Ship Runs Aground; Captain Pays With Life

Ship Runs Aground; Captain Pays With Life


On the night of 16 December 1906, HAPAG’s Prinzessin Victoria Luise, viewed by many as the first true cruise ship, ran aground near Kingston, Jamaica, the result of a navigational error.

After the panicked passengers had been safely evacuated, Capt. Brunswig retired to his cabin and fatally shot himself. “Commited suicide by blowing out his brains,” as the New York Times clip below states, somewhat indelicately. The six-year-old Prinzessin Victoria Luise, named after Kaiser Wilhem II’s daughter, was declared a total loss. A German court the next year found Capt. Brunswig guilty of negligence—posthumously, of course.

Just a single life was lost in the Prinzessin Victoria Luise tragedy: the captain’s.