Two Steamships Named Doric
By James Donahue
There were two passenger ships that bore the name Doric for the White Star Line between 1883 and 1935. The unusual
name, describing a style of Greek architecture, appears to have been rare among ships at sea.
The first Doric, launched in 1883, had a steel hull although it was designed much like the clipper ships of its day.
The 441-foot-long hull was low and sleek. The steamer also carried four masts in case sail was needed. She had a single funnel.
The superstructure also was low, with most of the space for passengers located below the main deck. She had accommodation
for 70 first class and 900 emigrant class passengers.
The first Doric was a sister ship to the Coptic and Lonic, also launched at Belfast for the White Star Line of steamships.
This ship was used almost exclusively on Pacific trade and passenger routes. At first it ran between England and New
Zealand. Later it was chartered to Shaw Savil & Albion and then to Occidental and Oriental Lines to make regular trips
between San Francisco and Hong Kong.
The New York Times reported in July, 1902 that Doric arrived in San Francisco with a very large cargo of 2,693 tons.
The cargo included the largest ever shipment of opium, weighing 33,210 pounds. The cargo also included 129,492 chests of tea.
The steamer was sold in 1906 to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company in 1906 and renamed the Asia. It continued to make
runs to Hong Kong until April 23, 1911 when she went aground in fog on the Taichow Islands, off the coast of China. There
was no loss of life. The wreck was looted and eventually burned by local fishermen where it rested.
The second and final Doric for the White Star Line, launched in 1922, was larger and more powerful than its predecessor.
She measured 575 feet. She sported two funnels, two masts and offered accommodation for 600 cabin and 1,700 third class passengers.
This ship made regular trips across the Atlantic between Liverpool and the Canadian ports of Quebec and Montreal until May,
After that the Doric was used for cruises. On September 5, 1935, Doric was in collision with the French ship Formigny
off Cape Finisterre. She was temporarily repaired at Vigo then sailed for London and then on to Newport, South Wales. There
it was determined that the damage was too extensive and the vessel was scrapped.