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I've been thinking about this for a while. This is the Copa Casino in Gulfport. I visited a year or so ago, and stopped by just to find out what ship it was. I was told that it was the "Pride of Mississippi." Upon further research, I found out that it was originally Holland America's Ryndam of 1951.
A little history:She was built in the Netherlands in 1951. She's 15,015 gross tons, 503 feet long, and 69 feet wide. She originally carried 836 "tourist class" passengers, and 39 first class passengers.
She sailed as the Ryndam from 1951 to 1968, when she was renamed the Waterman for Transocean Steamship Company. However, she reverted back to the Ryndam later that year. She was sold to Epirotiki in 1972, and renamed the Atlas. She underwent what Phillip Dawson, author of "Cruise Ships, an Evolution in Design" calls a "bizarre" rebuilding, which explains the somewhat modern look that she still has today (at least on the outside). In 1988, she was sold and renamed the Pride of Mississippi for gambling cruises. She was briefly named the Pride of Galveston, presumably also for gambling cruises. Since 1992, she has been permanently moored in Gulfport, Mississippi in her present condition.
According to William H. Miller, in "The Fabulous Interiors of the Great Ocean Liners," the design of the Ryndam was "revoluntionary" in its tourist class dominance. According to Miller, a Holland-America brochure described the design this way: "Imagine, if you can, a completely air-conditioned 15,000 ton passenger ship in which tourist class accommodations have been given first consideration; where the larget public rooms and most of the choice decks are ALL TOURIST; and where -- as a tourist passenger -- you can enjoy virtual run of the ship privileges with exclusive use of the outdoor swimming pool, the gymnasium and other recreational facilities."
Having visited the "casino," I can attest that there is absolutely nothing left of the Ryndam's former self. In fact, once on board, you can't even tell that you're on a ship. There is only one deck used for the casino (presumably the main deck in a former life), and it is nothing but gaming equipment. No other decks are accessible. What was I believe the former Palm Court is now an all-you-can eat buffet, which seems to be required in casinos. In short, the ship doesn't resemble a former Holland-America liner in any way. In fact, it's downright-sad to see this ship in this condition.
On the other hand, the ship is still full of life. It's open (I believe), 24 hours a day, with lots of people having fun. Instead of sitting empty for many, many years, she's been active and full of people for more than 50 years.
I can't decide whether it's better that she's found some sort of use, even though nothing remotely close to what she was designed for, or if she should have been given a dignified death years ago in her former state. I know there are some members of this Board who sailed on her, and I'd love to hear their comments. And if anyone has any pictures of her original condition, please post them here.
[ 07-21-2001: Message edited by: nathan ]
[ 09-19-2001: Message edited by: joe at travelpage ]
[ 07-27-2001: Message edited by: Malcolm ]
There is much 'adaptive reuse' of old buildings. The USA, old 1900ish mill factories are successfully converted to multi-family dwellings.
In Merchant City Edinburgh, and Brussels. Old classic buildings are gutted inside, exterior walls are held up and preserved, and completely new interiors are installed.
Maybe the Steam Ship Historical Society or others should draft a manifesto of guidelines of what makes a ship worth preserving for the generations to come.
Rembrandterdam and Canberra lead the top of the list, SS United States, Normandie, and some others.
Queen Mary sets the example. NYC, LA, Miami in season could use extra hotel space provided from retired liners.
The Sea Breeze, Olympia, Eugenio C, and Topaz are nice ships, but break no new ground. Once you pull out the fine wood, glass and brass fittings, there really just ordinary ships.
[ 07-29-2001: Message edited by: desirod6 ]
quote:Originally posted by nzmike:...the installation of the recent "Ghosts and Legends": tours and associated special effects indicates that her management still do not really understand the ship or what she really represents.
I completely agree nzmike. However if such attractions pull in Joe public, and in the future Carnival Passengers dollars, I'm all for it. If the old lady does not make money, she really is history!
