Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
RMS Queen Elizabeth 2
The Queen Elizabeth 2, often called "the QE2," was the flagship of the Cunard Line from 1969 until she was succeeded by RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004. The QE2 was considered the last of the great transatlantic ocean liners prior to the Queen Mary 2, and was the last oil-fired passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic in regularly scheduled liner service before she was refitted with a diesel power plant. During her service as the Cunard flagship, QE2 traveled all over the world, but now operates as a cruise ship based out of Southampton, England.
At 70,327 tons and 963 feet (294 m) long, with a top speed of 32.5 knots (60 km/h), she is one of the largest and fastest passenger vessels afloat. She is larger than the RMS Titanic, but smaller than her predecessor RMS Queen Elizabeth and her successor RMS Queen Mary 2 to allow her to pass through the Panama Canal.
The "2" in the name distinguishes her from the first ship of that name, the RMS Queen Elizabeth, named for Queen Elizabeth, the wife of King George VI of the United Kingdom, who was Queen Consort when that ship was built. The QE2 was allegedly named to honor Queen Elizabeth II, who launched her in 1969. It has been claimed, wrongly, that the Queen spoke the liner's name as "Queen Elizabeth Two" when she named it at the launching. However, a sound recording available on the internet shows that she did actually name it "Queen Elizabeth the Second", which the use of Roman numerals imply. (See the History section at the external link below.) The ship's name was formerly written Queen Elizabeth II and this spelling is sometimes seen, but Cunard uses the Arabic numeral to distinguish the ship from the monarch and from her predecessor. This is a sensitive point, since by tradition the names of British monarchs have only been given to capital ships of the Royal Navy.
The QE2 was built by the John Brown Shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland. Her keel was laid down on 5 July 1965, and she was launched on 20 September 1967. Her maiden voyage, from Southampton to New York, was on 2 May 1969.
On 17 May 1972, while travelling from New York to Southampton, she was the subject of a bomb threat. The QE2 was searched by its crew, and a bomb disposal team was parachuted into the sea near the ship. No bomb was found, but the hoaxer was arrested by the FBI.
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