Gower Shipwreck - Vitte Zee

Sunday, August 02, 2009 Adam Tilt 0 Comments


During an explore of the coastline at Overton Mere yesterday afternoon, I came upon some very interesting remains of a shipwreck. Unlike most things that get washed up on beaches, these remains were very substantial in size to the extent that their original purpose was easily recognisable. I presume that the separate parts are all from the same shipwreck given that the thickness of the metal and deterioration all seem consistent, and that they are all found within the same large inlet of water. A lot of researching on the internet left me with almost no details, but what little information I did gather leads me to believe that these remains once belonged to the Vitte Zee, a Dutch salvage tug. She came to her untimely end during hurricane force winds on the 12th November 1940, though thanks to the brave actions of the nearby lifeboat all the crew were saved.

The following two photos show the bulk of the remains that are visible at low tide, but there are many smaller bits and pieces scattered all over the rocks. I presume that over time the regular storms along this coast have done a good job at breaking the ship up. The photo on the left shows a doorway (complete with old hinges) in the side of what I think was once the wheelhouse. The picture on the right shows the remains of the ships chimney complete with its mounting point, now detached.

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These two photos focus on the remains of the chimney mounting point. To my surprise the metal framework is actually inset with wood. Its preservation for this long is most likely due to having been coated in tar whilst the boat was in service.

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As I was finishing off my photographs the sea once again reminded me of its lack of regard or concern for those who brave it. With another turn of the tide the remains were once again submerged, their stories hidden from view.

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The information I can find came from the ever useful welcometogower.co.uk as well as the NCI Worms Head site. If you have any more information then please let me know as I'd be fascinated to hear some more on the story of this wreck.

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