Vessel type: Steam ship
Date lost: 1915
Cause of loss: Hitting rock near Tasman Island
Number of Casualties: Nil
Discovery date: N/A
Location/water depth: 40m
SS Nord, with a cargo of benzine, hit submerged rocks off the East Coast of the Tasman Peninsula. After hours of pumping the icy waters from the leaking vessel, Captain McKay, officers and crew were forced to abandon ship.
One lifeboat, with three officers, was ‘dashed to pieces in the tremendous surf’. They succeeded in scrambling ashore but then had to scale the ominous 300m steep dolerite cliffs of Cape Pillar. The remaining cold and exhausted crew rowed for over an hour through rough seas to Tasman Island. Their attempts to draw attention-- discharging a revolver and blowing whistles--could not be heard above the raging storm.
Finally, one man climbed 250m up to the top of the island and reached the lighthouse keepers. Homing pigeons were dispatched to Hobart requesting help. SS Breone, sent from Hobart in response to the pigeons’ message, collected most of the crew stranded on Tasman Island. Three officers were later rescued by fishing vessel Volito.
Diving the wreck
The giant sea kelp forests off Tasman Peninsula are home to colourful sponges, jewel anemones and invertebrates, including weedy sea-dragon and rare handfish. The Nord shipwreck at forty metres is now a deep reef sponge garden, a diver’s paradise. But, these waters are under stress from overfishing and altering ecology through climate change.
Objects of interest (artefacts, images or other collection items) associated with the shipwreck story.
There is a model of the boat based at Munro hut on the Three Capes track.
Friends of Tasman Island
submitted by Rachel Chesmer
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