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Tyne and Wear HER(12924): Marsden, Souter Point, Rotha - Details

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S Tyneside

Marsden, Souter Point, Rotha



Maritime Craft

Transport Vessel

Cargo Vessel

Early Modern



A 1008 ton steamer, 220 feet long, which sank in February 1902, after colliding with the Skjord enroute to Davenport with a cargo of coal. From time to time a trace shows up in 28 metres of water, showing an intact wreck sitting upright on the seabed (Collings). Steel, 1,108-ton 67.05m long, 9.49m beam, 4.69m draught, British steamship, registered at Newcastle upon Tyne. She was owned by Sharp & Co at Newcastle and built in 1893 by J. Laing at Sunderland. Her single iron propeller was powered by a three-cylinder, triple-expansion steam engine which employed one boiler. Her machinery was built by North East Marine Engineering Co. Ltd in Sunderland. The vessel was classed as 100 A1 at Lloyds and she had one deck and a superstructure consisting of a 28m, poop-deck, 28m quarter-deck, 13.4m bridge-deck and a 6.7m forecastle. In less than an hour of leaving the River Tyne on 23 February 1902, the Rotha foundered and was lost three miles east of Souter lighthouse, following a collision with the Danish-registered steamship Skjold. The Rotha was on passage for Devonport, under the command of Captain J. Hay, with fourteen crew and an unspecified cargo of coal. With a light south-westerly wind blowing, weather conditions were very good, however the records do not show whether it was day or night when the collision occurred. Bob Scullion of Marsden Dive Centre informed the author that the wreck is very old and badly decayed and appears to pre-date the First World War. She is believed to be that of the steamship Rotha. However there has been no positive identification of the vessel and it is possible that she shares another location with the steamship Poltava (HER ????). The wreck lies of a sea bed of dirty sand, mud and broken shells in a general depth of 42m (the Spokes database also suggests a depth of 28m). She is still rather substantial, but not totally collapsed and rather broken up. Her bows are still rather intact and lying at an angle of 60 degrees. The hold section is still intact and it is possible to swim into it, but the wreck is generally a jumbled pile of twisted girders, steel plates, big lengths of loose bent and flattened copper pies and broken machinery. Her boiler and engine are openly visible in the centre of the wreckage and close to them is a massive, complete, iron steering wheel lodged solid. Everything is covered in a heavy coating of sediment




Peter Collings, 1991, The New Divers Guide to the North-East Coast, page 22; Young, R. (2000) Comprehensive guide to Shipwrecks of the North East Coast (The): Volume One (1740 – 1917), Tempus, Gloucestershire. p. 153, Ian T. Spokes Wreck Database; National Monuments Record (1313495); Maritime and Coastguard Agency: Receiver of Wreck Amnesty (23-Jan to 24-Apr-2001); United Kingdom shipwreck index; Richard and Bridget Larn 1997 Shipwreck index of the British Isles, volume 3. The east coast of England : Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, County Durham, Northumberland Section 6, County Durham (CF)

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