SS Hispania (1912)

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SS Hispania 1912.jpg
SS Hispania
Owner: Svenska Lloyd AB
  • H Metcalfe
  • K R Bökman (1931– )
Builder: Antwerp Engineering Co Ltd, Hoboken
Yard number: 59
Launched: 1912
Completed: December 1912
Out of service: 18 December 1954
  • Swedish Official Number 5396
  • Code Letters JTCB (1930–34)
  • ICS Juliet.svg ICS Tango.svg ICS Charlie.svg ICS Bravo.svg
  • Code Letters SEWG (1934–54)
  • ICS Sierra.svg ICS Echo.svg ICS Whiskey.svg ICS Golf.svg
Fate: Sank 18 December 1954
General characteristics
Class and type: Cargo ship
Tonnage: 1,323  gross register tons  (GRT)
Length: 236 ft 8 in (72.14 m)
Beam: 37 ft 3 in (11.35 m)
Depth: 16 ft 2 in (4.93 m)
Installed power: 1 triple expansion steam engine
Speed: 9.5 knots (17.6 km/h)
Crew: 21

SS Hispania was a Swedish 1,323 GRT triple-expansion engine steamer built in Belgium in 1912. She sank in the Sound of Mull on 18 December 1954 after striking a rock.

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund Strait. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. The capital city is Stockholm. Sweden has a total population of 10.3 million of which 2.5 million have a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi) and the highest urban concentration is in the central and southern half of the country.

Steamboat Smaller than a steamship; boat in which the primary method of marine propulsion is steam power

A steamboat is a boat that is propelled primarily by steam power, typically driving propellers or paddlewheels. Steamboats sometimes use the prefix designation SS, S.S. or S/S or PS ; however, these designations are most often used for steamships.

Sound of Mull a sound between the Inner Hebridean island of Mull and Scotland.

The Sound of Mull is a sound between the Inner Hebridean island of Mull and Scotland. It forms part of the Atlantic Ocean.



Hispania was built by the Antwerp Engineering Co Ltd, Hoboken, Antwerp, Belgium. [1] She was yard number 59. Hispania was launched in 1912 and completed in December of that year. [2] She was owned by Svenska Lloyd AB. Hispania was managed by a number of different managers, including H Metcalft, followed by K R Bökman from c1930. [1]

Hoboken, Antwerp District of Antwerp in Flemish Region, Belgium

Hoboken is a southern district of the arrondissement and city of Antwerp, in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located at the Scheldt river. The name of the district has its origins in Middle Dutch.

During the Second World War, Hispania was seized by the French authorities. In 1940, she was on a voyage from Kaolack, Senegal via Casablanca, Morocco to Bordeaux, France with a cargo of peanuts. During the voyage, she was attacked and severely damaged. On 2 June 1940, Hispania was detained in Bordeaux. On 8 October 1940, she was seized by the Vichy Government. On 8 November 1940, an application was made to declare her as a war prize. The crew were allowed to return to Sweden in December 1940, except for her captain and a mechanic. On 15 April 1941, Hispania was declared a war prize and ownership passed to the Kriegsmarine. Svenska Lloyd AB objected to this decision. On 8 February 1942, Hispania and Sirius were ordered to sail to Rotterdam under the command of the Kriegsmarine. On 1 November 1942, the Kriegsmarine ceased command of the ship. The next day, a German Schnellboot (fast boat) attack left one dead and two seriously wounded. On 19 December 1942, Hispania was handed back to Svenska Lloyd AB on payment of RM44,017.69. She departed Rotterdam on 1 January 1943, bound for Gothenburg. [3]

Kaolack Town in Kaolack Region, Senegal

Kaolack is a town of 172,305 people on the north bank of the Saloum River and the N1 road in Senegal. It is the capital of the Kaolack Region, which borders The Gambia to the south. Kaolack is an important regional market town and is Senegal's main peanut trading and processing center. As the center of the Ibrahimiyya branch of the Tijaniyyah Sufi order founded by Ibrayima Ñas, it is also a major center of Islamic education. The Leona Niassene mosque (right) in Kaolack is one of the largest and best known in Senegal.

Casablanca City / State in Casablanca-Settat, Morocco

Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco and is located in the central-western part of Morocco bordering the Atlantic Ocean.

Bordeaux Prefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne in the Gironde department in Southwestern France.


On 18 December 1954, Hispania sank after hitting a reef in a storm. Heading to Varberg, Sweden, from Liverpool she attempted to navigate through the Sound of Mull but hit the Sgeir More (Big Rock) and started to list. The order to abandon ship was given and the crew lowered the lifeboats and rowed to shore. Captain Ivan Dahn refused to leave the ship and chose to go down with it. [4] [5] The other twenty crew were saved. At the time, Hispania was carrying a cargo of asbestos, rubber sheeting and steel. [6]

Varberg Place in Halland, Sweden

Varberg is a locality and the seat of Varberg Municipality, Halland County, Sweden with 27,602 inhabitants in 2010.

