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White Star Line SS Celtic (I)


WSL's SS Celtic  1872-1898


SS Celtic was built for the White Star Line by  Harland and Wolff shipbuilders In Belfast. She was 437 feet long with a 40 ft beam and was 3,867 gross tons. Celtic was powered by a single tipple expansion steam engine, had a single screw, and had 4 masts rigged for sail. Celtic was the second of two Oceanic class liners commissioned by White Star, with Adriatic being the first. Titanic's captain, Edward J. Smith served as Celtic's 4th officer early in his career in 1880, 

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

Six third class passengers were killed outright on 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 the Celtic. The two ships remained together through the night, and the next morning were joined by the Wilson Line's Marengo and the British Queen of the Inman Line, and the four slowly made their way into New York Harbor.

The Celtic was sold in 1893 to the Thingvalla Line. In 1898, it was scrapped.


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