Dense Fog on the Coast
Steamers Ashore Near Shields
From mid-day yesterday till this morning a dense fog prevailed on the coast, completely disorganising the shipping movements off the Tyne. The river traffic throughout last evening was greatly interfered with, and so thick did the fog descend, that it was deemed prudent to stop the passenger steamers from conveying passengers to the Tynemouth and South Shields' pier landing stages. Much disappointment was thereby experienced among the large number of trippers who were deprived of a run down to Tynemouth by boat. Shipping in fact up to an early hour this morning, was practically stopped.
Shortly before nine o'clock last night a communication was received at the Coastguard Station, South Shields, to the effect that two steamers had run ashore in the fog at a point about two miles south of the Tyne. Inspector Williams promptly left for the scene of the casualties.
One of the vessels was the local collier Augusta, which had stranded in the vicinity of the Velvet Beds rock, Marsden, about 8.35 p.m. Under the direction of Mr Williams, the life-saving apparatus was taken along the cliff top, and in a very short time a communication was effected with the Augusta, and one of the crew was landed. It was then ascertained that the Augusta, which was light, was from Hamburg, bound for Tyne Dock at the time of the casualty.
Subsequently some of the hands came ashore in their boat, but the captain, officers, and the remainder of the crew stayed by the vessel. The men who had previously come ashore afterwards returned to the ship to assist to make preparations to float her. Although the wind was from the south-east, and there was a likelihood of the sea becoming rough, the Augusta was then in no immediate danger, as she appeared in a good position for floating.
The attention of Mr Williams and his men was as soon as possible directed to the other stranded ship, which was presumably a large steamer, which was found to have gone ashore at Manhaven, not far from where the Augusta had stranded. Two rockets were fired at the steamer, but the crew signalled back to the effect that they were going to stand by their ship. In consequence of the density of the atmosphere the name of the steamer was not ascertainable. Mr Williams, as a precautionary measure in case the crews of either vessels required assistance during the night, had an officer stationed near the place where the steamers had gone ashore, but the weather continuing fine, the services of the coastguard were not required.
The Augusta was successfully floated off at 2.45 this morning with the assistance of some tugs, and was safely brought into the Tyne having, however, sustained somewhat serious damage to stern post, and also had her rudder carried away. The Augusta is owned by Gordon and Co., London. The other steamer, the name of which was not obtainable, was towed clear of the rocks an hour after the Augusta, and is supposed to have proceeded to Sunderland. It is thought that she must have received rather serious damage owing to the position in which she was lying. Another vessel is reported to have stranded north of the Tyne, but subsequently floated.
Source: Shields Daily Gazette 26 June 1902