AFRICAN (2) was built in 1886 by R Dixon & Co. at Middlesbrough with a tonnage of 1372grt, a length of 244ft 2in, a beam of 33ft 4in and a service speed of 10 knots.
She was built for the South African coastal trade and had a shallow draft in order to negotiate the sand bars which were dangerous before dredging operations were undertaken and protective moles constructed. In some cases the ports of calls lack quays.
In 1893 she was sold to F.H. Powell & Co. at Liverpool and renamed Graceful as all his ships names ended with 'ful'. Powell's eventually became part of Coast Lines which adopted his funnel markings, black with white 'V' band.
In 1906 she was sold to Fred Olsen's for their Newcastle - Christiania service and renamed Sovereign and in 1912 became the Zeta under the ownership of the Bergen S.S. Co. when she was modified and emerged with vertical masts and funnel.