28th February 1885 –
Gaelic launched at Belfast

Gaelic 1885Gaelic, the second vessel of that name, was launched at Harland & Wolff’s Belfast yard on 28th February 1885. She was handed over to White Star on 18th July 1885, for use on the joint White Star/Occidental & Oriental trans-Pacific route. Under Captain Pearne, she sailed from Liverpool on 28th July, heading for Hong Kong, then Yokohama and on to San Francisco. She arrived at her destination on 30th October. She then settled into her regular commercial service from San Francisco to Yokohama, running alongside her sister ship, Belgic.

In August 1896, soon after leaving Nagasaki, Gaelic encountered a large fleet of sampans. In taking avoiding action, Gaelic went aground on a reef at Shimonoseki, and her bow and forward hold were badly damaged. After temporary repairs at Nagasaki, she returned to Hong Kong and was dry-docked. Here a number of plates had to be replaced, plus nine frames and three bulkheads. She had a number of incidents involving health and sanitary inspections, with frequent outbreaks of smallpox, bubonic plague and other serious issues, due to the large number of immigrants carried.

Gaelic1At this time the transport and sale of opium was legal, and Gaelic often carried large cargoes. On 10th January 1902 she arrived at San Francisco with over £1 million of opium aboard plus other valuable commodities. She made her final departure from San Francisco on 13th December 1904, heading for Hong Kong and then the UK. On her arrival, she was sent to Belfast for a refit, and was then sold on to Pacific Steam Navigation, who renamed her Callao, for their service from Liverpool to Callao in Peru. Her accommodation was now 83 First, 44 Second and 280 Third Class. Finally, in September 1907 Callao was broken up in South Wales.