A port is a maritime commercial facility which may comprise one or more wharves where ships may dock to load and discharge passengers and cargo. Although situated on a sea coast or estuary, some ports, such as Hamburg and Duluth, are many miles inland, with access from the sea via river or canal. Today, by far the greatest growth in port development is in Asia, the continent with some of the world's largest and busiest ports, such as Singapore and the Chinese ports of Shanghai and Ningbo-Zhoushan. Whenever ancient civilisations engaged in maritime trade, they tended to develop sea ports. One of the world's oldest known artificial harbors is at Wadi al-Jarf on the Red Sea. Along with the finding of harbor structures, ancient anchors have been found. Other ancient ports include Guangzhou during Qin Dynasty China and Canopus, the principal Egyptian port for Greek trade before the foundation of Alexandria. In ancient Greece, Athens' port of Piraeus was the base for the Athenian fleet which played a crucial role in the Battle of Salamis against the Persians in 480 BCE.
In ancient India from 3700 BCE, Lothal was a prominent city of the Indus valley civilisation, located in the Bhāl region of the modern state of Gujarāt. Ostia Antica was the port of ancient Rome with Portus established by Claudius and enlarged by Trajan to supplement the nearby port of Ostia. In Japan, during the Edo period, the island of Dejima was the only port open for trade with Europe and received only a single Dutch ship per year, whereas Osaka was the largest domestic port and the main trade hub for rice. Nowadays, many of these ancient sites no longer function as modern ports. In more recent times, ports sometimes fall out of use. Rye, East Sussex, was an important English port in the Middle Ages, but the coastline changed and it is now 2 miles from the sea, while the ports of Ravenspurn and Dunwich have been lost to coastal erosion. Whereas early ports tended to be just simple harbours, modern ports tend to be multimodal distribution hubs, with transport links using sea, canal, road and air routes.
Successful ports are located to optimize access to an active hinterland, such as the London Gateway. Ideally, a port will grant easy navigation to ships, will give shelter from wind and waves. Ports are on estuaries, where the water may be shallow and may need regular dredging. Deep water ports such as Milford Haven are less common, but can handle larger ships with a greater draft, such as super tankers, Post-Panamax vessels and large container ships. Other businesses such as regional distribution centres and freight-forwarders and other processing facilities find it advantageous to be located within a port or nearby. Modern ports will have specialised cargo-handling equipment, such as gantry cranes, reach stackers and forklift trucks. Ports have specialised functions: some tend to cater for passenger ferries and cruise ships; some third world countries and small islands such as Ascension and St Helena still have limited port facilities, so that ships must anchor off while their cargo and passengers are taken ashore by barge or launch.
In modern times, ports decline, depending on current economic trends. In the UK, both the ports of Liverpool and Southampton were once significant in the transatlantic passenger liner business. Once airliner traffic decimated that trade, both ports diversified to container cargo and cruise ships. Up until the 1950s the Port of London was a major international port on the River Thames, but changes in shipping and the use of containers and larger ships, have led to its decline. Thamesport, a small semi-automated container port thrived for some years, but has been hit hard by competition from the emergent London Gateway port and logistics hub. In mainland Europe, it is normal for ports to be publicly owned, so that, for instance, the ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam are owned by the state and by the cities themselves. By contrast, in the UK all ports are in private hands, such as Peel Ports who own the Port of Liverpool, John Lennon Airport and the Manchester Ship Canal. Though modern ships tend to have bow-thrusters and stern-thrusters, many port authorities still require vessels to use pilots and tugboats for manoeuvering large ships in tight quarters.
