Friday, 7 March 2014

Anecdote Saturday - SS Pericles

The SS Pericles was launched 21 December 1907 for the Aberdeen Line. She comprised: 10 925 gross tonnes, 500 ft in length, draught 31 ft 1 in. powered by twin quadruple expansion steam engines, making 14 knots. These specifications are very similar to those of the Waratah. She was built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast (Titanic) and embarked on her maiden voyage from London to Australia 8 July 1908.

The following newspaper cutting describes her:

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)  Previous issue Tuesday 24 December 1907

LONDON, Dec. 23.

"George Thompson and Company's (Aberdeen line)
new steamer Pericles has been
launched at Belfast."

"The Pericles is a twin-screw steamer, and
was built by Messrs. Harland and Wolff, Ltd.,
Belfast, to the order of Messrs. George
Thompson and Co., Ltd., London, for their
South African and Australian service."

"The new vessel is 500ft in length by 62ft in width,
and has a tonnage of between 11,000 and
12,000, consequently she will be one of the
largest vessels engaged in the trade."

"The Pericles has four masts, is a
very handsome model, and, with her graceful
lines and artistic superstructure, will present a fine
appearance when completed."

"She is built on the cellular double-bottom principle,
the double-bottom extending the
whole length of the ship."

"She has five decks,
all of steel."

The Waratah's triple deck configuration was nothing new and the image below highlights the similarities.

"She has eight watertight bulkheads
subdividing the vessel into nine watertight compartments.
The vessel will carry about 100 first-class and 400
third-class passengers."

The Waratah could 'squeeze' an extra 300 emigrant passengers onto the manifest.

"The first-class accommodation will be of a superior kind, and
the comfort of the third-class passengers will
also be carefully studied."

"The whole of the first-class accommodation
is arranged amid-ships. The dining saloon is situated on the
main deck, and is a very spacious apartment,
extending the entire width of the vessel."

"The first-class staterooms are arranged on the
awning and bridge decks."

"The third-class accommodation is arranged aft on the main
deck. A feature of this accommodation is the
large number of two and fourth berth rooms,
all the accommodation being arranged in enclosed cabins."

"The Pericles will carry about 10,000 tons
dead weight, and besides a general cargo, is
especially designed for the carriage of frozen
mutton, the two forward holds, and also
'tween decks, being insulated for this purpose."

Again similar to the Waratah.

"The 'tween decks are also arranged on
the cold air system for the carriage of fruit."

"The refrigerating machinery and air
cooler are fitted in a large deck house on the
awning deck directly above the insulated
chambers, and the machinery is of sufficient
capacity to admit of the upper 'tween decks
being also insulated for the conveyance of
either mutton or fruit, if required."

"The general arrangements for working the cargo are
of the most approved type. For cargo there
are 14 winches at the different hatches, in
addition to two for warping purposes, and two
boat winches."

"There are also 19 Mannesmann tube derricks,
one lifting 15 tons and the others five tons each."

"Twin screws have been adopted.
The machinery consists of two
sets of quadruple expansion engines on the
balanced principle, specially designed to obviate vibration,
and the vessel will have electric light throughout."

On a voyage 31 March 1910, the Pericles struck an uncharted rock six miles off Cape Leeuwin.
The weather was calm and although the Pericles was lost, all 300 passengers and 150 crew were safely evacuated to shore.

Bottle message:

15 January 1907, Captain Alexander Simpson threw a bottle message from his steamer the Moravian into the ocean near the Portuguese coast.

24 April, 1909, the bottle and message were retrieved by Norman James Munro on Harbour Island, off the Bahamas.

Mr Munro returned the message to Captain Simpson who, out of appreciation for the gesture, sent Mr Munro the book 'Oceana by J.A. Froudeas'.

Captain Simpson was in command when the Pericles foundered a year later.

SS Pericles

1 comment:

Mole said...

And that says it all on the topic of messages in bottles, as far as I'm concerned.