RMS Carpathia

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RMS Carpathia
Career 70px
Name: RMS Carpathia
Owner: Cunard line
Route: Transatlantic: Liverpool-Queenstown-Boston
Transferred to Liverpool-Queenstown-New York summers
Trieste-Fiume-New York winters
Builder: Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson
Laid down: 10 September 1901
Launched: 6 August 1902
Maiden voyage: 5 May 1903
In service: 1903-1918
Fate: Torpedoed off east coast of Ireland by German submarine U 55, 17 July 1918
General characteristics
Class and type: Cunard Line transatlantic passenger steamship
Type: Ocean liner
Tonnage: 13,555 gt
Displacement: 8,600 long tons (8,700 t)
Length: 541 ft (165 m)
Beam: 64 ft 6 in (19.66 m)
Draught: 34 ft 7 in (10.54 m)
Propulsion: 2 × Wallsend Slipway Co. 8-cylinder quadruple expansion steam engines
2 × screws
Speed: 17.5 kn (20.1 mph; 32.4 km/h) (maximum at full steam)
14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h) (service)
Capacity: 1,704 passengers; after 1905, 2,550:
1st-class: 100
2nd-class: 200
3rd-class: 2250

RMS Carpathia was a Cunard Line transatlantic passenger steamship built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson. Carpathia began her maiden voyage in 1903 and became famous for rescuing the survivors of RMS Titanic after the latter ship hit an iceberg and sank on 15 April 1912. Carpathia herself was sunk in the Atlantic on 17 July 1918 during the First World War by a German U-boat.


File:RMS Capathia Launch.jpg
The grey-painted hull of Carpathia rests on the slipway, awaiting launch.

RMS Carpathia was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson at their Newcastle upon Tyne, England shipyard. She was launched on 6 August 1902 and began her sea trials on 22 April 1903 which ended on 25 April. Carpathia displaced 8,600 long tons (8,700 t) and was 541 ft (165 m) long and 64 ft 6 in (19.66 m) breadth.

Carpathia made her maiden voyage on 5 May 1903 from Liverpool, England to Boston, USA, and ran services between New York, Trieste, Rijeka and various Mediterranean ports. She was used as a troopship by the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War (see official war diaries of CEF - 27 Batt. 15 May 1915).

Titanic disaster

Carpathia docked in New York following the rescue of Titanic's survivors

Carpathia was sailing from New York City to Fiume (now Rijeka) on the night of Sunday, 14 April 1912. Among her passengers were renowned American painters Colin Campbell Cooper and his wife Emma, journalist Lewis P. Skidmore, photographer Dr. Francis H. Blackmarr and Charles H. Marshall, whose three nieces were travelling aboard the Titanic.

Carpathia's wireless operator, Harold Cottam, had missed previous messages from RMS Titanic, as he was on the bridge at the time.[citation needed] He received messages from Cape Race stating that they had private traffic for Titanic. He thought he would be helpful and sent a message to the Titanic stating that Cape Race had traffic for them. In reply he received a distress signal. Cottam awakened Captain Arthur Henry Rostron who immediately set a course at maximum speed (17 kn (20 mph; 31 km/h)) to Titanic's last known position, approximately 58 mi (93 km) away. Rostron ordered the ship's heating and hot water to be cut off in order to make as much steam as possible available for the engines.

At 4:00am, Carpathia arrived at the scene after working her way through dangerous ice fields. Carpathia was able to save 705 people.[1]


File:Molly brown rescue award titanic.jpg
Margaret Brown (right) giving Captain Arthur Henry Rostron an award for his service in the rescue of the Titanic's survivors

For the rescue work, the crew of the Carpathia were awarded medals by the survivors. Crew members were awarded bronze medals, officers silver and Captain Rostron a silver cup and gold medal, presented by Margaret Brown. Rostron was later a guest of President Taft at the White House, and was presented with a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honour the United States Congress could confer upon him.


Carpathia was used to transfer American troops to Europe during the First World War. Among them was Frank Buckles, who became the last surviving American veteran of the war. She was part of a convoy when she was torpedoed on 17 July 1918 off the east coast of Ireland by the German submarine U-55, the explosions killing five crewmen. The Carpathia listed to port and sank bow first.[2] 57 passengers and the surviving crew were rescued by Snowdrop the following day[3]. The last sighting was at 02:45, just as the stern section sank.

Finding and salvage works

On 9 September 1999, Reuters and AP wire services reported that Argosy International Ltd., headed by Graham Jessop, son of internationally known undersea explorer Keith Jessop, had found the wreck of the Carpathia on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean earlier that week, about 185 mi (298 km) west of Lands End, the southernmost point of the English mainland. "She is in reasonably good condition for a wreck of that age," Jessop said. "She is in one piece, and she is upright."[4]

The next year American author and diver Clive Cussler announced that his organization, NUMA, had found the wreck in the spring of 2000,[5][6] at a depth of 500 ft (150 m).[7] After the submarine attack Carpathia rolled over and landed upright on the sea floor. NUMA gave the location of the wreck as 120 mi (190 km) off Fastnet, Ireland.[8]

The current owner of the vessel is Premier Exhibitions Inc. (formerly RMS Titanic Inc.) who plans to recover objects from the wreck.[7] The same company owns the salvor-in-possession rights of the Titanic whose artefacts are shown in worldwide exhibitions.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
[[Commons: Category:RMS Carpathia

| RMS Carpathia

  1. Titanic Inquiry Project" Electronic copies of British and American inquiries into the disaster accessed 26 August 2006)
  2. R.M.S. Carpathia" A detailed description of the ship; accessed 26 August 2007)
  3. Carpathia dive plan
  4. UK Titanic rescue ship 'found'"
  5. Wreck of the Carpathia, Titanic's Rescuer, Found" from www.numa.net; accessed 26 August 2007)
  6. DISCOVERY OF THE R.M.S. CARPATHIA" from www.titanic-titanic.com; accessed 26 August 2007)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Dive to film Titanic rescue ship" from http://news.bbc.co.uk; accessed 26 August 2007)
  8. [1]

Further reading

  • Eaton, John P. and Haas, Charles A. Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy (2nd ed.) W. W. Norton & Company, 1995

External links

File:Rms carpathia passengers on deck 1914 blasius zeiser osa group of 1914.JPG
Rare on-deck photo of Carpathia passengers (circa 1914) unconnected with the Titanic disaster.

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