Shipping disaster in The Irish Sea
More tragedy at sea: the sinking of Maiorese off the Welsh coast has evoked memories of the Titanic disaster (pictured here) of April last year Photo: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C., USA

Shipping disaster in The Irish Sea

Four lives lost as ship runs aground

Published: 25 May 1913

Four lives were lost yesterday when a steamship was wrecked on the North Stack Rocks, off Holyhead. The ship, Maiorese, had left Liverpool for Genoa on Friday, only to run aground shortly before midnight. 

During the night, in thick fog, the vessel struck the Black Rock, under the gun signal station on the North Stack Rocks. 

Distress signals brought out a local lifeboat and three passengers (the wife and young children of the captain) and several crew members were taken off the ship, which remained aground for a time before floating off on the ebb tide. 

After the ship had refloated, the captain attempted to beach her at Holyhead but, without warning, the ship plunged bow-first into the sea. As the bow of the vessel disappeared, her stern shot almost perpendicularly towards the sky and the vessel was then lost completely to sight within a few seconds.

The four men who drowned included Chief Engineer Hynd Harper and Third Engineer William Jones, both of whom had worked for the company who owned the ship for more than twenty-four years. Also lost was a steward named D.M. Baird and a Scandinavian seaman named Isaacson. 

According to Captain Pemberton, who was involved in the rescue operation, more lives were almost lost: ‘The steamer sank with such startling suddenness that it was touch-and-go with some of the survivors, who were snatched up from a watery grave as they seemed about to sink.’ 

The survivors were taken into the harbour at Holyhead and brought to the Sailors’ Home, where they were reported to have arrived drenched and exhausted. Having lost their belongings, they were provided with clothes by the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society. 

Recent reports suggest that the ship had refloated once more and was now a danger to shipping between Dublin and Holyhead. It will either be secured or blown-up.

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