Towing History of the SS Craigallion (later SS Ozama)


American steamer Ozama, ex-British steamer Craigallion

Note: Although not built as a seagoing tug, we know of at least two instances where this steamer was used for long, open ocean towing. Because of the stresses involved, only the strongest vessels are normally used for such towing, which speaks well for her construction.

Towing the great dredge Nathan Appleton

“Philadelphia, February 21st (1884) — British steamer Craigallion has put to sea, having in tow the second of the great dredges to be used on the Panama Canal. — The dredge is named Nathan Appleton, and was built by Doughty & Kapell. She is a sister vessel to the Count De Lissips, now working upon the canal.”[1] [2]

Capability of the dredge Nathan Appleton

Source of clipping: The Miscellaneous Documents of the Senate of the United States for the Second Session of the Fifty-Third Congress, 1893-’94, In Twelve Volumes, (Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, USA), 1895, Misc. Doc. #118, p. 8

Towing the SS Midlothian

The “str. Craigallion towing str. Midlothian from Colon (Panama) with rudder head gone, bound to Baltimore (Maryland, USA), put in for coals” at Kingston, Jamaica, on March 29, 1885.[3]

A news story originating at Baltimore stated: “The British steamship Midlothian arrived in port Friday morning (April 11, 1885) in the tow of the British steamship Craigallion having been towed all the way from Aspinwall (Colón, Panama). The Midlothian was bound from Marseilles to Colon and struck upon a reef, compelling her to put into Asinwall with her rudder broken.”[4]

Footnotes for this page

[1] Sacramento Daily Record-Union, (Sacramento, California, USA), Volume 2, #10257, February 22, 1884, p. 1, c. 8
[2] New York Herald, (New York, New York, USA), Triple Sheet, February 20, 1884, p. 10
[3] The Daily Gleaner and DeCordova’s Advertising Sheet, (Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica), March 30, 1885, March 30, 1885, p. 2, c. 3
[4] The Daily Leader, (Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA), Volume 3, April 12, 1885, p. 4, c. 3 “A Disabled British Steamship”


More on the SS Ozama, Ex-Craigallion

Information on: Discovery of the Ozama
Information on: Construction & physical details
Information on: Steam engine and machinery
Information on: Towing history
Information on: Smuggling guns
Information on: Seizure & release
Information on: Miscellaneous Voyages
Information on: Wrecked in the Bahamas
Information on: Re-flagging as American steamship
Information on: Wrecked off Cape Romain, SC
Information on:
The shipwreck as it is today
(private not currently available to general public)
Information on: Shipping money
(private not currently available to general public)

Image Files Relating to Shipwreck Ozama

Images: Sidescan images of Ozama wreck site
Images: Photos of artifacts found on the Ozama
(private not currently available to general public)
Images: Photos of people and work in progress
(private not currently available to general public)
Images: Maps & charts relating to Ozama’s history
(private not currently available to general public)
Images: Archaeological and technical drawings
(private not currently available to general public)

Ownership of Salvaged Gold & Artifacts

The above posts all deal with the steamer Ozama, which was shipwrecked off Cape Romain, South Carolina in 1894 and discovered and identified by underwater archaeologist Dr. E. Lee Spence in 1979 and 2013 respectively. He also discovered other abandoned wreckage in the same general vicinity. In 2012, the Federal District Court ruled that Spence was the “true and exclusive owner of the abandoned wreckage” (which includes the Ozama and all of the other shipwrecks that he had found in the specific area designated in his court filing), which means he is already the legal owner of any and all shipwreck gold, silver, cannons, hulls, engines, rigging, and other artifacts on those wrecks. To learn more about shipwrecks in general, check out Spence’s page on Facebook.

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