10 missing ships lost without trace.

Crow

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Regarding TSS Waratah, I’ve spent half a lifetime studying that ship and thankfully I’ve become acquainted with some prominent figures in her story. The most prolific has to be Dr. Emlyn Brown of NUMA, who has spent 40 years searching for the wreck. It was believed for many years that she was carrying a cargo of gold that had been transshipped from another liner on South Africa. Her loading plan still exists and there is a section clearly marked “bullion”; tantalizing indeed. Dr. Brown was able to determine through insurance records that this cargo was silver nitrate and not gold sadly. The gold shipment hadn’t been unloaded from the other ship that day and made it safely to England. Waratah did indeed disappear with all hands and barely any wreckage.

If anyone has any questions about Waratah, I’d be happy to answer them. She’s near and dear to me.

Regards,

Joe

Regarding TSS Waratah, I’ve spent half a lifetime studying that ship and thankfully I’ve become acquainted with some prominent figures in her story. The most prolific has to be Dr. Emlyn Brown of NUMA, who has spent 40 years searching for the wreck. It was believed for many years that she was carrying a cargo of gold that had been transshipped from another liner on South Africa. Her loading plan still exists and there is a section clearly marked “bullion”; tantalizing indeed. Dr. Brown was able to determine through insurance records that this cargo was silver nitrate and not gold sadly. The gold shipment hadn’t been unloaded from the other ship that day and made it safely to England. Waratah did indeed disappear with all hands and barely any wreckage.

If anyone has any questions about Waratah, I’d be happy to answer them. She’s near and dear to me.

Regards,

Joe
Gidday Amigo

Well You learn some thing every day! I did not know anything of gold silver monetary Value on her. except funds held by the ships purser? It is an intriguing case. I suspect she had a catastrophic ballast issues or center of balance shifted in a storm causing her capsize and sink with all hands. I imagine the inquiry was whitewash out of convenience?

Crow
 

Speedbird

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Apr 28, 2021
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Gidday Amigo

Well You learn some thing every day! I did not know anything of gold silver monetary Value on her. except funds held by the ships purser? It is an intriguing case. I suspect she had a catastrophic ballast issues or center of balance shifted in a storm causing her capsize and sink with all hands. I imagine the inquiry was whitewash out of convenience?

Crow
The silver nitrate probably wouldn’t be economical to recover in my opinion. Had it been 300 tons of gold, I’d be out there diving myself! Ha!

I’ve read the letters between the shipbuilder, Barclay, Curle & Co. and the owner, Lund. They become increasingly contentious concerning her stability as time goes on. Waratah had a near-sister named Geelong. Geelong was a successful design and Lund wanted another Geelong with an extra deck. It does seem that BC&Co. felt it would be too heavy and expressed this to Lund, however Lund almost insisted they proceed and build the thing anyway. Once finished, everyone tried to save face and blame everyone else, even though she did pass her stability test (which may have been pencil whipped). Waratah appears to have been built on the cheap, as reports did emerge that she suffered damage on her maiden voyage. This damage wouldn’t have been something a well-built ship wouldn’t have suffered. The top-heavy and “tender” reports, along with construction quality comments do start pouring in almost immediately. So where there is smoke, there is fire.

In short, Waratah’s build quality could have been much better, and her stability was in question even before she was completed.

Experts in mathematics and ship construction have looked at her design and final load plan (which thankfully survives), and concluded she was fairly dangerous if not loaded exactly correctly. Naval architect AJ Burns concluded that she was a compromised design that could have easily capsized in 7 or 8 seconds in a cross-sea. We do know she went down in a storm which was producing these conditions.

It has also been suggested that she may have been carrying some 300 tons of extra coal on the spar deck, very high up in the ship. This in itself could have negated her stability no matter how she was loaded.

What we do know is that she was lost extremely quickly since there was very little wreckage found. I feel, having read about every word ever published on her, that she rolled in the storm that night and went down immediately. An eyewitness on shore claims to have seen a large ship roll and sink like a stone that night, which does seem to lend credence to the theory.

The inquiry was a bit of a mess because no one really wanted to accept the blame of course. The builder should have refused the design, the owner shouldn’t have pushed ahead with construction, and the government shouldn’t have passed her at the stability test. No one, including the government authorities, had any interest in pushing the point because everyone was at fault. The loss just made everyone look silly.


I can go into MUCH more detail on any of these points if anyone is interested.
 

Speedbird

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Great research and story.....mucho thanks.....more info is good!
No problem.

I’m not sure if this ship has been mentioned yet, but the Bark General Grant which went down in the Auckland Islands in 1866 is indeed still missing and is indeed full of gold, 2500oz confirmed. The search for her was highly publicized in the 70s and 80s but nothing has ever been found. It’s known she was carrying gold owned by her passengers returning from the Australian gold fields. It’s also possible she was carrying a larger gold shipment as well but this has not been confirmed. She was carrying 9 tons of zinc spelter as per the manifest, but some claim this could be a cover for gold. It is possible but with these wrecks, anything heavy always gets corrupted into a “gold shipment”. The 2500+ ounces confirmed would be a nice haul in itself.
 

Crow

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No problem.

I’m not sure if this ship has been mentioned yet, but the Bark General Grant which went down in the Auckland Islands in 1866 is indeed still missing and is indeed full of gold, 2500oz confirmed. The search for her was highly publicized in the 70s and 80s but nothing has ever been found. It’s known she was carrying gold owned by her passengers returning from the Australian gold fields. It’s also possible she was carrying a larger gold shipment as well but this has not been confirmed. She was carrying 9 tons of zinc spelter as per the manifest, but some claim this could be a cover for gold. It is possible but with these wrecks, anything heavy always gets corrupted into a “gold shipment”. The 2500+ ounces confirmed would be a nice haul in itself.
Gidday Amigos

The Story of the American ship General grant is a story of almost impossible survival against the odds. Here is radio story of the General grant.

General Grant

GeneralGrant.jpg


No more dangerous terrifying foreboding place to have a shipwreck at night. Worse still in a storm and the General Grant smashed into a sea cave and broke apart.

Wreck_of_the_ship_General_Grant_at_the_Auckland_Islands.jpg


There are no places to land 20 miles each way along the coast all sheer cliffs and sea caves big enough to swallow ships.

1633659678432.jpg


To make things worse you only get about 5 days a year calm weather as the west coast of the island is subject the roaring forties.

The conformed gold would be about 4375000,00 USD. About 4.3 million. Perhaps not quite enough to justify a proper search and recovery of the wreck even if you could find it. Down there its the weather that defeats people.

Crow
 

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