SS Tropic (I)

SS Tropic (I) was a White Star Line ship, although only for a fairly brief amount of time. Not originally intended to be a White Star Line ship, she was built by Thomas Royden & Sons shipbuilders in Liverpool, United Kingdom, where she was launched on 14th October 1871. Before being completed both Tropic and her sister ship Asiatic (I) were purchased by the White Star Line. She was 2,122 tons, had 1 funnel, 2 masts and was built to carry cargo and a small number of passengers.

Initially she served White Star Line sailing from Liverpool, United Kingdom to Calcutta, India. She was then moved to sailing from Liverpool to Callao, Peru, with her first voyage on that route beginning on 5th November 1872, with her finally arriving home a little before mid-April.

While sailing from Callao to Liverpool in February 1873, Tropic discovered a lifeboat belonging to the sailing ship J.W. Elwell with three remaining survivors of her sinking aboard, her captain (Captain Wren), a sailor and a stewardess. J.W. Elwell had been sailing from Liverpool to Valparaiso, Chile, with a cargo of coal aboard which had caught fire and blown up. The people in the lifeboat had been stranded in it for around two and a half months. The other ten members of the crew had died. The survivors were taken by Tropic back to Liverpool.

Tropic began her last voyage for the White Star Line on 4th June 1873, sailing from Liverpool to Callao. Soon after she and her sister ship Asiatic were sold, it is said, to regain money after the sinking of White Star Line’s Atlantic on 1st April 1873. Tropic was sold to J. Serra y Font, a Spanish shipping company, and was renamed Federico. In 1886 she was sold again to another Spanish company. She was broken up for scrap in 1894 in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, United Kingdom.

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