Emigrant ship losses.

Chris Michael

Here I collect records of the worst (in terms of passengers lost) disasters to emigrant ships (in the days of sail) travelling from Liverpool to America and Australia. I focus, particularly, on losses close to Europe, especially in the Irish Sea. After the 1840's, steam transport was the preferred method to cross the Atlantic: it was quicker and more reliable. It was also more expensive, so sailing vessels continued to offer a service to emigrants who had limited funds.

Emigrant ships to America: losses from Liverpool

Some of these losses have already been described in more detail in my books Wrecks of Liverpool Bay (Ocean Monarch) and Liverpool Hurricane of 1839 (Lockwoods).
Note that passenger numbers were not accurately known in many cases.

Year lost; number of fatalities; name of vesssel:
1801:     0; Francis and Mary
1818:   12; Sine
1830: 25-55; Newry
1839;   53; Lockwoods
1841; 123; Governor Fenner
1848; 178; Ocean Monarch
1858;   51; St. George
1859; 389; Pomona

Emigrant ships to Australia: losses from Liverpool

The much longer passage to Australia was very expensive for steam ships (in coal and space to store it), so sail was used mainly, supplemented by auxilliary steam power to get through calms and to negotiate port entrances.
  The two wrecks listed here were both iron clippers relatively newly built for this trade.

Year lost; number of fatalities; name of vesssel:
1854; 380; Tayleur
1856; 450; Royal Charter

In 1873, on her maiden voyage, the iron clipper Dunmail bound from Liverpool to Australia was lost near Liverpool. The crew, pilot and 28 passengers were saved by heroic endeavours of the New Brighton and the Liverpool lifeboats. More detail in Wrecks of Liverpool Bay Vol II

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