When the historic passenger vessel S.S. Keewatin first went through the Welland Canal, it had to be cut in half. The 106-metre-long ship was too long to fit into the lift locks of the canal in 1907 when it was on its way to Owen Sound from its birthplace in Glasgow’s River Clyde to start a 60-year career as a Great Lakes passenger vessel for Canadian Pacific Railway Upper Lake Service. Now, more than 9,000 people in this Georgian Bay port have signed a petition asking the federal government to prevent Keewatin from taking a second cruise on the Welland Canal. They want the vessel to remain as a museum destination here, rather than as a museum destination at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes on the Kingston waterfront.
I last wrote about SS Duke of Lancaster back in 2014 when Douglas Wooley was contemplating its use for Titanic. Nothing came of that and a long series of legal challenges have continued with the former luxury ship beached near Mostyn Docks on River Dee. It still sits rusting away despite plans to use it as a floating leisure and retail complex. A new idea has emerged, reports iNews, of using the ship for “Zombie Experiences.”
Expected to open next year (no doubt in time for Halloween), the ship will be used to allow thrill seekers to roam about and of course encounter zombies in the process. Actors are being sought now to play certain roles, from zombies to doctors, as the ship will be overrun by zombies. It will apparently only be open weekends. Zombie Infection, the company behind it, promises it will bring new glory to this old ships.
“The impressive ocean liner has seen its fair share of disappointment, so it’s with great pleasure that after safety and logistic improvements, a lot of paint, love and affection, we are now able to bring this amazing venue to our international fan base and beyond. We want to assure the local and national population that we will, in partnership with the owners, take good care of her and bring her back to her well and truly back to her glory days.”
From the Belfast Telegraph: Following the award of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £11.5m and a further investment by Northern Ireland’s Department for Enterprise Trade and Investment, repairs to halt the deterioration of World War One light cruiser were completed earlier this year making the ship safe for the next stage of restoration. National Museum of the Royal Navy Chief of Staff Captain John Rees OBE has been leading the complex funding and restoration programme in partnership with the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
He says: “HMS Caroline is a living legend. We are breathing new life into what is an internationally significant piece of world history. We are particularly looking forward to the ship being ready for public opening on June 1 2016. This will mark the first stage of a series of phased openings. The second and third phases will see the ship dry docked for hull conservation works in the winter and then the completion of onshore facilities.
HMS Caroline will open on 1 June 2016 to visitors until November. Then it leaves for a dry dock inspection and hull conservation work returning in December to new position closer to the Pump Station and facing the sea.