NEW ZEALAND DISASTERS AND TRAGEDIES
SINKING OF THE SCOW OBAN
SUNDAY 31 DECEMBER 1905/1 JANUARY 1906
From the Evening Post - 2 January 1906 p7.
On Sunday 31 December 1905, the tug DUCO, under Captain ABRAM, was ordered to proceed to the Wellington Harbour entrance to tow a scow which was at anchor near Baring Head.
The scow, the OBAN was laden with 50 tons of coal from Golden Bay for Wellington. After some difficulty the Duco managed to get a line attached at about 8pm and tow the Oban into port. Although a strong northerly wind was blowing the sea was not heavy.
Off Point Dorset those on board the tug discovered that the scow was partly submerged with only the stern showing out of the water. No sign of life was seen upon the scow and it was not known if the 3 men aboard had been washed overboard, or were still onboard. By this time it was blowing a gale and the night was pitch black.
An effort to bring the scow closer to land off Karaka Bay was not successful and the tow line was parted, the scow then slowly drifted up towards the Heads and ran aground a few hundred yards off Seatoun wharf.
The owner of the scow was Mr E G PILCHER.
The names of the crew were:-
Captain McKENZIE held a Home Trade ticket and hailed from Auckland. JOHNSON and MARTIN signed on at Wellington on the 18th December. A collection was taken up at the New Year Celebrations of the Mission to Seaman in aid of the relatives of the men lost from the Oban, should they need it.
In the Evening Post of 5 February 1906, page 6, there is a report of a body being found at Oterangi, North Makara. It was assumed that this was probably one of the men from the Oban. The body was possibly interred at Oterangi by order of the Coroner (see newspaper report).
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