Cattersty Sands

The container ship that’s currently stuck fast in the Suez Canal reminded me of a photo from the East Cleveland Image Archive I have seen recently1‌“SS Sylviana.” East Cleveland Image Archive, 10 Oct. 2010, www.image-archive.org.uk/?p=16330. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021..‌

SS Sylviana
SS Sylviana with Skiningrove jetty in the background.

This was the SS Sylviana which went aground on Cattersby Sands, Skinningrove on 18 December 19022“Lloyd’s Casualties.” Dundee Courier, 10 June 1902, p. 5. British Library Newspapers, link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/ID3227144506/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=GDCS&xid=e01cd786. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021. after losing her propeller3‌“SS Sylviana.” East Cleveland Image Archive, 10 Oct. 2010, www.image-archive.org.uk/?p=16330. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021..

Now I know that at 360 feet (110 metres) long and 4,187 tons (4,254 tonnes)4“WRECKSITE – GOTO MARU CARGO SHIP 1898-1907.” Wrecksite.eu, Wrecksite, 2012, www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?177661. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021., the ship was a mere dingy compared to the massive 400 metre length and  219,076 tonnes of the Ever Given5By Reality Check & Visual Journalism. “Suez Canal: How Are They Trying to Free the Ever Given?” BBC News, BBC News, 26 Mar. 2021, www.bbc.co.uk/news/56523659. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021. but I remember thinking, when I first saw the photo, just how on earth did they manage to re-float her. It seemed impossible.

At the time of writing, the Ever Given is still aground, but within three days the Sylviana had been towed to her home port of Hartlepool6“Lloyd’s Casualties.” Dundee Courier, 10 June 1902, p. 5. British Library Newspapers, link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/ID3227144506/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=GDCS&xid=e01cd786. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021..

The Sylviana had a short eventful life. Launched in 1898 at the Craig, Taylor & Company Ltd. shipyard in Stockton –on -Tees, she was technically a steel screw steamer7“WRECKSITE – GOTO MARU CARGO SHIP 1898-1907.” Wrecksite.eu, Wrecksite, 2012, www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?177661. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021..

In December 1904, at the height of the Russo-Japanese War, she left Cardiff bound for Vladivostok with a cargo of coal. On the 20th February 1905, she was captured by a Japanese warship whilst attempting to enter the Sea of Japan. The ship and her cargo were subsequently confiscated by the Japanese Prize Court, at Sasebo, and awarded to the Japanese Government. She was reported to be insured by London underwriters for £55,0008“In Neutral Waters.” Dundee Courier, 16 May 1905, p. 5. British Library Newspapers, link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/ID3227260120/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=GDCS&xid=1a8e6ca9. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021..

In England, historically it’s been considered bad luck to change the name of a ship, but the Navy department of the Japanese government had no such qualms and subsequently renamed her as the ‘Goto Maru9“WRECKSITE – GOTO MARU CARGO SHIP 1898-1907.” Wrecksite.eu, Wrecksite, 2012, www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?177661. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021..

Two years later, in November 1907, the Goto Maru sailed from Hakodate for San Francisco, and was never heard of again10“WRECKSITE – GOTO MARU CARGO SHIP 1898-1907.” Wrecksite.eu, Wrecksite, 2012, www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?177661. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021.11“Shipping Casualties.” Dundee Courier, 2 Apr. 1908, p. 4. British Library Newspapers, link-gale-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/apps/doc/ID3227379623/GDCS?u=ed_itw&sid=GDCS&xid=ea459d4e. Accessed 27 Mar. 2021.. So presumably she now lies somewhere at the bottom of the Pacific. Maybe they should have stuck with the Sylviana.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *