Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/880

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858
STEAMSHIP LINES


Sydney, fortnightly. Apart from the mail services, the company runs independent lines to Malta, Colombo and Calcutta; also be- tween Bombay, Colombo, Singapore, Hong-Kong and Shanghai; and between Hong-Kong, Nagasaki, Hiogo and Yokohama. There is likewise a direct fortnightly service of through steamers to China and Japan at special rates. The mails are despatched weekly to Bombay, going one week by direct mail steamer and the next by the fortnightly Australian liner as far as Aden. A fast twin- screw vessel—-the " Salsette "—built after the idea of the " Isis " but of thrice her tonnage—takes the Bombay mails from Aden on the weeks when there is no steamer. For the Indian and Australian mail services a new type of steamer known as the " M " class has been provided. There are already no less than ten such vessels, all twin-screws of similar design, commencing with the "Moldavia," built 1903, of 9500 tons and 14,000 i.h.p. and running up to 12,500 tons and 15,000 i.h.p. in the " Maloja " and " Medina." In 1910 a new service was acquired, the Blue Anchor fleet of Mr Wilhelm Lund being purchased. This gave the company an entry into the South African trade, the Blue Anchor steamers calling at Cape Town and Durban on their way to Australia, and new and larger vessels are being provided for this branch also of the company's activities.

Shaw, Savill & Albion Company.—The amalgamation of the business of Messrs Shaw, Savill & Co. of London and of the Albion Shipping Company of Glasgow brought this company into its present form at the close of the year 1882. At that time the amalgamating firms owned a large fleet of sailing-ships, and traded chiefly between England and New Zealand. Soon, after the amalgamation the company began to acquire steamships, which gradually supplanted their sailing vessels. The Shaw, Savill & Albion Company were among the first in the frozen meat trade, and their vessels are fitted to carry large numbers of carcases. With this company the White Star Line of Liverpool became associated in the year 1884, and five of their ships now run in the fleet of the Shaw, Savill & Albion Company. In June 1910 an offer was made by Sir John Ellerman to take over the fleet, which at that time consisted of six twin-screw and five single-screw steamships with a total of 51,300 tons gross register, a twelfth vessel being under construction. The route to New Zealand is by the Cape of Good Hope on the outward voyage, returning by Cape Horn, thus going completely round the globe every voyage. After leaving London the steamers call at Plymouth, Teneriffe, Cape Town, Hobart and Wellington ; returning from New Zealand, the ports touched are Rio (sometimes Montevideo), Teneriffe, Plymouth, London. The "Arawa," which came out in 1884, made the outward voyage in 38 days, and the run home in 35 days 4 hours steaming time; she thus made the circuit of the world in 73 days 4 hours net time.

Union Steamship Company (see Castle Line).—This company first came into existence in 1853 under the name of the Union Steam Collier Company, with a capital of £60,000. At its commencement it possessed a fleet of five small steamers with an aggregate of only 2337 tons. But by the time these vessels were built the Crimean War was being actively carried on, and it was thought advisable to employ them for other purposes than those for which they were originally intended. They ran for a time between Southampton, Constantinople and Smyrna; but the transport service proved more remunerative, and they were used for the conveyance of troops. At the close of the war the company was registered under the Limited Liability Act by its present name. It was then deter- mined to run the vessels between Southampton and Brazil with cargo, but this did not prove profitable, and in 1857 a notable change took place in the status of the company, for in that year it took its place among the great ocean mail companies of England. In that year a contract was completed with the government for a monthly mail service for five years to the Cape of Good Hope at an annual subsidy of £30,000. The " Dane " was the first steamer to leave Southampton with the mails on the 15th of September. In 1858 the subsidy was increased in order that the company's ships might call at St Helena and Ascension for mails on the homeward voyage. When the first contract expired the company secured another for five years. A service between the Cape and Natal, under a temporary arrangement, was inaugurated in 1862, and a seven years' mail service contract with the Natal government was concluded in 1865. In 1873 the House of Commons refused to ratify a contract which the government had entered into with the company for an extended mail service; the company, however, carried out its intention to extend its service to Zanzibar. But in October 1876 a new mail contract with the Cape of Good Hope government was entered into for a fortnightly service between Plymouth and Table Bay, the length of voyage not to exceed twenty-six days. During the Zulu War this company rendered considerable services to Great Britain. In 1878 three ships were employed, and after Isandula they conveyed reinforcements, the "Pretoria" being the only mail steamer to carry an entire regiment, the 91st Highlanders. It was on this company's s.s. "Danube " that the prince imperial sailed, whilst the old s.s. " German " took out the Empress Eugenie when she went to visit the scene of his death. The direct service with the Cape, Natal and Zanzibar was in 1881 discontinued, and in February of that year operations were extended to the Continent, a service from Hamburg was commenced, running every twenty-eight days, which for a time proved highly successful; A branch service to Antwerp, begun in 1882, was discontinued for a time, but subsequently resumed. At the time of the Panjdeh scare in 1885, when hostilities were threatening with Russia, two of this company's steamships, the " Moor " and the " Mexican "were selected to act as armed cruisers for the defence of South Africa. The former was the only merchant vessel on which the pennant was actually hoisted. In 1889 the company's continental traffic increased so that it not only resumed the despatch of through steamers from Hamburg, but made calls at Rotterdam. This service afterwards became fortnightly, calls being made at Rotter- dam, Antwerp and Hamburg. New contracts with the colonial governments were made in 1888, and in the same year Southampton took the place of Plymouth as the outward mail port, while in 1889 the homeward mails were landed at Southampton in place of Plymouth. In 1889, by the construction of the " Scot," the company acquired a much larger vessel than any they had hitherto employed; in 1895 Messrs Harland & Wolff successfully accomplished the task of lengthening this ship by cutting her in two amidships and adding 54 ft. to her length and 1000 tons to her tonnage. She subsequently was altered to adapt her for public yachting purposes and transferred to the German flag under the name of " Oceana." In 1893 the company entered upon its new policy of building a large number of practically sister ships for its intermediate trade. All were built by Messrs Harland & Wolff, and fitted with twin-screws. The series included ten vessels, commencing with the "Gaul" of 4745 tons, and ending with the "Galician" of 6757 tons launched in 1900. Meanwhile from the same yard the mail steamers " Norman," "Briton" and "Saxon" were added to the fleet. The last-named, which came out in 1899, is a vessel of 12,385 tons, with a length of 570 ft. By a resolution passed at a meeting of shareholders held on the 13th of February 1900, this company was amalgamated with the Castle Line (see below). At its absorption its fleet consisted of twenty-three vessels, of which nine were over 6000 tons.

