SS Antilles

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This article is about the French cruise ship launched in 1953. For the United States Army Transport sunk by a U-boat in 1917, see SS Antilles (1907).
SS Antilles
Career
Owner: Compagnie Générale Transatlantique
Completed: 1953
Maiden voyage: 1953
Fate: Grounded and burned 8 January 1971
General characteristics
Tonnage: 19,828 GRT
Length: 182.53 m (598.9 ft)
Beam: 24.4 m (80 ft)
Draft: 8 m (26 ft)
Installed power: Diesel
Speed: 23.8 knots (44.1 km/h; 27.4 mph)

Built for the French Line, the Antilles was a near-sister to the SS Flandre of 1952. Her construction was completed and her maiden voyage made in 1953. She differed from her sister mainly because she was painted in white. She was placed on West Indies cruise service in the 1960s.[1]

Her career was much shorter than that of her sister's. On 8 January 1971, she struck a reef near the island of Mustique in the Grenadines while attempting to navigate Lansecoy Bay, a shallow and reef filled bay on the northern side of Mustique. Why the captain guided the Antilles into the narrow shallow strait is still not known. The impact ruptured a fuel tank and she caught fire. All of her passengers and crew evacuated the ship safely to the island of Mustique and were rescued by Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2.[2]

The burnt out hulk could not be freed from the reef, so the ship lay there for several months, eventually breaking in half. Many years later she would be scrapped on the spot and moved just a few hundred yards to her final resting place in the channel offshore Lansecoy Bay.

The wreck site is submerged off Mustique and is barely visible on Google Earth at 12°54' 04" N, 61°10' 44" W; the mast protrudes from the water during low tide. Although the ship wrecked in a reef, reaching the site is dangerous because of the rip tides that form.

Popular Culture[edit]

The Flandre or the Antilles appeared as stock footage in the 1964 Perry Mason episode Nautical Knot, set near Acapulco, Mexico. The scenes on board were filmed on a studio set. P&O Line's equally popular SS Arcadia also appears in the episode.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ocean Liners; by Olivier LeGoff and Claude Molteni De Villermont.
  2. ^ Middleton, Ned. "The Antilles, Malta". Simply Scuba. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2012-07-14.