(All images by Boreally.org, reproduced with permission)
Launched on 24 March 1956, the missile cruiser Colbert (C611) was a product of the Brest shipyards in Brittany, serving with the French Navy until 1991. Later converted into a museum ship at Bordeaux, the decommissioned warship entertained and educated crowds from 1993 to 2007. But the controversial decision was taken to dispose of the vessel due to opposition from city officials and residents of the quays who launched a ‘Let’s Sink the Colbert’ campaign in an effort to rid themselves of the neglected vessel. Unfortunately for the ‘Friends of the Colbert’ association, the state (which owned the ship) refused to pay for its upkeep and effectively condemned the ex-French Navy vessel to the breakers yard.
This series of images courtesy of Boreally showcases the cannibalised hulk of the Colbert, moored at Landévennec. Take a virtual tour on board to explore rotting decks, corroding superstructure and a surprisingly intact interior.
Named after French politician Jean-Baptiste Colbert, C611 was originally built as an anti-aircraft cruiser. Even in its mothballed condition awaiting scrapping, faded missiles continue to point skyward from the main deck.
Elsewhere, rusted guns remain poised in their turrets, while heavy steel chains run the length of the forward deck.
Ship C611 is the sixth French Navy vessel to carry the name Colbert. The previous incarnation was scuttled at Toulon in 1942.
The empty bridge, its main instruments ripped out for reuse elsewhere, quietly watches over the decommissioned ship.
By contrast, many consoles and control panels remain remarkably intact elsewhere on the Colbert.
Meanwhile, the radar room lies eerily quiet, its blank screens that would once have displayed threats and targets still in place.
Other systems inhabit the bowels of the ship, around which hang miles of exposed wires amid a vessel dead and devoid of power.
A yellow medical chair breaks-up the Colbert’s generally drab colours, in a cabin likely used for anything from dental checkups and routine examinations to complex surgery.
The captain’s cabin contains a bed that was once used by General Charles de Gaulle on trans-Atlantic voyages during the 1960s.
Below deck, a missile still hangs poised above the firing tube, never to be launched.
The bridge offers commanding views over the waters ahead, while the Colbert’s abandoned deck sports a layer of rust and corrosion.
But as neglected as it may be, the old warship still makes for a formidable sight, its defunct missiles a reminder of the military might that it once projected.
Keep reading – explore Shipwrecks, Abandoned Docklands & Other Maritime Graveyards