For instance, ships approaching the Belgian port of Antwerp, an inland port on the River Scheldt, are obliged to use Dutch pilots when navigating on that part of the estuary that belongs to the Netherlands. Ports with international traffic have customs facilities; the terms "port" and "seaport" are used for different types of port facilities that handle ocean-going vessels, river port is used for river traffic, such as barges and other shallow-draft vessels. A dry port is an inland intermodal terminal directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and operating as a centre for the transshipment of sea cargo to inland destinations. A fishing port is a harbor for landing and distributing fish, it may be a recreational facility, but it is commercial. A fishing port is the only port that depends on an ocean product, depletion of fish may cause a fishing port to be uneconomical. An inland port is a port on a navigable lake, river, or canal with access to a sea or ocean, which therefore allows a ship to sail from the ocean inland to the port to load or unload its cargo.
An example of this is the St. Lawrence Seaway which allows ships to travel from the Atlantic Ocean several thousand kilometers inland to Great Lakes ports like Toronto, Duluth-Superior, C
An ocean liner is a passenger ship used as a form of transportation across seas or oceans. Liners may carry cargo or mail, may sometimes be used for other purposes. Cargo vessels running to a schedule are sometimes called liners; the category does not include ferries or other vessels engaged in short-sea trading, nor dedicated cruise ships where the voyage itself, not transportation, is the prime purpose of the trip. Nor does it include tramp steamers those equipped to handle limited numbers of passengers; some shipping companies refer to themselves as "lines" and their container ships, which operate over set routes according to established schedules, as "liners". Ocean liners are strongly built with a high freeboard to withstand rough seas and adverse conditions encountered in the open ocean. Additionally, they are designed with thicker hull plating than is found on cruise ships, have large capacities for fuel and other consumables on long voyages; the first ocean liners were built in the mid-19th century.
Technological innovations such as the steam engine and steel hull allowed larger and faster liners to be built, giving rise to a competition between world powers of the time between the United Kingdom and Germany. Once the dominant form of travel between continents, ocean liners were rendered obsolete by the emergence of long-distance aircraft after World War II. Advances in automobile and railway technology played a role. By 2015, the only ship still in service as an ocean liner is the RMS Queen Mary 2 after RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 was retired in 2008. Of the many ships constructed over the decades, only nine ocean liners made. Ocean liners were the primary mode of intercontinental travel for over a century, from the mid-19th century until they began to be supplanted by airliners in the 1950s. In addition to passengers, liners carried cargo. Ships contracted to carry British Royal Mail used the designation RMS. Liners were the preferred way to move gold and other high-value cargoes; the busiest route for liners was on the North Atlantic with ships travelling between Europe and North America.
It was on this route that the fastest and most advanced liners travelled. But while in contemporary popular imagination the term "ocean liners" evokes these transatlantic superliners, most ocean liners were mid-sized vessels which served as the common carriers of passengers and freight between nations and among mother countries and their colonies and dependencies in the pre-jet age; such routes included Europe to African and Asian colonies, Europe to South America, migrant traffic from Europe to North America in the 19th and first two decades of the 20th centuries, to Canada and Australia after the Second World War. Shipping lines are companies engaged in shipping passengers and cargo on established routes and schedules. Regular scheduled voyages on a set route are called "line voyages" and vessels trading on these routes to a timetable are called liners; the alternative to liner trade is "tramping" whereby vessels are notified on an ad-hoc basis as to the availability of a cargo to be transported.
The term "ocean liner" has come to be used interchangeably with "passenger liner", although it can refer to a cargo liner or cargo-passenger liner. Beginning at the advent of the Jet Age, where transoceanic ship service declined, a gradual transition from passenger ships as mean of transportation to nowadays cruise ships started. In order for ocean liners to remain profitable, cruise lines have modified some of them to operate on cruise routes, such as Queen Elizabeth 2 and SS France. Certain characteristics of older ocean liners made them unsuitable for cruising, such as high fuel consumption, deep draught preventing them from entering shallow ports, cabins designed to maximize passenger numbers rather than comfort; the Italian Line's SS Michelangelo and SS Raffaello, the last ocean liners to be built for crossing the North Atlantic, could not be converted economically and had short careers. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution and the inter-continental trade rendered the development of secure links between continents imperative.
