SS Norway off Cape Town

Jul 5, 2005
Author: P&S

The grand cruise ship and former liner Norway arrived off Cape Town on Friday, 1 July, en route to a mystery destination somewhere east of Africa. The ship is under tow behind the tug De Da, which entered Cape Town harbour to load bunkers and supplies, while the local tug Smit Amandla took up the tow and held the giant vessel steady in Table Bay.

Pictures courtesy of Ian Shiffman

Although some reports indicate the 76,049-gt Norway’s final destination may be South East Asia and a new ‘life’, others suggest the vessel, the former SS France will end up at one of the breakers yards in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh.

SS France enjoyed little more than a decade of service crisscrossing the Atlantic as one of the last classic transatlantic liners, before the French government pulled her subsidy. In 1974 the ship was acquired by a Norwegian owner for conversion as a cruise ship, and renamed the SS Norway. But plans to extend her career as a cruise ship came to a dramatic end in May 2003 when one of the ship’s boilers exploded in Miami harbour, killing several crew members.

On Saturday Ian Shiffman of Cape Town took to the air to record images of the ship in Table Bay. His pictures hardly depict a ship heading for a scrap yard, with Norway appearing as majestic as ever and in the midst of a world cruise.

Where she is headed remains a mystery, although it seems likely that the cost of undertaking repairs following her fatal boiler explosion, on top of environmental issues concerning an engine replacement programme, may prove to be the final arbiter of her fate.



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