SS Traffic (1911)

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Career (UK) 60px White Star Line
Name: SS Traffic
Owner: 25px White Star Line (1911-1927)
Sociéte Cherbourgeoise Transbordment (1927-1934)
Sociéte Cherbourgeoise de Remorquage et de Sauvetage (1934-1940)
Kriegsmarine (1941)
Operator: Owner operated
Port of registry: Liverpool
Builder: Harland and Wolff
Laid down: 22 December 1910
Launched: 27 April 1911
In service: 27 May 1911
Renamed: Ingenieur Riebell
Fate: Scuttled in 1940 and salvaged
Sunk on 17 January 1941
General characteristics
Tonnage: 675 tons
Length: 175 ft (53.3 m)
Beam: 35 ft (10.7 m)
Decks: 2
Propulsion: 2 double expansion engines powering 2 triple blade screws.
Speed: 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Capacity: 1,200 passengers and mail

SS Traffic was a tender of the White Star Line, and the sister ship to the SS Nomadic. She was built for the White Star Line by Harland and Wolff, at Belfast, to serve the luxury Olympic-class ocean liners. SS Traffic ferried some of the third class passengers to RMS Titanic for her maiden voyage. She served as a tender for White Star, and supported troop ships during the First World War. After the war she was sold to Sociéte Cherbourgeoise Transbordment, and later renamed Ingenieur Riebell. She was scuttled by the French as the Germans invaded in 1940, but was salvaged and used by the Germans as an armed coastal vessel until being sunk for a final time by the British in 1941.

Early life and Titanic

Traffic's keel was laid down on 22 December 1910 and she was launched on 27 April 1911, two days after her sister, Nomadic. The vessel then underwent sea trials on 18 May 1911, before being handed over to the White Star Line on 27 May 1911. Two days later, on 29 May, Nomadic and Traffic attended RMS Olympic as she carried out her sea trials. The two tenders then sailed to Southampton, and then on to Cherbourg, where they were based. Traffic carried third class passengers, as well as mail, cargo and baggage, out to the White Star Line's large ocean liners, while Nomadic carried first and second class passengers. Traffic took passengers and mail out to Titanic on 10 April 1912 while the liner was moored in the roads off the port, preparatory to beginning her maiden voyage across the Atlantic.

Wartime and postwar

Traffic continued as a tender during the First World War, servicing the troop transports and carrying British, American and Canadian troops. Traffic and Nomadic were sold to Sociéte Cherbourgeoise Transbordment in 1927, and continued to serve as tenders, but now called on any large vessels using the port. Traffic accidentally collided with RMS Homeric on 5 June 1929, and sustained some damage to the starboard side of her hull. After enquiries revealed that Traffic was notoriously difficult to handle, new propellers were produced by Harland and Wolff and fitted in October 1929. Despite proving effective, Traffic was involved in another collision in December 1929, this time involving SS Minnewaska, of the Atlantic Transport Line. There was only minor damage. Minnewaska was involved in another collision two years later, this time with Nomadic on 29 November 1931, during which Nomadic's bow was damaged. Nomadic and Traffic's owners became Sociéte Cherbourgeoise de Remorquage et de Sauvetage in 1934, and both ships were repainted in the new livery, and renamed, Traffic becoming Ingenieur Riebell and Nomadic Ingenieur Minard.

Second World War and loss

During the Second World War, as the Germans invaded France, Ingenieur Riebell was scuttled by the French Navy off Cherbourg on 17 June 1940, in an attempt to block the port and deny her to the Germans. She was subsequently salvaged by the Germans and used as an armed coastal vessel. She was torpedoed and sunk while serving in this capacity, on 17 January 1941 by the Royal Navy. The location of her wreck is currently unknown.

External links

cs:SS Traffic (1911)