Fortuna, ex Ems




Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech University Libraries


Ship Name:Fortuna ex Ems; Sailed: 1893-1927; Type: Iron 3-masted; Built by: Glasgow by Charles Connell & Co.; Dimensions: 270.7' x 39' x 22.5'; Tonnage: 1829 tons.


Ems, named after a river in Germany, was part of the James Nourse fleet and engaged in the immigrant traffic and Indian contract labor trade in the UK’s colonies. In addition, Ems carried cargo and recorded some quick passages. I read somewhere that Ems was a sister ship to the White Star training ship Mersey. The Tonsberg Whaling Company, a Norwegian whaling concern, purchased Ems in 1909. Sold again in 1912 to another Norwegian whaling concern, Ems shortly changed hands in 1916 to Argentine owners, who renamed the ship Fortuna. The Fortuna sailed between South Georgia and Europe. These photographs are all of Ems as Fortuna and were taken between 1916 and 1927. In 1927, Fortuna caught fire tragically losing five of its Norwegian crew (though Argentine, the ship regularly shipped a Norwegian crew and master). Fortuna ex Ems was a good-looking ship and I have expressed my prejudice in favor of Connell’s ships elsewhere. Photograph79a reveals a small charthouse on the poop which when viewed in photograph 79b reveals a binnacle perched atop the charthouse. Unusually, Fortuna has dark-painted cabins which do not show up well in the photographs. Instead, there are low skids for ship’s boats, and some construction between the main and mizzen. Whether this arrangement was original to Ems or an alteration later I cannot say.


Merchant Ships, Ships