31st December 1949:
White Star name disappears

lowering-flagAfter 31st December 1949 the name “White Star” disappeared from use. The two surviving White Star ships, Britannic and Georgic, would con­tinue in White Star livery and fly the White Star burgee with Cunard’s house flag until the end of their careers, although the Cunard flag would now fly above the White Star burgee. Cunard-White Star, Ltd. continued for a while as a corporate identity, “largely as an investment company”.

Following the merger of the two companies, the convention had been that Cunard ships flew the Cunard flag above the White Star flag, and on White Star ships the opposite was flown. The attached photo shows the two flags being lowered for the last time on Aquitania, when she finished service.

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Search for lost QM2 passenger called off

_93112363_queen_mary_2_outbound_from_southampton_2_sept_2013The US Coast Guard has officially called off the search for a 74-year-ol,d woman who went missing from Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 while on a 12-night Christmas and New Year cruise from New York to St Maarten in the Caribbean. Queen Mary 2 sailed from New York on 22nd December, but when the liner  was about 100 miles off the Coast of New Jersey, the passenger was reported as missing.

The liner immediately turned back to search for her, and the US Coast Guard launched a C-130 aircraft and an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. Once darkness fell the initial search was called off, and Queen Mary 2 resumed her cruise. The captain later reported that she would soon be back on schedule. There are no details at present of how she went missing, but it is presumed she fell overboard/ The lady is reported to be a regular cruise passenger.

In the meantime it has been reported that a 22-year-old passenger jumped off an upper deck of Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. Despite a search by the ship, US Coast Guard and other nearby ships, at present there is no sign of the passenger. It is reported that since 2000, 283 passengers have been lost overboard from cruise ships worldwide.

28 December 1893: Gothic sails on maiden voyage

gothic-1893_01Built by Harland and Wolff at Belfast and launched on 28th June 1893, Gothic was jointly operated by White Star and Shaw Savill on the New Zealand service. She could carry 104 passengers in First Class and 114 in Steerage, and was intended to also carry a large cargo of refrigerated mutton and other goods to the UK. Her maiden voyage left London on 28th December 1893, under Captain Jennings.

gothland-ashoreOn 3rd June 1903 fire broke out in the cargo, and eventually she had to be beached off Plymouth and then scuttled, to extinguish the fire. She was later raised and given a thorough refit before returning to service. In 1907 she was transferred to Red Star Line and renamed Gothland. She later reverted to White Star and her old name, then in 1913 was back with Red Star as Gothland. In June 1914 she was stranded on the Scillies but was salvaged and repaired, and gave useful service in the Great War. Finally sold for scrap in 1925, she was broken up at Bo’ness in early 1926.

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28 December 1914 White Star in Australian convoy

ceramic-as-hmt-a40On 28th December 1914 the convoy for the Second Detachment of Australian and New Zealand Imperial Expeditionary Forces assembled at King George’s Sound at Albany. The majority of the fleet sailed on 31st December, and included Suevic (A29), Persic (A34) and Ceramic (A40), carrying troops and horses to Egypt.

suevic-as-trooper1Persic had embarked the 5th Light Horse Regiment at Sydney on 21st December. Suevic had embarked the 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment. Leaving Fremantle for Colombo on 2nd January 1915, the three White Star ships were diverted to Aden for additional coal. The convoy reassembled at Aden on 24th January and reached Suez on 24th January. The troops were disembarked at Alexandria on 1st February.

Cargo ship wrecked after grounding in Greece

mv-cabreraA general cargo ship, Cabrera, ran aground on the Greek island of Andros last Saturday, in heavy weather. The ship partially sank on the rocky coast, with very heavy surf. All nine crew members were lifted off by a Greek Navy helicopter and transferred to a local hospital.

The Cabrera was sailing from Larymna in Greece to Tornio, Finland with a cargo of ferronickel when she went aground. With the pounding of the heavy surf, she quickly sank until just portions of the superstructure are still showing above water. There are fears of pollution in the area, with an oil sheen already appearing around the wreck and along the adjacent coast. The Greek Coast Guards admitted pollution control was proving difficult in the continuing bad weather.