Union-Castle Line.—This company was formed by the amalgamation of the Union and Castle lines. Previously, though practically all the vessels made their final departure from Southampton, the Union Line only made its headquarters at that port, the Castle liners coming round from London. After amalgamation, the mail steamers—to which cargo is not of so much importance — did not come to the Thames at all, the increase in their size and the neglect of the improvement of the river and of the docks by the authorities making it undesirable that they should do so. The cargo (intermediate) liners, on the other hand, all load in London, and many of them, before their final departure from the Thames, visit Hamburg, Antwerp and Rotterdam, for the purpose of picking up cargo. On these North Sea trips passengers are carried, and facilities are given for their accommodation on board during the calls at the various ports. The new company carries out the contracts of its two constituents and thus despatches every Saturday a mail steamer from Southampton via Madeira to the Cape and Natal. An hour or so before the sailing of the mail boat an intermediate steamer departs from the same port. Her places of call are Teneriffe or Las Palmas for certain, and possibly also Ascension and St Helena. These vessels serve the east coast ports of Algoa Bay and East London as well as Natal. Some of them also go to Delagoa Bay, to Beira on the mainland, and to the island of Mauritius. In 1910 a further extension was made, a monthly service being instituted to East Africa through the Canal. Besides the two weekly vessels, however, there are despatches of extra mid-weekly intermediate steamers, and these extra sailings have recently tended to become more frequent. The company's attention has for some time been directed to the trade between the United States and South Africa, and within two years after amalgamation eight new steamships were constructed with a view to the development of the trade between Cape ports and New York. Nor did the union of the two companies stop the improvement of the general fleet. The 10,000-ton twin-screw mail steamers "Kinfauns Castle" and "Kildonan Castle" were delivered to the Castle Company from the Fairfield yard prior to the amalgamation. Messrs Harland & Wolff had the "Saxon," 2000 tons larger than these ships, well in hand at the time. But the " Walmer Castle," a larger and still later addition to the fleet, embodied as far as possible the practice which from experience commended itself to both the old companies. Subsequent additions to the mail fleet have been the sisters " Armadale Castle "and "Kenil worth Castle, "followed in 19 10 by the "Edinburgh Castle " and the "Balmoral Castle "of 13,300 tons each. Provision is now made for the carriage of the mails exclusively in twin-screw vessels. Meanwhile the intermediate fleet has received several vessels of large dimensions and of comfortable accommodation, though of speed inferior of course to the mail steamers. The company proved its capacity in the South African War, when it carried vast bodies of military and civilian passengers by its regular steamers at a time when many of its vessels were chartered by the government as troopers and storeships. In spite of the strain put on the resources of the company by the heavy work entailed by the South African War, both on the vessels employed in their regular service and on those especially taken up for government transport duty, it was found possible already to discard two of their older vessels.