their Blohm & Voss shipyard and named Bismarck. So here it is…

RMS Majestic (II), at 56,551 tons, the largest ship the White Star Line ever owned, was originally called Bismarck and belonged to Germany’s, Hamburg American Line. Bismarck along with two sister ships, Imperator and Vaterland, were intended to rival White Star Line’s Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, and Cunard Lines Lusitania, Mauritania and Aquitania.

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“Modern Express”

World Shipping News

A short video clip showing this stricken vessel being towed away from the French coast

The operation to tow a listing cargo ship away from the French coast has succeeded, maritime officials say.

A Spanish tugboat “managed to pivot [the ship], point it towards the open sea and begin towing it,” spokesman Louis-Xavier Renaux said.

The vessels are travelling westward at a speed of three knots (5kmh; 3.5mph), he added.

The 22 crew members of the Panamanian-registered Modern Express were airlifted off the ship last Tuesday.

Officials feared the vessel, which was about 44km (27 miles) off Arcachon near Bordeaux in south-western France, could run aground.

But four maritime experts were able to attach a tow line to the vessel before being evacuated.

f the operation had failed, the ship could have hit France’s south-west coast between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Bad weather hindered rescue efforts on Sunday, two days after another tow line to the 164m (538ft) vessel was broken in rough seas.

The ship, which is carrying 3,600 tonnes of timber and digging machines, was listing at an angle of between 40 and 50 degrees.

The Atlantic maritime prefecture said it was “totally impossible to put the cargo ship upright”.

Around 300 tonnes of fuel are on board, French authorities say. The Sud-Ouest newspaper reported (in French) that emergency measures were to be put in place if the ship ran aground, in order to contain the fuel and remove it.

In 2002, the Prestige oil tanker sank off the coast of northern Spain, spilling 50,000 tonnes of oil and polluting thousands of miles of coast.

1st February 2016