What a great piece of New Zealand Maritime History!
Circa 1931. This is the year the ship began operations with the Canadian-Australasian Line until her sinking in 1940. The Lifebuoy bears the company's flag. In remakable original condition given it's about 80 - 90 years old and no doubt actually ended up in the sea when the ship sank.
Made of cork and covered in painted canvas. Original rope. Where would you find another!
Diameter of 760 mm
RMS Niagara was a transpacific steam ocean liner, Royal Mail Ship and refrigerated cargo ship. She was launched in 1912 in Scotland and sunk in 1940 by a mine off the coast of New Zealand
Her regular route was between Sydney and Vancouver via Auckland, Suva and Honolulu. In her 27-year career she made 162 round trips between Australia, New Zealand and Canada and sailed nearly 2,500,000 nautical miles (4,600,000 km).
Niagara was owned firstly by the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand and later by the Canadian-Australasian Line, which was jointly owned by the Union Company and Canadian Pacific. Like many Union Company ships, she was registered in London.
Niagara was built to burn either coal or oil. She was the first oil-burning steamship to be certificated by the Board of Trade to carry passengers. When new, Niagara was the largest merchant ship yet owned by a New Zealand company. In 1914 and 1915 she set a number of speed records for crossing the Tasman Sea.
In 1918 Niagara was instrumental in the spread of Spanish Flu to New Zealand.
When she was sunk in 1940, Niagara was carrying about 81⁄2 tons of gold bars, Divers recovered 555 bars in 1941, and another 30 in 1953, but five gold bars remain unaccounted for.
Niagara was bunkered with oil when she sank. Heavy fuel oil has leaked from her tanks ever since, and has caused some environmental damage in and around Hauraki Gulf. Some oil remains in her wreck, and the scale of environmental threat it may pose continues to be debated.
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