Category: Sea Stories

America’s Greatest Loss of Life on Water

On April 27, 1865, the United States experiences its worst maritime disaster in history. Mere weeks after the Civil War came to an end, the steamboat; Sultana exploded and sank in the Mississippi River, killing an estimated 1,200 to 1,800 Union prisoner of war soldiers who were released and on their way home.

THE RIVER, BAR AND BIGHT

THE RIVER, BAR AND BIGHT
Nostalgia for the life ashore,
But as a magnet drawn,
The gentle movement of the deck,
Tells me again I’m borne;
For distant shores I’ve never seen,
What better than to sleep and dream,
To lullaby of engine room,
Its song of fate, adventure, doom?

SS Baychimo: The Unsinkable Ghost Ship

Ships aren’t meant to sink, but sometimes you have to wonder what miraculous forces kept a vessel afloat. The SS Baychimo was such a ship. For nearly four decades after it was abandoned, this 1,300-ton cargo ship sailed the Arctic without fuel or crew, until it disappeared just over fifty years ago, but some believe she is still out there drifting among the frozen icebergs.

Four-Masted Sailing to Tragedy

Pamir, a four-masted barque, was one of the famous Flying P-Liner sailing ships of the German shipping company F. Laeisz. She was the last commercial sailing ship to brave the notorious rounding of Cape Horn, in 1949. By 1957, the barque had been out-dated by modern bulk carriers and was by then unable to operate at a profit.

France’s Pearl Harbour

The French surrendered to the Germans on June 22, 1940. The terms of the capitulation were unusual. The Germans permitted the new French administration, under Marshall Petain, to establish itself in the city of Vichy in the south and central France. From there, unoccupied independent Vichy France governed over half of the French landmass in the south of France whilst retaining their overseas colonies and their navy.