2 days ago
The ss france, part ii: the ss norway.
yesterday we left the france inactive and moored in le havre in 1974. this situation went on for 4 years and saddened a part of the french population, that had identified with the ship as a national symbol. a reflection of this can be heard in the bitter ballad “le france” by popular singer-songwriter michel sardou. after several failed plans to sell the ship, it was finally bought by the company norwegian caribbean line in 1979. the france was to become the norway, the largest cruise ship of her time. she was the first and only transatlantic supership to ever become exclusively a luxury cruise ship. the extensive renovations and modifications took place at the lloyd shipyard in bremerhaven between 1979 and 1980.
before the norway did her maiden voyage from oslo to miami, there were doubts in the industry about the viability of a cruise ship of her size and shape. but not only the norway was a success, she actually pushed her competition to build lager ships. to keep up with other ships she was refitted several times, even getting two new decks above the superstructure in 1990. already in the late 1990s she started having technical problems. this ended in tragedy on the 25th of may 2003: a severe boiler explosion while the ship was docked in miami killed 8 members of the crew and injured 17. the ship was brought back to bremerhaven and decommissioned in 2004. then started a complicated process to sell the ship for scrapping: environmental laws prohibited her to leave germany for a foreign scrap yard due to the presence of asbestos in her structure. in this process she was berated ss blue lady in 2006. after legal battles and irregularities, the ship was beached for scrapping in alang, gujarat, india. the process of scrapping lasted until late 2008 and some pieces of the legendary ship were auctioned. the tip of her bow is on display at the port de la grenelle, paris, since 2009.
this is the end of the story of the france and norway, an iconic ship whose existence is a perfect example for the evolution of maritime passenger transportation during the second half of the 20th century.