The SS Morro Castle

The first-ever commemorative monument to the ill-fated SS Morro Castle was dedicated by the Asbury Park Historical Society in 2009, the 75th anniversary of the maritime disaster.

The black marble monument, funded through donations and fundraisers, is on a grassy strip just south of Convention Hall and is the first-known monument erected to commemorate this important maritime disaster.

The SS Morro Castle was a luxury cruise ship from the 1930s that made runs between New York City and Havana, Cuba, and was popular with tourists both young and old.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, September 8th, 1934, en route from Havana to New York, the ship caught fire on the coast of the New Jersey shore; a total of 137 passengers and crew members were killed in the fire.

First-responders from southern Monmouth County responded to the event and helped rescue survivors from rough seas, and also brought the dead to shore. The still-burning ship eventually beached near the Convention Hall in Asbury Park, and became a major tourist attraction until it was towed away for scrap several months later.

The devastating fire aboard the Morro Castle was a catalyst for improved shipboard fire safety. Today, the use of fire retardant materials, automatic fire doors, and ship-wide fire alarms is a direct result of the Morro Castle disaster. The incident also led to greater attention being placed on fire drills and life boat procedures.

There is much more material on the Morro Castle online, and we urge you to learn more about this historic event.

Check out this video to learn more.