We must not underestimate how little interest many cruise passengers have in maritime history.
quote:Originally posted by nzmike:I agree in principle with this... but for one thing, Queen Mary does NOT set the example! She still looks great from the outside, but when you get behind the scenes the destruction wrought during her "conversion" was extreme. One engine room, both generating rooms and all 5 boiler rooms were gutted, along with virtually all the crew and working spaces. There are no usable pools, the squash court, synagogue, hairdressing salons, first class ballroom, second class smoking room plus much more have all been removed and used for other purposes. In the past few years significant restoration has been performed and much improvement undertaken, but the installation of the recent "Ghosts and Legends: tours and associated special effects indicates that her management still do not really understand the ship or what she really represents. HMS Belfast should be the model; almost completely original, sensitively preserved, and full of the atmosphere of the original ship.
No argument here, QM is the I believe the first of this sort of thing. In a previous post, I mentioned many of her renovations were misguided. Hopefully those trying preservation of the Rembrandt will learn from the Queen mary mistakes
Last visited her in 1991. Do they still have the hamburger and fries stand on the port(?) side?
Some say safety scandal could be turned into a legitimate business.
Shipping industry officials and environmentalists tour Metro Machine Corp., which recycles warships at the old
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
The company says it has trouble keeping a skilled workforce because of uncertain funding for such work. (WILLIAM F. STEINMETZ / Inquirer Staff Photographer) By Henry J. Holcomb INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
For decades the world's prosperous nations have dumped their old ships on poor countries and let illiterate and poorly equipped workers do the hazardous work of scrapping them.
The number of retired ships has grown beyond the capacity of scrap yards. Many are mysteriously unaccounted for, and feared sunk or left to decay in isolated areas.
"Only a fraction of the world fleet is being recycled properly," Niko Wijnolst, chairman of the Dutch Maritime Network, said.
He addressed a conference of shipping industry officials and environmentalists here last week that explored ways to address what is regarded as a growing scandal, possibly, by turning it into legitimate business opportunities.
Big numbers are involved. About 4,000 civilian and military vessels will soon be going out of service each year. Recycling ships and offshore oil rigs could become a $50-billion-a-year industry, Robert J. Brand, president of Philadelphia's Solutions for Progress Inc., said.
The scandal is fueled by strong competition for scrap metal and countries that are reluctant to impose higher safety standards for ship recycling. In India and Bangladesh, hundreds of ships, their engines still rumbling, are run up each year on beaches. There, illiterate laborers - working without helmets, protective glasses or even shoes - dismantle ships laden with explosive gases, asbestos, PCBs and other toxins.
The hazards of ship scrapping came under intense news media scrutiny four years ago, prompting ship owners to draft ship recycling guidelines.
But still unresolved is how to enforce an international standard.
Ship design and operation are, indeed, regulated "but a vessel ceases to be a ship when it hits the beach and the finished-with-engines signal is transmitted from the bridge for the last time," said Brian Parkinson, trade and operations adviser at the International Chamber of Shipping trade association in London.
Once a ship is beached, Parkinson said, it is subject to local laws, "and few countries like to be dictated to by the priorities of others."
The growing problem drew more than 160 maritime and environmental-protection experts from North America, Europe and Asia to the conference at Center City's Crowne Plaza Hotel last week.
For three days they exchanged ideas on the realities of training and organizing largely migrant workforces that dismantle ships in Asia, and talked about ways new technology might help.
U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R., Pa.) told the conferees that the best way to solve the problem was to turn it into a huge business opportunity - for this region and the nation.
Brand agreed with Weldon. "We have an opportunity to make a modest investment . . . about $100 million annually for several years. This would empower industry to develop innovations that could be used all over the world."
Weldon proposed that the United States gain the upper hand in this new industry by dramatically increasing spending on recycling its old, unused warships and military supply vessels.
That commitment, he said, would "create and develop technology that could become a profitable export industry."
The problem is most severe in Russia, where harbors are filled with contaminated and decaying warships of the former Soviet Union, Weldon said.
In the United States, funding for recycling warships competes in Pentagon budget battles with needs of the active fleet, said Glen Clark, assistant program manager of the Navy's inactive fleet.
So U.S. military vessels are allowed to decay until they start to sink or develop other problems that constitute an expensive emergency, Brand said.
