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The Fleets

Northern Pacific SS Co.

Early in the 1890s, G. E. Dodwell and Sir William Pearce organised the Northern Pacific SS Co. to operate between Tacoma and the Far East. It was not related to the railroad of that name, but was formed to do business with it. The company purchased the former Canadian Pacific steamships PARTHIA and BATAVIA which they renamed VICTORIA and TACOMA. Other ships owned were the OLYMPIA, ex-DUNBAR CASTLE, COLUMBIA, ex-METHVEN CASTLE (both Currie's Castle Line) and ARIZONA which they purchased from the Guion Line. The company was not a success, and the VICTORIA and TACOMA were transferred to the US flag and chartered to the US Government as transports during the American-Spanish war. In 1901 the Northern Pacific Railroad organised a new Northern Pacific SS Co. and purchased the VICTORIA, TACOMA and other vessels. This was no more successful than it's predecessor and the ships were soon disposed of to Alaska interests.

Many thanks to Ted Finch for his assistance in collecting this data. The following list was extracted from various sources. This is not an all inclusive list but should only be used as a guide. If you would like to know more about a vessel, visit the Ship Descriptions (onsite) or Immigrant Ship web site.


  • Tacoma - Japan - Shanghai - Hong Kong


Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Arizona 1879 1894 purchased from Guion Line, 1898 US transport renamed Hancock. 5,147
Columbia 1883 ex- Methven Castle, 1897 purchased from Curry's Castle Line renamed Columbia, 1898 transferred to North American Mail Co., Tacoma, later sold to US Army renamed Rosecrans. 2,681
Olympia 1883 ex- Dunbar Castle, 1896 purchased from Curry's Castle Line renamed Olympia, 1898 transferred to North American Mail SS Co, 1901 sold to new Northern Pacific SS Co., 1904 sold to Northwestern SS Co., Seattle. 2,682
Tacoma 1870 ex- Batavia, 1892 purchased from Canadian Pacific renamed Tacoma, 1898 transferred to North American Mail Co. 2,553
Victoria 1870 ex- Parthia, 1892 purchased from Canadian Pacific renamed Victoria, 1898 transferred to North American Mail Co. 3,167

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