Wrecks List
Total Records: 1
Name Nationality Location Date Lost
Ulrica   British  Entrance to Belfast Lough  1897 

Ulrica : 
Owner A . Gilchrist Greenock 
Flag British  Builder Barclay Curle & Co.Glasgow 
Port Greenock  Build Date 1884 
Official No 87399  Material Iron 
    Tonnage nrt/grt 1923 / 1972 
Ship type Sail Vessel  Dimensions 276.5 | 41.2 | 24
Ships Role  Cargo Ship  Rigging Style Barque  4 Masts & 2 decks
Super Structure
Wreck Location Lighthouse Island  Entrance to Belfast Lough 
Date Lost 07/01/1897  Captain John Johnston 
Cause Ran aground  Crew Lost  
Position 54.41.750 N / 05.31.660 W  Passengers Lost   
Google Map Location

At an early hour yesterday morning intelligence was received in Belfast and at the several coast-guard stations along the County Down side of the lough that a large four-mastered iron sailing ship had been wrecked on the north-east end of the Mew Island in the fierce gale which blew from the south east during the night.

As might be expected the disaster created a profound sensation as for several hours it was not definitely known whether or not any lives had been lost. Our representative at Bangor however was speedily in communication with the locality and reports that the ship which struck was the Ulrica, Captain John Johnston bound from San Francisco to Dublin with corn and that all hands were saved.

The Ulrica which had been 137 days out and which had a crew of twenty eight all told stood in for Dublin Bay the previous evening and was in tow off the Kish Lightship when in the gale which was blowing the tug proved unequal to the work and the hawser having been slipped went into Dublin for a larger tug. On both tugs returning the Ulrica had disappeared from view having run to leeward before the wind. This happened between four and five o'clock.

Captain Johnston, finding that in the face of such a gale he could not make Dublin steered a course for Belfast Lough. Before entering the lough the S.S.Sheldrake Captain Worsnopp found him on the port tack in the direction of the Copeland Islands. The weather at the time was very thick and dirty but no danger was apprehended.

At 4.30 however after passing the Mew light the ship ran aground on the north-east end of the island. There was little consternation, and danger lights were speedily burned. These were seen on the islands and at Donaghadee and from the latter place word was sent to Groomsport for the lifeboat.Meantime a large boat from Donaghadee succeeded in reaching the unfortunate vessel and landed the crew on the island.

At daybreak it was only too evident that the position of the vessel was dangerous and no hope had been entertained that she could be got off. Her bow for some time was poised high and her stern was under water. Lloyd's agent at Donaghadee Mr. Maconaghy was promptly on the scene and an examination having been made it was found that the vessel was rapidly making water.

Sometime after striking she settled down, and last evening at high tide only her topmasts were visible. It is feared that she may slip off into deep water, as the weather is very rough, and there is a good sea running. In the afternoon of yesterday the tug Stormlight from Belfast visited the wreck but was unable to render any assistance. At six o'clock Captain Johnston who had gone ashore during the day and given his narrative of the occurrence returned to the island with a boatload of provisions for the men.

According to the captain's statement very rough weather was experienced through out the passage and when they were in sight of land the vessel became entirely unmanageable. The Receiver of Wrecks has been communicated with. The disaster has caused quite a sensation. The cargo of grain was upwards of 3.000 tons but is expected that all is covered by insurance.

Captain Molyneux harbour-master in Belfast heard early in the morning that a vessel had been seen in a dangerous position at the mouth of the lough and he immediately telegraphed to the Donaghadee and Groomsport Coastguard Stations. At eleven o'clock he received the following telegram at the Harbour Office from the chief officer of the coastguard at Donaghadee:- " Square-rigged , four-masted vessel ashore north end small Copeland Island. Groomsport lifeboat nearing her. Name unknown at present. "

Belfast News-Letter, Friday, January 8, 1897

The Wreck Today

She is badly broken up and lying at 10 meters on the North West side of Old Lighthouse Island and Can be dived at nearly all states of the tide.

Record Created on  12/11/2008
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