Discovery of the wreck of passenger liner SS Waratah

SS Waratah

Wednesday, 14 July 1999

On 26 July 1909, the SS Waratah, with 211 passengers and crew departed from Durban bound for Cape Town, and disappeared without a trace. For 90 years the fate of the ill-fated ship remained a mystery. The SS Waratah was the flagship of the Blue Anchor Line shipping company. On the 14 July, marine explorer, Emlyn Brown, announced he had discovered the location of the wreck off the Eastern Cape coast. This was the culmination of an 18 year long search for him.

The wreck was found in an upright position, resting on the ocean bed, indicating that it had sunk quite rapidly. Brown declined to share the exact location of the wreck, as this would tempt unscrupulous and amateur explorers to plunder the wreck. Further, the wreck was located at a position surrounded by strong currents and at a depth that made conventional diving techniques and equipment unsuitable. It is speculated that the ship was sunk by a freak wave.  

References:

  1. Waratah Mystery Solved (Online), available at: http://www.dispatch.co.za [Accessed 28 July 2010]
  2. Waratah Wreck Update (Online), available at: http://www.numa.net [Accessed 28 July 2010]

Last updated : 14-Jul-2016

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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