Meanwhile, companies such as Norfolk, Va.-based Metro Machine Corp., which recycles warships at the old Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, have no dependable revenue source.
"These companies set up and train an organization, then the military's disposal budget gets cut and their talent goes out the door," Brand said.
John Strem, a Metro Machine vice president, agreed. "The hardest thing with ship repair and recycling is maintaining a stable workforce," he told conferees, standing alongside a ship his company is recycling.
Recycling warships could sustain several hundred skilled jobs in Philadelphia, he said.
Work at yards such as Metro is watched closely by government agencies that enforce environmental and worker safety laws. Similar enforcement on a worldwide scale is difficult.
The old-ship problem has been growing for years, but it was virtually ignored until articles published in the Baltimore Sun, by Gary Cohn and Will Englund, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998.
Until then, ship owners quietly sold their old ships, avoiding responsibility for their disposal.
But the Sun articles aroused worldwide concern, several speakers said. The international ship owners trade group formed a task force and has developed a 12-page industry code on ship recycling.
The situation is improving, some speakers said. "But a small number of unethical brokers still subvert the consensus of everyone on what needs to be done," Brand argued.
Marietta Harjono of Amsterdam, a leader in the Greenpeace International campaign "for a toxic-free world," said industry guidelines that could be ignored or set aside were not enough.
She described how unscrupulous companies refuel and change crews at sea to avoid ports where regulations might be enforced.
Showing the conferees pictures from ship-scrapping beaches of India and Bangladesh, Harjono said, "We have seen people picking asbestos . . . from ships with their bare hands. We have seen workers torch-cutting ship steel into small pieces, inhaling the toxic fumes of lead paints with no protection at all."
These are often migrant workers. So the harm that is done to them is difficult to track, she said. "But the absence of data does not mean the absence of a problem. It just means that neither these communities, nor these workers, nor the environment are serious enough to be featured in the economic scheme of things," she said.
The Dutch Maritime Network's Wijnolst said the stakeholders in the world's shipping industry should invest $100 million a year for a decade to develop a ship-recycling industry.
He and others suggested taxing ship owners for a large portion of these funds.
Parkinson, the ship owner trade association official, questioned the need for that. "There is $3 million in scrap value in each ship. There are funds associated with the recycling of each vessel from which such investments can be made," Parkinson said in an interview.
Brand was skeptical, warning that as long as the United States and Europe "can throw toxins in a neighbor's backyard, there will be no basis for investing to solve the problem."
Weldon, who represents Delaware County, was more blunt: "This situation is an absolute disgrace" and an opportunity for this nation to be helpful to others by developing technology and regulations.
Such talk prompted Wijnolst and others to gently suggest that Americans be a bit less rigid, less tied to their "comply or die" view of things.
"You see solutions through American eyes. That's one way," Wijnolst said, "but we need for you to be more sensitive to others. We need for you to work more with others."
desirod6 mentions "........ Landmark Preservation Laws and Societies." and, "In Merchant City, Edinburgh, and Brussels (Glasgow too) old classic buildings are gutted inside, exterior walls are held up and preserved, and completely new interiors are installed."
An aside (and Joe may at his discretion, decide to edit) -
Not all buildings are gutted, The Tenement in Glasgow for example - a 2 bedroom, kitchen and 'parlor' walk up flat (apartment) has been restored to it's original state - right down to the 'coal bunker' in the kitchen - with coal in it yet! - 'kindling sticks, rolled up newspaper and wooden matches to light the fire each morning - after the ashes had been removed and taken outside. 100lb. bags of coal were manually lugged up 3, 4, 5 flights of concrete steps to each flat.
I visited last year - the majority of other visitors were from the States. The fee to enter was (I believe) £5.00. Furniture and utensils were all there, clothes of the period in free standing wardrobes - a bed, concealed behind doors (for company) in the 'parlor' - gaslight had been added (wealthy people had lived there!) but the old (liquid) paraffin lamps were much in evidence.
desirod6's idea that "... Steam Ship Historical Society or others should draft a manifesto of guidelines of what makes a ship worth preserving for the generations to come" makes very good sense.
