On This Day

16 December

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1909 Constructive total loss after six years


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The 7,465-ton cargo ship Rangatira (WC&C Yard No. 289) was launched today by Workman, Clark & Co. Ltd., for the Shaw, Savill & Albion Co. Ltd., London.

The vessel, intended for the Company’s London-New Zealand trade, was divided into five holds, three of which were insulated for the carriage of perishable cargos; extensive refrigeration plant was fitted in the vessel.

Two sets of triple-expansion engines, working under what was described as an ‘improved’ form of forced draught, were constructed by the builders.

On 30 March 1916, six years after entering service, while en route to Tasmania and New Zealand, Rangatira was stranded in dense fog in what is today known as Rangatira Bay on the North West corner of Robben Island, Table Bay, Cape Town.

Nothing could be done to save the vessel and she was abandoned as a constructive total loss. In the five months it took for the tide and waves to destroy the vessel a large proportion of her 7,500 tons of cargo was salvaged.

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1920 Orova

The 12,257-ton passenger and cargo ship Orova (Yard No. 506) was launched today for the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, Liverpool.

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1944 Bay frigate


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The 1,600-ton ‘Bay’ class frigate HMS Whitesand Bay (Yard No. 1261) was launched today for the Admiralty. The frigate was originally laid down with the name Loch Lubnaig.