Daily Event for July 2, 2016

The iron steamship Hansa was launched at Caird & Company in Greenock, Scotland on Aug. 23, 1861. She was a passenger/cargo ship of 2,992 gross tons, 346' long with a beam of 42'. An early steamer she was equipped with a single screw and three masts rigged for sail. Built for Norddeutscher Lloyd of Bremen, Germany, she sailed for them until 1879 when she was sold to a British company in Southampton. The next year Hansa was sold to a company in Liverpool. Finally in 1883 the ship was sold to the White Cross Line (Steinmann, Ludwig & Cie.) of Antwerp, Belgium and was renamed Ludwig and re-registered at 3,087 gross tons.

After sailing for twenty-two years for other lines, Ludwig's career with the White Cross Line was very brief. I know that the ship made one crossing in Apr. or May, but I don't know if this was the only voyage made for the new owners or not. What is known is that on July 2, 1883 Ludwig sailed from Antwerp for Montreal with twenty some immigrant passengers (sources differ between 24 and 27) a crew of forty-three and between 400 and 500 head of cattle. After being sighted passing Prawie Point in Devon on July 7th, she was never seen or spoken of again.

Hope that the ship would turn up of course faded as time passed and on Aug. 9th Ludwig was declared lost at sea. There was no explanation as to what happened to the ship as apparently nothing was found of her, no debris, no lifeboats, no bodies. Any number of situations could have caused her loss and there is no reason to go over all of them here because it would be nothing but pure speculation completely unsupported by any evidence.

For the White Cross Line this was the second ship lost without a trace. The steamer Henry Edye had disappeared in 1881 and a third ship, SS Hermann Ludwig, would go missing in 1887. After the loss of Ludwig the line suspended passenger service, soon after the loss of Hermann Ludwig the line ended shipping service altogether, but continued to operate as freight brokers.
© 2016 Michael W. Pocock