USS New York


USS New York

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 launched.

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.

Death Memory In Steel

Indeed, the thought that the ship might be jinxed was not on the minds of most of the people who crammed the shipyard at Avondale, Louisiana to witness the christening of the vessel. The speeches and fanfare of the day offered the ship as an expression of strength and inspiration to a nation currently fighting a “war” against terrorism. Few noted, however, that the small band of Islamic radicals responsible for the 9-11 attacks still remain at large and were in no way linked to the nation of Iraq, where we now are fighting.

Yet the bow stem of the New York contains 7.5 tons of steel from the disaster site.

The ship was under construction when the Avondale shipyard was hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Many of the workers there were lauded because they returned to their jobs, building this 684-foot-long ship, even though many of them lost their homes in the storm. Was Katrina a premonition of things to come?

The New York is the fifth in a new class of warship designed for special operations against terrorists. It can carry a crew of about 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines by sea to all parts of the world.


Great And Lost Ships Of The World