Headline: The Atlantic Transort Line 

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S.S. Arabic

Sisters: Minnehaha, Minnetonka, Minnewaska (III), Minneapolis, Mongolia, Manchuria
Builder: Harland & Wolff, Belfast, yard number 340
Launched December 18, 1902; delivered June 21, 1903; maiden voyage June 26, 1903; torpedoed August 19, 1915
Hull: length 600' 8"; beam 65' 6"; 15,801 tons


The Minnewaska (II) was the last of the four Minne class ships ordered by Bernard N. Baker in 1898 to replace or augment the steamers just acquired from the Wilson & Furness-Leyland Line.

Unfortunately for the Atlantic Transport Line, before she could be completed an economic downturn led the International Mercantile Marine Company, to which the line then belonged, to transfer her to the White Star Line. Her superstructure was extended aft of the mizzen mast and forward of the main mast, giving her a very ungainly appearance. Sailing as the Arabic she possessed accommodation for 200 first class passengers and 1,000 third class.

The Arabic sailed on the Liverpool via Queenstown to New York from June 26, 1903, but occasionally sailed on the Liverpool to Boston service. Her first class accommodation was reclassified as second class in 1913 and extra lifeboats were added following new regulations introduced after the loss of the Titanic. At the end of the following year she resumed her Liverpool to New York voyages.

On August 19, 1915, the Arabic was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U 24 off the Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland. She went down in 9 minutes with the loss of 44 lives; 380 were saved. She was the first White Star vessel lost in the war. After the war the White Star Line acquired a German liner through reparations, and named her Arabic. She was of similar size, but with two funnels and a much more elegant appearance.

Sources: The Atlantic Transport Line, 1881-1931; The Ships List; Passenger Ships of the World Past and Present, Eugene W. Smith, Massachusetts, 1977; Merchant Fleets in Profile 2; the Ships of the Cunard, American, Red Star, Inman, Leyland, Dominion, Atlantic Transport and White Star Lines, Duncan Haws, 1979; Answers.com; Encyclopedia Titanica

A photo postcard depicting the Arabic (Ian Newson)
A photo postcard depicting the Arabic (Ian Newson)

photo of Arabic, from a White Star Line brochure
The Arabic, from a White Star Line brochure

postcard of Arabic: eBaythe coverof a 1905 dinner menu
A postcard depicting Arabic and the cover of a 1905 menu card (both eBay)

A color postcard depicting the Arabic (Kinghorn)
A color postcard from Tuck's "Celebrated Liners" series depicting the Arabic (Kinghorn)

The sinking of Arabic, from a WWI  publication
The sinking of the Arabic, from a contemporary image purporting to be a photograph (Dick Sloan)


For more information ...

Kinghorn "The Atlantic Transport Line 1881 - 1931" McFarland, 2011

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