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USS Scipio at the New York Navy Yard on 25 May 1898
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Design: Passenger & Cargo, 1880
Displacement (tons): 3,458 gross, 6,864 displ.
Dimensions (feet): 383.0' pp x 40.0' x 23.6' mn
Original Armament: None
Later armaments: --
Speed (kts.): 14.5
Propulsion (HP): 3,000
Machinery: Compound inverted, 1 screw
||5 May 98
||William Denny & Bros
||18 Aug 79
||12 Mar 80
||20 Apr 99
||28 Dec 99
In March 1880 the shipyard of William Denny & Bros. at Dumbarton, Scotland, launched the first steel steamer built for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co, the passenger-cargo ship RAVENNA. Two sisters, ROHILLA and ROSETTA, were built by other builders to get the trio into service as soon as possible. RAVENNA had a three masted barkentine rig, one smokestack, a straight stem and an elliptical stern. Her poop and bridge decks were joined to provide spacious accommodations for 81 first class passengers, while 30 second class passengers were berthed forward. She made her maiden sailing from London to Bombay in May 1880. By 1882 she was also providing service to Australia. In November 1892 she collided with and sank the brand new Japanese torpedo gunboat CHISHIMA at Nagasaki.
On 29 Apr 98 RAVENNA was sold in England at auction for 12,000 pounds to the London shipbroker George Paget Walford. A few days later, on 5 May 98, Walford sold her to the U.S. Navy for $85,769. Later in May she was found abandoned at sea off Sandy Hook with a cargo of arms and ammunition, some of which fit the guns of the cruiser NEW ORLEANS which the Navy had purchased in England in March 1898. Taken to the New York Navy Yard for fitting out as a naval collier, the ship, now named SCIPIO, was found to be in poor material condition and, according to the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, was placed in ordinary on 23 May 1898. Proposals were advanced to convert her to a coal barge for duty at Newport, R.I.; but, after the Bureau of Construction and Repair found this plan to be too expensive, all work was stopped on 20 June 1898. SCIPIO was retained in ordinary at the New York Navy Yard until surveyed on 31 March 1899 for disposal.
Struck from the Navy list on 20 Apr 99, SCIPIO was advertised for sale on 13 Jun 99 and was sold on 19 Jul 99 to Lewis Luckenbach of Brooklyn, N.Y. for $50,125. However the Navy Department was unable to get American registry for the ship and the sale was cancelled on 30 Aug 99. The ship was readvertised on 14 Nov 99 and was sold on 28 Dec 99 to Ludwig Rubelli of Philadelphia, Pa., for $341,550. Transferred to Italian registry in the following year, SCIPIO was destroyed by fire on 3 January 1902 off the Portuguese coast while underway from Cartagena, Spain, to Antwerp.
||Ex merc. RAVENNA (completed 6 May 80). Merc. SCIPIO 1899, resold to Italian owners under same name 1900. Burned off the Portuguese coast 3 Jan 1902.
Compiled: 01 Jan 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013