The SS Nomadic: A Mini-Titanic

Since its closure in 1934, most White Star Line vessels have been scrapped by the company. However, one still remains today. This ship is a modern connection to Titanic and is the last White Star Line liner. This ship is called the SS Nomadic.

The White Star Line and the SS Nomadic

The White Star Line started as a company serving Australia in the 1850s. Later, the company became a commercial shipping line. Many of their liners also served as wartime vessels. Today, most remember the White Star Line for the loss of the RMS Titanic. They went bankrupt in 1932, 20 years after Titanic sank. In 1934, White Star Line merged with Cunard and closed their lines. Almost every single White Star Line vessel the company scrapped. All except the SS Nomadic. Nomadic has a special connection to Titanic. Nomadic served as tender to Titanic, bringing passengers to that fateful voyage.

SS Nomadic as she is today
The SS Nomadic today

About the Nomadic, the last White Star Line vessel

The Nomadic was tender to Titanic. That means she carried passengers to the ship from a nearby port. Thomas Andrews built and designed her in 1911. They christened her in Cherbourg, France. She brought passengers to Titanic from the man-made port of Cherbourg, which was too small for the massive titan. Nomadic was tiny, but just as luxurious as her older sister and was essentially a mini-Titanic. It carried a few of the most famous passengers to Titanic, including the Unsinkable Molly Brown.

SS Nomadic as she was in 2012, 100 years after Titanic sank

Transferring Passengers to Titanic

                As stated before, Nomadic ferried passengers to the grand Titanic. It was an hour process, and Titanic was already an hour late from an incident that happened back in Southampton. Passengers arrived in the port around 17:00 hours and Titanic arrived at 18:00 hours. All except one passenger took the boat train from St. Lazare to get to Cherbourg. 3rd class boarded first, and then 1st and 2nd together.

Nomadic After Titanic

SS Nomadic showing her name
The port side of Nomadic in modern day Belfast

                Nomadic went on to have a long and incredible career that lasted 57 years, which included service in World War 1. When the White Star Line closed in 1934, the Société Cherbourgeoise de Sauvetage et de Remorquage bought her. They renamed her Ingenier Minard. In WW2, recommissioning of the ship was in action. Nomadic served as a wartime vessel all throughout the Second World War. After the war, damaged beyond recognition, a French businessman named Roland Spinnewyn bought Nomadic. He intended to turn her into a floating restaurant in Paris. He realised it was an unrealistic dream. Spinnewyn sold her to a man called Yvon Vincent. Vincent turned Nomadic into a restaurant for which she worked as for 22 years. She served sushi as a food option and even had a dance floor. In 1999, health reasons forced the restaurant to close. In 2002, Nomadic moved down the Seine to Le Havre.

SS Nomadic sits on the Seine in 2000

Saving Nomadic

Yvon Vincent went bankrupt just before 2000. If no one bought Nomadic at auction, she would be scrapped. In 2006, a year after Vincent’s death, the city of Belfast purchased Nomadic. It cost £171,320 worth of public funds to save the piece of history. Rusted, old, looking nothing like she did before, Nomadic returned home to Belfast. Restoration began to give Nomadic a 1912 Titanic era appearance for visitors and Belfastians alike.

Nomadic Today

                Nomadic was recently restored in 2010 and is officially the last White Star Line Vessel. She opened for tours in 2013. If one buys a ticket for the Titanic exhibit in Belfast, that includes a visit to the Nomadic. You can still visit her today.

Fun Facts about Nomadic

  • Elizabeth Taylor traveled on Nomadic in 1964 with her then husband Richard Burton
  • Marie Curie also traveled aboard Nomadic when she departed for the US in the 1920s.
  • Nomadic’s original light fixtures remain
  • Nomadic had a sister called the S.S Traffic. Germans captured Traffic in WW2
  • While in Le Havre, people stole almost all of her portholes. Only one of her original portholes remains.
Elizabeth Taylor traveled on the SS Nomadic
Elizabeth Taylor traveled on the SS Nomadic with her husband

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