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Built as cargo and livestock carrier by Harland & Wolff, Belfast for the White Star Lines.
01 January 1889 launched under the name RUNIC.
Tonnage 4.639 gross, 3.122 net, dim. 131.27 x 13.77 x 9.14m.
Powered by one 3-cyl triple expansion steamengine, manufactured by the ships builder, 424 nhp., speed 13 knots.
21 February 1889 sailed for her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York. She and her sister the CUFIC were the first livestock carriers of the White Star Lines.
Carried general cargo outward and returned home with around 1000 life cattle.
1895 Sold to the West India & Pacific SS Co., renamed TAMPICAN.
31 December 1899 transferred to F. Leyland & Co., not renamed.
The same year reboilered, still in the service from Liverpool to New York.
1912 Sold to H.E.Moss & Co., Liverpool, not renamed.
Immediately sold to South Pacific Whaling Co., Christiania (now Oslo), renamed in IMO.
Converted in a whale oil tanker for Antarctic whaling service.
During the First World War was she chartered by the Belgian Relief Commission.
06 December 1917 when she was in ballast steaming across Halifax Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada outward bound with destination New York came she in collision with the French ship MONT BLANC around 08.45 a.m., which was loaded with ammunition and inward bound.
The IMO struck the MONT BLANC abreast of the forward hold, causing some barrels of the 35-ton benzol, carried as deck cargo, to ignite the picric acid in the hold below.
The crew of the MONT BLANC fully aware of the dangers of the cargo on board abandoned the vessel, leaving the blazing MONT BLANC drifting in the stream. The fire attracted many spectators to the waterfront, and she drifted into Halifax’s Pier 6.
Some vessels tried to put a towline on board the burning vessel, and to tow her away from the pier, but at
09.00 the MONT BLANC erupted causing the greatest man made explosion before the Atomic bomb. The blast was felt 120 miles away.
Most part of the densely populated suburb of Richmond was flattened, and within a 16-mile radius 1.630 buildings were destroyed. Only two vessels were lost the MONT BLANC and a wooden schooner the LOLAR, all other damaged vessels in port were later repaired.
Officially 1.963 people were killed, with 9.000 injured and 199 blinded by flying glass, although the casualties aboard the ships in the harbour bring the death toll closer to 3.000.
The captain and the pilot and 5 of de crew of 41 on board the IMO were killed during the explosion, she was hurled across the stream, with most of her upper structure ripped away, and grounded.
After four months the IMO was refloated and towed to New York for repair.
1918 She was rebuilt in a whale factory ship, renamed in GUVERNOREN.
30 November 1921 during heavy fog she ran aground on the rocks at Cow Bay, two miles off Cape Carysfort on East Flakland, all crew were saved.
Salvage attempts were made but the GUVERNOREN was not refloated, and salvage work was halted on 03 December 1921, and she was abandoned to the sea.
Today the wreckage is still there from the waterline up, and lying on her starboard side.
The other ship on fire as seen on the stamp must be the MONT BLANC. The design is wrong, the fire started in the forward hold, and not as seen on the stamp on the afterpart of the vessel.
Built as a cargo vessel under yard No 460 by Sir Raylton Dixon & Co., Ltd. Middelsbrough, U.K. for the Soc. Générale de Transport Maritimes á Vapeur, Marseille.
Launched under the name MONT BLANC.
Tonnage 3.279 gross, 2.251 net, dim. 320 x 44.8 x 15.3ft.
Powered by a triple expansion steam engine 247 nhp. Speed 9.5 knots, one propeller.
June 1899 delivered to owners.
1906 Sold to E. Anquetil, Rouen, France.
1915 Sold to G Petit, Rouen.
1916 Sold to Cie Générale Transatlantique, St Nazaire.
06 December 1917 on a voyage from New York to Halifax under command of Captain Aime Le Medec loaded with a cargo of around 5.000 ton high explosives, she came in collision with the outward bound Norwegian IMO, both ships were under pilot control, and there was plenty of room and it visibility was good.
When both ships approached each other there was a lot of confusion, and a collision happened.
After some barrels of benzol loaded on deck of the MONT BLANC ignited, the crew on board aware of the dangers of the cargo abandoned the vessel and rowed hard for the shore, and just after she landed about 20 minutes later the MONT BLANC did exploded at 09.05 a.m. and she was disintegrated into a mass of wreckage.
Only one men of the crew of the MONT BLANC was lost.
Falkland Islands 2005 £1.20 sg?, scott?
Source: North Atlantic Seaway by Bonsor. Dictionary of Disasters at sea during the age of steam by Hocking. Some web-sites. http://museum.gov.ns.ca/mma/AtoZ/imo.html http://museum.gov.ns.ca/mma/Ato/montblanc.html
(A google search gives plenty of sites on this explosion.)
Register of Merchant ships completed in 1899.