This triple expansion steam tanker was built by Armstrong, Mitchell & Co. Ltd., at their Low Walker, Newcastle yard. She was launched on 27 September 1888 as Elbruz for the Elbruz SS Co. Ltd. (Lane and MacAndrew), London. She had a gross tonnage of 2742 tons and had a single screw.
She was renamed Ottawa in 1901 when sold to the Anglo-American Oil Company Ltd., and managed by J. H. Usmar.
She was involved in a curious incident relating to the sinking of the Titanic. On 6 June 1912, nearly 3 months after the disaster, Ottawa picked up the body of a man wearing a lifebelt. The body was very much de-composed, especially the hands and face. In a do***ent lodged at the National Archives in Washington, DC pertaining to the Titanic disaster is an interesting letter written by Thomas Cook, 3rd Officer of the Ottawa. He states that when Ottawa, under the command of Captain R. G. Tait, stopped and picked up the body it was reasonably obvious that the male had come from Titanic. The ships name on the lifebelt had been washed off but upon searching the clothes a wallet was found bearing the initials W. T. K. and containing various do***ents including a love letter and a business card re- ‘Apartments’ in Margate, Kent. The body was given a proper sea burial according to the ceremony of the Church of England. Mr. Cook goes on to state that they had since ascertained that his name was W. T. Kerley and that he had been an assistant steward on the Titanic and that the body was found 543 miles from Titanic’s position.
Mr. W.T. Kerley’s name does not feature in the list of lost and saved published by Senator Smith’s committee in the wake of the disaster. Even though notification of the recovery, identification and burial of the body had been forwarded to the United States Government by Captain Tait it appears that by early July 1912, when information was received by the Hydrographic Office, the news media had turned to other matters and word of Kerley’s identification never made it to the major newspaper pages.
Ottawa’s fate was also a mystery as she was listed as missing with all hands from 6 February 1921 while on voyage Port Lobos to Manchester.
Photograph belongs to Stuart Smith