Being at the top among the colonial powers, the United Kingdom needed stable maritime routes to connect different parts of its empire: the Far East, Australia, etc. The birth of the concept of international water and the lack of any claim to it simplified navigation. In 1818, the Black Ball Line, with a fleet of sailing ships, offered the first regular passenger service with emphasis on passenger comfort, from England to the United States. In 1807, Robert Fulton succeeded in applying steam engines to ships, he built the first ship, powered by this technology, the Clermont, which succeeded in traveling between New York City and Albany, New York in thirty hours before entering into regular service between the two cities. Soon after, other vessels were built using this innovation. In 1816, the Élise became the first steamship to cross the English Channel. Another important advance came in 1819. SS Savannah became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean, she arrived in Liverpool, England in 27 days.
Most of the distance was covered by sailing. The public enthusiasm for the new technology was not high, as none of the thirty-two people who had booked a seat on board boarded the ship for that historic voyage. Although Savannah had proven that a steamship was cap
SS United States
SS United States is a retired ocean liner built in 1950–51 for the United States Lines at a cost of US$79.4 million. The ship is the largest ocean liner constructed in the United States and the fastest ocean liner to cross the Atlantic in either direction, retaining the Blue Riband for the highest average speed since her maiden voyage in 1952, she was designed by American naval architect William Francis Gibbs and could be converted into a troopship if required by the Navy in time of war. The United States maintained an uninterrupted schedule of transatlantic passenger service until 1969 and was never used as a troopship; the ship has been sold several times since the 1970s, with each new owner trying unsuccessfully to make the liner profitable. The ship's fittings were sold at auction, hazardous wastes, including asbestos panels throughout the ship, were removed, leaving her completely stripped by 1994. Two years she was towed to Pier 82 on the Delaware River, in Philadelphia, where she remains today.
Since 2009, a preservation group called the SS United States Conservancy has been raising funds to save the ship. The group purchased her in 2011 and has drawn up several unrealized plans to restore the ship, one of which included turning the ship into a multi-purpose waterfront complex. In 2015, as its funds dwindled, the group began accepting bids to scrap the ship. Large donations have kept the ship berthed at its Philadelphia dock while the group continues to further investigate restoration plans. Inspired by the service of the British liners RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, which transported hundreds of thousands of U. S. troops to Europe during World War II, the US government sponsored the construction of a large and fast merchant vessel that would be capable of transporting large numbers of soldiers. Designed by American naval architect and marine engineer William Francis Gibbs, the liner's construction was a joint effort by the United States Navy and United States Lines; the U. S. government underwrote $50 million of the $78 million construction cost, with the ship's prospective operators, United States Lines, contributing the remaining $28 million.
In exchange, the ship was designed to be converted in times of war to a troopship. The ship has a capacity of 15,000 troops, could be converted to a hospital ship. In 1942, during World War II, the French liner SS Normandie, seized by U. S. authorities in New York and renamed the USS Lafayette, caught fire while being converted to a troopship by the U. S. Navy. After millions of gallons of water had been pumped into her in an attempt to extinguish the flames, she capsized onto her port side and came to rest on the mud of the Hudson River at Pier 88, the current site of the New York Passenger Ship Terminal; as a result of this disaster, the design of the United States incorporated the most rigid U. S. Navy standards. To minimize the risk of fire, the designers of United States prescribed using no wood in the ship's framing, decorations, or interior surfaces, although the galley did feature a wooden butcher's block. Fittings, including all furniture and fabrics, were custom made in glass and spun-glass fiber, to ensure compliance with fireproofing guidelines set by the US Navy.
