SS Runic (1949)

SS Runic was a refrigerated cargo ship built at Harland and Wolff, Belfast in 1949 for the Shaw, Savill & Albion Line. She was launched at Belfast in October 1949, and entered service in March 1950, and was designed for trade between the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. She had two sister ships; Persic and Suevic.[1][2]

Runic in 1951
United Kingdom
Name: Runic
Owner: Shaw, Savill and Albion Line
Builder: Harland and Wolff shipyard, Belfast
Yard number: 1414
Launched: 21 October 1949
Completed: 24 March 1950
Out of service: 19 February 1961
Fate: Wrecked in 1961
General characteristics
Type: Refrigerated cargo ship
Tonnage: 13,587 GRT
Length: 561 ft (171 m)
Beam: 72.2 ft (22.0 m)
Decks: three
Installed power: reduction geared steam turbines
Propulsion: Two propellers
Speed: 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) service speed
Crew: 69

Like many Shaw, Savill ships, Runic took its name from an earlier White Star Line ship of the same name.


Runic had a gross register tonnage (GRT) of 13,587 tons, and a deadweight tonnage of 14,500 tons, and measured 561 ft (171 m) long by 72.2 ft (22.0 m) wide. She was powered by reduction geared steam turbines through two propellers, and had a service speed of 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph).[2]


On 19 February 1961 while en route from Brisbane to New Zealand, Runic ran aground on Middleton Reef in the Tasman Sea after sailing through the tail end of a hurricane, despite attempts at salvage, bad weather pushed the ship further onto the reef and it started to flood. On 22 March salvage efforts were abandoned and Runic was declared a constructive total loss, her crew of 69 was evacuated onto the Shaw, Savill ship Arabic and taken to Sydney.[1][2][3][4]

In 2012, the wreck was still partially intact.[5]


  1. "Runic". The Yard. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  2. Haws, Duncan (1987). Merchant Fleets 10, Shaw, Savill & Albion. TCL Publications. p. 68. ISBN 0 946378 06 1.
  3. "SALVAGE OF FREIGHTER ABANDONED". National Library of Australia. The Canberra Times. 24 March 1961. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  4. "CREW FROM RUNIC IN SYDNEY". National Library of Australia. The Canberra Times. 29 March 1961. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  5. "Expedition to Middleton Reef, Lord Howe Island". YouTube. Arajilla Retreat. Retrieved 22 August 2018.

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