ST. ELMO

fully rigged ship icon

ST. ELMO

Years Active: 1873-1876+
Vessel Type: Full-rigged Ship
Full-rigged
Nationality: Canadian
Arrived in Port Stanley in July 1876 with nine of its crew of 21 seriously ill with lead poisoning from its water tanks.

Main Use:

Cargo

Years Active:

1873-1876+

Power:

Sail

Built:

1873

Size:

1,429 Net tons
63.09 x 11.92 x 7.32 metres

(length, breadth, depth) metres

Design/Build:

St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
Main Use: Cargo
Built: 1873
Power: Sail
Design/Build: St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
Size: 1,429 Net tons
Dimensions: 63.09 x 11.92 x 7.32 metres
According to official communications between from the Falkland Islands Governor’s office and the UK Colonial Office between July 1876 and March 1877: ‘several’ of the ST ELMO’s crew were ‘suffering seriously’ from the effects of lead poisoning and it was necessary to convert part of a new Falklands gaol into a ‘temporary hospital for their accommodation’. Although it was ‘hoped’ that all the men would recover, there had already been two crew deaths. Shortly after the ship’s arrival one man had died on board, but this was put down to dysentery rather than lead poisoning. The despatches also reveal the likely cause of the poisoning: the ST ELMO’s water tanks had been repaired or maintained with red and white lead. Although the ill crew members were kept in Stanley, the ST ELMO was allowed to leave with eleven ‘fresh hands’ on board. It was just as well, because according to the correspondence: ‘Seven months later, three of the ship’s crew were still too sick to leave the Falklands’.
According to official communications between from the Falkland Islands Governor’s office and the UK Colonial Office between July 1876 and March 1877: ‘several’ of the ST ELMO’s crew were ‘suffering seriously’ from the effects of lead poisoning and it was necessary to convert part of a new Falklands gaol into a ‘temporary hospital for their accommodation’. Although it was ‘hoped’ that all the men would recover, there had already been two crew deaths. Shortly after the ship’s arrival one man had died on board, but this was put down to dysentery rather than lead poisoning. The despatches also reveal the likely cause of the poisoning: the ST ELMO’s water tanks had been repaired or maintained with red and white lead. Although the ill crew members were kept in Stanley, the ST ELMO was allowed to leave with eleven ‘fresh hands’ on board. It was just as well, because according to the correspondence: ‘Seven months later, three of the ship’s crew were still too sick to leave the Falklands’.

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