The Sinking of the SS Vestris


Lost November 12, 1928

On November 12 1928 The Lamport and Holt steamship SS Vestris sank 200 miles east of the Norfolk, Virginia coast.  While estimates of the death toll are vague, over 100 people lost their lives, including 43 crew members, all 13 children, and 25 of the 33 women passengers known to be on board. (One source indicates that there were 325 people on board and  a mere 62% survival rate.)

The Vestris left New York on November 10, bound for the Río de la Plata that runs between Uruguay and Argentina.  The next day she encountered a severe storm and began to list to starboard.  Conditions got worse as her cargo and the coal in her bunkers shifted.  On the third day out, November 12, the list increasing list caused her coal and cargo to shift.  That morning an order was given to abandon ship, but two lifeboats foundered in the heavy seas.  The Vestris continued to roll over onto her right side and sank at about 2:00 p.m. that afternoon.

Investigations into the sinking revealed passenger complaints of worsening conditions that began early in the voyage, a possible failure of the captain / crew to report these conditions or send a distress signal in a timely fashion, and the possibility that sea water was taken in through a coal port that was not fully closed and sealed.

You can read more on the following websites:*


* I highly recommend the Blue Star Line website

~ Doug Kitchener



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