Daily Event for November 21

At the entrance to the harbor at Cherbourg, France on Nov. 21, 1906 the liners Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse and Orinoco collided in the dark. Orinoco was owned by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company and was built in
Scotland in 1886, Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse was one of the largest ships on the seas at that time, built in
Stettin, Germany in 1897.

The two ships apparently had seen each other and even sounded their horns, but according to the court inquiry
the Kaiser Wilhelm proceeded at a speed of 17 to 18 knots in an attempt to pass in front of the Orinoco. The
ships collided stem to stem causing damage to both ships and instantly killing several passengers on the Kaiser.

According to all reports passengers on both ships panicked which caused unnecessary problems as there was
no danger of either vessel sinking. Several passengers from the Orinoco fell into the water while trying to get
into the boats and were reported as drowned, but this later turned out to be false as all were rescued. However
it was not until later that it was determined that three of Orinoco's crew were missing, they may have been in
a lifeboat that capsized. By the time they were missed it was too late to save them.

Reports of the day gave several casualty figures, the highest being 13, however it seems the real number was 8,
three crewmen from Orinoco and five passengers from the Kaiser (four died at the scene and an 11 year old
girl died later at hospital). The court found the Kaiser's crew to have been totally at fault, of course North
German Lloyd disputed this claim.

© 2008 Michael W. Pocock

Roll of Honour
In memory of those who lost their lives in SS orinoco and SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse
"As long as we embrace them in our memory, their spirit will always be with us"

Denny, R.
Hern, F. A.
Pickett, William J.
Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse
Groiscant, Samuel
Koucelik, Anna
Muhlbeier, George
Zimbelmann, Michael
* 11 yeard old girl, possibly named Marie, died of injuries in hospital.

2006 Daily Event