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CCNS-HC Monica Smith

(1960)

Monica Smith grounding.

There have been more destructive groundings at the Cape End, God knows, but there may never have been one — at least in modern memory — quite as spectacular and photogenic as that of the 298-foot-long, 1,965-ton Monica Smith, an eight-year-old Great Lakes freighter of the Swedish Chicago Line. She was on her way from New Bedford to Nova Scotia on 20 February 1960, empty, with a crew of 27, when she was hit with gale-force winds from the northwest. “It is presumed that the empty freighter had been blown off course onto the beach,” Dan Bernstein reported in The Advocate on 25 February. “Literally thousands of people streamed along the Mid-Cape Highway headed for Provincetown. News of the grounded ship appeared in newspapers across the world, on the radio, and on television. Along with the hordes of curious people came photographers and newsmen. The sky droned constantly with planes from Provincetown, Boston, and New York carrying news photographers. The Monica Smith was snapped from above and below by thousands of photographs. Not only did supplies of film run out in Provincetown, but gasoline as well. Added to this the restaurants and luncheonettes who had standing-room-only business that ran down their stocks.” She was refloated on the crest of an 11-foot tide on 25 February, and proceeded to Canada. Renamed Monica S. in 1967 and Messinia II in 1976, she foundered and was abandoned in the Mediterranean on 5 July 1979, while carrying cement from Cartagena, Spain, to Port Said, Egypt.

¶ Last updated on 9 April 2017. ¶ Image courtesy of the Provincetown History Preservation Project, Moffett Collection, Page 86.

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