Photo: Ss Morro Castle Lifeboat At Sea Off New Jersey Coast, 1934 For Sale
-Lifeboat From The SS Morro Castle Shipwreck- Only six of the Morro Castle's 12 lifeboats were launched during the disaster -- boats 1, 3, 5, 9 and 11 on the starboard side and boat 10 on the port side. Although the combined capacity of these boats was 408, they carried only 85 people, most of whom were crew members.
Bound from Havana and heading to New York, the inferno aboard the 12,000 ton Morro raged out of control for 2 days before local firefighters could quell it.
This was an incredible inferno under extreme conditions and bizarre circumstances including the mysterious death of the captain earlier that evening, and suspicious actions by the radio operator.
From there things just got worse until absolute chaos reigned throughout: the fire raged out of control for an hour before the acting Captain sent out an SOS call. The fire equipment didn't work, gunpowder exploded, half empty life boats didn't stop to pick up drowning passengers and a tow line that was finally hooked to her bow cleat by a Coast Guard vessel broke leaving her to drift out of control until she ended up just where you see her in the photo.
Although never proven, the FBI suspected radio operator George Rogers of setting the blaze. Rogers, who had a long criminal record, was jailed in 1938 after being convicted of attempted murder for mailing a bomb to a man whom he had confided in that he had set the fire. He was released from jail in 1942 only to be convicted of murdering 2 people for money in 1953 and given a life sentence. He died in prison in 1958.
The fire-scarred hull rested off the Asbury Park Beach until the War Department awarded a contract to the New York Salvaging Co. for $149,000 to remove it and tow it to Baltimore where she was eventually cut up for scrap.
To this day, the exact cause of the Morro Castle fire has never been determined, and it continues to be one of the most bizarre shipwrecks in history.
The final death toll was 134 lives.
This new Black & White Print of the
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Photo: Ss Morro Castle Lifeboat At Sea Off New Jersey Coast, 1934: $8