SS Vestris was a 1912 passenger steamship owned by Lamport and Holt Line and used in their New York to River Plate service. On 12 November 1928 she began listing about 200 miles off Hampton Roads, Virginia, was abandoned, and sank, killing more than 100 people. Her wreck is thought to rest some 1.2 miles (2 km) beneath the North Atlantic
The sinking, which attracted much press coverage at the time, remains notable for the loss of life, particularly of women and children, after the vessel was abandoned.
The sinking and subsequent inquiries may also have shaped the second International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) in 1929
Vestris left New York bound for the River Plate on 10 November 1928 with 325 passengers and crew. A day after leaving New York, the ship ran into a severe storm and developed a starboard list. The following day, the list worsened as cargo and coal bunkers shifted and the ship took on water through numerous leaks.
On 12 November, at 9:56 am, an SOS was sent out giving her position as latitude 37° 35' N. and longitude 71° 81' W., which was incorrect by about 37 miles. The SOS was repeated at 11:04 am.
Between 11 am and noon, while the ship was off Norfolk, Virginia, the order was given to man lifeboats and the ship was abandoned. Two hours later, at about 2pm, Vestris sank at Lat. 37° 38' N, Long. 70° 23' W. The rescue vessels arriving on the scene, late in the evening of 12 November and early in the morning of 13 November, were the steamships American Shipper, Myriam, Berlin and USS Wyoming.
While estimates of the dead vary from 110 to 127, Time and The New York Times reported that from the complement of 128 passengers and 198 crew on board, 111 people were killed:
None of the 13 children and only eight of the 33 women aboard the ship survived. The captain of Vestris, William J. Carey, went down with his ship. 22 bodies were recovered by rescue ships.