The Shipwreck |    Dive Site Conditions
Historical Background   |    Salvage (if any)    |    Sources


Seaconnet

Link Index

MWDC
Home Page

Shipwrecks Page

Wrecks'2001
Symposium


Albert Galatin

Alice M. Colburn

Alice M. Lawrence

Ardandhu

Barge and Crane

California

Charles S. Haight

Chelsea

Chester Poling

City of Salisbury

Corvan

Dixie Sword

Edward Rich

French Van Gilder

Henry Endicott

Herbert

Herman Winter

Hilda Garston

HMCS St. Francis

James Longstreet

John Dwight

Kershaw

Kiowa

Lackawanna

Lunet

Mars

Pemberton

Pendleton

Pinthis

Port Hunter

Pottstown

Romance

Trojan

USS Grouse

USS New Hampshire

USS Triana

USS Yankee

USS YSD

Vineyard Sound
Lightship

Description: Collier; Steel
Dimensions:   length - 318.5 ft.    width - 49.5 ft.   depth - 24.2 ft.
     Tonnage:     gross - 3372       other -
Propulsion: Steam; Single propeller
Machinery: (1), 3 cylinder triple expansion engine, cylinder diameters 21", 35", 58" with a stroke of 42", 1800 Indicated Horsepower
        Cargo: 5200 tons of coal


The Shipwreck

  Date Sunk: April 29, 1923
         Cause: Foundered
     Location: Vineyard Sound, southwest of Cuttyhunk Island.
Coordinates: Latitude, 41o - 21' - 48.38"N
                  Longitude,
70o - 00' - 10.13"W
         Loran:

"I will never sail on a Friday and never sail on the 13th again"
Captain Daniel J. Miller Jr., April 31, 1923

    After loading coal for Boston, Massachusetts, the steamer Seaconnet departed Norfolk, Virginia. Nearing New England waters a gale began to blow. For two days high winds heavy seas and torrential rain hammered the five-year-old steamer which soon developed a minor leak.
    At 4AM, 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 was pouring in. As his ship began to list to starboard Captain Miller ordered the water ballast tanks and bilges pumped overboard. But the steamer continued to settle and list even greater. In an attempt to stay the rising flood Miller ordered all hands to man the pumps and stoke the boilers.
    By 6AM the men in the boiler room were working in water up to their waists, the pumps could not handle the inflow of water. About 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 6:15 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 row to the nearby Lightship. Within 20 minutes seas were sweeping Seaconnets decks and the smokestack was nearly parallel with 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 the jamming of the second lifeboat in its launching apparatus. It was quickly cut free only to capsize in the water, but eventually right itself.
    Captain Miller and Quartermaster John "Santy" Santiago held the bridge until the very end. "As the lifeboat turned over I ordered him to jump," Miller said. "Then I jumped myself. I grabbed a bit of wreckage and hung on looking for Santy. I saw him clinging to the ship's bottom as she started to go down. I tried to cry out to him, but my voice was smothered by the waves…the Seaconnet went down and I saw him no more"
    There's some confusion as to how many lifeboats were involved in the rescue. One source reported that a single boat, with 23 people aboard, including one woman, reached the Vineyard Sound Lightship. Another source implies that the boat which first capsized was also used. Still another reported that one of the boats was picked up on Naushon Island, May 3rd.
    In all 7 men were lost, many pulled to their doom by the suction of their sinking ship.

Back to Top


Dive Site Conditions

    Depth in feet:   maximum - 102   minimum - 75
Visibility in feet:     average -

    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 reported visibility to be poor necessitating the use of wreck reels to get back to the anchor line.

Back to Top


Historical Background

Constructed:    year - 1918   where - Camden, New Jersey.
                      builder - New York S. B. Co.
Construction details: 1 Deck; 7 Bulkheads; Water Ballast.
Crew: 30 ;     Master: Captain Daniel J. Miller Jr.
Owners: C.H. Sprague & Son.
Home or Hailing Port: Boston, Massachusetts.
Former Name(s) and date(s): Tuckahoe (1918).
Official number: 13349      Country: U.S.A.
Other Comments: The collier was built in record time for the war effort, 26 days; Originally owned by the United States Shipping Board; Engine & Boilers built by New York S. B. Co.

Back to Top


Salvage

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."

Back to Top


Sources:
The Fisherman, magazine; December 1987
Merchant Vessels of the United States, Vessels Lost Chapter; 1923
New York Maritime Register; May 2 & 9, 1923
New York Times; April 30, 31, 1923
West Wind Explorer; Peter Reagan, November, 1993
The Record, "American Lloyds", American Bureau of Shipping; 1923
Wrecks Below; Luther, 1958

Back to Top

   These files are under construction. Any information, specifically dive site related, would be greatfully appreciated.  

Send comments to: Chris Hugo

Copyright 2000 by Christopher C. Hugo
Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources
All Rights Reserved