At 2 pm on May 4, 1843, in the building of the Odessa customs, the opening of the “Expedition of constant steamship communications between Odessa and Constantinople” took place in the presence of the Novorossiysk and Bessarabia Governor-General M.S. Vorontsov and members of the expedition. On May 6, the steam frigate “Odessa” arrived from Nikolaev to Odessa, on which Admiral M.P. Lazarev.

Monday, May 10, 1843 at 12:30 p.m. “Odessa” under the command of Lieutenant A.L. Albrandta left on the first voyage to Constantinople with 23 passengers, cargo and correspondence. Before leaving, before lifting the anchor, Vorontsov and Lazarev were on board.

The steam frigate “Crimea” on May 25 arrived after repairs from Nikolaev to Odessa and on June 10 under the command of Lieutenant Commander A.G. Usova left on the first voyage to Constantinople. Thus, a regular communication between Odessa and Constantinople was established.

According to the rules that existed then, the passengers were obliged with “their belongings” on the day of the ship’s departure, not later than 2 pm to appear at the customs in order to “be able to fulfill all the formalities established by law when traveling by sea abroad.” On the ship, which departed, apparently, from the Platonov Mole, passengers were supposed to arrive no later than an hour before its departure. Heavy cargoes were brought to the ship two days before its departure, and light cargoes – a day before.

The staffing table for a steam frigate flying Odessa – Constantinople provided for: a commander with the rank of lieutenant commander, 3 officers, 2 conductors, 1 doctor, 1 paramedic, 89 non-commissioned officers and privates. The crew consisted of 5 gunners, since onboard guns were retained on the steam frigate. How did you manage to combine the conditions of a military vessel with its commercial service? In the instruction to the commander of the steam frigate “Bessarabia” (this steamer made several trips from Odessa to Redut-Kale and back in 1846-1847) signed by Admiral M.P. Lazarev and the chief of staff of the fleet on March 7, 1847, it was said that it was necessary to keep “the team in order and discipline, teaching them in their free time everything that relates to the naval unit, artillery and front-line service; but not otherwise only when there are no passengers on the ship. The commander of the steamship frigate was also obliged to “have supervision of the owner of the table.”

Regular voyages of steam frigates to Constantinople continued until the start of the war with Turkey in 1853. Then these steamers became part of the Black Sea Fleet.

Nikolay Zalessky

By editor