SS Norwich City

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Name: Norwich City
Port of registry: England
Route: Melbourne, Australia to Vancouver, Canada
Laid down: 9 February 1911
In service: 1911
Out of service: 1929
Fate: Ran aground
Status: Wrecked 4°39′39″S 174°32′40″W / 4.66083°S 174.54444°W / -4.66083; -174.54444
Notes: Ship history [1]
General characteristics
Tonnage: 5,587.08 tons
Displacement: 8,730 tons
Length: 397 feet
Beam: 53 feet, 5.5 inches
Installed power: 412 BHP
Propulsion: Oil-fired, triple expansion steam
Speed: 9 knots
Crew: 35

The SS Norwich City was an oil-fired steam freighter powered by a triple expansion steam engine. She was built in 1911 by Central Marine Engine Works in England.

In 1928, the ship ran into the Second Narrows Bridge in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

During a storm on 29 November 1929, the unladen freighter was carrying a crew of 35 men when it ran aground on the reef at the northwest end of the small central Pacific atoll known as Nikumaroro Island (then known as Gardner Island). A fire broke out in the engine room and all hands abandoned ship in darkness having to make their way across the wide and dangerous coral reef being pounded by dangerous storm waves. In total, 11 men lost their lives. The survivors camped near collapsed structures from a late-19th century coconut planting project and were rescued after several days on the island.

The devastated wreck of the Norwich City was a prominent landmark on the reef for 70 years, though by 2007, only the ship's keel, engine, and two large tanks remained. By 2010, only the engine remained above water on the reef.[1]

Nikumaroro Island is currently being investigated by the The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) in hopes of discovering and salvaging the lost wreckage of Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra.[2] TIGHAR believes Earhart may have landed on Nikumaroro. The SS Norwich City wreck was prominent at the time of Earhart's final flight and radio messages claiming to be from Earhart were allegedly heard following the plane's disappearance. One such claim was from a young girl who believed she overheard a radio message from Earhart and may have heard Earhart say Norwich City during the supposed transmission.[3]


  1. ^ "Nikumaroro, 0530 Local Time, June 2010". Tighar Tracks 26 (2): 17. 
  2. ^ King, Thomas F. "Amelia Earhart's Fate: The Archaeological Investigations, The Loss of an Aviation Pioneer". Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  3. ^ Gillespie, Ric (2006), Finding Amelia: The True Story of the Earhart Disappearance, Naval Institute Press, ISBN 978-1-59114-319-2 , pp 170–186

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