SS Mahratta (1891)

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S S Mahratta Showing Break 1.jpg
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Name: SS Mahratta
Builder: Harland and Wolff Ltd, Belfast
Yard number: 246
Launched: 19 November 1891
Completed: 28 January 1892
Homeport: Liverpool
  • Official Number 99366
  • Code letters MFLJ
  • ICS Mike.svg ICS Foxtrot.svg ICS Lima.svg ICS Juliet.svg
Fate: Wrecked 8 April 1909
General characteristics
Tonnage: 5,679 grt
Length: 446 ft (135.94 m)
Beam: 49 ft 2 in (14.99 m)
Draught: 30 ft (9.14 m)
Propulsion: 1 x Harland & Wolff 6-cylinder triple-expansion steam engine, 429 hp (320 kW).
Crew: 90

SS Mahratta was a steamship owned by Brocklebank Line which was launched in 1891 and ran aground on the Goodwin Sands in 1909. One member of the crew committed suicide.[1]


SS Mahratta was launched on 19 November 1891.[2] In 1900 she served as a troopship in connection with the Boer War.[3]


On 9 April 1909 (Good Friday), the 5,639 ton liner Mahratta stuck in the Goodwin Sands, with a heavy cargo, a crew of 90 and 17 passengers. The Mahratta was homeward bound to London[1] from Calcutta, India[4] with a mixed cargo including jute, rice, rubber and tea. She ran aground on the Fawk Spit of the Goodwin Sands in calm weather and stuck fast.

The next day, lifeboats were launched and the majority of the passengers were rescued by the Deal lifeboat. Although two tugs were sent from Dover, it was impossible to pull Mahratta free. Mahratta broke in two the day after this. The three passengers aboard at the time included one female passenger who had refused to leave as she had a dog with her which would have to go into quarantine if rescued.

The Sands did not break the Mahratta's back for 24 hours, allowing time for locals to help unload its cargo. Many of them demanded their right of salvage, and when customs officers searched their houses they were physically roughed up.

The westerly wind increased in strength, and as cargo was salvaged from No.4 and 5 holds the ship listed making further salvage more difficult.[1]

A Board of Trade inquiry found that the ship had run aground because the pilot had failed to recognise the Gull Light and then took an incorrect course.[1]

A second ship named Mahratta ran aground on the Goodwin Sands in 1939, less than a mile away from the site of the wreck of the first Mahratta.

Pride of Canterbury ferry incident[edit]

On 31 January 2008, the roll-on/roll-off passenger ferry Pride of Canterbury operated by P&O Ferries struck the wreck of Mahratta while manoeuvering in severe weather into a holding position in The Downs. The ferry suffered extensive damage to her port propeller and had to be assisted to berth in Dover. It is not clear whether the wreck site named in the MAIB report is that of the first SS Mahratta or the later vessel.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Guilmant, Aylwin (1992). Kent of one hundred years ago. Stroud: Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd. pp. 86–87. ISBN 0-7509-1083-6. 
  2. ^ "Single Ship Report for "1099366"". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 2008-11-22. 
  3. ^ "Thos. & Jno. Brocklebank (Brocklebank Line)". Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  4. ^ "Mahratta SS". Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  5. ^ "Report on the investigation into the grounding of Pride of Canterbury" (PDF). Marine Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 

Coordinates: 51°14′45″N 01°30′05″E / 51.24583°N 1.50139°E / 51.24583; 1.50139