Arabic (1881) was the first White Star liner built with a steel hull.
Launched on 30 April 1881, the 4,386-ton Harland & Wolff-built Arabic was 430 feet long and 42 feet at beam. She featured one funnel, a single screw and four masts, including a sail-bearing foremast. Arabic was capable of cruising at 13 knots.
The liner needed her sturdy hull on 2 December 1881 when she collided with the steamer Plove while leaving Liverpool on the last of three New York roundtrips before entering Pacific service under charter to the Occidental & Oriental Steamship Co. Thanks to her sturdy hull, Arabic suffered only minor damage in the collision and would begin serving a Hong Kong-San Francisco route in early 1882.
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