Remembering the Christena disaster, 49 years after

Basseterre, St. Kitts, Thursday, 1st August, 2019, ( – It was only licensed to transport 155 passengers, but on that fateful day on Saturday, 1st August, 1970, it carried 320 people.
Passengers were excited about their travel across to Nevis for the busy holiday weekend when horse racing and various beach and family activities would be plentiful.

No one knew it would be its final sail. And for some 229 passengers, they never knew that they would not make it home safely.
On board were also vendors and farmers returning from their sale efforts at the Basseterre market.
Sadly, it became the final journey for the government owned MV Christena. The sinking of this vessel remains today the greatest accident in the modern history of St. Kitts and Nevis.

It remains also a painful memory for many who survived and relatives and friends who lost their loved ones.
Unfortunately, to this day, some 49 years after, only 57 bodies were recorded as being recovered and identified, while another 66 were recovered but could not be identified.

Thus, about 106 bodies had to be left trapped in their watery grave of the vessel. Women, children, old and young, all perished.
This accident impacted many Kittitian and Nevisian families.
Two monuments have been erected in Nevis where an annual service of remembrance is hosted each year. One is yet to be placed in St. Kitts.
The disaster also impacted the protocols that today govern the movement of ferries between St. Kitts and Nevis.

Special ceremonies and activities are expected to be organized in 2020 when the 50th Anniversary is observed.
May we continue to remember those victims and their families who have suffered for almost five decades.

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