RMS Queen Elizabeth


RMS Queen Elizabeth

RMS "Queen Elizabeth" was an ocean liner which sailed the Atlantic Ocean for the Cunard Line (then the Cunard White Star Line) and contracted to carry Royal Mail. At the time of construction in the 1930s, she was known as Hull 552 by John Brown and Company in Clydebank, Scotland. Named in honour of Queen Elizabeth (who was Queen Consort at the time of her launch in 1938), [Note: In 1952 became the Queen Mother] she was the largest passenger liner ever built–-a record that was not exceeded for fifty-six years. She was a slightly larger ship with an improved design over her running mate, the (the "QE2").

Final years

In 1968, the "Queen Elizabeth" was sold to a group of Philadelphia businessmen who intended to operate the ship as a hotel and tourist attraction in Port Everglades, Florida, similar to the use of "Queen Mary" in Long Beach, California. Losing money and forced to close after being declared a fire hazard, the ship was sold in 1970 to Hong Kong tycoon C.Y. Tung.

Tung, head of the Orient Overseas Line, intended to convert the vessel into a university for the World Campus Afloat program (later reformed and renamed as Semester at Sea). Following the tradition of the Orient Overseas Line, the ship was renamed "Seawise University", as a play on Tung's initials.

During the conversion however the vessel was gutted by a fire that broke out at several different places onboard, believed to have been caused by arson. The ship capsized in shallow water in Hong Kong Victoria Harbour on 9 January 1972. The wreckage was dismantled for scrap in 1974-1975, before the project could ever be truly realised. Portions of the hull that were not salvaged were left at the bottom of the bay and later incorporated into landfill for the new Hong Kong International Airport.

The wreck was featured in the 1974 James Bond movie "The Man with the Golden Gun", as a covert headquarters for MI6.

Soon after the fire of "Seawise University", she was replaced with "Universe Campus" ex "Atlantic". "Universe Campus" was later renamed to "Universe" in 1976. [cite web|url=http://www.merchantnavyofficers.com/ool.html|title=The Orient Overseas Line]

Following her scrapping, the largest passenger ship in active service was the SS|France|1961|6, which was longer but had lesser tonnage than the "Queen Elizabeth".

Timeline

*6 April 1968 – Cunard officially announced that Queen Elizabeth would retire and become a tourist attraction in Port Everglades, Florida.
* 28 November 1968 – Queen Elizabeth departed Southampton for Port Everglades.
* 8 December 1968 – Queen Elizabeth arrived at Port Everglades. At 11:54AM EST, the ship was moored at her temporary home between piers 24 and 25.
* 14 February 1969 – Queen Elizabeth opened her doors to the public.
* May 1969 – Cunard offered to sell the ship to the highest bidder.
* 19 July 1969 – Cunard sold the ship to the group of men who oversaw the original plan by which ship came to Florida.
* 11 November 1969 – Port Everglades Fire Chief John Gerkin ordered the Elizabeth (Queen title dropped at Cunards request) closed to the public as a fire hazard.
* December 1969 – The ship reopened to the public.
* 9 September 1970 – The Elizabeth was put up for auction when her owners company "Queen limited" (of which Cunard had an 85% share) filed for bankruptcy.
* 17 September 1970 – purchased by C.Y. Tung of Hong Kong.
* 1 January 1971 – The ship was prepared for her journey to Hong Kong.
* 10 February 1971 – Ship was renamed "Seawise University".
* August 1971 – arrived in Victoria Harbour. Work to convert the ship into a floating university commenced.
* 9 January 1972 – Several fires broke out simultaneously on board, and attempts to put them out flooded the ship. She listed onto her starboard side by the afternoon.
* 1973 – Footage was filmed of the wreck of the "Seawise University" for the James Bond movie "The Man with the Golden Gun" as the secret location of MI6 headquarters.
* 1975 – "Seawise University" was scrapped.

References

External links

* [http://rmhh.co.uk/ships/pages/RMS%20Queen%20Elizabeth%201.html RMS Queen Elizabeth story and picture]
* [http://www.maritimematters.com/elizabeth-ghareeb.html Maritimematters.com: The ELIZABETH in Florida]


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