REDCAR – Vessels in Peril

Accreditation Cleveland Standard 28/02/1937


Mountainous Seas

B.B.C. S.O.S.

   The firing of maroons from the Redcar Pier at six o’ clock on Sunday morning startled most Redcar residents from their beds and braving the terrific storm that raged outside many rushed down to the Promenade. A strong gale was blowing straight from the sea, driving before it sleet and rain. The Greek cargo boat “Athios Livanos,” 4,824 tons, travelling empty to Hartlepool was in difficulties. Battered by strong wind and mountainous seas the steamer was in danger of being carried on to the rocks near Coatham, where she would have been pounded to pieces. The lifeboat was called out and the steamer steadily drifted towards the sands while efforts were made to launch the lifeboat from Moore Street slipway. It was found impossible, however, and the boat was taken two miles up the sands by tractor to Warrenby. The crew stood by but the captain of the Athios Livanos,” intimated that they were not needed. The Teesmouth lifeboat also stood by but the boat by then had grounded on the soft sand. The captain and crew remained on board. The ship was built a year ago at Hartlepool.
The lifeboat continued to stand by under, but about one o’clock another rocket was fired to warn the Tyne-Tees boat “The Rock” what she was in danger of running aground. The crew returned and the lifeboat, following the progress of the cargo vessel was hauled along the sands to Marske. “The Rock” was for a time in grave danger but it made deep water and early on Monday morning it arrived in the Tees decided list, the cargo having shifted slightly during the storm. The ship weighed 250 tons.
During this time Redcar promenade was crowded, but afterwards most of the spectators returned home for dinner. Again in the afternoon hundreds more came out when the B.B.C. broadcast a message on behalf of the Spanish steamer “Miguel” “S.O.S. Vessel in distress N.N.E Huntcliff, East Yorkshire, impossible to communicate with life saving authorities. Will any person hearing this message in the neighbourhood of Saltburn notify coastguard life-saving authorities?”
Immediately the Saltburn Exchange was inundated with calls for the Police and Coastguards, and people living in Redcar called on Captain Shaw, Lloyds agent. Others from Zetland Park and of the town tramped across the sandbanks to Marske to give the message.
By this time the Redcar lifeboat was on its way back from Marske but it was ascertained that two Middlesbrough tugs had put out render assistance. The Hartlepool lifeboat also set out in search of the “Miuel,” but visibility was limited. After some hours at sea the Hartlepool boat returned, about five o’clock.
The coxswain stated on his return that they had seen nothing of the “Miguel” but had encountered a Swedish boat “Fingal No.1” with a list. They had not asked for aid.
The rudder of the Spanish boat was broken and for a time the ship was in great danger, but a vessel, the “Hendon,” made a dash down the coast from the Tyne and they got in contact. A Tow-line was connected but as the “Miguel” was drawing clear the line parted. After another attempt the boat was taken out into open water and the two ships anchored off Skinningrove. The Middlesbrough tugs stood by but later the “Miguel” was towed to the Tyne.
On Monday morning the sea had calmed down and the Greek steamer was firmly embedded in the sand only about fifty yards from the golf course. Two Middlesbrough tugs and a Dutch tug stood by waiting for high tide. Efforts were made to refloat her but the shallowness of the water prevented the tugs getting near enough to her. A well known fisherman said to a “Cleveland Standard” representative this week that it would be an exceedingly difficult task to refloat the vessel, “The sand is very soft,” he said and the keel of the boat will be sinking in. Unless we have some exceptionally high tides I doubt whether it will be refloated before August.”


   In towns and villages throughout Cleveland damage was done and several people were injured slightly due to falling slates and signs. In Redcar the scaffolding opposite the offices of the “Cleveland Standard” was blown down, but luckily there was no traffic passing at the time. Strenuous efforts were made to get the wood clear of the roadway. An ironmongers’ shop up the High Street had its window blown in and goods on display in the window were rolling about the pavement. Shop signs have been damaged and one prominent Redcar trader’s display sign has disappeared altogether. Fences around gardens were blown down and wrecked and many of the trees planted in the grass verges in Redcar bore a battered appearance. Several greenhouses were damaged and roofs of sheds on certain allotments were blown completely off in some cases. In the districts the blizzard raged for over twelve hours and miles of wire were brought down. Wireless aerial poles were blown down and the pavements were covered with slates. Tiles were stripped from the roof of Messrs. Hunter’s in High Street, and water entered the premises.


dean May 9, 2010 Redcar