Deadly Wreck Of The Globe Star
By James Donahue
The Globe Star, a modest 21-year-old cargo ship, became a deadly killer after it grounded on the coast
of Mombasa, Africa with a rotting cargo of malt wheat in its holds.
The ship grounded on Leven Reef on the morning of April 27, 1973, while waiting offshore for a pilot
to board. During the wait the ship was apparently still under way and the pilot house was advised that the vessel was getting
too close to the harbor entrance. When the wheelman turned to go back into deep water he turned to starboard instead of port
and ran the ship on the reef.
The next day tugs were on the scene, but they failed to move the 445-foot ship off the reef. Thus
a salvage operation started with the task of removing the 10,000 tons of wheat using suction pumps.
During the salvage, the engine room flooded and repairs had to be made to a covered passageway that
ran from the engine room through the Number three hold so the ship’s generators could be used again. But then heavy
seas split the wreck in half and the engine room flooded a second time.
This time, while two divers were attempting to seal the pipe tunnel for a second time, they were overcome
by toxic gas from the wheat, which by then was rotting in the hold. Three workers at the site dove to the diver’s aid,
and also killed by the toxic gas.
After this the wreck was declared off limits and left to break up in the heavy seas. In 1978 Divecon
Ltd. Of Mombasa contracted to break up what remained of the wreck on the site. Some parts of the wreck, including the main
engine, still can be found about ten feet below the surface.
The ship was launched as the Burutu Palm at Singapore in 1952 for the Palm Line, a former British-owned
shipping line that specialized in a trade along the West African coast. After 15 years of service the ship was transferred
to Astrocid Naviera of Piraeus and given the name Tyhi.
Three years later the vessel was sold to Globe Navigation of Singapore and given its final name. It
was on a voyage from Iskenderun to Karachi, Pakistan, and was making a call at Mombasa for supplies when it wrecked in 1973,