Builder: Thomas Ridley Oswald & Co., Sunderland.
Yard No. 135
Official No. 68813
Tonnage: 352 gross, 203 net
Dimensions: 163.5 x 22.2 x 11.0 feet
Engines: 2 cyl. compound by builder. 70 h.p. = 7 knots
Launched: November 1872
Completed: February 26, 1873
Lost: March 29, 1876
(details from Union-Castle Line by Peter Newall)
Researching the "Namaqua" difficult is that there were two ships of the same name trading between Cape Town and the West Coast port of Port Nolloth at the same time. Unfortunately to date I have been unable to unearth a picture, either photograph or painting, nor have I been able to find a plan of the ship. However she was most likely very similar in appearance to the other small steamers built for the South African coast.
Union Line's Namaqua, named after the West Coast territory, Namaqualand, had a good reputation for speedy voyages, but like so many ships on the coast, came to an untimely end, the victim of the notorious West Coast fogs.
Built for the copper trade between Port Nolloth and Cape Town, the "Namaqua" could not have been a financial success for she was not replaced.
The following extract is from Marischal Murray's "Ships and South Africa", (Oxford).
'The Namaqua was specially built for the trade between Table Bay and Port Nolloth, the Union Company having obtained a contract from the Cape Copper Company for the conveyance of copper ore from Namaqualand to Cape Town. During 1873, when the Union Line was so much under a cloud, the "Namaqua" was the one Union vessel which was consistently well spoken of by the Cape newspapers. She was a trim little craft, having passenger accommodation for 14 gentlemen and 6 ladies. Her career was brief, for on the afternoon of March 29th, 1876, she grounded near Port Nolloth, her draught being too great to allow of her crossing the bar. No lives were lost, but the master, Captain Gibbs, who had been in her since she first came out, had his certificate suspended for two years. The mercantile community of Capetown protested against the finding of the court but their petition was unsuccessful.
The cargo on the wreck, valued at £2,100, was disposed of, somewhat precipitately, to a storekeeper at Hondeklip Bay for £35. The same man, also, acquired the hull of the vessel for the sum of £5.
(The Union coaster "Namaqua" must not be confused with Wm. Berry's vessel of the same name, which was also running to Port Nolloth at this time.)