RMS Atrato

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This article is about the RMSP's 1888 screw steamer Atrato. For the RMSP's 1853 paddle steamer, see SS Atrato.
StateLibQld 1 133537 Atrato (ship).jpg
Atrato
Career (UK)
Name: RMS Atrato
Namesake: Atrato in Colombia
Owner: Royal Mail Lines House Flag.svg RMSP Co (1888–1912)
Viking Cruising Co (1912–14)
Operator: United Kingdom Royal Navy (1914–15)
Port of registry: United Kingdom (1888–1914)
United Kingdom (1914–15)
Builder: Robert Napier, Govan
Yard number: 410
Launched: 22 September 1888
Renamed: Viking in 1912
HMS Viknor in 1914
Identification: UK official number 95512
Fate: Sunk 13 January 1915
General characteristics
Tonnage: 5,386 GRT, 3,069 NRT
Length: 421.2 ft (128.4 m)
Beam: 50 ft (15 m)
Draught: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Installed power: 1,000 hp
Propulsion: 1 × 3-cylinder triple expansion steam engine; single screw
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: (as armed merchant cruiser, 1914–15) 22 officers, 273 ratings

RMS Atrato was a UK steamship that was built in 1888 as a Royal Mail Ship and ocean liner, became the cruise ship The Viking in 1912 and was converted into the armed merchant cruiser HMS Viknor in 1914. She sank in 1915 with all hands, a total of 295 Royal Navy officers and men.

Building and civilian service[edit]

Robert Napier and Company of Govan, Glasgow, built the ship for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. She had eight boilers supplying steam to one three-cylinder triple expansion steam engine that drove a single screw, giving her a speed of 14 knots (26 km/h).[1]

She was launched on 22 September 1888 as Atrato,[1] named after a town in Colombia. RMSP gave most of its ships hispanic names to reflect its trade with Latin America. Atrato was a packet ship that carried mail, cargo and passengers.

In 1912 the Viking Cruising Company bought the ship and renamed her The Viking.

Naval service and loss[edit]

When the UK entered the First World War in 1914 the Admiralty requisitioned her, had her re-fitted as an armed merchant cruiser and commissioned her as HMS Viknor.[1] She was placed under the command of Commander EO Ballantyne[2] with a complement of 22 officers and 273 ratings and assigned to the 10th Cruiser Squadron.

On 28 December 1914 Viknor went on patrol from the River Tyne. On 13 January 1915 she sank with all hands in heavy seas off Tory Island, County Donegal, Ireland.[3] She sent no distress signal. Some wreckage and many corpses washed ashore on the Irish coast.[2]

It is thought she struck a German naval mine, possibly one of those laid by the German Bremen-class cruiser SMS Berlin.[4] Her wreck was found[5] in 2006,[4] and in 2011 a scuba diver placed a White Ensign on it in memory of her complement.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Cameron, Stuart; Biddulph, Bruce. "RMS Atrato". Clydebuilt database. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Allen, Tony (22 September 1913). "HMS Viknor [+1915]". Wrecksite.eu. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "British Auxiliary Lost". The New York Times. 26 January 1915. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "The Viking". Shipspotting. 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2014.  – includes photo of the ship in Palmers Dock, Hebburn
  5. ^ "Atrato (1888)". Maritime Quest. Michael W Pocock. Retrieved 2 October 2014.  – photographs of Atrato and her wreck
  6. ^ "HMS Viknor". Vimeo. Retrieved 2 October 1914.  – placing of a White Ensign on the wreck by scuba diver Stewart Andrews