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Photograph and Story of the German Schooner Maria Wrecked of Sandend Bay, Portsoy, Banffshire, Scotland in 1903.

Banffshire Reporter, Wednesday, April 15th, 1903: -
GERMAN VESSEL WRECKED AT SANDEND, CREW SAVED - On Saturday morning what appeared to be a foreign vessel was observed making for the Firth. A strong westerly wind was blowing at the time - so fiercely that the ship was compelled to put into Sandend Bay and cast anchor. This would be about 10.30 am. The vessel took up what was considered by the seafaring class a very dangerous position, the sea being very tempestuous.
On Sunday morning the vessel was still riding at anchor in the bay and labouring heavily. The gale kept blowing as fiercely as ever, and fears were entertained that the vessel might drift on to the rocks. The ship was being closely watched by the Coastguards and a number of fishermen. About noon on Sunday she was observed to be dragging her anchors slightly. The sea increasing Mr. Pitts, the chief Coastguard stationed at Portsoy, deemed it expedient to proceed with the life-saving apparatus. He also took the precaution to wire for the Buckie lifeboat to come and render assistance.

The Life-saving Brigade promptly turned out, and in a short time arrived with the apparatus. On reaching the scene they found the ship labouring heavily some 500 yards off the land. The apparatus stood by until after the arrival of the lifeboat about 9.00 pm when, being of no further use, they returned to the station. During the time the apparatus was out the weather was very boisterous, accompanied by heavy showers of hail, which made it very uncomfortable for the men.

Photograph of the wrecked Shooner the Maria Sandend Scotland

When the lifeboat arrived in the bay no lights were to be seen on the doomed vessel. A blue light was consequently exhibited from the shore to guide the lifeboat towards the spot where the ship was lying at anchor. After standing by the vessel for a couple of hours, the lifeboat made for Portsoy, reaching the harbour in safety about 11.30 pm. The crew reported that the master and crew refused to leave the vessel, being apparently convinced that they would be able to ride out the storm.
During the early hours of Monday morning the sea and wind increased, and the vessel commenced to drag her anchors and to exhibit signals of distress. The Coastguards and members of brigade proceeded again to the apparatus at 5.30 am and Mr. Pitts wired Lossiemouth for the lifeboat, the Buckie lifeboat being moored at Portsoy and the crew home. On arriving with the apparatus it was found that the vessel had driven ashore close to the rocks at Dunniedeich, near by the salmon bothy. The crew, five in number, were speedily hauled on shore, communication with the vessel having been readily established, there being many willing hands on shore eager to assist. Mrs. McKay extended her kindly hospitality to the Captain, the other members of the crew receiving like treatment at the hands of Mr. Wm. Smith, No. 12; Mr. Wm. Smith, No. 8; Mr. John Sutherland, No. 49: and Mr. John Smith, No. 2.
The ship rapidly broke up, and in the course of a few hours was completely shattered, the wreckage being strewn across the beach.
The schooner turned out to be the "Maria," of Barsell, Oldenburg, Germany ( Hermann Hibben, master and owner); 76 tons register. The "Maria" left London on the 29th. ult. bound for Buckie with a cargo of valuable manure. 

Great praise is due to Mr. Pitts and the other members of the Coastguard, the Life-saving Brigade, and the large number of Sandend and Portsoy fishermen for the active interest they took in the welfare of the crew and their perilous position.

The sale of the wreck and cargo took place last night at six o'clock, at Dunniedeich. The lots which were strewn for a quarter of a mile along the coast, were quickly disposed of for firewood, the total amount realised being 10 19s 8d. The cargo of manure was sold for 10 to Mr. McWilliam, Beechbank. The two anchors and cables, as they lie in the sea fetched 10s.
Yesterday the crew were forwarded to the German Consul at Aberdeen by Mr. Pitts, the hon. agent at Portsoy of the Shipwrecked Mariner's Society. The captain left for home this morning.
A gold watch and chain belonging to one of the crew was picked up near the scene of the wreck, little the worse to all appearance.
The Buckie lifeboat remained in Portsoy harbour until yesterday afternoon, when she was manned by the crew (who came over by rail) and set sail for the home port.


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Story & Photograph Shipwreck of the Maria Sandend - Scotland