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The Fleets

South American and General Steam Navigation Co., Liverpool 1852-1855

The South American & General Steam Navigation Company was founded in Liverpool in 1852, to run a fleet of iron screw steamers to South America. Orders were placed with John Laird of Birkenhead for two 1,100 tons steamers, the BRASILEIRA and LUSITANIA and with John Reid & Co. of Port Glasgow for a similar ship, the OLINDA. A wooden paddle steamer intended for feeder service in South America, was also built by John Laird and named ARGENTINA.
The ARGENTINA was wrecked in the River Plate in December 1853 and the OLINDA was wrecked on 26 January 1854 near Holyhead a few hours after the start of her second voyage with no loss of life.

The BAHIANA joined the fleet in 1854 and two ships intended for the Feeder service in South America, the LA PLATA and MENAI were also completed that year. Following the loss of the OLINDA, two new steamers were ordered from John Laird of Birkenhead, the IMPERADOR and IMPERATRIZ, which were launched on 13 July and 7 October 1854 respectively.
At the end of 1854 the BRASILEIRA and LUSITANIA were sold to Messageries Imperiales (later Messageries Maritimes), France. The BAHIANA and IMPERATRIZ were taken by the British Government as Crimean war transports and the IMPERADOR followed suit later on.
The surviving ships were sold after the Crimean War, BAHIANA to Messageries Imperiales and the IMPERADOR and IMPERATRIZ to Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (CGT), and the service was never resumed.

Many thanks to Henk Jungerius and Ted Finch for their 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.

  • Routes:
    • Liverpool-Pernambuco-Bahia-Rio de Janeiro

     * Paddle Steamer

Funnel:
Black

Fleet:

Vessel Built Years in Service Tons
Argentina * 1853 built by John Laird, Birkenhead | Feeder service Rio de Janeiro-Montevideo-Buenos Aires, 1853 wrecked in the River Plate. 500
Bahiana 1854 built by John Laird, Birkenhead | 1854 became Crimean war Transport, 1855 sold to Messageries Imperiales, Marseilles (later Messageries Maritimes) renamed Simois, 1875 scrapped at La Ciotat. 1,530
Brasileira 1853 built by John Laird, Birkenhead | 1854 sold to Messageries Imperiales, Marseilles (later Messageries Maritimes), 1854 became Crimean war Transport renamed Borystene, 1865 lost on the Island of Plane. 1,100
Imperador 1854 built by John Laird, Birkenhead | 1855 became Crimean war Transport, 1862 sold to Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (CGT) renamed Tampico, 1870 renamed Guadeloupe, 1880 sold to Norway, renamed Sorrento, 1890 foundered in the North Sea. 1,700
Imperatriz 1854 built by John Laird, Birkenhead | 1854 became Crimean war Transport, 1862 sold to Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (CGT) Vera Cruz, 1869 renamed Martinique, 1892 scrapped. 1,700
La Plata 1854 built by John Laird, Birkenhead | Feeder service Rio de Janeiro-Montevideo-Buenos Aires. 500
Lusitania 1853 built by John Laird, Birkenhead | 1854 sold to Messageries Imperiales, Marseilles (later Messageries Maritimes) renamed Hydaspe, 1864 wrecked in the Riouw Straits, Singapore. 1,100
Menai 1854 built by John Laird, Birkenhead | Feeder service Rio de Janeiro-Montevideo-Buenos Aires 500
Olinda 1853 built by John Reid & Co., Port Glasgow | 1854 wrecked near Holyhead. 1,100
Pampero * 1854 Ordered and later cancelled. 630

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Last updated: October 09, 2006 and maintained by and M. Kohli