Thursday, 1 June 2017



Builder:Workman Clark & Co.Belfast
Yard number:278
Laid down:c. 1908
Launched:27 March 1909
Completed:20 July 1909
Maiden voyage:1 October 1909

SS Otranto, named after the Strait of Otranto between Italy and Albania, was built by Workman Clark & Co. at their Belfast shipyard as yard number 278. She was built for the Orient Steam Navigation Company's England to Australia run. The first attempt to launch the ship failed on 23 March 1909 as the tallow used to lubricate the slipway had frozen and Otranto ground to a halt after sliding only 20 feet (6.1 m). Attempts to persuade her to resume her progress with hydraulic jacks failed and the slipway had to be partially rebuilt before she was successfully launched four days later.[2] She was completed on 20 July and departed London on her maiden voyage to Brisbane, Australia on 1 October

Type:Passenger liner 
Length:535 ft 4 in (163.2 m)
Beam:64 ft (19.5 m)
Depth:38 ft 8 in (11.8 m)
Installed power:14,000 ihp (10,000 kW)
Speed:18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
  • Passengers:
  • 235 1st class
  • 186 2nd class
  • 696 3rd class
Otranto was sunk 6 October, 1918, after a collision with the Kashmir. She did not fail due to top heaviness issues.

It is naive to quote that Waratah with her prominent superstructure was unique for 1909. There are so many examples of equivalent steamers, and the Otranto is interesting in that not only did she have a very significant top hamper but was built at roughly the same time as Waratah. Being 535 ft. 4 in. in length she was fully 70 ft. longer than Waratah. Oranto's superstructure dwarfed that of Waratah's but again note that the length of the superstructure exceeded 50% of hull length, enhancing integral strength and buoyancy. Waratah on the other hand was unique in respect of superstructure spanning less than 50% of hull length. Both steamers used quadruple expansion engines, but Otranto was definitely built for speed compared to Waratah. It is interesting to note that Otranto was registered for 696 'emigrant' passengers - which if one reverts back to legislation and one statute passenger per 20 tons (gross) we get 606 passengers, which taking into account children and babies, suggests a greater attempt made to stick to the rules - compared with Waratah's maiden voyage, carrying 689 emigrants, when the number should have been closer to 300.

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