Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Oceanic To Go -- December 19, 2020

San Francisco Call, 03-February-1895

William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the San Francisco Call.

She Will Sail for Belfast to
The Pioneer Ship of the White Star
English Officers Look Forward With
Pleasure to the Prospective
Visit Home.

The big China-line steamer Oceanic has entered the port of San Francisco for the last time this year, and perhaps forever. She sails February 12 for China and Japan, and then goes back to the place of her birth in Ireland for repairs.

For nineteen years the tall masts of the Oceanic with their burdens of canvas have been recognized at sea by every navigator on the Pacific. Her white star, always floating at the peak, would recall to mariners who passed her the history of her inception and the subsequent revolution in the building of ocean speeders.

In January, 1871, the Oceanic first dipped her bow into the water of the world at Belfast, Ireland, with the insignia of her owners waving over her decks. She was the first vessel built for the White Star line on the new plan of deck arrangement, iron hull and improved machinery. Her tonnage was to be almost 4000, with five holds to receive the cargoes. The accommodations for 100 cabin passengers were superior to anything crossing the Atlantic at that time, while the steerage-room was considered too large by the average shipping-man who knew nothing regarding the rush of emigrants about to take place. In the early part of 1871 she made her maiden trip from Liverpool to New York, and became the pride of the White Star Company.

When the Southern Pacific Railroad Company formed the plans for the Occidental and Oriental steamship line, the Oceanic attracted the eye of the management, and a lease was forthwith entered into at a stipulated price per month. It was agreed that the white star of her owners should always be carried at the masthead, and that English officers should be in command. Both of these provisions have been carried out.

In 1880 a trip was made to Ireland for repairs, but she was immediately returned to her run on the Pacific. This trip may prove different, as more time will be required to do the work, and by the time it is completed other arrangements may be made.

Her assistants in the burden-bearing line are the Gaelic and Belgic, also owned by the White Star line. Another "ic" will take her place on March 19, when the Coptic will sail from Hongkong for here with the White Star flying.

The officers look forward with pleasure to the return "home," as they term it. Most of them have been on board a number of years and have made hosts of friends both here and in the Oriental ports. They will say good-by to many with regrets, but have hopes of again being assigned to Pacific runs.

The ship itself can go back home with but one stain upon its record, and that is the sinking of the City of Chester about five years ago.

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