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Monday, May 28, 2012

Vanuatu: Liner strikes mine, 5000 wade ashore

SS President Coolidge strikes two mines and is run aground and later sinks


Inside the Coolidge
She was one of the premier cruise liners of the era, but in time of war, the 22000 ton luxury, SS President Coolidge, answered the call to serve her country.
Carrying 5000 men and many tons of valuable war cargo, she strikes two mines at the mouth of Luganville's busy harbour in the New Hebrides.
All but two men escaped before the once proud vessel rolled to port and sunk in more than 70m of water. Today the SS President Coolidge is perhaps the most famous dive wreck in the world, visited by hundreds of avid scuba divers each year.
Allan Power, recently inducted into the Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, began diving the sunken wreck in the 1970s and after more than 25,000 dives, still visits her watery grave.
Rod travelled to Vanuatu in May to see the wreck for himself and meet the man dubbed 'Mr President' by divers from all over the world.
Who is the famous 'lady' divers refer to?
Why wasn't Captain Nelson advised of the minefield?
This year will be the 70th anniversary of the sinking and Rod is ready with interviews, historical research, documents and original photography to produce stories for your magazine or website.
Image library: Vanuatu May 2012
Also: Million Dollar Point, the world's most expensive rubbish dump. Just why did the US dump tons of brand new heavy equipment into the sea near Luganville?
Contact: rodeime@gmail.com or reply to this message
Rod was hosted by Vanuatu Tourism, Air Vanuatu and the Vanuatu Scuba Diving Association