Asbestos-laden paneling was used extensively in interior structures. The clothes hangers in the luxury cabins were aluminum; the ballroom's grand piano was made from a rare, fire-resistant wood species—although specified in aluminum—and accepted only after a demonstration in which gasoline was poured upon the wood and ignited, without the wood itself catching fire. Specially commissioned artwork included pieces by fourteen artists, including Nathaniel Choate, muralist Austin M. Purves, Jr. and sculptor Gwen Lux. The vessel was constructed from 1950–1952 at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Newport News, Virginia; the hull was constructed in a dry dock. United States was built to exacting Navy specifications, which required that the ship be compartmentalized, have separate engine rooms to optimize wartime survival. A large part of the construction was prefabricated; the ship's hull comprised 183,000 pieces. The construction of the ship's superstructure involved the most extensive use of aluminum in any construction project up to that time, which posed a galvanic corrosion challenge to the builders in joining the aluminum superstructure to the steel decks below.
However, the extensive use of aluminum meant significant weight savings, as well. United States had the most powerful steam turbines of any merchant marine vessel at the time, with a total power of 240,000 shaft horsepower delivered to four 18-foot -diameter manganese-bronze propellers; the ship was capable of steaming astern at over 20 knots, could carry enough fuel and stores to steam non-stop for over 10,000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 35 knots. On her maiden voyage—July 3–7, 1952—United States broke the transatlantic speed record held by the RMS Queen Mary for the previous 14 years by more than 10 hours, making the maiden crossing from the Ambrose lightship at New York Harbor to Bishop Rock off Cornwall, UK in 3 days, 10 hours, 40 minutes at an average speed of 35.59 knots. The maximum speed attained for United States is disputed; the issue stems from an alleged value of 43 knots, leaked to reporters by engineers after the first speed trial. In a 1991 issue of Popular Mechanics, author Mark G. Carbonaro wrote that while she could do 43 knots it was never attained.
Other sources, including a paper by John J
RMS Aquitania was a British ocean liner of Cunard Line in service from 1914 to 1950. She was built by John Brown & Company in Clydebank, Scotland, she was launched on 21 April 1913 and sailed on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 30 May 1914. Aquitania was the third in Cunard Line's grand trio of express liners, preceded by RMS Mauretania and RMS Lusitania, was the last surviving four-funnelled ocean liner. Shortly after entering service, World War I broke out, during which she was first transformed into an auxiliary cruiser before being transformed into a troop transport and a hospital ship, notably as part of the Dardanelles Campaign. Returned to transatlantic passenger service in 1920, she served alongside the Mauretania and the Berengaria. Considered during this period of time as one of the most attractive ships, Aquitania earned the nickname "the Ship Beautiful" from her passengers, her popularity allowed her service to be continued after the merger of Cunard Line with White Star Line in 1934.
The company planned to retire her and replace her with RMS Queen Elizabeth in 1940. However, the outbreak of World War II allowed her to remain in service for ten more years. During the war and until 1947, she served as a troop transport, she was used in particular to bring home Canadian soldiers from Europe. After the war, she transported migrants to Canada before the Board of Trade found her unfit for further commercial service. Aquitania was scrapped the following year. Having served as a passenger ship for 36 years, Aquitania became the second longest serving Cunard vessel after RMS Scythia; that record stood until 2004. The origins of Aquitania lay in the rivalry between the White Star Line and Cunard Line, Britain's two leading shipping companies; the White Star Line's Olympic and the upcoming Britannic were larger than the latest Cunard ships and Lusitania, by 15,000 gross tons. The Cunard duo were faster than the White Star ships, while White Star's ships were seen as more luxurious. Cunard needed another liner for its weekly transatlantic express service, elected to copy the White Star Line's Olympic-class model with a larger, but more luxurious ship.
