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SHIPS: SS Porto. French Icebreaker Mikula.



Two original drawings on one sheet showcasing SS Porto and icebreaker Mikula were made by a British, probably during a military campaign in the Black Sea or Eastern Mediterranean Sea, circa 1920.

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SS Porto was originally a German ship named Prinz Heinrich, which was seized by the Portuguese in 1916 during WWI and renamed. The ship was chartered to the British governement under management of the Hudson’s Bay company. 

The ship on the lower image is Mikula, the first vessel built in the Vickers yards in Montreal in 1916 and the only icebreaker sold to Russia during the First World War. Originally named J. D. Hazen in Canada, it was registered as an Imperial Russian naval ship Mikula-Selyaninovich. Within two years the ship was fully involved in the rocky early 20th century history of Russia: after being owed by the imperial Russian army, it was confiscated by the Red Army, and later by the British Navy, which gave her to the French army. 

The sketches were probably made around 1920 around the black sea. Mikula only started sailing under the French flag in the late 1918 and was, after the initial years in the White Sea, involved in the military operations around Crimea in 1920. 

The sketches come from a collection of drawings, probably made by the same hand, related to the theatre of war in the Black Sea, around Crimea, and military operations in Egypt and the middle East. 


References: George Bolotenko, The Icebreaker Mikula Selianinovich (1916-1937): To Russia and Back (https://www.cnrs-scrn.org/northern_mariner/vol12/tnm_12_3_17-42.pdf).

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