SS Abyssinia


The Abyssinia was a 1870 put into operation in ocean liner of the British Cunard Line, which was used in passenger traffic from Liverpool via Queenstown to New York. The ship was later the Guion Line and the Canadian Pacific Railway. On 18 December 1891, the Abyssinia sank without loss of life after a fire off the coast of Nova Scotia.


Cunard Line

After the success of 1867 that entered service in Russia, the Cunard Line has ordered five new iron steamer Express for the weekly North Atlantic service. One of them, the 3,376 -ton steamship Abyssinia, was built in Clydebank (Scotland ) at the shipyard of J. & G. Thomson, the predecessor of John Brown & Company, and ran on 3 March 1870 by the stack. She and her sister ship, which is also at J. &. G. Thomson built Algeria (built 1870), were the first Cunard steamer, which also carried steerage passengers in addition to cabin passengers. This concept was taken over by the Inman Line. A total of 200 passengers, the First and the Third 1050 class could be accommodated.

The 110.78 meters long and 12.86 meters wide, the ship had a chimney, three masts, a straight tail and could reach a top speed of 13 knots (24 km / h). On May 24, 1870 put the Abyssinia in Liverpool on her maiden voyage on Queenstown to New York from. When the Oceanic of the White Star Line was put into service in March 1871 seemed Cunard's new liner Express overhauled again. The Oceanic consumed as daily 58 tons of coal, while the Abyssinia and Algeria needed daily 90 tons.

On September 18, 1880, Abyssinia sailed on her last voyage from the moment on their planned route. Then she was given at their shipyard in cash to finance the construction of the two new ships Servia and Catalonia (both completed in 1881 ).

Guion and Canadian Pacific Railway

In the same year she was chartered to the Guion Line to replace their stranded at Anglesey Montana. From 20 November 1880, the ship was back on his old route. 1882 has been equipped with new composite steam engines. In 1884 she was again placed in payment. This time at the shipyard John Elder & Company to help finance the construction of the Oregon Guion Line.

The Guion Line, which was in a severe financial crisis could not pay for the cost of oregona, and left them, therefore, the Cunard Line. Guion kept for the elderly Abyssinia. At the same time Cunard's ships Batavia and Parthia were given as consideration for the record breaker Oregon at John Elder & Company in payment. 1885 died the shipping company founder Stephen G. Guion, whereupon Sir William Pearce new chairman of the company was. On March 27, 1886, the last ride for the Guion Line began.

The following year, Pearce chartered the Abyssinia, the Parthia and Batavia to the Canadian entrepreneur and railway pioneer William Cornelius Van Horne, to introduce a steamship service in the Pacific for the Canadian Pacific Railway ( CPR). In this way could the transport of goods of the CPR from Britain across the Atlantic to Canada by ship, be extended across Canada by rail and from Canada to Japan, China and India again by ship. The Abyssinia opened this new Pacific service with room for 22 passengers of the first and 80 third class. For the trip from Vancouver to Yokohama, where she arrived on 13 June 1887 it needed just 13 days and thus set a new trans-Pacific record. The ship's cargo of tea and silk was taken on June 21, by train over Montreal to New York and met on 29 June aboard another ship in London.


The Abyssinia was in the service of the Canadian Pacific Railway until it was with the Empress of China, the Empress of India and the Empress of Japan (all 1891) Three new build larger ships. In 1891 she was again the Guion Line passed and employed from November 28, 1891 its old route Liverpool - Queenstown- New York.

On 13 December 1891, she presented with 88 crew members and 57 passengers in New York for their first trip to the east since the return to Guion from. At 12:40 clock at noon on December 18, there was the steamer on the coast of Nova Scotia, as in one of the storerooms a fire broke out. The ship was only 1,300 nautical miles east of New York. Despite the fighting by the team, the fire was quickly out of control. Captain GS Murray gave the order to abandon ship. The lookout of the passenger steamer Spree of the Norddeutscher Lloyd saw the smoke rising from the burning Abyssinia. To 16.15 clock, all passengers and crew members had been taken over by the Spree, which arrived in Southampton on 21 December 1891 the survivors. The second officer of the Spree, Charles August Polack, was honored for his efforts in the rescue by the Liverpool Shipwreck & Humane Society.

Since the fire had broken out in a cargo space in which large quantities of cotton were stored, the incident sparked controversy whether passengers and cotton should be transported on the same ship.