Description: Freighter, steel.
Dimensions: Length 281.7 ft., width 39.7 ft., depth 15 ft.
Tonnage: Gross 2169, other under deck - 1916.
Propulsion: Steam, propeller.
Machinery: Single 274 nominal horse power, triple expansion steam engine with cylinder diameters 22"+36"+60"X42" stroke; 2, single ended steel boilers, 4 corrugated furnaces; one donkey boiler.
Cargo: 5770 bales of hay.

The Shipwreck

Date Sunk: January 23, 1900 .
Cause: Collision.
Location: Southwest end of Naushon Island, Vineyard Sound.

After loading a cargo of hay at New London, the steamer Ardandhu was on its way to Halifax where it was to load potatoes, fish and general merchandise, the whole bound for Havana, Cuba. This was to be the freighter's first and last voyage for the Munson Steamship Line of New York City.

At 3:30AM, January 23, 1900, while off Robinson's Hole, Vineyard Sound, Ardandhu collided with the Metropolitan liner Herman Winter , bound from Boston for New York. Striking amidships, the liner's bow nearly cut Ardandhu in half. Apparently there was a misunderstanding of whistle signals. Officers and crew of the Metropolitan liner claimed they made a single whistle blast indicating their intent to go to the right and leave Ardandhu on the port side. The crew of Ardandhu claimed Herman Winter made two blasts indicating it intended to pass the eastbound steamer to the left. “This would have put the Ardandhu directly across the Herman Winter's bow, and heading for shore, the position it was in when the collision occurred." Ardanhu's watertight compartments kept the vessel from sinking immediately and Herman Winter stayed in the breach until the freighter settled away as the compartments eventually filled. There was a rush by the crew to get off their stricken vessel and it was thought that all had been saved until a head count revealed the engineer and second officer were missing. Herman Winter stood by Ardandhu looking for signs of life. The freighter drifted onto the southwest end of Naushon Island and settled by the stern, with the bow sticking out of the water. After assessing that itself was secure, Herman Winter started for Vineyard Haven to report the incident.

On January 24th, Captain Dundas returned to the wreck site with the Boston Towboat Wrecking Company's agent. They found that the freighter had slid off the bar on which it stranded and was now lying on an even keel in 60 feet of water, the masts and smokestack breaking the surface. As the wreck lay dangerously close to nearby shipping lanes it was considered a hazard to navigation.

Historical Background

Constructed: 1893, at Belfast, Ireland by Workman, Clark and Co. Lim.
Construction details:single steel deck and a wood sheathed steel spar deck; poop deck, 23 feet long; bridge deck, 70 feet long; 4 cemented bulkheads; water ballasted in a 202 foot long, cellular constructed, double bottom; electric lights.
Crew: 31; Master: G. Dundas (1898).
Owners: Clark and Service, Glasgow; Munson Steamship Line, New York.
Home or Hailing Port: Glasgow.
Former Name(s) and date(s):
Official number: 102594 .Country: Britain.
Other Comments: Engines and boilers built by Workman, Clark and Co. Lim.

Salvage

The Merritt Wrecking Company was contracted to work on the freighter. On January 25th, 1900, divers reported favorably on the possibility of floating the steamer. However, being in an exposed position, heavy seas and strong currents would make the cost of raising it too great. By the 29th, it was assumed the vessel would not be raised. However, on February 12th, Ardandhu's owners closed a contract with the Merritt Wrecking Company to raise the vessel. Local wreckers thought it would be a large and expensive job due to the currents and it was not until April that the Merritt Wrecking Company's steamer, I.J. Merritt, was able to visit the wreck site to determine the feasibility of raising her. They found the steamer had settled 15 feet into the mud and sand, which would make the salvage prohibitively expensive.

In lieu of raising the vessel, on October 13th work commenced on the task of blowing up the wreck. By November 14th the Government was still dynamiting Ardandhu's remains.

Sources

Lloyds Register of Shipping; 1899-1900
New York Maritime Register; Jan. 24 & 31, Feb. 14, Apr. 25, Oct. 1, Nov. 21, 1900
New York Times; January 24, 1900