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Carpathia

Carpathia

Stern View of the Carpathia in the drydock at Liverpool, in April, 1903.

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Carpathia did not remain in the immigrant service out of Liverpool for very long, and by the fall of 1903, she was transfered to the Trieste to New York service. Carpathia would only return to Liverpool once a year to undergo her annual overhaul, and her crews would be rotated in New York every few months to allow them time to return to England to see their families. Because she was now steaming to the Mediterranean, the ships passenger configuration was changed in early 1905, to include 100 First Class passengers and an additional 500 in Third Class. Second Class was abolished, and their former compartments were upgraded to cater to the newly established First Class service. This route became pretty much a permanent routine for Carpathia, and she would have undoubtedly remained a little known ship in such service, barely rating a foot note in the long history of the prestigious Cunard Line. The name Carpathia, was never intended to be remembered alongside record breakers like Lusitania, Mauretania, or Queen Mary. Her size, her cargo liner design, and even the service she was intended to provide, certainly combined to make her, what would have been, one of the least remembered Cunard Liners ever built. But that status would soon be forever changed, and all because of the actions taken by her Captain and crew on a cold April night in 1912.



At just after midnight on April 15, 1912, Carpathia's wireless operator, Harold Cottam, received a distress signal from the new White Star Liner Titanic, informing him that the giant ship had struck an iceburg and was in immediate need of assistance. Cottam informed the Officer of the watch on Carpathia's bridge, and together, they went to inform her Captain, Arthur H. Rostron. Despite being stunned by the news, Rostron ordered the ship turned around in a Northerly direction, he then verified through Cottam that the information from Titanic was accurate. Rostron then began issuing a series of remarkably detailed orders, and to which department head each order pertained. Afterward, he plotted a new course, based on Cottams' report, and then headed to the bridge, where he would remain throughout the rest of the night. Every member of the crew was called to action, and the liner was soon prepared to take on and care for as many as 3000 additional souls. The Engineers and stokers closed off all additional steam lines for hot water and heat, and routed every ounce of power directly into Carpathias' 9 year old engines. Some reports say she reached more than 17 knots that night, others say such a speed was impossible for the little ship. Whichever argument is correct, it is safe to say that for the next 3 hours of her life, Carpathia steamed at speeds she'd never reached before, and never would again.
 

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She was a lovely looking ship, I always felt. Such a shame she did'nt last much longer. Torpedoing passenger ships was disgraceful. Again, thanks. Jim.
 

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Hi Jim, I'm glad you found the story of the Carpathia interesting. I think she would have been lost to history had she not been the ship to go the the aid of the Titanic. The wreck of the Carpathia, like the Titanic, has also been discovered on the bottom of the Atlantic. I've done some searching, but I can't find any pictures showing what she looks like today. Thanks again for your interest,

Clyde (cunard61)
 

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Thank you again, Clyde. I am very grateful for all the information. Regards, Jim.
 

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Passenger Liners & Cruise Ships
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