Piggy-back to Belfast for historic passenger ship

SS Nomadic, the only surviving vessel of the White Star fleet, which famously included the ill-fated Titanic, will return to her home port of Belfast in July.

Following a lengthy campaign to save the ship from being scrapped, the Northern Ireland Office bought her for £171,320 at an auction held in Paris on January 26.

The derelict condition of Nomadic prevents her from making the historic return from Le Havre under her own steam; instead, preparations are being made for a submersible barge to ‘piggy-back’ the ship back home. A restoration project will then begin to bring Nomadic back to her original glory, at an estimated cost of £7m.

The 67m (220ft) boat was built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast, and launched in 1911 as a luxury passenger tender. The following year Nomadic delivered passengers from Cherbourg to the Titanic on her tragic maiden voyage; 1,523 passengers died when the ship hit an iceberg off the Grand Banks, Newfoundland.