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IVERNIA I

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Ivernia I FROM 1900 TO 1917 Gross Tonnage - 14,058 Dimensions - 177.38 x 19.77m (582 x 64.9ft) Number of funnels - 1 Number of masts - 4 Construction - Steel Propulsion - Twin-screw Engines - Eight-cylindered quadruple-expansion Service speed - 15 knots Builder - Swan & Hunter, Wallsend-on-Tyne (engines by Wallsend Slipway Co.Ltd. Launch date - 21 September 1899 Passenger accommodation - 164 1st class, 200 2nd class, 1,600 3rd class At the close of the 19th century Cunard began a programme of rebuilding which was to culminate in the production of the Lusitania and Mauretania. This was largely due to the fact that a large part of the fleet was either outdated or on loan to the government. For the Liverpool to Boston route Cunard required ships with ample cargo capacity and passenger accommodation. In 1898 orders were placed for two 14,000 ton vessels, the Ivernia and Saxonia. The Ivernia was launched on 21 September 1899 by the Countess of Ravensworth. After a period of trials it made its maiden voyage on 14 April 1900 from Liverpool to New York, instead of Boston, as it was required to cover for vessels on hire to the government as troop transports for the War in South Africa. It began on its intended route, Liverpool to Boston, on 12 June that year. Over the coming years the Ivernia earned a reputation for reliability and steadiness at sea. When it was launched it was the largest cargo vessel afloat. The passenger accommodation was simple and practical. It was not until 1911 that the Ivernia was involved in any serious incident. After leaving Boston for Queenstown on 16 May it encountered heavy fog on the approach to Queenstown harbour. Despite the fog-guns being fired at regular intervals by the seamen on Daunt's Rock Lightship the Ivernia continued and struck the submerged Daunt's Rock. The collision tore a huge hole in the stern of the ship but it managed to to reach the harbour. All passengers were disembarked but the ship was taking on too much water so it was decided to beach it on the spitbank. Temporary repairs were carried out at Queenstown and then it was moved to Liverpool for permanent repairs. Captain Potter, of the Ivernia was reprimanded and fined. The Ivernia returned to service on 17 October 1911, however, it was shortly transferred to the Mediterranean service running the route from Trieste and Fiume to New York. This mainly catered for Italian and Hungarian emigrants. Following the outbreak of World War I, in July 1914, the Ivernia was hired by the Government as a troop transport. Initially the ship was employed making trooping voyages to Canada and the Mediterranean. It left Marseilles on 28 December 1916, bound for Alexandria. On 31 December HMS Rifleman joined the ship to escort it on the last part of the journey. At 10.12AM on 1 January the Ivernia was torpedoed by German submarine U47 58 miles south-east of Cape Matapan in Greece. Within one hour the ship sank and its survivors were landed at Suda Bay in Crete. 36 crew members and 84 troops were killed in the disaster.


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