Two auctions held in Paris last weekend (8th and 9th February) to sell artefacts from the classic French liner SS France/Norway exceeded the expected amount. The total amount achieved at the auctions reached €1,186,000. The bow of the ship was sold for €273,000 to a French property developer based in Deauville, Normandy. It was thanks to the dedicated work of French maritime expert, Jacques Dworczak that nearly 500 items were saved from the scrapyard during the break up of vessel in Alang Bay in India.
The auction provides a tribute to a liner loved by many. The vessel has a remarkable place in liner history. At 66,343 gross tons, the France was the third largest vessel in service after the two Queens and the fourth largest in all history, counting her predecessor Normandie. Her length of 1,035 feet made her the longest ocean liner ever constructed. The service speed of 31 knots made France the second fastest liner in the world. The appearance was classic, but still new in a sense. The long black hull and the red black-topped funnels were traditions dating back to the 19th century. The sweeping ‘whale back’ bow was adopted from the Normandie.
Her maiden voyage took place on February 3rd 1962 and she remained in service until the 1970s when the advent of air travel saw diminishing passenger numbers. In 1974 she came out of service and remained in a backwater in Le Havre for nearly four years before being sold to a Norwegian shipping company and was refitted and renamed the Norway. During the eighties and nineties she remained a popular transatlantic cruise liner, but after a disastrous on board explosion in 2003 and the arrival of faster, more efficient liners, her days were numbered. After many discussions as to the viability of her becoming a floating hotel stalled she was earmarked to be broken up and after having been renamed Blue Lady for her final voyage to the Alang Bay scrapyard, she was broken up.
For the full history of the vessel visit www.maritimematters.com/norway.html