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"Ship of death" may be nearing it's end   Travel by Ship/Boat

Started Feb-1 by Gimmie Chocolate Shorty (TOILETHEA1); 78 views.

‘Ship of death’: A floating piece of cruise history may be nearing its final voyage

Over a life span of more than 70 years, the second-oldest cruise ship still on the seas has gone by many names. It was the Stockholm, the Völkerfreundschaft, the Volker, the Fridtjof Nansen, the Italia Prima, the Athena. And, for a time, it was derided as “la nave della morte” — the ship of death.

The 525-foot vessel was launched as the flagship of the Swedish American Line just a few years after the end of World War II, in the country’s first major step toward again becoming a maritime power. The ship took on a different kind of notoriety, however, after colliding with an opulent Italian ocean liner, the Andrea Doria, in a 1956 maritime disaster that killed 51 people.

In the years that followed, the Swedish-built ship continued having brushes with history, becoming a kind of Forrest Gump of maritime vessels. It carried members of East Germany’s Communist Party for pleasure cruises in the 1960s and ’70s and housed Middle Eastern refugees seeking asylum in Norway in the ’80s. It was later converted to a cruise ship and has become one of the few remaining classic cruise ships still on the water, a “Love Boat”-era vessel that sails out of the Mexican resort town of Puerto Peñasco under the name Astoria.