Pamir – The lifeboat of the famous sailing ship is being exhibited in Lübeck

The ship was built in Hamburg and launched in July 1905. She was the fifth of ten near sister ships – with a length of 375 feet, a beam of 46 feet, with three main masts that stood 168 feet above her deck. She was capable of deploying over 40,000 square feet of sail area. She carried grain and nitrates to and from Europe, Asia and South America until World War II. In August 1941 she was serving under the flag of Finland.

On 10 August 1957, she left Buenos Aires for Hamburg with a crew of 86, including 50 cadets. Her cargo of 3,700 tons of barley was stored loose in the holds and ballast tanks, secured in sacks on top of the loose grain.

Pamir memorial in St Jakob’s Church, Lübeck, showing one of the lifeboats / Image source

On September 21, 1957 she was caught in Hurricane Carrie before shortening sails. She was apparently unaware of the hurricane, being caught with open hatchways. Considerable water entered the ship, the grain cargo shifted and the ship listed severely to port. Her port side eventually went underwater, leading to her loss.

She sent distress signals before capsizing at 13:03 local time, and sinking after drifting keel-up for 30 minutes in the middle of the Atlantic 600 nautical miles west-southwest of the Azores.

A nine-day search for survivors was organized, but only four crewmen and two cadets were rescued alive, from two of the lifeboats. The memorial in St. Jacob’s Church displays one of the two lifeboats that were eventually found.

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