The plan for the building of that liner began in 1910. Several draft plans were conceived in order to determine the main axes of what should be the ship for which an average speed of 23 knots was planned. In July of that year, the company launched the construction offers to several shipyards before choosing John Brown and Company, the builder of the Lusitania; the company chose Aquitania as the name for its new ship in continuity with those of its two previous duo. The three ships were named after the Ancient Roman provinces Lusitania and Gallia Aquitania. Aquitania was designed by Cunard naval architect Leonard Peskett. Peskett drew up plans for a larger and wider vessel than Mauretania. With four large funnels the ship would resemble the famous speed duo, but Peskett designed the superstructure with "glassed in" touches from the smaller Carmania, a ship he designed. Another design feature from Carmania was the addition of two tall forward deck ventilator cowlings. Although the ship's outward dimensions were greater than that of Olympic, her displacement and tonnage were lower.
With Aquitania's keel being laid at the end of 1910, the experienced Peskett took a voyage on Olympic in 1911 so as to experience the feel of a ship reaching nearly 50,000 tonnes as well as to copy pointers for his company's new vessel. Though Aquitania was built with Cunard funds, Peskett designed her according to strict British Admiralty specifications. Aquitania was built in the John Brown and Company yards in Clydebank, where the majority of the Cunard ships were built; the keel was laid in the same plot where Lusitania had been built, would be used to construct Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth 2. In the wake of the Titanic sinking, Aquitania was one of the first ships to carry enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew. Eighty lifeboats, including two motorised launches with Marconi wireless equipment, were carried in both swan-neck and newer Welin type davits. Watertight compartments were installed in order to allow the ship to float with five compartments flooded, she possessed a double hull.
As required by the British Admiralty, she was designed to be converted into an armed merchant cruiser, was reinforced to mount guns for service in that role. The ship displaced 49,430 tons of which the hull accounted for 29,150 tons, machinery 9,000 and bunkers 6,000 tons. Aquitania was launched on 21 April 1913 after being christened by Alice Stanley, the Countess of Derby, fitted out over the next thirteen months. Notable installations were decorations; the fitting out was led by his associate Charles Mewès. On 10 May 1914, she was tested in her sea trials and steamed at one full knot over the expected speed. On 14 May, she reached Mersey and stayed at a port there for fifteen days, during which she underwent a final major cleaning and finishing in preparation for her maiden voyage. Aquitania was the first Cunard liner to have a length in excess of 900 feet. Unlike some four-funneled ships, such as White Star Line's Olympic Class liners, Aquitania did not have a dummy funnel; the superstructure of the ship, painted white to contrast with the black hull in ocean liner fashion, was imposing in appearance, as the absence of a raised forecastle gave it an appearance too wide compare
RMS Mauretania (1906)
RMS Mauretania was an ocean liner designed by Leonard Peskett and built by Wigham Richardson and Swan Hunter for the British Cunard Line, launched on the afternoon of 20 September 1906. She was the world's largest ship until the completion of RMS Olympic in 1911. Mauretania became a favourite among her passengers, she captured the Eastbound Blue Riband on her maiden return voyage in December 1907 claimed the Westbound Blue Riband for the fastest transatlantic crossing during her 1909 season. She held both speed records for 20 years; the ship's name was taken from the ancient Roman province of Mauretania on the northwest African coast, not the modern Mauritania to the south. Similar nomenclature was employed by Mauretania's running mate Lusitania, named after the Roman province directly north of Mauretania, across the Strait of Gibraltar in Portugal. Mauretania remained in service until 1934. In 1897 the German liner SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse became the largest and fastest ship in the world.
With a speed of 22 knots, she captured the Blue Riband from Lucania. Germany came to dominate the Atlantic, by 1906 they had five four-funnel superliners in service, four of them owned by North German Lloyd and part of the so-called "Kaiser class". At around the same time the American financier J. P. Morgan's International Mercantile Marine Co. was attempting to monopolise the shipping trade, had acquired Britain's other major transatlantic line, White Star. In the face of these threats the Cunard Line was determined to regain the prestige of dominance in ocean travel not only for the company, but for the United Kingdom. By 1902, Cunard Line and the British government reached an agreement to build two superliners and Mauretania, with a guaranteed service speed of no less than 24 knots; the British government was to loan £2,600,000 for the construction of the ships, at an interest rate of 2.75%, to be paid back over twenty years, with a stipulation that the ships could be converted to armed merchant cruisers if needed.
