Cape Colonna

Leith Bound Steamer Ashore
Beached in Sinking Condition

Bound from Symrna to Leith, the steamer Cape Colonna was entering the Tyne early yesterday morning during stormy weather, when she was buffeted by heavy seas, and was driven on to a bed of rocks on the north side of the harbour known as the Black Middens. Shortly afterwards the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade fired a rocket, which carried a line over the engine-room sky-light. The crew, however, refused to take advantage of it, and as the seas were breaking over the vessel the lifeboats James Young, from North Shields, the Bedford, from South Shields, and the motor lifeboat from the Low Lights; came to the vessel's assistance, and in one of these the firemen were taken to North Shields, and lodged in the Sailors' Home. The remainder of the crew worked hard to free the vessel, with the assistance of the tugs Talisman, Hercules, Organiser, and Warrior, and these, helped by the vessel's own engines, managed to get her off the rocks after several hours' efforts. As soon as she was in deep water, she began to fill, and the steamer was thereupon run on to the beach at South Shields, but for which she would have foundered in the river. As she lay on a sandy bottom there were hopes that she would be salved at the next high tide. She has a valuable cargo on board, consisting of wheat, barley, cottonseed and fruit, consigned to Leith.

The Cape Colonna, which is of 2789 tons gross register, belongs to Northumbrian Shipping Corporation (Ltd.), Newcastle, though her port of registry is Whitby.

The crew stated that the vessel left Smyrna on the 18th of last month, and called at Dartmouth last Saturday for bunkers. Up to that time all had gone well. From leaving Dartmouth, however, right up to the time of the accident, bad weather was experienced. Frequently they could steam only three knots an hour against a heavy beam sea, and, it became necessary to call at the Tyne for more coal to complete the passage to Leith. When the vessel was making the harbour she was struck on the stern by an unusually strong sea; and before anything could be done to right her she was fast on the rocks aft. One of the stokehold plates was dislodged, but no one was hurt, and there was perfect discipline. The men were aided in their work by the display of the searchlight from the Tynemouth Volunteer Brigade look-out house. The lifeboats took a second batch of men off after the vessel was beached, but the master, Captain Jackson, who belongs to Robin Hood's Bay: Mr Lund, the chief engineer; Mr Nielson, the chief mate, and two ordinary seamen, remained on board.

Source: The Scotsman 13 September 1912

Steamer Ashore at Mouth of the Tyne

The Leith-bound steamer Cape Colonna, whose port of registry is Whitby, went ashore yesterday morning on the Black Middens, the mouth of the Tyne. The crew refused the use of a life-line, which the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade fired across the vessel, and the North and Shields lifeboats and motor lifeboat from Low Lights put off the ship. Seas were washing over the stranded vessel, but only the firemen left the ship and were landed at North Shields. Four steam tugs, after three hours' work, towed the ship off the rocks, but as she began to fill she was beached on the sands on the south side of the river, between the South Pier and the Groyne Lighthouse. The master, Captain Jackson (of Robin Hood's Bay), the chief engineer, the chief mate, and two ordinary seamen remained on board, the rest of the crew being taken off. The Cape Colonna was from Smyrna, with a valuable cargo of wheat, barley, cottonseed, and fruit. She is 2,789 tons gross register, and is owned by the Northumbrian Shipping Corporation (Limited), Newcastle. The vessel is insured for £10,000 "free of particular average absolutely," whilst her cargo of grain is worth about £15,000.

Source: Yorkshire Post 13 September 1912

The Steamer Ashore at South Shields
Critical Position

The position of the S.S. Cape Colonna, beached at Herd Sands, South Shields, is now critical in the extreme, and the re-insurance premium upon her quickly advanced yesterday from 20gs. to 60gs per cent. The vessel receiving further damage every tide she remains ashore, and it is feared that she will break her back.

Source: Yorkshire Post 14 September 1912

The Stranded Leith-Bound Steamer
Salvage Operations

No time has been lost in connection with the salvage of the Leith-bound steamer Cape Colonna, which was beached on the Herd Sands, at South Shields, after striking the Black Middens during a heavy gale on Thursday morning. Owing to the fear, of the cargo of wheat and barley swelling through the water reaching it, these steps have been found necessary. Messrs Lindsay, Swan & Hunter (Limited), Sunderland, have secured the contract for floating the Cape Colonna, which is badly damaged. Discharging operations were commenced on Saturday. The cargo is valued at £ 15,000.

Source: The Scotsman 16 September 1912

Leith-Bound Steamer Floated

Although severely damaged and taking in water freely, the Leith-bound steamer Cape Colonna, which was beached at South Shields a fortnight ago to prevent her from sinking after striking rocks, was successfully floated yesterday afternoon, in presence of some thousands of people. Messrs Lindsay & Swan Hunter, Sunderland, salvage contractors, have had discharged some 2000 tons of cargo, and powerful centrifugal pumps keeping water under control. The salvage operations were carried out without a hitch. The vessel will be placed in Readhead Dock, South Shields, for temporary repairs.

Source: The Scotsman 25 September 1912