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RMS Queen Elizabeth 2

From Academic Kids

The Queen Elizabeth 2, often called "the QE2," was the flagship of the Cunard Line from 1969 until she was succeeded by RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004. The QE2 was considered the last of the great transatlantic ocean liners prior to the Queen Mary 2, and was the last oil-fired passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic in regularly scheduled liner service before she was refitted with a diesel power plant. During her service as the Cunard flagship, QE2 traveled all over the world, but now operates as a cruise ship based out of Southampton, England.

The QE2 cruise liner in Southampton Docks, England, 1976.
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The QE2 cruise liner in Southampton Docks, England, 1976.

At 70,327 tons and 963 feet (294 m) long, with a top speed of 32.5 knots (60 km/h), she is one of the largest and fastest passenger vessels afloat. She is larger than the RMS Titanic, but smaller than her predecessor RMS Queen Elizabeth and her successor RMS Queen Mary 2, in order to allow her to pass through the Panama Canal. The QE2 can carry 1,900 passengers and 1,015 crew members for a total of 2,915 people on board.

There is some controversy as to whether the vessel is "Queen Elizabeth 2", "Queen Elizabeth II", or "Queen Elizabeth the Second"; the QE2 is both successor to the original RMS Queen Elizabeth, and was launched during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Officially, the "2" in the name distinguishes her from the original RMS Queen Elizabeth, named for Queen Elizabeth, the wife of King George VI of the United Kingdom, who was Queen Consort when that ship was built. The QE2 was allegedly named to honor Queen Elizabeth II, who launched her in 1969. It has been claimed, wrongly, that the Queen spoke the liner's name as "Queen Elizabeth Two" when she named it at the launching. However, a sound recording available on the internet shows that she did actually name it "Queen Elizabeth the Second", which the use of Roman numerals imply. (See the History section at the external link below.) The ship's name was formerly written Queen Elizabeth II and this spelling is sometimes seen, but Cunard uses the Arabic numeral "2" - particularly following a major refit in 1986 - to distinguish the ship from the monarch and from her predecessor. This is a sensitive point, since by tradition the names of British monarchs have only been given to capital ships of the Royal Navy.

The QE2 was built by the John Brown Shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland. Her keel was laid down on 5 July 1965, and she was launched on 20 September 1967. Her maiden voyage, from Southampton to New York, was on 2 May 1969.

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QM2_and_QE2.jpg
The QE2 and QM2 berthed together in New York, April 25th 2004

On 17 May 1972, while travelling from New York to Southampton, she was the subject of a bomb threat. The QE2 was searched by its crew, and a bomb disposal team was parachuted into the sea near the ship. No bomb was found, but the hoaxer was arrested by the FBI. This incident went on to inspire the 1974 Richard Lester film "Juggernaut".

In 1982, she took part in the Falklands War, carrying 3000 troops to the south Atlantic.

In 1986, her steam turbines were replaced by diesel engines.

In August 1992 her hull was considerably damaged when she ran aground off Cape Cod, on a day trip from New York to Martha's Vineyard.

In 1995 she encountered a freak wave, estimated at 29 m, in a North Atlantic hurricane.

The QE2 was removed from transatlantic service in 2004 when QM2 became operational, but continues in service as a cruise ship homeported at Southampton.

External link

nl:Queen Elizabeth 2

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