Friday, 5 February 2021

Big Ship wrecked near Agulhas

CAPE ARGUS - 1939, February 3

The Yugoslavian freighter AVALA, a vessel of 6 403 tons, went ashore south of Quoin Point, 17 miles west of Cape Agulhas and 93 miles from Cape Town, at eight o’clock in the morning. 

The ship was holed forward and her engine-room was rapidly shipping water. Two hours after going ashore she was sinking fast.

In answer to her S O S a naval seaplane, a tug, a trawler and a freighter hurried to her aid, but all turned back when Lieutenant Watson reported that the crew were landing and that no further assistance was required.

The AVALA was lying parallel to the shore, about one and a half to two miles away. The sea was calm and the men seemed to have no difficulty in making the shore. There were no casualties.

A native hut on the beach was the only sign of civilization for miles around, and a lorry was sent to pick them up.





The Argus Special Correspondent reported that the ship was awaiting her sea burial. She had settled hard on a hidden reef – the teeth of the Agulhas coast had closed on yet another victim, only a few hThe deserted AVALA was silent and her dingy blue funnel gave forth no smoke. There was no sign of a panic abandonment of ship, as her decks were empty, but orderly. Ropes were coiled neatly everywhere. Only two empty sets of davits gave any indication that the ship was not normal – that and the way she had settled down into the green shallows - only a few hundred yards from where the Barbara Gordon was wrecked.





Settled hard on a submerged reef, abandoned by her crew and a total loss:
The Yugoslavian freighter (6 
 
403 tons) photographed from THE ARGUS aeroplane
after she had been wrecked a mile from the sandspit of Quoin Point, on the dangerous Agulhas Coast.



Warping their lifeboats ashore after they had abandoned ship and pulled a mile to cross the surf
 and land on the beach at Quoin Point. The crew of the wrecked Yugoslavian freighter AVALA
cheered The Argus aeroplane as it passed over their heads a few seconds after this picture was taken.

1939, February 6, Cape Argus

All that can now be seen of the wrecked Yugoslav ship AVALA is one mast, the funnel, and two ventilators. The waves broke over the ship incessantly and pounded her so thoroughly on the reef that the beach is for miles strewn with wreckage.

A considerable quantity of the cargo of coke has been washed up, cabin doors were lying about or were seen floating, and a considerable quantity of timber beams had been collected by those charged with salvaging what they can.

Several casks of red wine were washed up, and free drinks were being offered all round.

A fisherman. Piet Germishuys, was standing on the beach when the ship struck. There was a slight mist, which broke, to reveal the AVALA some distance out heading straight for the sandy spot where the crew eventually landed. She must have realized her peril, as she was seen to turn sharply round. But she struck almost at once, and the sound of the propellers trying to reverse off the reef was clearly audible.

On account of the waves breaking over her it was impossible to get near, and it was feared that the ship’s pets were dead. The ship surveyor sent down by the underwriters could do nothing.


Read more at https://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?139700


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