Date(s) - May 4, Sat
Load from 08:00, ropes off 09:45
The Aeolian Sky was built in 1978 in Japan and owned by the Greek Proteus Maritime Shipping Company. This freighter was huge, some 148m long and weighing 10,000 tonnes. On her final voyage she was travelling from Hull via Rotterdam to Dar es Salaam carrying a full cargo including trucks, Land Rovers, two diesel electric railway locomotives for the Tanzanian railways and 4 million pounds worth of brand new Seychelles Rupees notes (printed in New Malden!). On 3rd November 1979, she collided with a German coaster Ana Kneuppell in a storm and dense fog close to Guernsey. The Aeolian Sky came off worse. Hold 1 was flooded and the Master requested assistance from a French tug to pull her into Cherbourg. A RN helicopter arrived from Lee-on-Solent and started the evacuation of the crew before having to abort due to engine problems. By this time the ship herself was also experiencing engine problems, and drifting with just a handful of crew on board. Bulkhead 2 broke and she started to take on more water, so the initial plan was abandoned and the tug headed for the Solent. However, the port authorities of Portsmouth and Southampton, concerned that the ship would sink fouling their busy waterways, declined permission for her to enter either port. With the weather at gale force, the tug started to tow the Aeolian Sky into the storm to try to make the shelter of Portland Harbour. However at 03:45 on the 4th November 1979 she took on too much water and sank 5 miles south of St Aldhelm’s Head, still 12 miles from the safety of Portland. She settled on her port side in 30m of water with her bows facing south, but she stood within 9m of the surface, making her a shipping hazard. Some salvage work and explosives cleared her to 18m. The stern and superstructure are reasonably intact, some of her cargo can still be seen including a large truck chassis, masts, derricks and a Land Rover chassis. Distance from Weymouth 14 miles.