SS Cufic

SS Cufic (I), shipyard number 210, was a White Star Line ship launched at Harland and Wolff, Belfast on 10th October 1888. She was a 4,639 ton livestock carrier and cargo ship, with one funnel and four masts. She is notable for being White Star Line’s first livestock ship and for being their first ship to be fitted with a triple expansion engine. She was shortly joined by a sister ship, Runic (I).

Her maiden voyage began on 8th December 1888 from Liverpool in the United Kingdom to New York in the United States. Just like Titanic on her maiden voyage in 1912, Cufic was under the command of Captain Edward John Smith. Cufic arrived in New York for the first time on 21st December.

In February 1889 the New York Times newspaper reported that when Cufic had departed New York for the first time she had carried a cargo of 8,300 tons by measurement –”the size of which caused a great deal of wonder”; the report continued that when leaving for the second time, the cargo that she carried included 6,142 bales of cotton, 290 head of cattle, 400 bales of hay, 3,350 bags of flour and 66,429 bushels of corn.

In 1896 Cufic was charted to a Spanish shipping company, Compañía Trasatlántica Española, and renamed Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. During the Cuban War of Independence she transported horses between Spain and Cuba. She returned to White Star Line service and regained the name Cufic in 1898.

On 12th June 1899 the New York Times reported that, on the previous day, Cufic had grounded and become stuck for three hours in the Swash channel until she was freed by the high tide. The incident was blamed on the fact that Cufic had been surrounded by a thick mist. The article reported that it had been said that Cufic was undamaged.

While Cufic was sailing between Liverpool and New York on 9th December, under the command of Captain Caven, she lost her propeller. The same day, the Kansas City, of the Bristol City Line, came to Cufic's assistance but due to terrible weather she was unable to get hold of Cufic to tow her, and it was not until 12 December that Kansas City was able to start towing Cufic, but even then the hawsers parted, and towing was not resumed until the next day. Kansas City towed Cufic to Queenstown, arriving there, despite the hawsers parting again the previous day, on 16th December. The White Star Line had to pay a total of £6,800 in salvage costs to the Bristol City Line and the crew of Kansas City.

In 1901 Cufic was sold by the White Star Line to the Dominion Line, and was renamed Manxman.

The Dominion Line sold her in 1916, to the Elder-Dempster Line. She was sold again in 1916, this time to R. Lawrence Smith, Ltd, a Canadian company. It is said she was used as troop ship in 1917. She was sold for the final time in 1919, to an American company, the Universal Transport Co. Each time she was sold after her White Star Line days she remained with the name Manxman.

On a voyage sailing from Portland to Gibraltar, under the command of Captain Burgess, Manxman started sinking in terrible weather, and her crew had to abandon ship in lifeboats. Already standing by, the SS British Isles picked up the 19 survivors but around 40 of the crew, including the captain were lost. Manxman sank on 18th December 1919.

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