Matatua 2


Official Number:                     114599

Pennant No:                           

Builder:                                    Workman, Clark & Co Ltd., Belfast

Launched:                               15 January 1904

Into Service:                            13 December 1939

Out of service:                         18 February 1940

Fate:                                          18 February 1940 scuttled as a block ship


Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:  One of an additional group of ships requisitioned by the Admiralty during WW2 to become a block ship

Career Data:


15 January 1904 launched by Workman, Clark & Co Ltd., Belfast as Yard Nr: 205 named Matatua for Shaw, Savill & Albion Co Ltd., Southampton

February 1904 completed as a refrigerated passenger / cargo vessel for her owners' Glasgow - Liverpool - Australia service. Could accommodate 12 x 1st Class & 1,000 steerage Class passengers. Was one of three sisters, the other two being Mamari and Kia Ora

19 December 1905 berthed at Otago, New Zealand from London

6 August 1906 arrived at Teneriffe from Wellington, New Zealand

1916 was damaged by fire at Montreal and was scuttled to extinguish the blaze

18 August 1922 berthed at the Royal Albert Dock, London from Teneriffe with 13 passengers

24 March 1924 collided off Holehaven in the mouth of the Thames with the United States Line's American Merchant which resulted in 8 of the crew of the Matatua being killed and 3 others seriously injured

28 March 1924 an inquest was held at Gravesend touching on the deaths of 5 of the crew of the Matatua whose bodies had been recovered resulting in a verdict of accidental death

16 April 1924 action in the Admiralty Division of the High Court before Sir Henry Duke, President following the collision on 24 March 1924 (see above) resulted in judgement being entered against the American Merchant

1929 purchased by Arnold Bernstein, Hamburg and renamed Ilsenstein. Cargo only

1933 converted to a passenger ship carrying 190 x Tourist Class Passengers

1938 transferred to Red Star Line A B Schiffahrts GmbH, Hamburg - name unchanged

June 1939 purchased for £17,750 by Metal Industries Ltd. for demolition at Rosyth

30 June 1939 sailed Hamburg in tow of the tug Roode Zee

7 July 1939 arrived at Rosyth

2 October 1939 work stopped on the orders of the Admiralty

11 December 1939 sailed Rosyth for the Clyde

13 December 1939 purchased by the Admiralty for use as a block ship. Original claim by Metal Industries was for £40,000 but this was disputed and wasn't finally settled until August 1941 for £25,000

29 January 1940 arrived at Troon for preparatory work to be undertaken by Arnott Young & Co

18 February 1940 scuttled in Skerry Sound, Scapa Flow to replace Cape Ortegal which had been sunk as a block ship on 8 September 1939 but which had rolled over and broken up in the winter gales


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