Built by Hawthorn, Leslie & Co. Ltd, Newcastle upon Tyne, England Length: 249 Beam 33 Draft: 18 1717 gross; 1394
The S.S. Princess May was built and launched under the name Cass in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1888 by Hawthorn, Leslie & Co., Ltd. She was built for the
Formosa Trading Company for service on the China coast. She sailed in this capacity from 1888 until 1901, under a number of different owners, receiving
several name changes including Aruthur, back to Cass, Ningchow and Ha-ting, which was its name until 1901.
The Ha-ting was acquired in1901 by the newly formed Canadian Pacific Railway Coast Service, of British Columbia under superintendent James W. Troup. A
steamship was needed to meet to meet the demand for traffic on the route to southeastern Alaska, and the new company did not want to wait a year or more to
construct a new vessel. The Ha-ting was brought over to Canada in May, 1901.
On 27 May , 1901, newly renamed Princess May was placed on the 800-mile route from Vancouver, British Columbia along the British Columbia coast to
Skagway, Alaska. She operated successfully, and in 1906 the company invested in rebuilding the superstructure and enlarging passenger accommodations.
She was joined in 1907 by the new Princess Royal.
The Princess May became perhaps the most famous shipwreck on the Pacific coast on 5 August 5, 1910. Having departed from Skagway, Alaska, with 80
passengers, 68 crew, and a shipment of gold, the Princess May was proceeding south down Lynn Canal when she encountered heavy fog. In the for the ship
ran aground on rocks near the north end of Sentinel Island. It was high tide and the May, traveling at about 10 knots, was forced high up onto the rocks. With
the tide running out, the ship was left high and dry in what was to become the iconic photo above.
The May was so close to Sentinel Island that all passengers were evacuated safely along with the gold shipment and the mail for safekeeping.
For the next few weeks the Princess May remained on the rocks while crews worked to dislodge it. After blasting rocks and with two tugs assisting, the May was
salvaged and towed away for repairs.
Her service not over, she was converted to oil burning in 1911 (the first CPR ship so converted and continued to sail until sold in 1919. She went into service in
the Caribbean, a was deliberately scuttled in 1935.