On This Day

27 June


1908 Red Star liner Lapland and Titanic

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The 18,565-ton passenger ship Lapland (Yard No. 393) was launched from Slipway No. 1 in the North Yard today for the Red Star Line, Antwerp. Her launching weight was recorded at 10,300 tons.  Lapland was by far the largest vessel sailing under the Belgian flag.

Red Star was part of the giant International Mercantile Marine Company and since the formation of the US concern in 1902 virtually all new orders for the combine were placed with Harland & Wolff.

The liner had a strong family resemblance to White Star’s ‘Big Four’ and like her British cousins was also designed to carry huge quanties of cargo and a large number of passengers. Initially the figures were quoted at 350 1st, 350 2nd and 1,800 3rd Class, but the numbers were later revised and after the First World War overall passenger numbers seldom exceeded 1,500.

The vessel was exceptionally well built in order to overcome the difficulties of navigating the Scheldt River to her home port of Antwerp (vessels often grounded in the narrow confines of the river).

Constructed with a ‘Belfast Bottom‘ (a cellular double bottom extending the whole length of the ship), the vessel also had ten watertight bulkheads including a centre line bulkhead in the cargo holds and 'tween decks. Similar in design to the torpedo bulkheads fitted in the Cunard liners Mauretania and Lusitania, this feature, if it had been incorporated in Titanic would have undoubtably prevented that vessel from sinking.

In 1912 Lapland would take surviving crew from the Titanic disaster back to England.


1872 River ferry No. 1

The 9-ton river ferry Ferry No. 1 (Yard No. 84) was launched today for the Belfast Harbour Commissioners.


1907 Iroquois

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The 9,201-ton oil tanker Iroquois (Yard No. 385) was launched today for the Anglo-American Oil Co. Ltd., London.

The vessel was designed for the transport of 10,000 tons of oil in bulk and fitted with an exceptionally complete oil pumping system for loading and discharging. Two sets of quadruple-expansion engines and four boilers, designed to burn oil were constructed by Harland & Wolff. The vessel, it was claimed, was the first oil tanker steamer to be fitted with twin-screws.