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Article: Rescue in the Caribbean: the Viking Princess

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    Rescue in the Caribbean: the Viking Princess

    22 Comments by Doc Vernon Published on 21st August 2018 01:03 AM
    On April 8th 1966, and with subsequent headline-making news, the cruise ship Viking Princess caught fire and burned out off Cuba. The 12,000-ton ship was on a Caribbean cruise at the time. Captain Klaus Schacht was then serving aboard the freighter Cap Norte, a West German vessel (Hamburg-South America Line), and raced to the rescue. “We rescued passengers & crew, but some of the crew was quite notorious. They seemed more interested with the monies & other valuables in the ship’s safe than saving lives or even the ship itself.”





    A postcard View Viking Princess

    The fire started in the 17-knot ship’s engine room and spread quickly. An order to abandon ship was ordered almost immediately and along with the Cap Norte, two other freighters -- the Chunking Victory and Navigator --- rushed to the rescue. The Navigator did added duty: it later towed the blistered, wrecked Viking Princess to Port Royal on Jamaica. Sadly, however, she had to be written-off as a complete loss and later was towed to Bilbao in Spain for scrapping.

    Below Burning off Jamaica




    (Above: The blistered remains of the fire-gutted Viking Princess)

    The Viking Princess had been a French passenger-cargo ship, the Lavoisier, owned by a now long-vanished company called Chargeurs Reunis. A 537-ft long ship, she was built at St Nazaire and completed in the summer of 1950. She and a sister, the Claude Bernard, carried lots of cargo & some 450 passengers (divided between first & third class) on the long-haul run from Northern Europe to the East Coast of South America --- from the likes of Hamburg and Le Havre to Rio, Santos, Montevideo & Buenos Aires. She was sold, however, in little more than a decade to Italian buyers, an otherwise unknown Palermo-based firm listed as Commerciale Marittima Petroli, who rebuilt her totally as the 600-passenger cruise ship Riviera Prima. But mostly, she operated under charter, sailing for New York-based Caribbean Cruise Lines on 2-14 day itineraries. But after that company went bankrupt in 1964, the ship was sold to Norwegian buyers, Oslo headquartered Berge Sigval Bergesen, but who sailed the ship under a Viking Cruise Lines house flag, and who began using her as the Viking Princess. She sailed from many US East Coast ports, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Port Everglades and Miami. She even did a cruise from Port Jefferson, Long Island.
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    Default Re: Rescue in the Caribbean: the Viking Princess

    Thanks for a really interesting post. I can see that I`ve been missing lots of `good stuff`in being away from the forum so long.

    Trampshipman
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    Default Re: Rescue in the Caribbean: the Viking Princess

    Hope you will spend a bit more time with us again good to see you online again!
    Cheers
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    Default Re: Rescue in the Caribbean: the Viking Princess

    Quote Originally Posted by Trampshipman View Post
    Thanks for a really interesting post. I can see that I`ve been missing lots of `good stuff`in being away from the forum so long.

    Trampshipman
    I send these to Vernon to put on site, I get them from a friend of mine and forward to other members on my mail list.
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    Default Re: Rescue in the Caribbean: the Viking Princess

    God help if one of today's cruise ships with up to 5000 souls aboard experience a real emergency ,how do you evacuate 5000 souls among no matter what panic etc.Crikey most sincerely hope it navel comes to bear .Dave

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    Default Re: Rescue in the Caribbean: the Viking Princess

    Well to date the only such event was with the Costa Concordia, and what a mess that was.


    But in theory no modern ship should ever reach that point and from personal experience of watching crews of today go through the ropes for emergency situations I think most would stand a very good chance of survival.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

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    Default Re: Rescue in the Caribbean: the Viking Princess

    John,what about the passengers they are the ones who concern me.Back in the 50s when lifeboat drill was practised on a RMS very few of them turned up ,I don't know if it compulsory now for them to attend,maybe you could enlighten me. Dave

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    Default Re: Rescue in the Caribbean: the Viking Princess

    In Holland America, They have a boat muster for ALL passengers before the ship sail. in the cabins is a notice telling you which life boat you are in.plus your life jackets, there are also life jackets under all the box seats on the boat deck so you do not have to go to your cabin if you are on deck, You name is called out at the muster, If you are not there, the Stewards go to your cabin, pack your cases and escort you down the gangway and you stand there and watch the ship sail. no refunds.
    I saw this happen this year in San Diego when a couple were led ashore and left.
    Last edited by Captain Kong; 23rd August 2018 at 10:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Rescue in the Caribbean: the Viking Princess

    Thats how i recall boat drill on the ships i was on Brian, Union castle lifeboats designated, and roll call at the boat station. Apparently, and i always ask the question when i talk to someone who cruise, now mostly carried out in the theatre by the entertainment crew. One day, one day it will happen, kt
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    Default Re: Rescue in the Caribbean: the Viking Princess

    on a tramp out of shields we had a guy called cont .....on calling the roster on the boat deck the mate always used the o as a u ..which brought laaghter fom all and protest from cont ....also in our life boat was fred hall an AB and ex trawlerman...upon who the mate always stated eff all....even after a few months the BOT sports was always humerously enjoyed.....happy days ....cappy

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