SS Thesis

SS Thesis
Cause: Ran Aground
Date: Oct 1889
Location: Innimore Point, Sound of Mull
Depth: 18-30m


The wreck of the small, delicate 19th century iron steamship Thesis allows a glimpse back in time to an earlier generation of steamships.  Built in Belfast by McIlwaine, Lewis & Co., Engineers and Iron Ship Builders she was launched in January 1887.  She measured 167 feet in length, with a beam of 25 feet and a draught of 11.7 feet.  She had four holds two forward and two astern.  In the centre of the vessel, only half below the main and only deck was her boiler and just aft of that her engine housed within wooden deckhouses.

Just over two years after her launch, in October 1889 the Thesis set out on a voyage from Middlesbrough to Belfast under the command of Captain Wallace and a crew of 11.  Her holds were full with a cargo of pig iron probably destined for the Belfast shipyards.  On her voyage down the west coast of Scotland she was taken down the Sound of Mull, the narrow stretch of dangerous water that separates the island of Mull from mainland Scotland.  At the very southern end of the Sound during the night, she shuddered as she ran onto a reef at Inninmore Point.  The Thesis was badly holed and it soon became clear that she was destined to sink and become a total loss.  The crew abandoned ship safely and rowed ashore.

About 4 hours after hitting the reef, the Thesis slipped beneath the surface of the Sound in approximately 100 feet of water.  The Sound of Mull had lured another vessel to its doom.  The history, sinking and dive details of the Thesis are described in much greater detail in the book Dive Scotland's Greatest Shipwrecks.