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SS Orbita was an ocean liner built in 1913-14 by Harland & Wolff in Belfast for the Pacific Steam Navigation Company. She was launched on Tuesday, 7 July 1914, at 11.15 GMT. Her sister ships were SS Orduna and SS Orca.[2]

RMS Orbita.jpg
SS Orbita in 1916
United Kingdom
Name: SS Orbita
Owner: Pacific Steam Navigation Company
Port of registry: United Kingdom Liverpool
Route: North Atlantic service
Builder: Harland and Wolff yards in Belfast
Yard number: 440
Launched: 7 July 1914
Completed: 31 July 1915
Maiden voyage: 26 September 1919
In service: 1915
Out of service: 1950
Identification: Official number 137467
Fate: Scrapped, 1950, in Newport
General characteristics
Class and type: Ocean liner
Tonnage: 15,495 GRT
Length: 550.3 feet (167.7 m)
Beam: 67.3 feet (20.5 m)
Draught: 35 feet 10 14 inches (10.93 m)
Depth: 43.0 feet (13.1 m)
Propulsion: Triple-expansion engines + low-pressure turbine; Triple screw[1]
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h)
Capacity: 896 passengers

She provided transatlantic passenger transport, measured about 15,500 gross tons, and was 550.3 ft x 67.3 ft.



From 1921 to 1923 the Orbita was chartered to operate the Royal Mail's United KingdomNew York City service. In 1923 she was transferred to Royal Mail ownership, remaining with them for three years before reverting to the Pacific Steam Navigation Company.[3]

Between 1946 and 1950 the Orbita was used as a troopship and to transport emigrants to Australia and New Zealand.[4] The Orbita was an important part of the history of multiracialism in the United Kingdom, arriving with the second group of immigrants from the West Indies (after the Empire Windrush). The passengers were part of the first large group of West Indian immigrants to the UK after the Second World War.[5]

War serviceEdit

The Orbita entered service as an armed merchant cruiser and later as a troop ship during the First World War, delaying her maiden voyage as a passenger liner, from Liverpool to Rio de Janeiro, until 1919.[6] In 1941, in the Second World War, she was requisitioned as a troop ship, leaving Durban SA she transported 268 men of the first unit of British Honduran Foresters via Trinidad and Halifax Nova Scotia to the Port of Liverpool on 12 September 1941 (Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists. Kew, Surrey, England). She continued as a troop ship until at least 1949.[7]


The SS Orbita was dismantled in October 1950 in Newport, South Wales.[8]