Maritime Monday for January 16, 2012
Cruise ship runs aground off Italy on The LA Times
Autoxylopyrocycloboros, the creation of artist Simon Starling during its short time on this earth. The work is named for a Greek mythical character of a snake eating its own tail, which was at the time a symbol of rebirth. Autoxylopyrocycloboros was also self-consuming, but in our time this is an act of total destruction. The little vessel was piloted out into Loch Long, in Scotland, with the boiler fed by pieces of wood removed from the hull until it ultimately sank. The Loch is on the Clyde Estuary, home of the UK’s Trident nuclear submarine base. The piece suggests that the arms of war destroy the idea of rebirth, and make innovation and consumption a one-way journey.
This is one of many pieces I will be featuring in an exhibit of Contemporary Art at ABM next summer. Stay tuned. If you would like to learn more about the ill-fated little craft, watch Simon’s talk here: dictionaryofwar.org/concepts/Autoxylopyrocycloboros
1946 Victory Parade (set)
This Week in Wrecks
1979: The oil tanker Betelgeuse suffers a structural failure and explodes at the Whiddy Island oil Terminal off West Cork, Ireland, killing 50. A diver also dies during the salvage.
2005: The USS San Francisco, a Los Angeles-class submarine, collides with an undersea mountain and is badly damaged. One crew member dies, but the vessel is able to surface.
1972: The Seawise University, formerly the RMS Queen Elizabeth, catches fire and capsizes in Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong. Insurance fraud is suspected.
2005: The Elizabeth M towboat is pushed over the Montgomery Locks and Dam during high water while pushing 6 barges through the lock on the Ohio River near Industry, PA. 4 crewmembers are lost and 3 escape.
Caricature of Ferdinand de Lesseps
Cover of La Lune 29 September 1867
29 September 1867
AndrÃ© Gill; 1840-1885
Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps, (19 November 1805 – 7 December 1894) was the French developer of the Suez Canal, which joined the Mediterranean and Red Seas in 1869.
He attempted to repeat this success with an effort to build a sea-level Panama Canal during the 1880s, but the project was devastated by epidemics of malaria and yellow fever in the area, and the projected de Lesseps canal was left uncompleted and eventually partially superseded by a non-sea-level canal with locks, built by the United States and completed in 1914.
The Compagnie universelle du canal maritime de Suez was organized at the end of 1858. On 25 April 1859 the first blow of the pickaxe was given by de Lesseps at Port Said. On 17 November 1869 the canal was officially opened. From 17 November 1899 to 23 December 1956, a monumental statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps by Emmanuel FrÃ©miet stood at the entrance of the Suez Canal.
In May 1879 a congress of 136 delegates (including de Lesseps) assembled in the rooms of the Geographical Society in Paris and voted in favor of the creation of a Panama Canal, which was to be without locks, like Suez. De Lesseps was appointed President of the Panama Canal Company, despite the fact that he had reached the age of 74. The decision to dig a Panama Canal at sea level to avoid the use of locks, and the inability of contemporary medical science to deal with epidemics of malaria and yellow fever doomed the project.
His name was used in a speech by Egyptian President Gamal Nasser as the codeword to order the raiding of the Suez Canal Company’s offices on 26 July 1956, the first step to its nationalization. In the course of the raid and seizure of the canal by Nasser, the statue of de Lesseps at the entrance of the Suez Canal was removed from its pedestal, to symbolize the end of European ownership of the waterway. The statue now stands in a small garden of the Port Fouad shipyard.
image source: MCMXXXVIII; movies from 1938
vintage albumen print from Suez: Choke hold on world shipping
The Suez Canal Company set up a postal service to prepay correspondence internally within the company’s territory between Port Said and Suez and intermediate points. However, the stamps were in use for less then six weeks, before the Egyptian Government suppressed the service. COMPANY STAMP ON David Feldman Auctions
Albumen photo, 81/2″h x 11″w (21 x 28 cm), of the “Quai de Port Said”, Egypt by the Zangaki Brothers, active 1870’s –1900’s (full size 3126×2172)
Lighthouse and Breakwater at the Entrance of the Suez Canal
Port Said. The Illustrated London News, No.2255—Vol. LXXXI, Saturday, July 22, 1882
Old Port Said and the Suez Canal on transpress nz; World transport history (13 image gallery)
Suez blockade …In 1956 Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalised the canal, which led to the Suez crisis. During the battle for the Suez the Egyptions sank ships to create a blockade. The canal was of strategic importance as it had become the main passageway for oil to get to Europe. The crisis is seen by some as marking the end of long phase of British imperial history.
Suez Canal: from crisis to crisis, 7 image gallery on The Telegraph
Entrance to the Suez Canal, Port Said – Egypt ca.1869 (albumen print)
Dredgepoint.org: Suez Canal Authority, Dredging Department
Apparently the deck officers of the Electra always donned the fez when they entered the Suez Canal. In North Africa a fez was (and still is) an emblem of authority and commanded respect to its wearer and conversely showed respect towards the natives. –more about the CS Electra on History of the Atlantic Cable
As the port linking East and West it’s an ideal location for all kinds of pulpy goodness. It’s one of the few cities outside the United States that was visited by one of Lovecraft’s protagonists- Nathanial Wingate Peaslee traveled through Said on his journey to Australia in “The Shadow Out of Time”.
-more on Propnomicon; Curious devices, forbidden artifacts, mysterious creatures, and intriguing documents
The city of Suez, founded in the 15th century, had already gained considerable commercial importance as a stop-over for sailings to India and the East Indies. In his travel journal, Roberts described Suez as “a wretched place” and, even though he found the bazaars “ptiiresque”, chose to depict in one of his drawings the quays of the port, somnolent by day but greatly animated by the arrival of the Bombay steamer during the night.
General View of Suez …
David Roberts set out from Cairo for the Holy Land on 7 February 1839, with a, small caravan including servants in Arabian and Turkish dress, an armed escort oj Bedouins and twenty-one camels which transported provisions and baggage as well as tents for overnight encampments. With Roberts travelled two Englishmen, John Pell and John G. Kinnear, who two years later dedicated his own book of memoirs, Cairo, Petra and Damascus, to Roberts.
Guiding the party was Hanafi Ishmael Effendi, an Egyptian converted to Christianity during his stays in England, who spoke English fluently and with whom Roberts had become friends while in Cairo.
The first stop on their itinerary was the city of Suez, at the extreme southern tip of the isthmus of the same name, which had at the time yet to be cut through by Ferdinand Ijesseps to place the Mediterranean in communication with the Red Sea.
Aida is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni, based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette. It was first performed at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo on December 24, 1871.
Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, commissioned Verdi to write the opera for performance in January 1871, paying him 150,000 francs, but the premiere was delayed because of the Franco-Prussian War. Contrary to popular belief, the opera was not written to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, nor that of the Khedivial Opera House in the same year.
Verdi had been asked to compose an ode for the occasion, but refused on the grounds that he did not write “occasional pieces”.
In 1915, Mack Sennett assembled a bevy of girls known as the Sennett Bathing Beauties to appear in provocative bathing costumes in comedy short subjects, in promotional material, and in promotional events like Venice Beach beauty contests.
more on How to be a Retronaut; Sennett Bathing Beauties, 1915
Suez Canal on TrekEarth
Monkey Fist is a smack-talking, potty mouthed, Yankee hating, Red Sox fan in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to compiling Maritime Monday, she blogs about nautical art, history, and marine science on Adventures of the Blackgang.
Submit story ideas, news links, photographs, or items of interest to her at [email protected]. She can also out-belch any man.
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