SS Turkia - Background Story

Norbert Probst

Nuremberg, Germany

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Wreck of the steam ship Turkia, sunk 1941 close the Suez Canal in Egypt.

Canon EOS 5D MKII, SEACAM housing, 2.8/15mm Fisheye, SEAFLASH, 1/60s, f8, ISO 400

1235 Views, 19.08.2015

Built in Hull (England) in 1909 as the LIVORNO (2), she was a schooner rigged steam cargo ship of 1671 tonnes gross, 300ft long and a 42 ft beam. Clinker built by Earles Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. (yard no. 562), she was fitted with a reciprocating, triple expansion steam engine and able to make 9.5 knots. She has 4 bulkheads and a cruiser stern, single shaft and propeller. She was built for Thomas Wilson Sons & Co, again of Hull. Upon completion in 1910, she was deployed in a variety of trades, serving between Hull, London and the Adriatic in her first year. In 1911 between Hull, Constantinople, Novorossick and Odessa and between St Petersburg and Cronstadt. In 1916 she was employed in the Hull–Trieste run. On the eve of the start of WW1 she was engaged in the Manchester-Liverpool to St Petersburg, Revel/Riga trade, making 6 voyages in all. After the war she was involved in a variety of routes carrying perishable fruits and bulk cargos such as coal.
Final Voyage
The Turkia’s final voyage began in New York in May 1941, where she was loaded with a full cargo of ‘government stores’ – she was bound for Piraeus (Greece). The cargo included explosives, tyres, coils of wire, ingots, vehicles and firearms. There are two conflicting reports of her sinking: 1 – “Bombed off Zafarana Light 2 miles S.E. May 14th 1941”…“Destroyed by fire and explosion near Zafarana Light Gulf of Suez, after being abandoned by her crew when on passage from New York to Piraeus with general cargo and explosives.” 2 – “17/May/1941 she had a fire in no. 3 hold where explosives were stored (she was carrying explosives and general cargo) and the fire was beyond control so the vessel was abandoned. 10 minutes later there was a large explosion and the vessel sank in 12 fathoms. Nothing was being done to salvage as no competent salvage service was available at Port Said.” Source: Anne Crowe, Lloyds.

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