Hull damage seals SS Norway/Blue Lady fate

Jan 16, 2007
Author: P&S

SS Norway on tow off Cape Town in July 2005, en route to South East Asia supposedly for refurbishing and re-engining with a planned return to some form of service. Instead the ship has ended on the beach at Alang. Picture Ian Shiffman

The ill-fated former SS Norway (SS France), now designated the BLUE LADY and sitting forlornly on the beach at Alang in India awaiting a court decision as to whether breakers can commence her demolition, had been dealt what must surely be the death blow to any who harboured hopes of seeing this old ship saved for another day.

Following an inspection it now appears the giant ship, once the pride of France and one of the grandest transatlantic liners, has severe hull damage, probably caused when she was run onto the beach in defiance of a court order holding off her demolition.

The latest court action preventing actual cutting up became necessary over fears of contamination from large quantities of asbestos cladding remaining on the ship – up to 1,000 tonnes, to which ship breakers would be exposed. For three months the ship has been sitting on the beach awaiting the Indian judges final ruling but now investigators from the Gujarat Maritime Board have discovered the ship’s hull is severely weakened as a result of the constant rise and fall of the ship on the tide.

Expert opinion is that it would be next to impossible to tow the ship with the help of tugs and only dredging would present a possibility of getting the ship clear of the sand on which it rests, but that would be exorbitantly expensive, India’s Supreme Court has been advised.



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