Friday, March 30, 2007

Mayor opened the 'Zong' replica slave ship at Tower Pier

The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has officially opened the replica of a notorious slave ship at Tower Pier on Thursday 29 March at 2pm. The Zong slave ship will be moored at Tower Pier for two weeks and includes the on board ‘Free at Last?’ exhibition.

The original Zong is linked to one of the most infamous crimes in the history of the transatlantic slave trade, when in 1781, the ships captain ordered that 133 slaves were thrown overboard and drowned, so that he could claim compensation from his insurers for lost ‘cargo’. 

The Mayor said: “The transatlantic slave trade was one of history's greatest crimes. This was not some minor episode, it was the murder of millions of people. The drowning of 133 slaves on the Zong was a horrendous act showing people been reduced to mere objects. The  brutality and horrific disregard for human life singles out the Zong as one of the most notorious slave ships ever.

“Conservative estimates of the numbers transported on ships like the Zong are 10-15 million; others range up to 30 million. Deaths started immediately, many slaves died from malnutrition and disease, and conditions imposed on survivors were unimaginable. Shackled together in dark, cramped conditions, with little food or water, as many as 5 per cent died in prisons before transportation and more than 10 per cent during the voyage - the direct murder of some two million people. By 1820, more than 10 million Africans had been transported across the Atlantic.”

“It is important that everyone knows the true horror of slavery and the exhibition on board the Zong will help educate future generations and give greater understanding of what can only be described as one of the greatest crimes against humanity.”

Link to Greater London Authority - Press Release