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Description: collier, steel.
Date Sunk: April 29, 1923.
"I will never sail on a Friday and never sail on the 13th again."-
After loading coal for Boston, Massachusetts, the steamer Seaconnet departed Norfolk, Virginia.
A gale began to blow as the vessel neared New England waters. For two days high winds, heavy seas and torrential
rain hammered the five-year-old steamer, which soon developed a minor leak.
At 4:00AM, April 29th, about a mile south of the Vineyard Sound Lightship, the minor leak became serious.
Pounding seas opened the steamer's seams and water began pouring in. As his ship began to list to
starboard Captain Miller ordered the water ballast tanks and bilges pumped overboard. However, the steamer continued to settle and list even further. In an attempt to stay the rising flood Miller ordered all hands to man the pumps and stoke the boilers.
By 6:00 AM the men in the boiler room were working in water up to their waists as the pumps could not
handle the inflow of water. At this time, Miller dispatched distress signals, which were received by
the steamer City of Rome, about 15 miles away, and the Revenue Cutter Acushnet, nearby. So quickly
did Seaconnet sink that neither vessel arrived in time to report more than floating wreckage.
At 6:15AM Captain Miller ordered a lifeboat lowered over the starboard side. Passengers, Mr. and Mrs.
Hudgins were put aboard along with five crewmen to man the boat. Shortly after casting free, the boat
was carried away by the storm but managed to reach the nearby lightship. Within 20 minutes, seas were
sweeping Seaconnet's decks and the smokestack was nearly parallel to the water's surface. Realizing
his vessel was doomed Captain Miller ordered all hands on deck. There wasn't a minute to spare. At any
moment the ship could capsize, trapping his men below decks. The order was given for all hands to don
life jackets and abandon ship as the smokestack dipped below the waves and began taking on water.
Tense moments followed as the second lifeboat jammed in its launching apparatus. It was quickly cut
free only to capsize in the water. Fortunately it righted itself.
Dive Site Conditions
Depth in feet: maximum 102, minimum 75.
In about 100 feet of water, the Seaconnet came to rest upside down but otherwise intact. The engine room is accessible through openings created where hull plates have fallen away. Divers report visibility to be poor necessitating the use of wreck reels to get back to the anchor line.
Constructed: in 1918, at Camden, New Jersey by
New York S. B. Co.
New York Maritime Register, May 9, 1923:
May 3rd, "A lifeboat from the steamer Seaconnet was picked up on shore of Naushon Island today;
no wreckage drifted ashore at Cuttyhunk. The bodies of five of the seven lost when the Seaconnet
foundered were picked up and four of them were landed at New Bedford by the steamer Acushnet.
Search was made to locate the wreck but without success."
The Fisherman, magazine; December 1987