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IMO: 5390008 - Achille Lauro
Info
Length:
193m
Crew:
300
Building year:
1947
Beam:
25m
Brutto tonnage:
23 629
Passengers:
1372
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©Florent Van Otterdyk
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Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Florent Van Otterdyk Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Florent Van Otterdyk Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Ludo Janssens Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Ludo Janssens Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Ludo Janssens Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Paul Struyf Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Paul Struyf Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Paul Struyf Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Paul Struyf Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Ludo Janssens Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Ludo Janssens Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Ludo Janssens Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Ludo Janssens Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Ludo Janssens Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Paul Struyf
The name Achille Lauro might sound familiar to many people. The ship became  internationally known due to the deadly high jacking that found place on board off the  coast of Egypt in 1985. The famous, or infamous cruise ship MS Achille Lauro also visited  Antwerp one time. The ship of the Italian company Lauro Lines sailed a cruise along the  Western-European coast in 1993, and on March 19th it sailed onto the Western Scheldt,  heading for Antwerp. Around noon the ship turned around in the city centre, aided by  several tugboats. Achille Lauro was welcomed in the city amid great public interest.   That day it was also possible to board the ship and sail from the port of Antwerp to  Zeebrugge for a fairly low price. During the departure the passengers threw confetti  streamers over the railing, as it was customary in past during a special departure of a  passenger ship. MS Achille Lauro was also preceded by a tugboat that sprayed a water  curtain into the air which, because of the beautiful weather, resulted in the appearance of a  rainbow. From the elevated promenade Zuiderterras the ship disappeared out of sight  behind Sint-Anna beach. It would be the last time the ship is seen in Antwerp because one  and a half years later, on 4 December 1994, the ship sank off the coast of Somalia after a  raging fire on board.  
Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Florent Van Otterdyk
Arrival MS Achille Lauro - ©Forent Van Otterdyk
In the morning, during the ascend of the river to Antwerp, the people jostled one another  on the dykes in Flushing to catch a glimpse of Achille Lauro sailing by. For a lot of Dutch  people the ship has great sentimental value because it was originally built as MS Willem  Ruys at the shipyard ‘Koninklijke Maatschappij De Schelde’ in Flushing between 1939 and  1946. Many of the onlookers had even helped building the ship. They had not seen the ship  in decades and did not want to miss this unique opportunity.  
Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Ludo Janssens Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Florent Van Otterdyk Achille Lauro in Antwerpen - ©Ludo Janssens
In 1993 Antwerp was the ‘European Capital of Culture’ and to highlight this, a minicruise  was offered from Antwerp to Zeebrugge on board Achille Lauro. Embarking on a voyage  between Antwerp and Zeebrugge on a cruise ship was a unique event that still hasn’t been  repeated up until today.   The ad promoting the minicruise certainly didn’t miss its goal as all the available places  were sold out in no time. On Friday 19 March 1993 almost 600 passengers embarked on the  ship for a unique sailing on the river Scheldt. At 18.30h there was a extensive dinner for all  passengers. Once the ship arrived in Zeebrugge the passengers could stay on board until  22.30h after which shuttle busses were provided for the ride back to Antwerp.  
Departure MS Achille Lauro - ©Ludo Janssens
Departure MS Achille Lauro - ©Ludo Janssens
Departure MS Achille Lauro - ©Ludo Janssens
Departure MS Achille Lauro - ©YouTube - MJM productions (mutadis1)