SS Fazilka

SS Fazilka was a 4,152 GRT steamship with a length of 366 feet (112 m), breadth of 48.2 feet (14.7 m) and draught of 26.5 feet (8.1 m). She was built by William Doxford and Sons for the British-India Steam Navigation Company (B.I.S.N.) in 1890. She had triple expansion, 462 nhp, steam engines with a top speed of 12.5 knots.

Owner: British-India Steam Navigation Company
Builder: William Doxford and Sons
Launched: 1890
Fate: wrecked 31 October 1919, on the east coast of Great Nicobar Island
General characteristics
Displacement: 4,152 long tons (4,219 t)
Length: 366 ft (112 m) o/a
Beam: 48.2 ft (14.7 m)
Draught: 26.5 ft (8.1 m)
Propulsion: triple expansion, 462 nhp, steam engines
Speed: 12.5 knots (23.2 km/h; 14.4 mph)

Indentured labour ship

On 31 October 1904, the Fazilka was used to carry migrants from London to Brisbane, but she was primarily used for the transportation of Indian indentured labourers to the colonies. Details of some of these voyages are as follows:

Destination Date of Arrival Number of Passengers Deaths During Voyage
Fiji28 March 1901804 n/a
Fiji18 June 1901776n/a
Fiji20 June 1902840 n/a
Fiji17 April 1906881 n/a
Fiji28 January 1907875 n/a
Fiji25 April 1907796n/a

Troop ship

Fazilka was used to carry troops from India to South Africa during the Boer war. She left Port Natal on 30 January 1900 to make the return trip to India. Four days after passing through the Mozambique Channel the tail shaft broke. The shaft had broken in two places partially rupturing the stern tube, so the first requirement was to shift ballast and get the stern out of the water. Attempts were made to rig sails but progress was slow and after an attempt to tow, the engineers under Mr. Brown worked in intolerable conditions to repair the shaft. The repairs were complicated and after various failures it was decided to take down the high pressure engine and use the bottom end brasses as a clamp. This was effective in holding the shaft and then the rear end breakage was connected by a Thomson coupling. Using the low pressure engines only, Fazilka was able to make Colombo at a speed of 9 knots (17 km/h). This was one of the most heroic ship repairs at sea and the Engineers were rewarded accordingly. John Macdonald, the 4th Engineer receiving a Gold watch and the sum of £30.

Fazilka was wrecked on 31 October 1919, on the east coast of Great Nicobar Island. She was on a voyage from Penang to Calcutta, carrying passengers and a general cargo.

See also


  • Blake, George (1956). B.I. Centenary. Collins.

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