Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First Wireless Maritime Distress Call - January 23, 1909

RMS RepublicJan 23, 2009 is the 100th anniversary commemoration of the first wireless distress call at sea. The event will be celebrated globally by amateur radio operators, maritime historians, many are former military sparkies, and commercial maritime radio operators.

On a cold January night in 1909, in a deep fog, two ships collided off Nantucket. The Republic, was a luxury liner, of the White Star Line (remember the Titanic?) headed out from New York City for a leisurely cruise around the Mediterranean. The Florida, was filled with impoverished people fleeing the consequences of an earthquake in Messina, Italy, in the hope of a better life in America.

What happened next was the historical first wireless distress call, and the heroic story of the wireless operator named Jack Binns. The distress call was received by the Wellfleet Marconi Station. Only 7 people died from this wreck that should have taught us that more could to be done to save lives after collisions at sea. Read the story of Jack Binns and see the plans to celebrate this important 100th anniversery. Check out these websites...

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