Yard Number 835 was named OTAKI when launched on Saturday 15/08/1908 by William Denny & Brothers Dumbarton for New Zealand Shipping Company
Ship Type: Refrigerated Passenger Cargo Liner
Tonnage: 7420 gross; 4611 net; 10630 dwt
Length: 465ft 5in
Breadth: 60ft 4in
Draught: 28ft 7in
New Zealand Shipping Company
Her main engines were built by Denny and Co, Dumbarton , she was powered by Two x three cylinder triple expansion steam engines driving twin screws on the wing shafts, 4444ihp at 103rpm, and one Parsons low pressure exhaust steam turbine driving centre screw, 2414shp at 227rpm, 15 knots. OTAKI was the first British cargo steamer to be fitted with this type of propulsion, an early form of waste-heat recovery.
She is recorded as having sank on 10/03/1917
14/10/1907: Ordered. Originally intended to be a sister of ORARI and OPAWA (Yard Nos 769 and 774), Denny's persuaded NZS to try Parson's invention of combined reciprocating and turbine machinery. The owners agreed to accept the machinery installation provided that the yard would guarantee the performance.
15/08/1908: Launched for The New Zealand Shipping Co Ltd, London. Named by Mrs Warrington Laing, wife of one of the owners' directors.
02/11/1908: Ran trials.
05/11/1908: Delivered. She could carry six passengers, and had a Board of Trade certificate permitting this.
30/05/1916: Made the first transit of the Panama Canal by a NZS steamer.
10/03/1917: Sunk by gunfire and torpedoes from the German surface raider MOEWE 420 miles W of Lisbon. OTAKI was fitted with one 4.7 inch gun mounted aft, whilst the German ship had four 5.9 inch guns, as well as several smaller weapons. Despite the apparent mismatch, OTAKI managed to score several hits on the raider, causing many fires, before having to be abandoned. Her master, Captain A Bisset Smith, who was lost along with five of her crew, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his action against the raider.
Photo supplied by Peter Stewart, from builder's souvenir book.
Previous updates by Paul Strathdee and Peter Stewart.