Wednesday, 30 March 2016


The Argus (Melbourne) Saturday 1 April, 1893

A bottle has been washed ashore on
the coast of Virginia which contains an
important statement respecting the new
cargo steamer the Naronic, 6,000 tons,
owned by Ismay, Imrie, and Co. (the
White Star line). The Naronic is several
weeks overdue on the voyage from Liver-
pool to Now York, and two of her life
boats have been picked up in tho middle
of tho Atlantic. She had 70 persons on
According to the statement contained
in the bottle the Naronic struck against
an iceberg, and was so seriously damaged
that on February 10 she was sinking.
It is believed that the statement respecting 
the Naronic which was found in a bottle is a hoax.

Name:SS Naronic
Owner:White Star Line
Builder:Harland and WolffBelfast
Yard number:251
Launched:26 May 1892
Completed:11 July 1892
Maiden voyage:15 July 1892
Fate:Lost, March 1893
General characteristics
Tonnage:6594 gt
Length:470 ft (143.3 m)
Propulsion:Twin reciprocating engines, twin propellers
Speed:13 knots (24.1 km/h)

Beam:             53 ft.
Depth:             31.6 ft.

Naronic was designed predominantly for cargo (and up to 1000 head of cattle), with 150 first class passenger accommodation. Although only 6594 gross tons, she was 5 ft. longer than Waratah. Under the command of Captain William Roberts she disappeared without a trace February 11, 1893. She was carrying 74 souls, including 24 cattlemen taking care of Naronic's primary cargo, livestock. Cargo amounted to 3572 tons plus 1017 tons of coal; total 4589 tons. She cost 121 000 pounds to build - just 18 900 pounds short of the 139 900 pounds to build Waratah, 16 years prior. This further confirms my suspicions that Waratah was built on the cheap. The Marconi wireless was only made available five years later, so there was no way of Captain Roberts communicating position and problem/s.

The steamer SS Coventry reported sighting two empty lifeboats. The first was alleged to be 90 miles from the position Titanic went down. Bottle messages were the only other tangible clue as to Naronic's fate, one of which is quoted in the newspaper clipping above and reported as a hoax. One bottle message was discovered at Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the third, June 1893, was found in the Irish Channel and the last, September 1893, the River Mersey, Liverpool. These were speedy bottle messages. 

The second bottle message, Brooklyn, contained the following message:

3:10 AM Feb.19. SS Naronic at sea. To who picks this up: report when you find this to our agents if not heard of before, that our ship is sinking fast beneath the waves. It's such a storm that we can never live in the small boats. One boat has already gone with her human cargo below. God let all of us live through this. We were struck by an iceberg in a blinding snowstorm and floated two hours. Now it 3:20 AM by my watch and the great ship is dead level with the sea. Report to the agents at Broadway, New New York, M. Kersey & Company. Goodby all. 
It was signed "John Olsen, Cattleman"; however, there was no one with this name listed on the ship's manifest, the closest being John O'Hara and John Watson. 

The Inquiry did not accept the bottle messages into evidence and had no choice but to come to a perils of the seas conclusion as it was in the Waratah Inquiry. It does however make sense that striking an object such as an iceberg would lead to a catastrophe and heavy seas prevent souls surviving on lifeboats. If the Naronic had been carrying a number of high profile passengers her mystery might have ventured into Waratah territory. 


Billy Bloomer said...

That's my drawing of the SS Naronic that you used. You didn't ask to use it and you removed my watermark.
Remove it please.

Billy Bloomer said...

Nothing heard from you, but you've still been posting on your profile. Making a copyright infringement report now.

andrew van rensburg said...

My apologies Billy. Did not see your original comment. Have removed your picture which I obtained in the public domain - no watermark removed.