RMS Amazon (1851)
Contemporary engraving of loss of Amazon
|Career (Great Britain)|
|Builder:||R & H Green, Blackwall Yard, London|
|Laid down:||1 September 1850|
|Launched:||28 June 1851|
|Fate:||Sunk 3 January 1852 following fire|
|Length:||300 ft (91 m)|
|Beam:||42 ft (13 m) over paddle boxes|
|Draught:||21 ft 7 in (6.58 m)|
|Propulsion:||Two side-lever reciprocating engines each producing 800 hp (597 kW) at 14 rpm.
Two paddle wheels, 40 ft 8 in (12.40 m) diameter.
|Speed:||– service speed: 11 knots (20 km/h)|
|Complement:||162 (maiden voyage)
Amazon departed from Southampton for the West Indies on Friday 2 January 1852, commanded by Captain William Symons. At about 12:45 a.m. on the morning of Sunday 4 January, while about 110 miles (180 km) west-south-west of Scilly, a fire suddenly broke out and soon became uncontrollable.
Attempts were made to launch the ship's boats but they were hampered by the new iron cranes that had been fitted, and only two were successfully launched. At about 5 a.m. the ship's magazine exploded and she sank about a half hour later. Among the dead was popular travel writer and novelist Elliot Warburton.
21 survivors in one of the boats were picked up by the brig Marsden, outward bound from London to North Carolina, and landed at Plymouth. It was initially feared that these were the only survivors, but this was not the case; news soon arrived that 6 passengers and 19 crew members had been landed at Brest on 5 January by the Dutch galliot Gertruida, and on 16 January a further 13 survivors were landed at Plymouth by the Revenue cutter Royal Charlotte; they had been rescued on the night of the sinking by the Dutch vessel Hellechina, which transferred them to the cutter.
The exact cause of the fire remains unknown to this day, but contemporary reports stated that due to the newness of her steam engine machinery, it had been necessary to keep the bearings cooled with water and that it had been necessary to stop the ship for about four hours in order to cool them down, and it is thought that they overheated and caused the fire.
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (November 2009)|
- The Lost Steamer: A History of the Amazon. London: Partridge and Oakey. 1852.
- Sorrow on the Sea: An Account of the Loss of the Steam-ship "Amazon", by Fire. London: J. Mason. 1852.
- The Annual Register, Or, A View of the History and Politics of the Year 1852. London: J.G. & F. Rivington. 1853. pp. 462–469.
- Frank H. Shaw Full Fathom Five: A Book of Famous Shipwrecks New York: The Junior Literary Guild, 1930, p. 120-140, Chapter VI: When the Amazon Took Fire. There is a picture of the RMS Amazon before p. 81.
- Works related to RMS Amazon at Wikisource