Cargo VesselsTownsend BrothersTownsend Thoresen

SS Artificer – Past and Present

Official Number: 118714

SS Artificer

Ex Mercury

Courtesy of World Ship Society (East Kent Branch)

Courtesy of World Ship Society (East Kent Branch)

Steel single screw motor vessel built in 1905 by Dundee Shipbuilders Co. Ltd., Dundee, Panmure Yard (Yard No 151) as Coaster General Cargo.

Technical Data

  • Length: 146.1 ft
  • Breadth: 25.1 ft
  • Depth: 10.5 ft
  • Draught: 
  • Tonnage: 386 gross/155 net/276 Under Deck
  • Engines: T3cyl (13, 22, 36 x 24in) J Menzies & Co. Ltd., Leith
  • Power: kW/HP
  • Speed:  knots
  • Capacity: 15 (Crane Loaded) cars. 12 passengers (max)
  • Call Sign: JKDT, MFTQ
  • Register Number: 64532 (LR 1930 – 31)
  • Official Number: 118744
  • Port of Registry: Newcastle/UK 🇬🇧


January 24th 1905: Launched.

March 1905: Completed as MERCURY for Mercury S.S. Co. Ltd. Managers: D. & J. Nicol, Dundee.

1915: To The “T” Steam Coasters Ltd. Managers:  Robinson, Brown & Co., Newcastle as ARTIFICER.

Courtesy of  David Townsend

Courtesy of  David Townsend (via John Hendy)

July 1928: Chartered to Captain Stuart M. Townsend of Townsend Brothers Shipping Ltd., initially for one month with an option for a second such period. “

“Using a berth in the Camber, at Dover’s Eastern Docks, while on the Calais side the Quai Paul Devot, was used.”.

© Paul Villy  © Paul Villy

At Quai Paul Devot (© Paul Villy)

1929: Replaced by ROYAL FIRTH.

August 1930: Anchored off Camperdown Lochway then sailed to Perth with grain.

1930: Stranded on Salt Scar Rock, Redcar

March 15th 1931:  Two miles off Dover, in thick fog, PRINCESSE MARIE-JOSE was involved in a collision with the small coasting steamer ARTIFICER. Only slight damage was sustained by the Belgian boat. More serious was that suffered by the ARTIFICER, holed in the bows and towed in Dover, in a sinking condition..

1935: Broken up.


All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: World Ship Society (East Kent Branch) and John Hendy for their assistance in producing this feature.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)


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