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Tyne and Wear HER(14128): Cullercoats, Bear Rocks, Inga (Gwynedd) - Details

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N Tyneside

Cullercoats, Bear Rocks, Inga (Gwynedd)



Maritime Craft

Sailing Vessel


Early Modern



Ex.GWYNEDD. Vessel stranded and lost between Cullercoats and Tynemouth, in wind conditions SE to E force 10. (1)(3) Due to bad visibility could not find the lights marking the harbour entrance, and in heavy seas with her decks awash and sail shortened, struck an outcrop of rock off the Long Sands. She took the rocks beam on and capsized, drowning all her crew in heavy seas, except one man. (2) Tragic tales of ships wrecked during a ferocious North East storm a century ago will be told in a new exhibition. Marine archaeologists have researched the Great Storm of 1901, in which 40 ships were sunk between the Tweed and Tees.... As part of the group's reseach two large iron sailing ships that sank on November 13, 1902, the QUILLOTA and the INGA, were dived on for the first time. Finds from them are in the exhibition and the team plans to do full archaeological surveys of both vessels. Eighteen sailors died when the Norwegian-owned INGA was wrecked off St. George's Church, Cullercoats. It was sailing with grain from Australia to Tyne Dock, weighed 1,100 tonnes and was 200 feet long. Ian said: "We found the INGA by looking at newspaper reports from 1901, which told us where she was wrecked. "It's well smashed, but still identifiable. There's a large iron mast out there, over 30 feet long. When we first found the wreck it looked like a bit of reef as it has a lot of kelp growing on it. "We started rooting around the kelp and found a lot of plating and as we worked our way around we could see the upturned hull. "We found a big winch used for the rigging. The wreckage covers several hundred square metres. "The day after she sunk, the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade found a parcel on the beach. Inside were two pictures, one of her just before she set sail and another of the crew." (4) ...reported in the Shields Daily Gazette on Thursday, 14th November, 1901: "Our shipping reported yesterday says there was no doubt that with the exception of the one survivor, the entire crew of the INGA have perished. The name of the sole survivor is Andres Birkeland, 28 years of age, an able seaman belonging to Christiansand. He was picked up on the beach, north of the palace buildings, about 2.5 hours after the wreck. Naturally, owing to his buffetting in the waves, he was more dead than alive...He recovered sufficiently to talk a little, and later gave an account of the wreck. The iron barque INGA, early on Tuesday morning, encountered exceptionally bad weather, canvas was shortened and she drifted on, gradually drawing closer to the coast, though the land was invisible on account of the sleet and rain. At midnight on Tuesday she had passed the Tyne, having failed to sight the harbour lights, and the exact position of the vessel was unknown. It was a terrible night, the decks were flooded and every moment it seemed as if the vessel would be engulfed. All the men could do was to hold on to save their lives. At 2 o'clock a glimpse of the Tyne lights was caught, and it was realised that the position of the barque was critical. All efforts to keep her to the windward were unavailing. At about 4 o'clock, she struck some submerged rocks with her broadside, and keeled over...In a few moments the sea had swept every man overboard. Just before this the survivor had seen Captain Olsen standing on the poop...He afterwards saw him struggling in the boiling surf...Birkelands [sic], who is a powerful swimmer, seized a piece of wreckage and battled on. He lost consciousness, knowing nothing more until he revived under the care of the people at the Tyne Sailors' Home." (5) Built: 1877 (3) Builder: Osbourne, Graham and Co. (3) Master: T A Olsen (3); Olsen (5) Crew: 16 (3) Crew Lost: 15 (3); 18 (4); all but 1 (5) Owner: T B Heistein, Kristiansand (3) Construction: 1 deck; 1 bulkhead; poop-deck 45ft; forecastle 17ft (3)




1) United Kingdom shipwreck index [pre publication typescript] (2) by Peter Collings 1988 The illustrated dictionary of north east shipwrecks Page(s)80 (3) 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 7, Northumberland (CG) (4) Evening Chronicle 18-OCT-2001 Page(s)3 (5) Boswell Whitaker 1980 Preservation of life from shipwreck, volume 3 : Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade Page(s)110-1 (6) National Monuments Record (1313463); Maritime Archaeology Project, 2006, The Great Storm of 1901 - Information and Education Pack (assembled by RJ Carlton and J Catling)

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