COAL  TO  PENARTH

 

S.S. GATESGARTH, of Liverpool, posted missing at Lloyd's

 

Penarth like Cardiff, Barry and Swansea was an exporter of coal. So why was the GATESGARTH regularly bringing coal to Penarth?  The answer is that she was bringing in GAS COAL whereas most of the coal exported from Penarth was STEAM COAL.

The GATESGARTH was built in 1900 so was a relatively modern ship. Her tonnage was 1,742 tons gross, 983 net. She was owned by Rea Shipping of Liverpool and registered in that port.

She regularly carried gas coal from Partington on the Manchester Ship Canal to Penarth and ports on the south coast of England.

She left Partington in the early hours of 3 December 1907 under the command of Capt Lloyd who led a crew of twenty one.

A Liverpool pilot boat reported seeing her off Point Lynas on the north coast of Anglesey and on 4 December she was reported heading south across Caernarfon Bay. The wind had got up and a south-west gale was soon blowing.

The ship usually completed the passage to Penarth in 36 hours but did not arrive.

Some days later a life-buoy bearing the name GATESGARTH was washed up at Porthmadog. That in itself was not significant as it could have been washed overboard.

But then the S.S. Demetian, also of Liverpool, arrived in Bristol on passage from Liverpool and her master Capt Jones reported sighting a spar standing 6 feet out of the water in position about 13 miles north-west of Cardigan Bay Lightship. He was of the opinion that the spar was the topmast of a ship. It was concluded that it indicated the position of the sunken GATESGARTH.

A good deal of wreckage was also washed up in St Bride's Bay though whether this was from the ship seems unlikely.

Rea shipping sent a tug to search and another was sent from a south Wales port but there was no sign of the vessel.

She was posted missing at Lloyds with the loss of all 22 hands.