Would not some of the real ocean liners also be of interest if well maintained? Much of the upkeep would be covered by rates charged for overnight cabin accommodation.
From Maritime MattersCopyright Jonathan Boonzaier The JIARI, Zhongda Cruise Co
When I visited previously the ship was run by small company (Hikawa Maru Kanko) and was rather disapppointing as the emphasis was not on the ship so much as a large cafe set up on the after deck and a disappointing "acquarium" (mainly paintings of fish) inside the superstructure. There was very little access to the internal parts of the superstructure which was "off limits".
This time, since NYK has reportedly taken the ship over again, the situation was much better. One can walk through the engine room at 3 different levels and look at the Burmeister & Wain and other imported and Japanese machinery and actually work the engine room controls to put the engines in reverse. There is now access to some 3rd class cabins, the master's cabin and day room, the bridge, and all external decks including the funnel area, forecastle and stern. One can now look into some of the first class art deco lounges. As well there is an excellent collection of maybe 30 large waterline models, all to the same scale and displayed in one enourmous case, of NYK passenger ships, a fine collection of art work, and a shipping museum with photos, more models, and a range of artifacts, as well as video of the ship's history. I had the gratification of standing at the bow (where one can look over and see the ship's stem in the water) as well as being the only person on the bridge (with access to the helm and telegraphs) as well as the radio operator's room.
Overall this was a very satisfying experience and excellent value for the 800 yen ($7) admission. There was a steady stream of visitors, but the ship was not crowded. This is the right ship in the right place (built in Yokohama) and presented the right way.
quote:Originally posted by Robertdam:I think preserving is great when the former glory of something is preserved. Copa Casino looks awful to me, please scrap this thing. [...]
She sank some years ago.
But on the other hand, the ship IS still around and is being used. I mean we cant be too hasty or else the Kalakala would have been scrapped years ago when being used as a fish factory.
It is very fortunate that the QM is still around...and that Long Beach didnt pull an Oriana job on her. There is potential there for something great. I just hope it is someday realized. I rarely think a ship should be scrapped if it can be helped. If only more liners would have had careers like the Rotterdam, a succesful liner, an elegant cruise ship, then retired as a classy hotel....
With the Queen Mary still around, hearing that the condition of the Hikawa Maru improved and hoping for the Augustus, the Rotterdam and finally also the United States and the Independence we finally can not complain. Not to talk about the handful of older ships still in service and the 'myriads' of smaller (excursion) vessels.
quote:Originally posted by Robertdam:Also, ss Rotterdam I expect to be preserved wonderfull because there are people working with her who really adore her and sailed with her when she was a HAL-liner. That is great.
I think you are working with old information. While in Freeport and in Gibraltar, ex-HAL employees worked on board to get some equipment working and for small repairs. They were also an 'advising' group. Since the ship is in Gdansk, only a few times these people have been on the ship. Most of them don't go anymore and since the Polish authorities found that asbestos waste, the ship is closed and no work can be done.
The Polish have now really done with the owners. After not reporting the asbestos waste, not following orders to leave port and now the swallows on board, they are wondering what will be the next move of the owners for not fullfilling the necessary requirements.
Polish press have now started an action and are calling their readers to fill in a form requesting the authorities for definitive removal of the ship out of Polish waters as soon as the swallows have left the ship.
The Gdansk shipyard was the cheapest for the restoration and than someone found it could be done even cheaper by leasing that Ore Pier and doing the work by own (hired) people.
Now it seems that it will be far more expensive than having stayed in Gibraltar or any other shipyard.
I still would like to see the ship back in her hometown. Especially as on this ship I had my first job after leaving school.
Several old ships have been preserved in the UK and on some of these you can make day trips.
Amongst these is the 1926 Kingswear Castle which is a coal fired paddle steamer making trips in the River Thames coastal areas.
The 1946 paddle steamer Waverley which is the last sea going paddle steamer and cruises all round the British Isles and across to the Isle of Man.
The 1949 mv Balmoral which also cruises around the British Isles.
Neil ( Bob )
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