News from 1912: Launch of Ceramic

Mark Baber

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Dec 29, 2000
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The Times, 12 December 1912

LAUNCH OF THE WHITE STAR LINER CERAMIC
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LARGEST VESSEL IN THE AUSTRALIAN SERVICE
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Messrs. Harland and Wolff, Belfast, yesterday launched from their North
yard the new liner Ceramic, of about 18,000 tons, for the White Star
Line. The Ceramic is the biggest vessel built in Belfast this year, and
is unique in that she will be the largest ship trading to Australia, and
will be the finest triple-screw White Star liner on that berth.

The connexion of the White Star Line with the Australian trade began
somewhere back in the sixties. It has within recent years been developed
by vessels of the largest type in the trade. Within the last decade the
development has been phenomenal through the introduction of such
magnificent vessels as the Afric, Medic, and Persic (12,000 tons),
Runic, and Suevic (12,500 tons), and now the Ceramic far surpasses in
size anything hitherto placed on the Australian berth, and is a vessel
representing the highest excellence in marine architecture and
engineering and combining those qualities so indispensable to modern
requirements---viz., large cargo capacity and extensive passenger
accommodation.

The Ceramic, which is a triple-screw steamer, is 675ft. long by 69ft.
3in. beam, and will have a gross tonnage of about 18,000 tons, and will
have accommodation for 600 passengers, ordinarily, with arrangements for
possible extension for a further 220, or a total complement of 820 if
required. It is anticipated, in view of the remarkable development in
Australian immigration from the Mother Country and the popularity of
White Star vessels, that even this extensive accommodation will be taxed
to its utmost capacity.

EFFICIENT LIFEBOAT ACCOMMODATION

The Ceramic is of very strong construction, built under survey of the
Board of Trade for passenger certificate and having 12 watertight
bulkheads dividing the vessel into 13 watertight compartments. Eleven of
the bulkheads are carried to the upper deck, and the aftermost bulkhead
to the middle deck. There are eight steel decks, and all the facilities
for working the ship and cargo embody the latest improvements. The
vessel will be lighted throughout by electricity and will have a
complete installation of wireless telegraphy and sufficient lifeboats to
accommodate every soul on board, the boats being manipulated by patent
davits. The passenger accommodation would leave nothing to be desired.

Full advantage has been taken of the vessel's size in designating the
public rooms, and the state-rooms, as usual in White Star ships, are
large, comfortable, and well ventilated. The dining saloon on the middle
deck will seat about. 540 persons: it will be finished enamel white with
large side-lights arranged in pairs. On the bridge deck, in oak, with
suitable furniture and Harland and Wolff's large brass-framed opening
windows, arranged in pairs, will be another fine apartment., as also the
general room on the same deck just forward of the reading and writing
room and the smoke-room amidships. These two latter rooms are also
panelled and framed in oak with large side lights in pairs and suitable
furniture. A feature in the vessel will be the well-equipped gymnasium
on the bridge deck just forward of the smoke-room. The state-rooms are
arranged mostly as two or four berth rooms. The Ceramic will take up her
sailings about the end of next spring,

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