Queen Elizabeth (1940) Meets a Fiery End - Oceanliners and Classic Cruise Ships Magazine

Queen Elizabeth (1940) Meets a Fiery End

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On 9 January 1972, fire broke out onboard Seawise University (ex. Queen Elizabeth (1940)) in Hong Kong Victoria Harbor. The former Cunard liner was undergoing conversion into the “World Campus Afloat” envisioned by her new owner C.Y. Tung, a Hong Kong tycoon—hence the liner’s fresh name, “C.Y’s University.”

As was the case with Normandie in 1942, water poured onto the vessel by fireboats dampened the inferno but also caused the ship to capsize. The burned out, partially sunken hulk remained in the busy harbor until it was dismantled and sold for scrap in the period between 1974 and 1975. The historic liner’s keel and boilers still sit on the harbor floor, marked as a hazard on navigational charts.

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