The SAS Pietermaritzburg in 2003

Looking back in time: SAS Pietermaritzburg

Early in November Tony and I attended a talk held by the Fish Hoek Valley Historical Association and given by Mark Prowse of Underwater Surveys. Underwater Surveys have a sophisticated multibeam scanner that delivers extremely detailed three dimensional renderings of objects on the sea floor.

Prowse showed some images of the so-called Glencairn Barge, whose history is uncertain since none of the stone from Glencairn quarry was used for the harbour wall. He also showed images of the SAS Pietermaritzburg, one from 2003 (nine years after she was scuttled) and one from 2012.

The SAS Pietermaritzburg in 2003
The SAS Pietermaritzburg in 2003

It should be borne in mind that the Pietermaritzburg is in a very exposed and relatively shallow position just off Miller’s Point – far less protected than the Smitswinkel Bay wrecks – and bears the brunt of heavy swells and sea conditions more than those other wrecks do. There is, however, also the fact that a salvor has removed some portions of the wreck, and this has contributed to her deterioration. The chief, possibly man-made difference between the above photo and the following one seems to be that the forward superstructure has largely collapsed and been removed. The deterioration of the port side near the bow is simply due to the vessel collapsing as it rusts, and not as a result of any untoward activity other than heavy seas.

SAS Pietermaritzburg in 2012
SAS Pietermaritzburg in 2012

An article about the talk appeared in the False Bay Echo, and this is where the images in this post were sourced. The article has also been republished here. One of the images also appears on the Underwater Surveys website.

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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