Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Death Ship?

The MS Athena encountered some "bloody terrifyingly bad" weather after leaving Falmouth, England back in September 2006. Winds were so powerful that one 70-year old doctor was knocked to the deck and died as a result of his injuries.

This was not the first tragedy to befall the ship: the Athena was originally launched in 1948 as the Swedish liner Stockholm.

It was under her original name that she collided with the Italian liner Andrea Doria on the evening of July 25, 1956 and killed a total of 51 people. While the Andrea Doria eventually sunk to the bottom, hundreds of survivors were rescued by both the Stockholm and Ile de France, which had steamed to the Italian liner's aid. Once loaded with survivors, the Swedish ship limped into New York with severe damage to its bow.

The Stockholm was never able to live down its involvement in the accident and became subsequently known as a "death ship," and the fatality in September 2006 only added to this reputation. It seems that even under a new name, the old ship is haunted by its past.

References: Alan Feurer, "From 'Death Ship' to Cruise Ship," The New York Times, September 23, 2006, under N.Y./Region, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9506EFDB1E31F930A1575AC0A9609C8B63&scp=29&sq=Andrea%20Doria&st=cse (accessed January 25, 2011).

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