The SS Marine Electric sailed first into a winter storm — and then into history in February 1983. The three survivors of the accident testified that the ship was poorly maintained and the US Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation suggested broad and deep changes in the way US ships are inspected
The result? A period of more than 30 years elapsed without a major US ship lost — a record ended by the loss the SS El Faro in 2015.
To learn more, read the original Philadelphia Inquirer account of the story here.
Or listen to a stirring account of survival told by Third Mate Gene Kelly here. Gene tells it from the heart at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the Ed Fouhy Distinguished Speaker
Or read the book. “Until the Sea Shall Free Them” tells the story of Bob Cusick and the wreck of the SS Marine Electric, a tragedy that resulted in major reforms in American maritime safety laws. An online version of the book is available here gratis. You can purchase a copy or audio book here.