SS Britannic (1874)

From SpottingWorld, the Hub for the SpottingWorld network...
Name: Britannic
Owner: White Star Line
Port of registry: United Kingdom
Route: Atlantic crossing.
Builder: Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Ireland
Laid down: February 3, 1874
Maiden voyage: June 25, 1874
Honors and
Blue Riband winner
Fate: Sold, scrapped 1903
General characteristics
Type: Steamship, Twin funnel
Tonnage: 5,004 tons
Length: 468 feet (142.65 m)
Depth: 45 feet (13.72 m)
Installed power: Steam
Propulsion: Single screw
Sail plan: 4 masts
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h)
Capacity: 1,300
Crew: 150

SS Britannic was the first of three ships to sail with Britannic name. All were part of the White Star Line, famous for Titanic and other ocean liners.

Britannic was a steamship equipped with sails. It was initially to be called Hellenic, but, just prior to her launch, her name was changed to Britannic. Its twin was Germanic. Britannic sailed for nearly thirty years, primarily carrying immigrant passengers on the highly trafficked Liverpool to New York route. In 1876 it received the Blue Riband, both westbound and eastbound, by averaging almost 16 knots (30 km/h).

SS Celtic collision

On 19 May 1887, at about 5:25 in the afternoon the White Star liner, SS Celtic collided with Britannic in thick fog about 350 miles (560 km) east of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Celtic, with 870 passengers, had been steaming westbound for New York City, while Britannic, carrying 450 passengers, was on the second day of her eastward journey to Liverpool. The two ships collided at almost right angles, with Celtic burying her prow 10 feet (3 m) in the aft port side of Britannic. Celtic rebounded and hit two more times, before sliding past behind Britannic.

Six steerage passengers were killed outright on board Britannic, and another six were later found to be missing, having been washed overboard. There were no deaths on board Celtic. Both ships were badly damaged, but Britannic more so, having a large hole below her waterline. Fearing that she would founder, the passengers on board began to panic and rushed the lifeboats. Britannic's captain, pistol in hand, was able to restore some semblance of order, and the boats were filled with women and children, although a few men forced their way on board. After the lifeboats had launched, it was realized that Britannic would be able to stay afloat, and the lifeboats within hailing distance were recalled. The rest made their way over to Celtic. The two ships remained together through the night, and the next morning were joined by the Wilson Line's Marengo and British Queen of the Inman Line, and the four slowly made their way into New York Harbor.


Preceded by
City of Berlin
Holder of the Blue Riband (westbound)
1876 – 1877
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Atlantic Eastbound Record
1876 – 1879
Succeeded by

cs:Britannic (1874) de:Britannic (1874) fr:SS Britannic gl:SS Britannic (1874) ja:ブリタニック (客船・初代)