A maritime historian has become a true expert in how to outfit your home with relics salvaged from ocean liners. Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
Maritime historian Peter Knego’s home in Southern California looks as if it is ready to set sail, even though it is at least seven miles away from the Pacific Ocean. All 3,100 square feet of it is decked out with artifacts from scrapped ocean liners.
"Everywhere you look there’s little bits of these ships, and they speak to you. Either the wood glows, the artwork shines again," says Knego.
Surrounding himself with these historic treasures is not an easy feat. He heads to Alang, India - 500 miles north of Mumbai - to the scrapyards were many ocean liners and cruise ships are cut up for steel.
"Not only do I have to buy the things, I have to transport them to the states on containers, they have to be unloaded, they have to be cleaned up, they have to be stored," he says.
He takes a risk boarding these beached vessels.
"There’s a lot of nefarious business in the shipping world: the ship breakers who buy the ships, the western ship owners who sell the ships to a third world country knowing that there's going to be worker safety standards and pollution standards that are sort of not abided by properly," says Knego.
Knego joins ship breakers as they gut the ships, stripping out all the fittings. He buys merchandise that is otherwise destined for a nearby marketplace.
“Over 150 traders are gathered around the streets, and people will come from all parts of India to buy these furnishings for hotels, restaurants, and even their own personal homes," he says.
His most recent haul, furnishings from the Island Princess, the Love Boat’s identical sister ship that was built in 1972 and played a role in the popular sitcom.
Knego has a website where he lists and sells items salvaged from ships that sailed between 1948 and 1975.