Like her fleetmate Coptic, launched later in 1881, Arabic was built to serve as a combination cargo/passenger liner. Nonetheless, although she could accommodate both steerage and second-class passengers, Arabic was primarily designed to carry cargo and livestock.
In early 1887, her charter completed, Arabic sailed to Belfast for the addition of 50 second-class berths. The liner resumed sailing for White Star Line in March 1887, serving a London-Queenstown-New York route. In May, she was switched to White Star’s high priority Liverpool-New York run, which she served until April 1888. Shortly thereafter, she resumed her Occidental & Oriental charter.
In February 1890, Arabic was sold to Holland-America Line for £65,000 and renamed Spaarndam. For more than a decade, she served a Rotterdam-New York route. She went to the breakers in 1901, steel hull and all.
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