Bigger and faster ocean liners have been built in the intervening years, but from its launch to the present day, fewer ships have enjoyed such iconic status as the QE2
Reporting on the launch of the vessel from the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland, The Engineer remarked that as well as being the largest passenger liner to be built in Britain, QE2 ‘is also the most powerful twin-screw merchant ship afloat and the first passenger ship to adopt six-bladed screws. ‘
With a gross tonnage of 70,327, the 963ft-long vessel had, until recent years, a top speed of 32.5 knots. This, wrote The Engineer, was thanks to a steam turbine power plant consisting of ‘a twin-screw set of turbines — each consisting of an HP and LP turbine driving the propeller shafting through double reduction, double helical, dual tandem gearing. The maximum combined output is 110,000 shp at 174 rev/min.’ This top speed was increased to 34 knots when, in 1986, the steam turbine power plant was replaced by a diesel electric power plant and variable pitch propellers.
The article also draws attention to the vessel’s sophisticated data logging system, a computer-based system built on Ferranti’s Argus 400, one of the first industrial computers to use silicon transistors. ‘This will provide monitoring, logging and alarm facilties for machinery and services on a scale hitherto only found in shore-based installations.’
Next month, in a repeat of its maiden voyage, the vessel will travel from Southampton to New York, before finally heading off to Dubai, where it will be decommissioned and converted to a luxury hotel that will be moored alongside the Palm Jumeirah, one of Dubai’s new artificial islands.