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NAME

MV. MARECHAL PETAIN (LA MARSEILLAISE) (AROSA SKY) (BIANCA C 11)

CLASS

LINER

LAUNCHED

JUNE 8th 1944

BUILT

CHANTIERS NAVALS / LA CIOTAT / FRANCE

WEIGHT

17,408 TONS

LENGTH

593 FEET

WIDTH

75 FEET

SPEED

20 KNOTS - DIESEL ENGINES - THREE PROPELLERS


The French shipping company Messageries Maritimes ordered Marechal Petain in 1939. This line based at Marseille mainly operated their ships on the East Asia run. Being launched in the midst of World War Two, Messageries Maritimes decided to lay their incomplete ship up at Port Bouc until the hostilities had come to an end. In August 1944, the retreating German forces sunk her in shallow waters to form a blockade. Marechal Petain was raised in 1946 and towed back to her builders to be repaired and completed. After being renamed La Marseillaise, she set out on her maiden voyage from Marseilles - Yokohama August 18th 1949. The years following the Second World War saw the countries of French Indo China begin a series of guerrilla wars to avoid being taken back under French rule. France’s defeat in the Indo China war in 1954 led to the Geneva Conference awarding power to the nationalist governments of Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

La Marseillaise

The tensions that grew between North and South Vietnam soon caused trade between France and East Asia to decline. This led to La Marseillaise being sold to the Arosa Line in 1957 to be operated on the Bremerhaven - New York run under the name Arosa Sky. After hitting financial troubles the following year, Arosa sold her to the Costa Line to be operated between Naples, Genoa and La Guaira/Venezuela under the name Bianca C. On October 22nd 1961, while anchored off St George/Grenada, an explosion in her main boiler room caused a serious fire that killed one of the crew. Although all the passengers escaped the burning ship, two died later from burns. Bianca C burned for several days before being towed clear of the port by the British frigate Londonderry. Since sinking soon after being towed clear of St George, Bianca C has attracted divers from all over the world, as she is the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean.

Arosa Sky

Bianca C
Above, Bianca C ablaze at St George/Grenada
Bianca Sea on fire
Below, the wreck of Bianca C off the coast of Grenada
Bianca Sea wreck

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