SS Californian

SS Californian

SS Californian history:

The SS Californian was built by the Caledon Shipbuilding & Engineering Company in Dundee, becoming the largest ship to have been built there until then. The steamship was launched on November 26, 1901, and was 447 feet long, 53 feet wide and had a tonnage of 6,223. She made her maiden voyage from Dundee to New Orleans on January 31, 1902. Over the following years the ship continued to cover the route between America and the United Kingdom, transporting goods and passengers.

From 1911 the ship was commanded by Stanley Lord, whose skills had seen him become a captain at the tender age of 24, and who for a year steered the ship without any problems. However, on April 14, 1912, while sailing to Boston as usual, he noted the presence of large ice floes and informed nearby ships via the Marconi Wireless Apparatus. At 11pm the wireless operator, Cyril Evans, tried to warn the Titanic, a proposal that was rejected by his partner Jack Phillips, who turned off the equipment. Minutes later, the tragedy began.

The Californian’s crew members noticed how from the Titanic, which they could see in the distance, Morse signals were made with reflectors, to which they responded without obtaining a response. At 00:45am they could see white rockets being fired from the Titanic, responding with more unanswered searchlight signals again. It would not be until 4:30am that they sighted the RMS Carpathia and when they communicated with the ship, were informed that the Titanic had sunk.

The Californian approached the place, but it was already too late: the Carpathia had rescued the survivors and while it was withdrawing, it entrusted the Californian to check the area in search of more lives, without success. Lord and his officers were called to testify after the tragedy and despite avoiding conviction, Lord lost his reputation and was fired, trying for the rest of his life to salvage his reputation.

The SS Californian continued with its activity during the following years, however, when the First World War broke out, it began to transport equipment and troops. She was sunk on November 9, 1915, by a German submarine at Cape Matapan while en route from Thessalonica to Marseille and to this day it has not been possible to find her remains.