Liverpool City and metropolitan borough in England

Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500. Its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region.

Isle of Mull island of the Inner Hebrides, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland

The Isle of Mull or just Mull is the second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides and lies off the west coast of Scotland in the council area of Argyll and Bute.


The wreck sits, intact and upright, in 85 feet (26 m) of clear water, [7] at 56°33′55″N5°59′13″W / 56.56528°N 5.98694°W / 56.56528; -5.98694 Coordinates: 56°33′55″N5°59′13″W / 56.56528°N 5.98694°W / 56.56528; -5.98694 . [8] The Hispania can be dived on only during slack water, which is between 1 and 2 hours before high or low water near the Scottish town of Oban. Located in the northern aspects of the Sound of Mull, the Hispania is facing the shore and close to a red channel buoy. [9] The water temperature ranges from 14 °C in summer to as low as 5 °C in winter. [9] In the summer time, a common hazard are the migrating stinging jellyfish that pass over the wreck. Their tentacles often get caught on the shot line and are dangerous to divers. [9]

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.

Oban town in Scotland

Oban is a resort town within the Argyll and Bute council area of Scotland. Despite its small size, it is the largest town between Helensburgh and Fort William. During the tourist season, the town can play host to up to 25,000 people. Oban occupies a setting in the Firth of Lorn. The bay is a near perfect horseshoe, protected by the island of Kerrera; and beyond Kerrera, the Isle of Mull. To the north, is the long low island of Lismore, and the mountains of Morvern and Ardgour.

Sound of Mull Remote Sensing Project (SOMAP) was an underwater survey on the behest of Historic Scotland to catalog all sites in the Sound of Mull. Through research and a through sonar survey, SOMAP was able to determine the status of the SS Hispania. Their findings determined that the ship was salvaged throughout the 1950s by Scarborough Sub-Aqua Club and since then the popularity of diving the wreck has resulted in the removal of all non-ferrous artifacts. [10] No archaeological surveys of the site had been undertaken until SOMAP’s involvement. The ship's horn was salvaged in the 1960s by a member of Scarborough Sub-Aqua Club and is now on display there. [6]

Historic Scotland executive agency responsible for historic monuments in Scotland

Historic Scotland was an executive agency of the Scottish Office and later the Scottish Government from 1991 to 2015, responsible for safeguarding Scotland's built heritage, and promoting its understanding and enjoyment. Under the terms of a Bill of the Scottish Parliament published on 3 March 2014, Historic Scotland was dissolved and its functions were transferred to Historic Environment Scotland (HES) on 1 October 2015. HES also took over the functions of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Scarborough, North Yorkshire town in North Yorkshire, England

Scarborough is a town on the North Sea coast of North Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, the town lies between 10–230 feet above sea level, rising steeply northward and westward from the harbour on to limestone cliffs. The older part of the town lies around the harbour and is protected by a rocky headland.

Minor damage was caused by a scallop dredger in 1999 when its fishing gear pulled down one of the masts and caused minor scrape damage. [10] A scour pit caused by currents removing sand and mud from one side of the ship is causing the ship to slowly list into the depression. [10] In November 2002 the wreck of Hispania was purchased by the Puffin Dive Centre, Oban. [8]


Hispania was propelled by a triple expansion steam engine which was built by the North East Marine Engine Co Ltd, Newcastle upon Tyne. It had cylinders of 20 inches (51 cm), 33 inches (84 cm) and 54 inches (140 cm) diameter by 36 inches (91 cm) stroke, developing 175 horsepower (130 kW), [1] giving a speed of 9.5 knots (17.6 km/h). [2]

Official number and code letters

Official Numbers were a forerunner to IMO Numbers. Hispania had the Swedish Official Number 5396 and used the Code Letter JTCB between 1930 and 1944, [1] and SEWG from 1934. [11]

See also

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The following index is provided as an overview of and topical guide to recreational dive sites:


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Lloyds register. Navires a vapeur et a moteurs" (PDF). Plimsoll Ship Data. 1930–1931. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  2. 1 2 "3005396" . Miramar Ship Index . Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  3. "Confiscated and refloated Swedish ship during WW II". Maritime Research of Uddevalla. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  4. Wood 2004 , p. 79
  5. SS Hispania
  6. 1 2 "SS Hispania +1954". Wrecksite. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  7. "Wreck of the Month – The Hispania". Prima Sub-Aqua. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  8. 1 2 "11/2002 – Puffin buys "The Hispania"". Puffin Dive Centre. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  9. 1 2 3 Jackson 2007 , p. 156
  10. 1 2 3 Robertson, Philip (2004). "Sound of Mull Remote Sensing Project Interim report for Historic Scotland" (PDF). Historic Scotland . Retrieved 26 October 2009.
  11. "Lloyds register. Navires a vapeur et a moteurs" (PDF). Plimsoll Ship Data. 1934–1935. Retrieved 18 October 2009.