SS Gabrielle

This oil-burning steamer, launched in 1913 in Scotland, was built for operations in Arctic waters and has a hull of Swedish wrought iron an inch and a quarter thick (although she not an icebreaker).

Gabrielle has five decks, used by passengers and crew. From top down, these are the bridge deck, the boat deck, the main deck, the tween deck, and the engine (or cargo) deck. Passengers and crew aboard the Gabrielle, when they are not on deck, will spend most of their time in one of three living areas:

  • the forecastle,
  • the aftercastle,
  • and the superstructure.

The forecastle is a small cluster of cabins on the main deck in the far forward portion of the ship, just behind the bow. Normally these cabins are used only by the crew, generally the ship's regular seamen and quartermasters. The cabins in the aftercastle are normally reserved for the engineering crewmen and any ship's specialists, such as carpenters, who bunk aboard. These take up space on both the main and tween decks at the far stemward portion of the ship, directly above the ship's propellers. The captain, the ship's officers, and any passengers normally sleep in the superstructure, three decks tall, that rises off of the main deck amidships. The superstructure is directly above the ship's engines. The ship's bridge is on the highest deck, and looks forward toward the ship's bow. Cabins in the forecastle and aftercastle are spare and cramped, and have no windows or portholes. Most cabins have multiple occupants who sleep in narrow bunk beds. Cabin doors have slitted vents, but there are no other conduits or means of circulating air or cooling the rooms. When needed, heating of all cabins is accomplished by means of steam radiators bolted securely to the floor or wall. The remainder of the ship is given over to cargo holds. There are five of these, numbered 1 to 5 from the bow to the stem. Holds 1, 2, and 3 are forward of the bridge, while 4 and 5 are toward the stem. A large refrigerated compartment (the "reefer hold") lies immediately forward of hold 4, above the ship's main fuel tank.

length 440 feet
beam 45 feet
depth, keel to main deck 39 feet
draft, light ship 10 feet
draft, loaded ship 26 feet
register tons 7,500
light ship 4,550 tons
loaded ship 13,350 tons
deadweight 8,800 tons
- crew, stores 40 tons
- fuel oil 1,690 tons
- fresh water 160 tons
- cargo 6,910 tons
no. of holds 5 + reefer space
hatches 5 (each 45 feet long x 25 feet wide)
cargo booms 6 x 1 ton capacity
6 x 10 ton capacity
2 x 30 ton capacity (forward end of #2 hold)
loading speed 25 tons per gang hour (18-man 'gang') for cargo items under 1 ton apiece (1 gang per hatch usually)
reciprocating steam engine, top speed 12 knots
uses 0.14 ton of fuel per nautical mile at 11 knots
maximum cruising range about 12,000 miles
master and 4 deck officers
chief engineer and 4 engineer officers
ship's physician
radio operator, carpenter, boatswain, storekeeper
3 quartermasters, 9 seamen
15 engine room crew (oilers, firemen, wipers, water tenders)
1 chief steward, 5 other stewards (cooks, messboys, laundrymen, etc.)
line gun
18 life rings with water lights, flares and rockets
4 life rafts
4 lifeboats, 25 person capacity each; 2 of these are motorboats with a 6 knot top speed
The ship has a network of fire hoses powered by independent seawater pumps
There are 14 CO2-charged hand fire extinguishers, mostly amidships.
Sand buckets are liberally deployed in crew areas
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