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

John Seymour
Master Mariner
1841 - 1899

Copyright: Dougal Watson 2007 -

Ship: Hibernia (ON 29387)

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These two Portuguese stamps depict Great Eastern laying the Portugal - England section of the Indo-European cable. CS Hibernia laid this section

The SS Hibernia was built in the shipyards of Jarrow, County Durham, England in 1861. The ship was made of iron, including three decks and six bulkheads. It was 360 feet long and 40 feet wide with a hold depth of 29 feet. It was 2,164 net tonnes with a thrust of 320 horsepower.

The Hibernia had assisted the Great Eastern in its laying telegraph cables from Heart's Content, Newfoundland to Valentia, County Kerry, Ireland in 1873 and 1874. This cable was originally ordered by the French Atlantic Telegraph Company just before its takeover by the Anglo American Telegraph Company. After completion, because of the shorter route, 1000 nautical miles of cable was left and so additional cable was ordered to enable another cable to be laid, this being done in 1874. Hibernia's task was the laying the short ends of the cables that came ashore. It was originally owned by the Atlantic Royal Mail Steamship Navigation Company of London where it would have carried mail and passengers and was engaged in many other parts of the world in cable laying work. In 1872 ownership was passed over to the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company of London. In 1873 the Hibernia was also under contract to repair the French Atlantic Cable, that stretched from Brest to Saint-Pierre and Miquelon with Wilson Robert Cato as Master at Sheerness.

After completion of the cable laying at Heart's Content the Hibernia was sent to Brazil to replace broken cables between Pará, Maranhão and Pernambuco. On November 21, 1877 while anchored at Alagoas in Maranham Bay the Hibernia sank.

(Magazine article: Newfoundland Quarterly Vol. XCI, No. 3&4, Winter/Spring 1998, Page 23.)

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  1875 September voyage, with CS Edinburgh, to lay the 1283 nm cable from La Perouse, Sydney, Australia, to Wakapauka, New Zealand.