SS Atlantic

The White Star Line's First Disaster at Sea


It’s a cold April night on the high seas. A ship steams quickly towards port. Aboard are wealthy passengers enjoying their luxurious accommodations. In the holds below, steerage passengers sit in crowded berths, excited about starting a new life in a new world. In the bridge above, the Captain retires for the evening. The lookouts think they see something ahead. Too late, they warn the bridge . . . This was the fate of the S. S. Atlantic, the second ship built by the White Star Line for its new fleet. Built forty-two years before the RMS Titanic, the Atlantic had successfully completed eighteen crossings before it ran aground off the coast of Nova Scotia on April 1, 1873, killing 562 of the 952 onboard. It was the worst trans-Atlantic marine disaster of the 19th century, yet, until now, the full story has never been told.


"I've read a lot of books about shipwrecks, and this is clearly one of the best. Explorers everywhere will appreciate how well written it is and how meticulously the facts were researched. "

- Joe Porter

"Greg Cochkanoff's narrative is full of colour, suspense and tragedy. He recreates the scene of Atlantic's last voyage very realistically while producing a valuable addition to the fascinating lure of this ill-fated White Star ship. "

- Karen Kamuda