Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cruise mishap stirs up party off Fort Lauderdale in 1967

NOT the SS Atlantic
By Jane Feehan

Ship mishaps have occurred throughout the history of vacation cruising.  Passengers have not always reacted the same.

The 564-foot SS Atlantic set sail from Port Everglades Jan. 20, 1967 for a seven day voyage to the Caribbean.* The ship with its 313 passengers and crew of 330 did not get too far; it ran into a sand bar about 700 yards off shore after the harbor pilot turned her over to Captain Charles F. Troxel of Fort Lauderdale. It must have been an embarrassing moment for this seafaring resident with 30 years experience.**

It was less traumatic for the passengers.

According to Gerard P. Zornow, assistant public relations director for American Export Isbrandtsen Lines, Inc. owner of the SS Atlantic, passengers were frolicking in the pool and dancing to orchestra music. The party lasted 49 hours.

It took several tugs and three high tides before dislodging the ship from the sand bar that one happy passenger referred to as their “private island.” A short time later later, sirens, flashing lights, streamers and the orchestra playing When the Saints go Marching In marked the ship’s return to Port Everglades. Smiling passengers, some wearing silly hats, were photographed disembarking.

Passengers paid $215 to $475 for the voyage with the sand bar stop. About two thirds of them opted to take an abbreviated cruise to Kingston, Jamaica that week. The remaining vacationers chose to take the full cruise at a later date.  The less litigious 1960s … 
*About the ship: It was built as a C4 cargo ship in 1953 for the US Marine Commission by Sun Ship Building and Dry Dock who named it SS Badger Mariner.  It was sold in 1958 to American Banner Lines, to American Export Isbrandtsen Lines in 1959. The SS Atlantic was sold to Seawise, Inc. and bore the name SS Universe Campus and then SS Universe. It was scrapped about 1996.

**Captain Troxel blamed an errant harbor marker for the incident. The Coast Guard did not agree.

New York Times, Jan. 22, 1967
Palm Beach Post, Jan. 23, 1967
Miami News, Jan. 23, 1967
Ocala Star Banner Jan. 23, 1967

 Tags: Fort Lauderdale history, Fort Lauderdale during the 1960s, Port Everglades history, cruise ship history, historical researcher, film researcher

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