President Coolidge Sinks – Accidentally - Ocean Liners Magazine

President Coolidge Sinks – Accidentally

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On 26 October 1942 President Coolidge (the liner, not the politician) was accidentally sunk by mines. No lives were lost, but a tourist attraction was born.

President Coolige Postcard

President Coolidge during her Dollar Line years in the Pacific.

In 1942, President Coolidge, formerly of Dollar Steamship Lines and American President Lines, was a troopship serving in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. On 26 October 1942, she entered the harbor of Espiritu Santo, at the time a military base in the South Pacific. Sadly, vital facts concerning safe entry into the harbor had been accidentally omitted from Coolidge’s sailing orders. As the vessel approached the harbor, a “friendly” mine struck the ship’s hull near the engine room. Soon thereafter, a second mine exploded near her stern. The captain, acting quickly and decisively, intentionally ran President Coolidge aground and ordered the troops to abandon ship.

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