Further funding was acquired when the Admiralty arranged for Cunard to be paid an additional sum per year to their mail subsidy. Mauretania and Lusitania were both designed by Cunard naval architect Leonard Peskett, with Swan Hunter and John Brown working from plans for an ocean greyhound with a stipulated service speed of twenty-four knots in moderate weather, as per the terms of her mail subsidy contract. Peskett's original configuration for the ships in 1902 was a three-funnel design, when reciprocating engines were destined to be the powerplant. A giant model of the ships appeared in Shipbuilder's magazine in this configuration. Cunard decided to change power plants to Parson's new turbine technology, the ship's design was again modified when Peskett added a fourth funnel to the ship's profile. Construction of the vessel began with the laying of the keel in August 1904. In 1906, Mauretania was launched by the Duchess of Roxburghe. At the time of her launch, she was the largest moving structure built, larger in gross tonnage than Lusitania.
The main visual differences between Mauretania and Lusitania were that Mauretania was five feet longer and had different vents. Mauretania had two extra stages of turbine blades in her forward turbines, making her faster than Lusitania. Mauretania and Lusitania were the only ships with direct-drive steam turbines to hold the Blue Riband. Mauretania's usage of the steam turbine was the largest application yet of the then-new technology, developed by Charles Algernon Parsons. During speed trials, these engines caused significant vibration at high speeds. Mauretania was designed to suit Edwardian tastes; the ship's interior was designed by Harold Peto and her public rooms were fitted out by two notable London design houses – Ch. Mellier & Sons and Turner and Lord, with twenty-eight different types of wood, along with marble and other furnishings such as the stunning octagon table in the smoking room. Wood panelling for her first class public rooms was carved by three hundred craftsmen from Palestine but this seems unlikely and was executed by the yard or subcontracted, as were the majority of the second and third class areas.
The multi-level first-class dining saloon of straw oak was decorated in Francis I style and topped by a large dome skylight. A series of elevators a rare new feature for liners, with grilles composed of the new lightweight aluminum, were installed next to Mauretania's walnut grand staircase. A new feature was the Verandah Café on the boat deck, where passengers were served beverages in a weather-protected environment, although this was enclosed within a year as it proved unrealistic; the White Star Line's Olympic-class vessels were 100 ft longer and wider than Lusitania and Mauretania. This made the White Star vessels about 15,000 gross register tons larger than the Cunard vessels. Both Lusitania and Mauretania were launched and had been in service for several years before Olympic and Britannic were ready for the North Atlantic run. Although faster than the Olympic class would be, the speed and port turnaround times of Cunard's vessels was not sufficient to allow the line to run a weekly two-ship transatlantic service from each side of the Atlantic.
A third ship was needed for a weekly service, in response to White Star's announced plan to build the three Olympic-class ships
RMS Queen Elizabeth
The RMS Queen Elizabeth was an ocean liner operated by Cunard Line. With Queen Mary she provided weekly luxury liner service between Southampton in the United Kingdom and New York City in the United States, via Cherbourg in France. While being constructed in the mid-1930s by John Brown and Company at Clydebank, the build was known as Hull 552. Launched on 27 September 1938, she was named in honour of Queen Elizabeth Queen Consort to King George VI, who became the Queen Mother in 1952. With a design that improved upon that of Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth was a larger ship, the largest passenger liner built at that time and for 56 years thereafter, she has the distinction of being the largest-ever riveted ship by gross tonnage. She first entered service in February 1940 as a troopship in World War II, it was not until October 1946 that she served in her intended role as an ocean liner. With the decline in the popularity of the transatlantic route, both ships were replaced by the smaller, more economical Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969.
