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History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

CS Colonia
by Bill Glover

CS COLONIA

CS Colonia at Greenwich, 1906
Image courtesy of
The East London Postcard Site

Built in 1902 by Swan, Hunter Wigham Richardson Ltd.

Length  487 ft.    Breadth  56 ft    Depth  27.6 ft    Gross tonnage  7891

When the Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Company won the contract to manufacture and lay the Pacific cable it was decided to lay the Bamfield - Fanning Island section cable in one operation. As none of the existing cable ships had sufficient storage capacity to carry the 3458 nm of cable, Colonia was specially built for the task.

Fitted with four tanks:- No 1 tank 45 ft dia by 26 ft 9 in. deep, capacity 40,810 cubic feet; No 2 tank 47 ft dia by 27 ft 6 in. deep, capacity 42,538 cubic feet; No 3 tank 49 ft dia by 17 ft 9 in. deep, capacity 32,121 cubic feet; No 4 tank 45 ft dia by 18 ft 9 in. deep, capacity 28.493 cubic feet,  the total capacity being 143,962 cubic feet.

A double paying out-picking up machine was fitted on the main deck forward of the No 1 tank hatch. A single paying out machine was fitted aft. Two bow sheaves and one stern sheave, all 3 ft 6 in. in dia were fitted. In all the ship laid nearly 81,000 miles of cable.

CS Colonia aground in Fox Bay, Fox Island, near Canso (Nova Scotia) while laying the 1905 Canso -  Waterville - Western super Mare cable for the Commercial Cable Co. To enable Colonia to be floated off the cable was off-loaded into the Mackay Bennett, seen in the background.

Postcard is endorsed “Colonia cable ship which was on the rocks at Fox Bay. I was on board. Florence.”

In 1928 the vessel was sold to the Norwegian Whaling Company A/S Thar Dahl of Sandefjord who converted her into a factory ship and renamed her Torodd. Used in the Antarctic during the 1928-9 and 1930-31 whaling seasons. Then laid up until 1934 when sold to another whaling company, Norseke Hvalproduktor A/S Oslo who renamed her Sydis and was again used from 1934 to 1937 in the Antarctic.

Sold in 1937 to a German company Oelmuhlen Walgang Konsortium, Berlin and renamed Sudmeer, the vessel spent a further two seasons in the Antarctic. The vessel was sunk during the early part of World War II.

CABLE WORK

Capt. H. Woodcock:

1901

St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands - Fayal, Azores

1902

Bamfield, Vancouver Island, Canada - Fanning Island

1903

Manila, Philippines - Guam

1903

Guam - Midway

1903

Midway - Honolulu, Hawaii

1905

MAIN-5: Canso, Nova Scotia - Waterville, Ireland - Weston super Mare, England

1906

Porthcurno, England - Fayal, Azores

1906

St Vincent Cape Verde Islands - Fayal, Azores

1907

Durban - Mozambique

1907

Coney Island, New York - Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

1907

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - Colon, Panama

1907

Delagoa Bay - Moçambique diversions into Beira

1907

Quelimane T piece to Mozambique - Beira cable of 1879 and 1907

1908

Cadiz - Tenerife - Palma - Hierro - Gomera - Tenerife - Gran Canaria - Feurteventura - Lanzarote

1909

NY-1: St. John's, Newfoundland - New York

1910

Conception Bay, Newfoundland - Coney Island, New York (direct link for the second 1884 cable, which was diverted to Cuckold's Cove in 1905). It's likely this work was also done by Colonia, but at present there is no documented confirmation of this.

1910

WESTON-3: Waterville, Ireland - Weston super Mare, England

1910

St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands - Ascension

1910

Ascension - Buenos Aires

1910

Bay Roberts, Newfoundland - Sennen Cove, Cornwall, England

1910

St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands - Ascension

1912

Gibraltar - Malta

1912

Malta - Alexandria

1912

NY - 2: New York - St Johns,  Newfoundland

1912 Gibraltar - Malta - Alexandria
1913 Aden - Colombo
1914  Freetown - Accra
Suez - Aden
1915  Peterhead, Scotland - Alexandrovsk, Russia
New York - Cuba - Panama
1919 Ascension - Rio de Janeiro
1920 Miami - Maranham - Barbados
Miami - Barbados
1920 Atalya - Rio de Janeiro
Montevideo - Santos
1921   Gibraltar - Malta
Madras - Penang
Key West - Havana (3 cables)
1922     Suez - Port Sudan - Aden
Aden - Seychelles - Colombo
Maceio - Rio de Janeiro
Pernambuco - Maranham
Santos - Rio de Janeiro
1923  Penang - Colombo
Horta - Le Havre
1924     New York - Horta, Azores
New York - Cuba - Panama
Malaga - Horta, Azores
Rio de Janeiro - Montevideo
Montevideo - Buenos Aires (2 cables)
1925 Porthcurno - Bilbao
1926 Cocos (Keeling) Island - Cottesloe, Perth, Australia

CS Colonia at the Telcon Works, Greenwich, 1909
Image courtesy of Bill Holly

CABLE REPAIRS

Capt. H. Woodcock:

1907

Ste Tome - Ste Paul de Loanda repair to 1886 cable

1907

Durban - Delagoa Bay part renewal 1879 cable

1908

Aden - Zanzibar renewal of 1879 cable

1908

Aden - Bombay repairs to 1870, 1877, 1891 cables

1908

Valentia - Hearts Content renewal of 1880 cable

1909

Waterville - Canso diversion of 1884 cable to St. Johns, Newfoundland

1910

Waterville - St. Johns renewal of 1884 cables

1910

Sennen Cove - Canso

1910

Sennen Cove - Canso renewal of shore ends 1881 & 1882 cables

Last revised: 21 May, 2017

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You can help - if you have cable material, old or new, please contact me. Cable samples, instruments, documents, brochures, souvenir books, photographs, family stories, all are valuable to researchers and historians.

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—Bill Burns, publisher and webmaster: Atlantic-Cable.com