TITANIC-TITANIC.com | SS Oceanic II
- Builder: Harland and Wolff
- Yard No.: 317
- Launched: 1899
- Maiden Voyage: 1899 Liverpool - New York
- Gross Tonnage: 17,247 tons
- Length: 685.7ft
- Beam: 68.3ft
- Decks: 3
- Funnels: 2
- Masts: 3
- Propellers: 2
- Boilers: 15 double
- Speed: 19.5 knots
- Port of Registry: Liverpool
- Carrying Capacity: 410 first class, 300 second class, 1,000 third class passengers
- Sister Ships: N/A
Oceanic II was constructed by Harland and Wolff at their Belfast Yard, and she was launched on January 14th, 1899. At the time, Oceanic II was the longest ship in the world, although not the heaviest.
Oceanic II left Belfast at the end of August, 1899, once her fitting-out was complete, and then steamed to Liverpool to be presented to the press.
Oceanic II departed Liverpool on September 6th, 1899, traveling to New York.
The following year, 1900, Oceanic II lost her main topmast after she was struck by lightning whilst moored in the River Mersey in Liverpool.
Oceanic II was involved in a fatal collision in September, 1901, with a small steamer, Kincora, in fog off Tuskar Rock, Ireland. Kincora was lost, along with seven of her crew.
In 1905, there was a mutiny aboard Oceanic II in a dispute over the conditions staff had to work in. Thirty five firemen were subsequently charged.
On May 22nd, 1907, Oceanic II made her final sailing from Liverpool, sailing from Southampton instead. Oceanic II made her Southampton debut the following month, on June 19th, serving with her fellow White Star Line stable mates, Adriatic I, Majestic I and Teutonic.
Oceanic II made her last New York sailing on July 22nd, 1914. Then on August 8th, Oceanic II was commissioned as an Armed Merchant Cruiser (A.M.C.). Later the same month, Oceanic II was posted to the 10th Cruiser Squadron, in the Northern Patrol.
Whilst operating as an Armed Merchant Cruiser, Oceanic II was commanded by a Royal Navy Captain, W. F. Slayter, who had little or no experience of handling a vessel of Oceanic II's size, together with her own Captain Henry Smith.
On September 8th, 1914, Oceanic II was wrecked off Foula Island, in clear, calm weather. The vessel was trying to navigate to the west of Foula Island at high water, however, due to a combination of a navigational error, and the confusion caused by having two Captains, Oceanic II was grounded on Hoevdi Rocks in the Shaalds. The trawler Glenogil came to her aid, and about 400 men were transferred from the Oceanic II to various other ships standing by, including Alsatian.
On September 11th, the battleship Hannibal managed to put a six inch hawser aboard Oceanic II, but all attempts to move the grounded vessel failed.
Oceanic II became a total write-off just two weeks later, when a huge storm stoved in her bottom plates where she lay grounded on Hoevdi Rocks.
In the subsequent Court Martials, the navigator, David Blair, was blamed with the accident, whilst both Captains being absolved from any blame, quite a surprising outcome. However, from this point on, the system of using two Captains was withdrawn from that point on.
In 1924, Oceanic II was partially salvaged when much of the remaining superstructure was cut down to the level of the sea.
In 1973, yet more salvage work took place to remove even more of the remaining wreck of Oceanic II, and in 1979, there was a final salvage effort to remove the last remnants.
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