February 21 - 1960: Swedish tanker runs aground IN Provincetown

The crew waved to sightseers and played Hillbilly music
The Monica Smith's 37 crew members "waved cheerfully back to the crowds, then adjourned to the forecastle to listen to hillbilly music on the radio."

1960: 285-foot tanker Monica Smith on a beach in Provincetown

The crew used an old mariner's trick of kedging to free ship

On this day in 1960, Provincetown residents awakened to discover that the 285-foot tanker Monica Smith had run aground overnight off Race Point.

Two tugboats tried in vain to free the 1,744-ton ship at high tide while thousands of sightseers, many from off-Cape, watched from the shoreline. The ship had dropped off a cargo of cement in Fall River before running aground on a sandbar.

The Monica Smith's 37 crew members "waved cheerfully back to the crowds, then adjourned to the forecastle to listen to hillbilly music on the radio," according to a United Press International story. Photo courtesy of Sam Sherman and the Orleans Historical Society. Photo on right is courtesy of the AP.

The tanker remained stranded for three more days until it was extricated through a combination of the crew's own efforts and steady pulling of the tugboat Orion.

The crew used an old mariner's trick of kedging, which involves fastening anchors in deep water and winching toward them from the vessel itself.  After the ship was once again afloat, its skipper said he intended to resume his interrupted journey to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Below is the tanker in happier times.


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