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22 March 1935 Sinking of the Portland Maru

 22 March 1935   Sinking of the Portland Maru

At 11.20 a.m. on 22 March 1935 the Portland Maru, on route from Port Lincoln to Yokohama with a load of wheat, hit an unknown object and began taking water. The captain decided to head for Port Adelaide, but three hours later, off Cape Borda and with a strong south-westerly blowing, the situation worsened. The ship was sinking by the bow and the decks were awash. At 3.50 p.m. it was decided to try to ground the ship and the captain headed her inshore towards Cape Torrens. The 42 crew abandoned ship and managed to reach the beach. The ship lost its radio link, but the collier Demora noticed the troubled ship and stood by to relay messages to Port Adelaide.

The next day the tug Wato reached the stranded men. A second tug, the Woonda, was also sent to assess the situation and the possibility of salvaging the Portland Maru, but she was too far gone with only her masts visible above the huge seas. Ten days earlier she had grounded in Port Pirie but was pulled off then examined in Port Lincoln and pronounced safe to sail.

The Sunday Mail, 29 December 1962, Newspaper Cuttings Book, Volume 3, p. 97. SLSA.

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