SS Normandie vs Costa Concordia

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The wreck of the Costa Concordia

The Costa Concordia disaster is not the first time a large cruise liner has come to rest on its side.  To some who are well-versed in maritime news and shipwrecks, the images of the cruise ship Costa Concordia lying on her side off the Italian coast might look familiar.  In 1942, a top-of-the-line cruise ship, the Normandie, was undergoing conversion to become a troop transport ship in New York Harbor when she caught fire and capsized, coming to rest on her side, much like Costa Concordia.

Harvey Ardman’s Normandie: Her Life and Times, from the Library’s stacks, provides a very detailed history of this legendary ship.  Construction began on the Normandie in early 1931.  At the time she would be the largest ship ever built: 1,029 ft. long with a maximum breadth of 119 ft., weighing in at a staggering 27,675 tons.  Compare this to Costa Concordia‘s 952 ft. long and 116 ft. wide.  Normandie was launched in October 1932, then spent three years being outfitted for her maiden voyage in 1935.   Read more