Is The USS New York A Jinx Ship?
By James Donahue
Superstitions stemming from the days when men who sailed the high seas put
their lives on the line each time they boarded a ship, still prevail among many of the old salts along the waterfront.
They will tell you that a ship must never set sail on a Friday, it’s
a bad omen is when rats are observed leaving a ship before it sails, and that some ships are jinxed from the day they are
Some may believe the newest ship to join the U.S. Naval fleet, the amphibious
assault ship USS New York, is destined to be such a jinxed vessel. That is because she was built with scrap steel from the
ruins of the World Trade Center, and may be filled with the anguished spirits of the nearly 3,000 souls who perished
on Sept. 11, 2001.
Indeed, there have been documented cases where bad luck ships
at sea are linked to violent human death, either during the construction of the vessel, some terrible mishap at sea, or in
warfare. The Great Eastern, a 690-foot sailing steamship launched by Isambard Brunel in 1858, went down in history as not
only the largest ship in her day, but also a hard luck ship. It was believed that the spirits of two riveters who became accidentally
sealed in the hull of the ship during its construction, and two other workers killed in its launch, haunted the steamer.
The White Star Liner Adriatic, which was involved in numerous collisions,
was considered a cursed ship, as was the lines’ greatest boondoggle, the Titanic, which went down in history as one
of the worst disasters to ever occur at sea when it struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage.
Even though working aboard modern ships is a much safer vocation today, many
of the old superstitions still survive. Thus we wonder how many men will willingly take assignments to serve on the New York
when it is commissioned and put to sea.