Empress of Scotland—Cursed By Fire

Empress of Scotland—Cursed By Fire

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There have been two liners bearing the name Empress of Scotland. Both ultimately fell victim to what could be described as the Empress of Scotland curse.

The first Empress of Scotland (1906) was originally HAPAG’s Kaiserin Auguste Victoria. The liner, ceded to the British after World War I, eventually ended up in Canadian Pacific Line’s fleet.

Empress of Scotland Curse

Hanseatic burns at her pier in 1966.

In 1929, Canadian Pacific Line launched Empress of Japan (1930), which sailed happily and successfully under that name until 1942, when she was renamed Empress of Scotland. (It didn’t make much sense to have a Canadian ship called Empress of Scotland when Canada and the rest of the British Empire were at war with Japan.)

In 1957, Canadian Pacific sold Empress of Scotland to a West German company which, after extensive renovation, renamed her Hanseatic. Less than a decade later the liner burned at her pier in New York on 8 September 1966.

Decades earlier, in 1931, Empress of Scotland (1906) was gutted by a fire at a shipbreaking yard at Blyth, England (see the video above). She broke in two and sank.

There has never been a third Empress of Scotland.

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