SS Shuna

SS Shuna
GRT: 1,426
Cause: Ran Aground
Date: 05/08/1913
Location: Sound of Mull
Depth: 30m


The 1,426 gross tons steamship Shuna was wrecked in the Sound of Mull on 8th May 1913 on a voyage from Glasgow to Gothenburg carrying a cargo of coal.

The vessel struck the Gray Rocks at the entrance to the narrow Sound of Mull and was holed.  Her Captain decided to take her the ten miles or so up the Sound to the small sheltered harbour of Tobermory where she could be repaired.  On the way there it became clear that water was flooding into her faster than her pumps could handle and she soon became in imminent danger of sinking. 

Captain Elsper decided to try and beach his vessel on the nearby sheltered shores of the mainland, hoping to be able to refloat her after repair.  As he drove his vessel at the shore he let go both anchors to seaward to allow him to winch the vessel off after repair.

The Shuna's bows drove onto the shore and stuck fast.  The seabed here however falls away quite steeply and her stern was left in quite a depth of water.  In this precarious position continued to fill with water and her stern sank progressively deeper and deeper into the water.  A steel hawser was run ashore and made fast in an effort to stop her slipping down the slope.  The pressure of water within her caused the cargo hatches to blow off, the hawser snapped and she slipped beneath the surface, sliding down the slope eventually coming to rest in 30 metres of water.

Over the following years as the Great War ravaged Europe the wreck of this small 240 foot long vessel with its small cargo of coal was forgotten about.  It lay in relatively deep water and in a sparsely populated and remote area.  She did not merit commercial salvage.  Her name simply passed into the history books, just another one of the countless wrecks around Scotland's shores.

The Shuna lay undisturbed for almost 80 years until the early 1990's when a clam diver swam up to a solid wall of rusting metal that no one knew was there.  The wreck lay in a sheltered bay and was absolutely intact.  The bell, maker's plate and other artefacts soon revealed her identity. 

After her long years of ignominy she quickly became one of the most popular dives in Scotland.

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