Ems (ship)

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The EMS as Fortuna under sail (PRG1373 4 103).jpg
The Ems as Fortuna under sail
United Kingdom
Name: Ems
Owner: Nourse Line
Builder: Charles Connell & Company, Glasgow
Launched: 6 April 1893
Owner: Tønsberg Whaling Company, 1910; resold in 1912 to another Norwegian owner, refitted as whaling and guano ship
Owner: Argentine Whaling Company
Acquired: 1916
Renamed: Fortuna
General characteristics
Class and type: Iron-hulled sailing ship
Tons burthen: 1,829 tons
Length: 270.7 ft (82.5 m)
Beam: 39 ft (12 m)
Draught: 22.5 ft (6.9 m)

The Ems was a 1,829 ton, iron sailing ship with a length of 270.7 feet (82.5 m), breadth of 39 feet (12 m) and depth of 22.5 feet (6.9 m).


She was built by Charles Connell & Company, Glasgow for the Nourse Line, and named after the Ems River in north west Germany, and launched on 6 April 1893. She was primarily used for the transportation of Indian indentured labourers to the colonies. Details of some of these voyages are as follows:

Destination Date of Arrival Number of Passengers Deaths During Voyage
Fiji 20 April 1894 570 n/a
Suriname 22 November 1894 n/a n/a

In 1898, she made a voyage from Bristol to Calcutta in 87 days and in 1902 arrived in Calcutta from New York in 102 days.

In 1910, the Ems was sold to Tønsberg Whaling Company of Norway. She was resold in 1912 to another Norwegian owner and refitted as a whaling and guano ship.

In 1916 she was sold to the Argentine Whaling Company, was renamed the Fortuna but kept her Norwegian crew. On 28 October 1927, she caught fire, 20 miles (32 km) off the Irish coast while on a voyage from Liverpool to South Georgia with coal and empty oil drums. She was abandoned at sea with the loss of five lives.

See also[edit]


  • Perry, F. W. (1991). Nourse Line. World Ship Society. ISBN 0-905617-62-2. 
  • Lubbock, Basil (1981). Coolie ships and oil sailors. Brown, Son & Ferguson. ISBN 0-85174-111-8. 

External links[edit]