Queen Mary was retired from service on 9 December 1967, was sold to the city of Long Beach, California. Queen Elizabeth was sold to a succession of buyers. Queen Elizabeth was sold to Hong Kong businessman Tung Chao Yung, who intended to convert her into a floating university cruise ship called Seawise University. In 1972, while undergoing refurbishment in Hong Kong harbour, fire broke out aboard under unexplained circumstances and the ship was capsized by the water used to fight the fire. In 1973, the wreck was deemed an obstruction to shipping in the area, so was scrapped where she lay. On the day RMS Queen Mary sailed on her maiden voyage, Cunard's chairman, Sir Percy Bates, informed his ship designers that it was time to start designing the planned second ship; the official contract between Cunard and government financiers was signed on 6 October 1936. The new ship improved upon the design of Queen Mary with sufficient changes, including a reduction in the number of boilers to twelve instead of Queen Mary's twenty-four, that the designers could discard one funnel and increase deck and passenger space.
The two funnels were self-supporting and braced internally to give a cleaner looking appearance. With the forward well deck omitted, a more refined hull shape was achieved, a sharper, raked bow was added for a third bow-anchor point, she was to be eleven feet longer and of 4,000 tons greater displacement than her older sister ship, Queen Mary. Queen Elizabeth was built on slipway four at John Brown & Company in Clydebank, Great Britain. During her construction she was more known by her shipyard number, Hull 552; the interiors were designed by a team of artists headed by the architect George Grey Wornum. Cunard's plan was for the ship to be launched in September 1938, with fitting out intended to be complete for the ship to enter service in the spring of 1940; the Queen herself performed the launching ceremony on 27 September 1938. The liner started to slide into the water before Elizabeth could launch her, acting she managed to smash a bottle of Australian red over the liner's bow just before it slid out of reach.
The ship was sent for fitting out. It was announced that on 23 August 1939 the King and Queen were to visit the ship and tour the engine room and that 24 April 1940 was to be the proposed date of her maiden voyage. Due to the outbreak of World War II, these two events were postponed and Cunard's plans were shattered. Queen Elizabeth sat at the fitting-out dock at the shipyard in her Cunard colours until 2 November 1939, when the Ministry of Shipping issued special licences to declare her seaworthy. On 29 December her engines were tested for the first time, running from 0900 to 1600 with the propellers disconnected to monitor her oil and steam operating temperatures and pressures. Two months Cunard received a letter from Winston Churchill First Lord of the Admiralty, ordering the ship to leave Clydeside as soon as possible and "to keep away from the British Isles as long as the order was in force". At the start of World War II, it was decided that Queen Elizabeth was so vital to the war effort that she must not have her movements tracked by German spies operating in the Clydebank area.
Therefore, an elaborate ruse was fabricated involving her sailing to Southampton to complete her fitting out. Another factor prompting Queen Elizabeth's departure was the necessity to clear the fitting out berth at the shipyard for the battleship HMS Duke of York, in need of its final fitting-out. Only the berth at John Brown could accommodate the King George V-class battleship's needs. One major factor that limited the ship's secret departure date was that there were only two spring tides that year that would see the water level high enough for Queen Elizabeth to leave the Clydebank shipyard, German intelligence were aware of this fact. A minimal crew of four hundred were assigned for the trip. Parts were shipped to Southampton, preparations were made to move the ship into the King George V Graving Dock when she arrived; the names of Brown's shipyard employees were booked to local hotels in Southampton to give a false trail of information and Captain John Townley was appointed as her first master.
Townley had commanded Aquitania on one voyage, several of Cunard's smaller vessels before that. Townley and his hastily signed on crew of four hundred Cunard personnel were told by a company representative before they left to pack for a voyage where they could be away from home for up to six months. By the beginning of March 1940, Queen Elizabeth was ready for her secret voyage. Th