News from 1900 The Rescue of Cufic I

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Mark Baber

The New York Times, 16 December 1900

White Star Liner Loses Propeller---Being Towed to Queenstown
HOLYHEAD, Wales, Dec. 15---The British steamer Bohemian, Capt.
McCallum, from Boston Dec. 5 for Liverpool, reported this afternoon
having spoken the White Star liner Cufic, Capt. Caven, from Liverpool
Dec. 4 for New York, with her propeller lost. The Cufic was ninety-eight
miles from the Fastnet, in tow of the British steamer Throstlegarth,
making for Queenstown.
QUEENSTOWN, Dec. 15---The Cufic has passed Kinsale in tow. She
signaled that she had lost her propeller. Tugs have gone to her


Mark Baber

The New York Times, 17 December 1900

Disabled Liner Towed to Queenstown---Her First Officer Drowned
QUEENSTOWN, Dec. 16.---The White Star Line steamer Cufic, from
Liverpool, Dec. 4, for New York, was towed to anchorage here at 4
o'clock this morning by the British steamer Kansas City, which sighted
the Cufic Dec. 9 in latitude 51.34 north and longitude 21.24 west, the
day the White Star liner lost her propeller. Owing to the terrific
weather it was impossible to connect the hawsers until Dec. 12. These
parted in a fierce gale, and the Kansas City only succeeded in resuming
towing the following day. The hawsers broke again last night off
Kinsale, but after a short delay towing was resumed.

In one of the attempts to connect with the Kansas City, Mr. Crosby,
Chief Officer of the Cufic, while trying to swim to a line attached to a
buoy afloat from the Kansas City, was drowned, although a powerful

The Cufic will await the arrival of tugs here, and will then proceed for
Liverpool. She carries no passengers.

The Kansas City's machinery was strained, and there is a heavily list to
the starboard. She will recoal and may resume within a day or two her
voyage to New York, whither she was bound from Bristol after touching at
Swansea Dec. 6, when she sighted the disabled Cufic.

I’m amazed!

“In one of the attempts to connect with the Kansas City, Mr. Crosby, Chief Officer of the Cufic, while trying to swim to a line attached to a buoy afloat from the Kansas City, was drowned, although a powerful swimmer.”

And an optimist of the first magnitude I trow. It takes superhuman strength to survive immersion in the north atlantic in December, let alone seizing and towing so much as a messenger line (and then presumably bending it on to another one, treading water the while).

The master of Cufic stands in need of severe censure for authorising this foolhardy venture. It is never necessary nor desirable for anyone to enter the water in these contingencies even in the most benign conditions. If the recommended manoeuvres for getting a line aboard aren’t working, swimming certainly won’t.


Mark Baber

The New York Times, 21 December 1900

Hawsers of Both Tugs Towing Her Part in Irish Sea
Cufic's Anchors Dropped in Seventeen Fathoms---Terrific Gale Causes
Fears for Irish Packets
LONDON, Dec. 21---The hawsers of both tugs which were towing the White
Star liner Cufic parted on account of the heavy gale raging in the Irish
Sea, and the steamer drifted on the Skerries, where the anchors were
dropped in seventeen fathoms of water.

All the crew were landed at Holyhead by a steam lifeboat and a tug.

A severe gale, with heavy rains, is sweeping along the Irish coast. It
showed a tendency to increase in violence last evening, and no vessels
were able to make any headway.

Another vessel has stranded near Holyhead.

Depressions of great size and depth are spreading over Great Britain
from the westward. Storms are reported on all coasts, and numbers of
minor wrecks have occurred.

The White Star liner Teutonic, which sailed at noon yesterday from
Queenstown, for New York, experienced the full force of the storm. The
Teutonic arrived at Queenstown somewhat late, and after embarking her
passengers and 1,592 sacks of mail, she had some difficulty in clearing

There is great uneasiness at Queenstown in regard to the cross-Channel
steamers which left there Wednesday evening, so violent is the storm.
All arrivals at British ports report having experienced fearful weather.

Great damage has been done to property in Dublin.
The White Star liner Cufic was towed into Queenstown on Dec. 16 by the
steamer Kansas City. The Cufic left Queenstown Dec. 19, in tow, for
Liverpool. She carries no passengers.

Previous to being taken in tow by the Kansas City the Cufic had
experienced very heavy weather, during which she lost her propeller.

The Skerries is a small Island, on which is a lighthouse, in the Irish
Sea, off the northwest coast of the island of Anglesey, which is
rounded by steamers on their way to and from Liverpool by way of St.
George's Channel.

The Cufic is a single-screw steamer of 3,122 tons, and was built at
Belfast in 1888 at the yards of Harland & Wolff. Her dimensions are as
follows: Length, 430 feet 7 inches; breadth, 45 feet 2 Inches; depth, 30


Mark Baber

The New York Times, 22 December 1900

Liner May 8e Towed to Liverpool When the Weather Moderates
LONDON, Dec. 22---The latest news of the White Star liner Cufic, which
was abandoned on Thursday off the Skerries while on her way from
Queenstown to Liverpool in tow, is that she is still riding heavily at
anchor a mile southwest of the Skerries.

According to the latest information it is hoped that the Cufic may be
towed to Liverpool as soon as the weather moderates.


Mark Baber

The New York Times, 23 December 1900

The Westernland and Cufic Were Assisted Into Port
LONDON, Dec. 22---Two tugs are towing the White Star Line steamer Cufic,
recently at anchor in distress and abandoned by her crew off the
Skerries, to Liverpool.

The steamer Somerhill, which towed the disabled steamer Westernland to
West Bay, near Weymouth, has lost her mainmast and has her hull damaged,
but she is proceeding, leaving the Westernland, which later was towed to

The American Line steamer New York, which sailed from Southampton via
Cherbourg to-day, took the passengers of the Westernland.



Mark Baber

[MAB Note: This article concludes The New York Times' reporting of the rescue of Cufic I.]

The New York Times, 4 January 1901

Crew of Kansas City Tell How the Disabled Ship Was Saved
The Bristol City Line steamship Kansas City, which rescued the White
Star Line steamship Cufic, in latitude 51.34 and longitude 21.24 on Dec.
9, after her propeller had been carried away in a terrific gale,
arrived in port yesterday morning. When picked up by the Kansas City
the Cufic had signaled for assistance. For three days the Bristol City
vessel had to hang beside the Cufic, unable to render any help owing to
the fury of the storm. At the end of this time the Kansas City managed
to get hawers to the Cufic and started with her in tow for Queenstown.
The hawsers soon parted, however, under the terrific strain to which
they were subjected in weathering the gale, and it was not until the
following day that a new connection was effected and the tow

Again, when off Kinsale the hawsers parted, but the delay this time was
not so long, and the Cufic was safely towed into Queenstown the next
day. This was on the 16th, and after lying in the harbor for three days
the disabled steamer was once again placed in tow and started for
Liverpool. She met with rough weather again on this tow, and came near
being lost on the Skerries, a group of rocks off the coast of
Anglesea, in weathering the gale that at the time was raging in the
Irish Sea.

Chief Officer Crosby of the Cufic was lost while trying to reach a line
from the Kansas City, which was attached to a buoy.

When the Kansas City arrived yesterday Capt. Lewis refused to talk of
his experiences in the rescue of the Cufic. Members of the crew,
however, in speaking of the fury of the gale, declared it to have been
the fiercest they had ever encountered.

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