View Full Version : A difficult job!

Doc Vernon
29th July 2016, 06:17 AM



​Sixty years ago, in July 1956...

It was no easy job to repair the badly damaged Stockholm. After arriving at Pier 97 in Manhattan, a floating crane & barge were brought alongside the little liner and began removing some of the hideously mangled steel and other debris from the bow. Then, the ship was carefully towed over to the lower end of the Brooklyn waterfront, to the Bethlehem Steel shipyard at 56th Street, and placed in the big floating dry dock to begin the more serious "surgery". Reporters & photographers were invited to the shipyard to see the full extent of the crushed bow. Bethlehem Steel and Swedish American Line were most accommodating: News photographers were placed in a large, open "box" and then lifted upward by crane to get a very dramatic, panoramic view of the damaged but very newsworthy Stockholm as she rested, like some badly injured patient, in dry dock.

Less than three years later, an even bigger liner, American Export Lines' Constitution, would be in the same dry dock and with a damaged bow as well. On a foggy morning in March 1959, just outside New York harbor, she collided with a Norwegian tanker, the Jalanta, and cut that vessel completely in two. An investigation followed: the Constitution, otherwise empty and coming up from a refit at Newport News, was going far too fast. It seemed, as later reported through the back door, the master of the Constitution had ordered the higher speed because he was afraid of being late for his dentist appointment in Manhattan.

Still other collisions were frequent if less publicized than the Andrea Doria & Stockholm. Weeks later, the Grace Line's Santa Rosa rammed a tanker, also just outside New York harbor, and lifted decking and tanker's smokestack right off. Consequently, the all-but-brand new Santa Rosa arrived in port carrying added cargo: A smokestack at front of her bow. Then months later, in August 1959, the giant Queen Elizabeth sideswiped with a United States Lines' freighter in the Lower Bay while outbound in thick summer haze. The Cunard liner had minimal damages, but her 2,200 passengers & 1,100 crew had to return to Pier 90, wait overnight and await a thorough US Coast Guard inspection.