|Gripsholm as Regency Cruise's Regent Sea|
This month marked the 15th year anniversary of the sinking of the Sea. The Sea is probably better known as Swedish America Lines’ Gripsholm or Regency Cruise's Regent Sea. The ship also sailed under additional names like the Navarino and Samantha.
When Regency Cruises went bankrupt the vessel was laid up in Tampa, Florida. New owners expected to convert the vessel into a casino ship sailing from New York. The ship was renamed the Sea. Work began on gutting the ship when New York City political officials decided to change the rules for gambling ships – making the operation from the Big Apple almost impossible. All work stopped immediately on the Sea and little was done to protect the outside elements from entering the ship. Laid up for years and ridden with mold and water damage, the ship could only be sold for scrap.
On the tow to Indian Breakers, the ship pulled off shore of the African Coast to avoid a storm. While riding out the storm, the ship was ransacked by locals taking anything they could. It is believed that the opening of hull doors to remove the stolen articles compromised the seaworthiness of the hull. After resuming the voyage - on July 6th the vessel began to list to one side in rough seas. The tug captain was seeking the closest port to have the listing ship repaired but the Sea was denied entry into Algon Bay because of her threat of sinking.
On July 12, 2001, the Sea began to list further and then eventually rolled on her side and sank ending her 44 year career.
Related LinksNYCruiseInfo.com - Free Information on Cruises Departing from New York and New Jersey.