SS Hispania

SS Hispania
Dimensions:
236.8' x 37.3 x 16.2'
GRT: 1,337
Cause: Ran Aground
Date: 1954
Location: Sgeir Mor, Sound of Mull
Depth: 26m

 

The wreck of the 1337 gross tons Swedish steamship Hispania is justly regarded by many as the greatest wreck in Scottish waters outwith Scapa Flow.

The Hispania was built in 1912 in Belgium and traded for 32 years until 1954.  Whilst passing up the west coast of Scotland on a voyage from Liverpool to Gothenburg she attempted to navigate through the narrow stretch of treacherous water that separates the island of Mull from the mainland, the Sound of Mull.  A fierce winter storm of driving wind, rain and sleet had reduced visibility practically to nil and in these atrocious conditions she ran onto a notorious reef, the Sgeir More or Big Rock where she stuck fast.

Her engines were put astern and as she came off the Rock she immediately started listing to port.  It soon became clear that she was going to sink.  The order was given to abandon ship and the crew lowered and lifeboats and all safely got aboard. 
The Captain however refused to leave the vessel.  For an hour the crew rowed round the stricken vessel calling out for the Captain to abandon ship.  He steadfastly refused to do so and as the Hispania sunk beneath the waves he was last seen standing in the bridge, his hand raised to his forehead in a salute.  The crew were all able to safely row ashore.

Today, she lies upright with a slight starboard list in 26 metres of crystal clear water.  She is structurally intact despite her long years on the bottom and is covered with thick and colourful sponges, anemones and dead men's fingers.

The history, sinking and dive details of the Hispania are described in much greater detail in the book Dive Scotland's Greatest Shipwrecks.