Category: Sea Stories

The Audacity of Peter Tordenskjold: The Naval Captain Who Asked His Enemy For Ammo in The Middle of a Battle

On November 12, 1720 Peter Tordenskjold died in a sword duel. It will not sound familiar to most people, but he was one of the great national heroes of Denmark and Norway—countries that were once united, a daring sailor who would be the equivalent of what Nelson is to the British, Ruyter to the Dutch, Jones to the Americans or Bazán to the Spanish. Remembered in several popular songs and honored with several statues, streets, books, films and even a festival, a corvette of the Danish navy and a ship of the Norwegian navy are named after him. He is also cited in the Danish royal anthem.

The World’s Largest Sailing Ship

On December 14, 1907, a large sailing ship wrecked off the coast of Annet, in the Isles of Scilly, killing all but two of her eighteen crew and causing the world’s first large marine oil spill. The ship involved in the accident, Thomas W. Lawson, was an incredible ship.

Can Russia bankrupt the Suez and Panama Canals

The shortest sea route between Europe and Asia passes through the Arctic Due to thick ice it is not traversable for most of the year. Russia has now decided to invest about $10 billion in the near future in order for the region to become an international transport corridor 365 days a year. Developing the route will require a huge investment, but the potential profit will be even greater.

Compulsory Companions thrown together stay together

British seamen cynically but in friendly fashion describe themselves not as the crew members or shipmates but as Board of Trade Compulsory Companions. That said, the bad eggs thrown together by circumstance were few and far between. From sailing day, a ship’s crew who were complete strangers to each other a day earlier became firm friends. 

Women And Children Last: The Infamous Sinking of La Bourgogne

The sinking of the French ocean liner SS La Bourgogne on the morning of 4 July 1898 was one of the most disgraceful of disasters in maritime history due to the cowardly and criminal behavior of the crew. Instead of the heroic sacrifice that has often been the shining moment in such a terrible tragedy, the crew of the steamer “fought like demons for the few lifeboats and rafts”, drawing out their knives and threatening passengers with it. Out went for a toss “Women and children first!”, famously established by the soldiers of the sinking Birkenhead, half a century earlier, and by the crew of the Titanic fourteen years later. Only one woman passenger from La Bourgogne was saved, and all children perished.