L,Atlantique was built for the
French - Compagnie de Navigation
Sud-Atlantique Line that provided a
service between France and South America.
L,Atlantique set out for the first
time on her intended route between
Bordeaux, Rio de Janeiro, Santos,
Montevideo and Buenos Aires
September 29th 1930. After departing
Bordeaux bound for Le Havre to undergo an
overhaul January 4th 1933, a fire broke
out in her first class stateroom while
steaming through the English Channel.
Although there were no passengers on
board at the time, she was carrying a
crew of over 200. The fire soon raged out
of control forcing the crew to abandon
ship. The Dutch steam ship
Achilles answered the distress
calls picking up survivors from lifeboats
and pulling others from the cold waters
of the English Channel. It is thought
around 20 of her crew were lost to fire
or the sea.
As L’Atlantique had been
abandoned, tugs from France, Holland and
Germany set about trying to salvage her.
According to maritime law, if a ship is
abandoned, whoever salvages it becomes
the new owner. However, after
L,Atlantique had been towed
into Cherbourg, the ships owners claimed
they had not abandoned her and won their
case. With the liner still on fire at
Cherbourg, it took the local fire brigade
until the 8th to finally put it out. The
owners blamed faulty wiring for causing
the fire, as other liners were known to
have been lost to electrical fires. There
were some people at that time speculating
the fire had been caused by sabotage.
After a long series of investigations and
evaluations, the owners were awarded $6.8
million from the marine underwriters.
L,Atlantique was then towed to
Smith & Houston of Port
Glasgow/Scotland to be scrapped.
L,Atlantique on fire in the