Wreck of the Morro Castle, Asbury Park, NJ – 1934
On September 8, 1934, the 11,500-ton passenger liner "Morro Castle" was returning to New York City from Havana, Cuba. She ran into a nor'easter storm off the coast of Atlantic City, NJ when a fire broke out. The fire destroyed the ship and after several failed attempts to tow the vessel; it eventually drifted ashore at Asbury Park, NJ. More than 130 passengers and crew lost their lives in the disaster. The Bogan family's party fishing boat "Paramount" from Brielle, NJ was one of the vessels that sped to the scene and she rescued 67 passengers.
Circumstances surrounding the event included allegations of arson, mutiny, delayed SOS calls, smuggling, negligence by the officers and misconduct by the crew. Strangely, the captain was found dead mysteriously, and the origin of the fire was never determined. The tragedy spurred the U.S. Congress to pass various maritime laws designed to prevent future disasters and to U.S. acceptance of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) treaty, which is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.